Coffee Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub

Coffee Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub

This coffee vanilla brown sugar scrub was the first skincare product I ever made myself. Sharing this recipe with you know feels like an homage to how far I have come in my journey of making homemade skincare. It was when I made this scrub for the first time that I first experienced that aha moment. I realized that making skincare doesn’t have to be daunting or hard. Simple ingredients around the home are often be all you need to make something wonderful. Of course there is a world of sophisticated and wonderful ingredients out there that you probably don’t have in your home. But when you are just starting out, it suffices to focus on what you can easily acquire or already have at home.

There are still so many things to learn and make in my own journey of homemade natural skincare. I already know so much more than I did when I first made this scrub. For example, the first batch of this scrub I used to use directly in my shower, with wet hands (I am embarrassed to admit so). Now I know that you should never use a scrub that doesn’t contain a preservative with wet hands because you can introduce dangerous bacteria to it and contaminate it (read more on that in my safety in homemade skincare post).

Nonetheless, this coffee vanilla brown scrub is still a staple in my home that I have enjoyed often since that first time I made it. The only difference is that now I scoop some of it out before I get in the shower, rather than bringing the whole jar. I love using it in the morning because the smell of coffee makes me feel refreshed and awake. Another thing I like about it is the fact that it allows me to use something I would normally have to throw out – coffee grounds. I always feel like I have accomplished something when I find a use for something that I previously considered at the end of its life cycle.

An easy to make Coffee Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub. Wonderfully refreshing and makes the shower smell amazing.

Commercial scrubs

There are many different types of exfoliants. Usually they are grouped into two categories, mechanical or chemical. Mechanical exfoliants physically remove dead skin cells from the outside of your skin whereas chemical exfoliates are acids that penetrate your skin and dissolve dead skin cells.

Today, we will focus on mechanical exfoliants since that is what this scrub contains. Commercial scrubs of this type are often problematic because they contain plastic microbeads as the abrasive agent. These beads are a huge source of pollution to the environment. Luckily, the US banned microbeads in personal care products, but products containing them won’t completely disappear until July 2018. In Europe no such ban has gone through yet, but I remain hopeful.

Many commercial scrubs have now switched to more natural exfoliating agents, however, not all are equal. Many cheap exfoliants use walnut or apricot kernel shells, which are much too rough and jagged for most applications. This was why I initially decided to look into making my own scrub.


Coffee and brown sugar as exfoliants

I picked coffee grounds as well as brown sugar as an exfoliant in this coffee vanilla brown sugar scrub. Coffee grounds are good for anti-aging & sun damage. They also increase blood flow and can brighten the skin. As I’ve mentioned before, I use used coffee grounds. The trick is to make sure they are completely dry before using them to prevent any molding.

After I make my coffee I spread the grounds out and dry them using my dehydrator. However, I have done the same in the past using my oven. I simply heated it to the lowest setting and then shut it off, put the tray of coffee in and kept the door closed to retain the heat as the coffee dried. You could probably also sun dry the coffee if you live somewhere hot (and not too humid). I then store my dried coffee airtight to prevent any moisture from getting in, I have never had any problems with mold this way.

Brown sugar (or all sugar for that matter) dissolves and turns into a polish when used as a scrub.  Brown sugar in particular is also softer than regular sugar, much gentler than nut shells and has a more uniform shape. It also anti-bacterial properties.

This scrub is a great body scrub, but can also be gentle enough for use on the face if you are careful (see the section on how to apply a scrub). However, if you have very sensitive skin on your face I would recommend opting for something more gentle or a chemical exfoliant.

An easy to make Coffee Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub. Wonderfully refreshing and makes the shower smell amazing.

How often to use a scrub?

How often you should use a scrub depends on your skin. In general using it 1 time a week works well for most people. I wouldn’t recommend using it more than that on your face, but you can experiment. If you are using a scrub too often, you will experience redness and an overly sensitive feeling on your skin. Be aware though that this reaction may also be an allergy to one of the ingredients or you pushing too hard when applying the scrub.


How to use a scrub right

Speaking of pushing too hard, let’s talk about how to use a scrub correctly for a second. Two important things to keep in mind is that the scrub in the jar shouldn’t get wet and that you should never push when applying a scrub. Scrubbing too hard can damage your skin and cause micro-abrasions on your skin. You should also avoid shaving right before applying this coffee vanilla brown sugar scrub as your skin is more sensitive then.

Here are the steps I take when applying a scrub:

  1. Take the amount you will use out of your scrub jar and put it on a plate or bowl. This is to avoid getting your homemade scrub wet
  2. Get in the shower/bath and clean your skin/face as usual
  3. Apply the scrub to your body and/or face
  4. Spread it with your fingers using light circular motions (don’t push!)
  5. Rinse the scrub off and pat your skin dry
  6. Follow up with a moisturizing lotion/oil

An easy to make Coffee Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub. Wonderfully refreshing and makes the shower smell amazing.

Coffee Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub

Now let’s get into how to make it. It is really quite simple and doesn’t require much.

Coffee Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins

An easy to make Coffee Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub. Wonderfully refreshing and makes the shower smell amazing.

Course: Beauty
Cuisine: Scrub
Servings: 1 scrub
Author: Laura
  • 3 tbsp coffee grounds
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp almond oil (or other oil)
  • 5 drops vanilla extract (optional)
  1. Combine coffee ground and brown sugar in a bowl

  2. Pour in oil of your choice. I used almond oil, but you can use any oil your skin enjoys. Add the vanilla extract for a vanilla smell. Stir to combine.

  3. Pour/spoon the scrub into an airtight jar or container. Use as needed. If stored in a cool/dry place, it should last for up to 6 months.


If you like this coffee vanilla brown sugar scrub, pin it!

An easy to make Coffee Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub. Wonderfully refreshing and makes the shower smell amazing.


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Carol L
Carol L

You mention in the opening comments that you use used coffee grounds, but the recipe does not state this, and I know from personal experience that used coffee grounds become moldy pretty quickly, making the 6 month storage invalid. Could you please comment? Used, or new grounds and how do you keep used grounds from going moldy due to the introduction of water from making coffee?
Great recipe, BTW!

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