How-To: Foot Scrubs

While we all dream of having magic slippers that we can click together to bring us to our favorite beach destination, walking the beach in bare feet to exfoliate them is just not always an option! Luckily, making your own foot and hand scrub is simple, and there are many options for customization.

Different Types of Exfoliants 

Before you begin formulating your scrub, you’ll want to decide what you’d like the texture and sensation of the finished product to be. There are a few choices when it comes to choosing your exfoliant, but sugar and salt will likely be the most readily available (who doesn’t have one or both in their cupboard as we speak?).

Sugar granules are generally smaller and more fine than salt granules, which translates to a less abrasive final product. Sugar works well for lip scrubs or scrubs meant for sensitive areas or people with sensitive skin. You’ll find that brown sugar will be the softest, and white sugar will be a bit coarser.

Salt granules are larger and more abrasive, which makes them ideal for a more intensive scrub that is meant for callouses or very rough skin. Salt is commonly used in foot and hand scrubs to help soften the skin.

To fine tune the feel and results of your scrub, you’ll start out with a small amount of your exfoliant and work your way up; the less exfoliant you add, the less abrasive the scrub will be. More exfoliant equals a coarser scrub.

Oils and Additives 

When it comes to adding oils to your scrub, you’ve got many, many choices. Olive oil, coconut oil, honey, and avocado oil are all popular in a scrub meant to leave a replenished feel.

You can also choose to make an emulsified scrub vs. a standard scrub. An emulsified scrub can be described as a lotion and a scrub combined. Because of the addition of an emulsifier such as e-wax, an emulsified scrub does not separate and creates the opportunity for different textures and moisturizers.

Lastly, you will want to consider adding a preservative to your scrub. Many customers will use these products in the shower, and since there is a chance of water being introduced to the product, that means there is also a chance of bacterial growth. Adding a preservative will not only prolong your product’s shelf life, but also help to protect it against pesky microbes.  There are currently a few different preservatives at your disposal; be sure to check the manufacturer’s suggested usage to get the exact amount needed. 

Time to Scrub In! 

Below, you’ll find a very simple starting point for your formulation; this recipe is basic and easy to build upon. Starting out simple will help you to get an idea of how the ingredients come together, and what you’d like to change to make the product your own!

You’ll Need: 

1-2 c of sugar or salt, depending on your desired coarseness 

¼ c coconut oil 

¼ c avocado oil 

10-15 drops of fragrance oil (if desired) 

A medium sized mixing bowl 


Measuring cups 


A container to put your finished product in-this recipe will yield approximately 11 oz of product. 

  • Measure your ingredients and combine them in a medium-sized mixing bowl. If you are adding a preservative, you will add it at this step.
  • Stir the ingredients to combine evenly, making sure that there are no clumps or dry salt or sugar spots.
  • Test a bit of the scrub; if it seems to soft, you can adjust the coarseness by adding more sugar or salt.
  • Package and label your finished product!

You did it! This basic scrub is a great starting place for your own customized product that your customers will love! Adding a scrub to your product line helps to diversify your products without a lot of added, complicated labor, and they make a great add-on sale during any time of the year.  Play with texture, additives and scents to enhance your business and your customer’s experience!

Honesty in Marketing: Why Transparency is Important

Imagine walking into a store; let’s say it’s a grocery store. You’re doing your weekly grocery shopping, ready to pick up your weekly supplies. As you meander down the vitamin aisle, you stop; a bottle on the shelf reads “Drop 25 pounds in one week AND grow 4 inches taller!”.

Now, most people will pass by this very confident weight loss/height enhancing bottle, but there are some that won’t. The people that do not walk past it will spend whatever amount is on the sticker and will inevitably be disappointed when seven days have passed and not only are they still the same height, but they are also the same weight. This is an example of dishonesty in marketing, and we’re going to talk about why that’s a no-no.

Staying in the same diet pill vein, think of the diet pill industry as a whole. Typically, that industry has been riddled with bogus products that claim to offer benefits that are never delivered. At this point, it would be very difficult for consumers like you or I to trust a diet pill claim, even with medical proof to back it up.

This is exactly the same case with handcrafted soap and cosmetics!

Perhaps you have a fantastic product, a beautifully moisturizing, luxuriously lathering product that you are selling at your local farmer’s market. A few tables down, a competing handcrafter is selling exactly the same product, but they are saying it will cure eczema, treat psoriasis, and turn back your face’s clock ten years! People will buy this, hopeful people that suffer from these sometimes severe skin conditions, and they will be disappointed. The following week, they will come back and see your stand; but they won’t buy from you. It isn’t because you’ve been dishonest, but because your competitor has failed to deliver on their claims; in the eyes of a consumer, you are no different.

