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DIY Vanilla Sugar Scrub

Making Vanilla Sugar Scrub takes less than 10 minutes and is a gentle exfoliant perfect for dry hands and feet. Keep it for yourself, or gift it!

A small glass jar of vanilla sugar scrub. A vanilla bean and lavender rest in the foreground.

Creating This DIY Sugar Body Scrub

Do you have a favorite vanilla recipe? I hope so, because that is what today’s Holiday Recipe Exchange theme is.

While one might typically associate vanilla beans with baking, you can also use vanilla beans for homemade gifting ideas, which is what Jamie and I decided to share today.

My Rosemary Mint Sugar Scrub and All-Natural Moisturizing Kitchen Hand Scrub recipes are pretty popular. I receive lots of questions wanting to know about variations or other ideas.

One such question asked about the feasibility of making a vanilla scented scrub, so I decided to try it out.

In this recipe for Vanilla Bean Sugar Scrub, I first tested out the recipe using actual seeds from inside the beans, but I found that there were beans left all over my hands after washing them.

I much preferred the method of using Vanilla Scented Sugar made from leftover vanilla bean pods to make this scrub. I love to make vanilla scented sugar because it is so tasty and good smelling, plus it’s rather frugal to reuse empty vanilla bean pods for another use.

Vanilla Scented Sugar is another great, simple homemade holiday gift to use this holiday season.

I also decided to add a few dried lavender buds because the two scents pair so well together, plus it gives the scrub some extra texture and visual interest. Lavender is so relaxing, and many of us are often stressed out this time of year that I thought it would make for a pleasant gift.

Vanilla Sugar Scrub Ingredients

This is a very simple sugar scrub that requires just four basic ingredients:

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

What’s the Best Oil for Sugar Scrubs?

For this exfoliating sugar scrub, you need to use a carrier oil (especially if you choose to add a few drops of essential oil to the scrub!). I recommend using a colorless, odorless oil for this homemade sugar scrub.

Some of my favorites include:

Overhead view of a jar of homemade sugar scrub, next to vanilla beans and dried lavender.

How to Make a Vanilla Sugar Scrub

This DIY sugar body scrub is so easy to make! Essentially you just need to mix everything together and scoop it into an airtight container.

  1. Make the vanilla sugar ahead of time as instructed.
  2. Combine the vanilla sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the oil and stir until moistened.
  4. If desired, add dried lavender buds and stir to combine.

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

What Is Sugar Scrub Used For?

This exfoliating sugar scrub is gentle enough to use all over your body. Here are some ways you can use this homemade vanilla sugar scrub:

  • As a lip scrub (rub very gently!)
  • As a foot scrub
  • As a hand scrub
  • As an all-over body scrub (great when taking a bath)

Be very careful if using a sugar scrub in the shower. The oil can make the shower slippery!

Top Sugar Scrub Benefits

The main reason to love this simple sugar scrub is that it acts as a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin cells. If you’re someone who works out a lot or likes to apply fake tan, this is especially beneficial.

Because this homemade sugar scrub is made with oil, it’s also very moisturizing. Sugar scrubs can also help prevent ingrown hairs if used regularly.

Tips for Making an Exfoliating Sugar Scrub

  • You may add a few drops of an essential oil that pairs well with vanilla for different scent combinations (i.e. vanilla mint, lemon vanilla, etc.). If you add essential oil to this sugar scrub, you may not want to use it on your face since some oils can cause irritation.
  • I like a combination of sugar and salt in my scrubs. You can use all salt or all sugar if you desire. The choice is up to you.
  • When making this scrub as a gift, make sure you are aware of any allergies when choosing the carrier oil. For example, you wouldn’t want to use sweet almond oil for someone who has a tree nut allergy.

More Homemade Gift Ideas:

This All-Natural Lemon Kitchen Hand Scrub is great to remove dry skin and odors from the hands while leaving the skin moisturized.

This Rosemary Mint Sugar Scrub is perfect for homemade gifting. It exfoliates and moisturizes dry winter skin while offering a pleasant and invigorating aroma to a tired body in the morning.

Homemade Pancake Mix Jars are a fun way to gift a delicious and healthy homemade multi-grain pancake recipe.

1-Ingredient Whipped Coconut Oil is a fantastic, all-natural, chemical-free addition to your regular beauty routine. It stays light and smooth unlike solid coconut oil. You can fancy it up by adding some essential oils to scent it and packaging it nicely.

These DIY Moisturizing Bath Bombs only contain 4 ingredients, are incredibly simple to make and are perfect for soothing dry, scaly, itchy winter skin. Homemade Bath Bombs will look like a special luxury spa item.

Do you have a favorite recipe or homemade gift featuring vanilla?

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homemade vanilla bean sugar scrub

DIY Vanilla Sugar Scrub

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Making Vanilla Sugar Scrub takes less than 10 minutes and is a gentle exfoliant perfect for dry hands and feet. Keep it for yourself, or gift it!



  • Bowl
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Mixing Spoon
  • Storage Jars


    1. Make the vanilla sugar ahead of time as instructed in the recipe (see the link for instructions).
    2. Combine the sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
    3. Add the oil and stir until moistened.
    4. If desired, add the lavender buds and stir to combine.
    5. Alternatively, you may add a few drops of an essential oil that pairs well with vanilla for different scent combinations (i.e. vanilla mint, lemon vanilla, etc.).


Adjust the number of vanilla bean pods you use to make the vanilla sugar to vary the strength of the vanilla scent in the scrub.

Adapted from my Rosemary Mint Sugar Scrub.

Did you make this project?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you're making!

This post was sponsored by Beanilla.

DIY Health and Beauty


Tuesday 8th of May 2012

This recipe is great but I was wondering of you can use vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean sugar.


Thursday 10th of May 2012

I have not tried that method yet so I cannot speak for how it will or won't work.

Donna B.

Monday 12th of December 2011

I found this last year - my fav vanilla cake recipe.

Donna B.

Monday 12th of December 2011

This is my fav - vanilla ice cream

Kristina S.

Sunday 11th of December 2011

Vanilla Whipped Cream

I always use this recipe as a topping for almost any dessert. It gives a great twist for regular whipped cream: (I use this recipe from Spice Barn; it also includes a vanilla sugar recipe in it)

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup whipping cream

Vanilla sugar: Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; combine with 1/2 cup sugar. Rub fingertips to distribute evenly. In refrigerator, chill small mixing bowl and beater for electric mixer. When chilled, beat cream with 3 table vanilla sugar until it reachers a soft peak stage. Top with desserts or beverages. (You could always add more or less vanilla sugar to your liking).

Kristen M.

Wednesday 7th of December 2011

My favorite vanilla recipe is a vanilla steamer. It's fast and simple yet warm and comforting. Instructions are to warm a mug of milk in the microwave (approximately 90 seconds). Add honey and vanilla extract to taste. (I sometimes add a dash of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or cardamom.) Lastly, use a small battery operated wisk (mine is from Ikea) to add a bit of froth at the top. This last step is optional.

Skip to Instructions