Stir-Free Salt Scrub

For the longest time, I've wanted to get serious about developing a new kind of exfoliating scrub – something apart from the usual salt + oil combos so common to both the natural and commercial market. My own scrub was developed ages ago, but despite how lovely it makes my skin feel, I've almost stopped using it.


Analyze This

After a bit of deliberation, it became clear why it stands on the shelf longer and longer between uses.

As much as I hate to admit it, the ever-present 'I can't be bothered' factor is once again the reason.

Apparently, having to stir the product in order to apply it is just too much of a chore.

Long live laziness.

My only consolation – most of the women I've asked about using this kind of scrub admit to the same thing.

Solving Stirring – Let's Emulsify!

Because there is no emulsifier or thickener in a classic salt + oil, (or sugar + oil) exfoliating scrub, the granules will – after a short time – settle to the bottom of the jar and the oil will float to the top.

To compensate for this, almost all natural scrubs are packaged with a handy spatula or cute wooden stirring spoon. But no matter how fancy the packaging or adorable the stirring implement, it doesn't dismiss the fact that the product still needs stirring to be used.

Adding an emulsifier to the formula was my go-to solution. And while trying to create the perfect easy-peasy exfoliating scrub, I decided it would be a great feature if the product also turned into a milky, lotion-like liquid when it came into contact with water and rinsed away without making the bath area feel like an oil slick.

The extra advantage: some emulsifiers also function as conditioners and softeners.

Batch One

Above is batch one. Himalayan Crystal Salt with shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, thistle oil, a vegetable-based emulsifying wax called BTMS (50% cetearyl alcohol and 20% behentrimonium methosulfate), stearin, and a mix of refreshing, invigorating essential oils.

A tube was chosen for the packaging (as it is my hope that this mixture will function well in a tube). A few sample sizes were also packaged and passed to my tester team.

How it Works So Far

I am happy with the results after the first few uses. The scrub is easy to distribute and use, and it really leaves my skin soft. There is absolutely no need of body lotion afterwards. It's so much better than my other scrub, I may never go back.

Possible Probs

During the dead of summer we had a heat wave in Denmark, and the product did show indications of separating, but was easily shaken together. (that doesn't quite amount to stirring, but it's definitely not acceptable).

I will need to tweak the formula, but even though it's still early days, initial tests are very promising.

Do Tell

Have you ever worked with an emulsified scrub? Which emulsifiers did you use? Have you ever tried an emulsified scrub? What did you think of it?


Signe said…
I've tried to make emulsified scrub once (this summer), because it seemed to be some kind of a trend, but I must say that I didn't like it much. I still prefer that "traditional" oil+salt+soap scrub I've been using longer, and I haven't got any separation problem with it yet.
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
I prefer an emulsified scrub to a pure oil scrub so my bathroom isnt too slippery with oil. I have made them both with polysorbate 80 and sucragel and they turned out great.
Some of the products from LUSH that I reall like is their scrub bars but I think they are too expensive. I made my own version of their Snap the whip with charcoal and SLSA, and Buffy with ground rice, azuki and oatmeal.

I do however, like the dry schrub/face mask mixes a lot! I like that they are versatile and depending on my mood I can mix them with body wash,lotion or oil and just scrub away - and they are so easy to travel with as well :-)
LisaLise said…
HI Signe - Interesting! What didn't you like about the emsulified scrub? I'm curious!
LisaLise said…
Hi Tina - we have the same reasons for liking an emulsified scrub. I like the idea of using a polysorbate. Sounds like that might be fun to try.:)
Signe said…
Hi, Lise! My emulsified scrub was too oily, I think, it didn't rinse off well enough and I didn't like the feeling it left on my skin. But I've only make it once, so maybe I try some other oil instead next time.
Hi Lisa,
I make emulsified scrubs, body and facial ones. I decided I didn't like much too 'buttery' feel of shea/cocoa combo, so I left them out. The feel actually might vary with the season, but still...
I currently use only oils, but with the summer leaving, I'll probably add some shea, along with some PS80, or Alkyl Benzoate C12-15, for less greasy feel.
As an exfoliating agent, I've used...hmmm, many things, like ground pumkin seed, ground oatmeal, strawberry seed (all of them for facial scrub) and sugar for body scrub.
I'm going to try himalayan salt,as well, as I really like it in soap, although I've been intimidated by using salt for sensitivity issues.
I think you can try BTMS50 in place of BTMS25, it should result in thicker consistency and prevent separation.
Best regards,
LisaLise said…
Hi Maja,

Thanks for your input and suggestion for BTMS 50 - I'm using BTMS 25 -- it might be worth a try text time. As for salt and sensitivity - I hear you. It will indeed 'find' small scratches and remind you of their presence. I have used Himalayan salt for years as my main body exfoliated, and find it quite rare that I have any issues. then again, that could be because I have been used to using it for so long.
LisaLise said…
Hi Signe - thanks for the reply. Trying a different oil might well make a difference -