Wellness

The 2-Ingredient Face Scrub That Saved My Winter Skin

All you need is already in your kitchen.

January 21, 2019

I publish a lot of few-ingredient recipes these days. Many are five, but some are even less, like these four-ingredient butter pecan cookies or three-ingredient croissant brittle. But this recipe is even less. It’s two.

Oh, and it’s actually a face scrub. A totally edible face scrub, but a face scrub all the same.

Let’s rewind to a few weeks ago. It was a cold, windy day and my skin was doing what it usually does on cold, windy days—becoming dry, rough, and peely. I was whining talking about this with my coworkers and, as per usual, we began bopping around the internet for DIY solutions.

That’s when we stumbled upon this—a homemade scrub made with brown sugar and honey. It’s best made with a raw, grainy honey, which I just happened to have a giant jar of.

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Top Comment:
“I have eczema on my hands (and elsewhere), and one of the best moisturizers is plain ole white petroleum jelly on wet hands -- a just a tiny bit helps seal in the moisture. I also spin silk into yarns that I knit with, and it needs really smooth skin. A silk reeler told me to make a scrub by putting a bit of white sugar in the palm of my hand and then adding a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Make a "paste" of that, rub gently to exfoliate (don't scrub or you'll tear your skin), then rinse off the sugar and pat dry. Also, if you struggle with dry skin and scaly patches that don't improve with lotions and creams, I highly recommend you read "Beyond Soap: The Real Truth About What You Are Doing to Your Skin and How to Fix It for a Beautiful, Healthy Glow" by Dr Sandy Skotnicki. My dermatologist recommended it to me. Informative and easy to read, and the lists of recommended skin care products are really really useful. ”
— Ted
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So you can guess what I went home and did that night.

The scrub took, give or take, three seconds to assemble. The Kitchen McCabe instructs 1 tablespoon each, but I just eyeballed equal parts. You can do it over the sink, but I like the shower better (way easier to wash off). Simply splash your face with water, gently massage in the scrub—small, circular motions does the trick—then rinse.

It exfoliated away all the dry patches (begone!), leaving my face as soft as summertime. Unlike a salt scrub, which can be tough on sensitive skin like mine, the sugar-honey combo is a just-right coarseness.

And besides exfoliating, some more bopping around taught me that sugar is a humectant, which is a fancy way of saying: It encourages your skin to embrace moisture. Ever seen those Dr. Bronner’s sugar soaps? The labels similarly boast: “Did you know that organic sugar is one of the best things you can use on your skin? The reason is that sugar acts as a natural humectant, literally pulling moisture back into the skin.”

And, of course, if some of the scrub just so happens to get in your mouth while you’re washing—well, I’d bet a box of brown sugar that it’s the best-tasting face scrub in the world.

What are your DIY dry-skin remedies? Tell, tell in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sharon
    Sharon
  • Joanh
    Joanh
  • dietjessg
    dietjessg
  • FrugalCat
    FrugalCat
  • Ted
    Ted
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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing stories about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now, she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter.

5 Comments

Sharon January 28, 2019
Plain old baking soda is an EXCELLENT exfoliant! Sprinkle some on your fingertips and gently massage into wet skin in little circular motions, splash with water to rinse. It sloughs off old dead skin cells and leaves your face bright and soft as a baby's bottom. I've been doing this for decades and have shared this tip with many friends, all of whom now swear by it. And it's inexpensive, too!
 
Joanh January 27, 2019
Sugar, and coconut really works great.
 
dietjessg January 27, 2019
I’ve been washing my face (very sensitive/reactive skin) with a local raw honey every night for months...my face literally glows now! The honey is slightly abrasive to gently exfoliate, my skin stays well-hydrated as it’s not stripped of its natural oils. One ingredient - beat that!!!
 
FrugalCat January 22, 2019
I make a scrub that I use all year. Simply mix coconut oil (heat it up to make it liquid if it's a solid) with Dr. Bronner's liquid soap and kosher salt. You can add essential oil if you use the unscented soap. This can also be made with sugar but salt does not draw ants. I keep a jar of this handy and scrub everything- heels, elbows, legs. Careful on the face- it will taste bad if you get it on your lips.
 
Ted January 21, 2019
I have eczema on my hands (and elsewhere), and one of the best moisturizers is plain ole white petroleum jelly on wet hands -- a just a tiny bit helps seal in the moisture.

I also spin silk into yarns that I knit with, and it needs really smooth skin. A silk reeler told me to make a scrub by putting a bit of white sugar in the palm of my hand and then adding a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Make a "paste" of that, rub gently to exfoliate (don't scrub or you'll tear your skin), then rinse off the sugar and pat dry.

Also, if you struggle with dry skin and scaly patches that don't improve with lotions and creams, I highly recommend you read "Beyond Soap: The Real Truth About What You Are Doing to Your Skin and How to Fix It for a Beautiful, Healthy Glow" by Dr Sandy Skotnicki. My dermatologist recommended it to me. Informative and easy to read, and the lists of recommended skin care products are really really useful.