As an industry, the production of handcrafted soap and cosmetics has grown by leaps and bounds. Despite its growing popularity, there are still many who falsely advertise their products as curing or preventing a disease without being approved as a drug by the FDA; this is the type of marketing that must be avoided. Industry standards are not the same as herd immunity; it should not be assumed that if the majority follow the rules, others will be protected. In order to protect the integrity and quality of handcrafted soaps and cosmetics and more importantly to earn and keep the trust of the general public, it is imperative to be honest and legally compliant with your claims!

What Can I Say? 

There are many words that you can use to describe your product’s benefits without tripping and falling into FDA drug territory. For example, you can say that your product is moisturizing, since this is a way to beautify the skin. You can also say that your product is conditioning, calming, beautifying, deodorizing, hydrating, and cleansing! That is a pretty great arsenal of descriptive words that can help set reasonable and attainable expectations for your customers.

You cannot say that your product cures or prevents acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, sunburns, or provides an SPF or anti-aging benefit unless you have registered your product as a drug with the FDA. If you are making these claims with no legal grounds, you may be opening yourself up to financial disaster, leading up to and including the closure of your business.

Your product takes you precious time and effort to produce, and no curative claim is worth losing all of the blood, sweat and tears that you’ve poured into your products (hopefully not literally)! Do yourself and your fellow handcrafters a favor and check out the FDA Cosmetic guidelines, and the drug guidelines too; your industry thanks you!

Common Scents: Patchouli

Welcome back to our series, Common Scents! Common Scents is a collection of articles exploring the history of commonly used essential oils, and how they became so popular in modern day soap and cosmetic crafting. This week, we’ll talk about patchouli! 

Scent is an incredible sense. A certain smell can make you remember a person or place, or can be associated with a whole group of people; kind of like the smell of patchouli! Patchouli has long been considered a “hippie” smell and is definitely the kind of aroma you either love or hate.

Patchouli or pogostermon cablin is a perennial herb that originated in Southeast Asia. Patchouli prefers tropical jungles, but will also grow in elevations up to 6,000 feet. It is a squat, bushy herb that can grow to around 2-3 feet in height, and can be found growing wild in Java and Sumatra.

Patchouli is harvested 2-3 times per year for the production of essential oil. The leaves are hand picked and the herb is fermented before the oil is extracted. Because patchouli is so easy to grow and is harvested so frequently, the price of patchouli tends to stay reasonable with a very low adulteration rate.


Patchouli has been used in traditional medicine for centuries in Asia. Countries like Malaysia, Japan and China trusted patchouli to treat ailments like eczema, dermatitis, acne, dandruff, oily scalp and other skin conditions.

Patchouli was first exported from India during the 19th century and was used in cloth to repel moths and other destructive insects. Because patchouli was so frequently used for this purpose, dishonest merchants seeking to reap the profits of oriental fabric without providing the same quality would scent their fabric with patchouli, too; this was the only way to trick customers into believing it was official!

Patchouli in Soap and Cosmetics 

Patchouli is very popular in fragrance blending, and is considered to be a base note. It is also classified as fixative, which means that it slows down the speed of evaporation for other volatile oils it is mixed with and can prolong the amount of time the aroma is released. Patchouli mixes well with vetiver, rosemary, sandalwood, lemongrass, citrus type oils, rose, frankincense and bergamot, making it a very versatile oil with a spicy aroma. This warmth lends well to incense, and patchouli is very popular as a scent for many different kinds.

Use in Aromatherapy and Medicine 

As mentioned above, patchouli has been used in traditional Asian cultures medicinally for centuries. Today, patchouli is thought to aid in the prevention of fevers, as an immune system booster, and also as a remedy for insect and snake bites. In aromatherapy, patchouli is used to restore mental and physical balance, and is thought to bring prosperity and abundance to whomever uses it.

Please note: the HSCG makes no medical claims and does not give medical advice. The FDA has not approved patchouli for use medicinally; this information is provided strictly for educational and entertainment purposes. 

Final Thoughts 

Patchouli has a very distinct smell that your customers will either snap up or pass up; blended with other warm, comforting scents, patchouli makes a great addition to any bath line!

Do you make any products with patchouli? Drop us a comment here on our blog, or on the Facebook post for this article!

Do you love fragrance blending? Check out our article titled Fantastic Fragrances and How to Blend Them, available on Cut to the Trace now!