DIY Cinnamon Sugar Scrub

Every winter I run into the same problem of chapped lips and dry skin that drives me crazy. Preventative measures work up to a point, but eventually I need some light exfoliation to get back to normal. This super-simple, three-ingredient scrub has worked wonders for turning my scales back into smooth skin, plus I know exactly what’s in it (no micro beads for me!).  I also love that it uses three ingredients I always have in my pantry.

The three ingredients are just coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar. While these might sound like the beginning of a delicious seasonal dessert, they actually make a fantastic scrub that smells amazing, and leaves your skin super smooth. It’s like a little bit of holiday indulgence without the guilt.

Here’s why the three ingredients work so well together:

Coconut Oil:

I know coconut oil is being used for just about everything, and while it may not be the solution to all of your problems, it’s probably a pretty good solution for some of your winter beauty dilemmas. It’s a healthy choice for cooking, both because the medium-chain fatty acids are easier for your body to digest and burn off than long-chain fatty acids, and because the lauric acid that makes up almost 50% of raw coconut oil is converted to monolaurin, an immune-supporting substance that helps your body fight viruses and bacteria. Try adding some to smoothies or oatmeal for some healthy fats in the a.m.

But there are benefits to topical applications as well– not only does it make a great hair mask, it is also surprisingly effective at removing waterproof makeup and lipstick naturally and gently. It is also a great base or carrier oil for a scrub, both because its relatively gentle, and its unique properties add to the benefits of the scrub.

Cinnamon:

Like coconut oil, cinnamon has a mild anti-bacterial effect, which makes it a great ingredient for acne prone skin. It’s ‘spicy’ quality can also spark an increase in blood flow, which makes it great for skincare because it stimulates nutrient-carrying blood to the surface. Using this as a lip scrub has the added benefit of a subtle enhancing your pout sans injections or scary chemicals.

You may have seen cinnamon and honey masks, but I find them too strong on my relatively sensitive skin. The cinnamon in this scrub is less concentrated, but if you prefer a stronger feeling you can always add more. Be sure to patch test a little bit on your arm before trying it out anywhere on your face though, just in cause you also have a strong reaction.

I also love the warm, spicy scent, which feels especially seasonal. But the benefits go beyond this– the cent of cinnamon can also help to relieve headaches, and increase alertness.

Sugar:

While I try to avoid added sugars in my diet, they are great for scrubs because the particles are less abrasive than salt, but still pack some powerful buffing qualities. This means that this scrub should be safe to use on your face (as long as you use a very light touch) as well as hands or other areas that tend to look a bit dull or feel chapped in the winter.

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Ingredients for Scrub:

3 tsp coconut oil at room temp. (It should be soft, but not melted)

1-1.5 tsp ground cinnamon. (The fresher your cinnamon the more it will warm your skin, or cause any irritation, which is why patch-testing is so important)

2 tsp sugar. A finer grind is generally better here, especially if you are thinking of using it on your face. For body scrubs I like a coarser sugar, or even salt to really slough off any dead skin.

Directions:

  1. Combine in a small bowl or container, mixing thoroughly. The consistency should be like a paste, so you may need to make minor adjustments accordingly.

When I use this as a lip scrub I like to remove any lipstick or balm with a little bit of coconut oil and gently wipe away with a face cloth. Then I follow up  with a small amount of scrub, using my index finger to make small circles before gently removing. Don’t worry if you accidentally ingest some– that’s the benefit of using things from your kitchen!

When using this this on my face I like to first remove any moisturiser or leftover makeup with a mild cleanser (like Lush’s ultrabland), then apply a fine layer of the scrub (avoiding the eye area), massaging my face very gently with my fingertips. To remove I use a face cloth and warm (not hot!) water to gently wipe away the scrub.

The most important step to remember when using this scrub is to follow up with another layer of moisture once its removed, whether on your lips, face, or hands. Also, when removing, be sure you use warm water to remove the coconut oil throughly. It’s important that the water not been too hot though, as this can cause redness and irritation.

This will keep for a few weeks if stored in your fridge (just be sure to thaw it thoroughly before using), but because it’s so simple to make you could also easily mix a small amount as you  need it and use extra-fresh cinnamon each time. Let me know if you give it a try in the comments– I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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