WHICHCRAFT: Handmade sugar scrub cubes exfoliate skin
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Summer is quickly progressing, but there’s still time for another quick beach trip or two. And if you’re showing some skin, keep it smooth and exfoliated with handmade sugar scrub cubes that take just minutes to whip up.
Sure, combining sugar, oil and fragrance in a jar would be even easier, but taking a bit more time to mold the mixture into solid cubes or bars means the result is easier to use. No scooping a messy scrub out of a slippery jar in the shower. Just grab a cube and rub.
I tested three tutorials I found online that all use melt-and-pour soap base to bind various ingredients together. Though they differed slightly, the basic steps were the same: Melt the soap, stir in the sugar and fragrance, and pour into a silicone mold. The mixture hardens quickly and the finished cubes can be popped out of the molds after a few hours.
Most of the ingredients were available at the grocery store, though I purchased the mold at a craft store and the essential oils used as fragrance at a health food store.
Here’s what I found, with each method rated from 1 to 10, with 10 indicating the least expensive, easiest and best results:
1. COCONUT OIL AND PEPPERMINT
I expected the coconut oil in this version to smell like, well, coconut, but it really had very little aroma. The tutorial I found on the “Happy Mothering” blog (http://bit.ly/2adouUk ) called for red mica colorant, but I used soap coloring from the craft store instead. Apparently, I didn’t use enough, because instead of having pretty, light and dark pink cubes like those pictured in the tutorial, mine were barely colored. Having to purchase something to color the cubes meant an added expense, but of the three versions, I think this left my skin the softest.
2. ALMOND OIL AND COFFEE
This version, found on a blog called “A Pumpkin & A Princess” (http://bit.ly/1CkZzXI ), combines almond oil, sugar and orange essential oil for fragrance. It also includes an extra ingredient: ground coffee, which is said to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. If nothing else, it adds a nice aroma and extra exfoliation. Of the three, these cubes felt the most abrasive. And the coffee creates a nice speckled effect.
3. OLIVE OIL AND BROWN SUGAR
These cubes aren’t as visually appealing as the other two — they’re sort of a bland brownish color. But the brown sugar smells great, especially combined with a bit of vanilla fragrance. I also liked that this tutorial, (http://bit.ly/2aE5sEK ) on a blog called “A Cultivated Nest,” recommended waiting a few minutes before adding the sugar to the melted soap so that less of the sugar would dissolve. And compared to the other versions, you’re more likely to already have this oil — olive oil — in your kitchen cabinet.