How To Make an Exfoliating Sea Salt Hand Scrub

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Kodiak)

Every year, as soon as the cold weather sets in, my hands become dry and flaky. With flu and cold season in full swing, I turn to excess hand washing, which always strips the moisture from my skin. To slough off dead skin cells and restore moisture, I make a batch of exfoliating sea salt hand scrub and keep it by my kitchen sink to enjoy all winter long.

Although it’s perfectly acceptable to keep this scrub to yourself, it also makes a great gift to give around the holidays. It’s remarkably easy to throw together, so as long as you have all (three) of the ingredients on hand, you can whip up a quick batch. It’s a thoughtful, customizable alternative to store-bought gifts, and ensures you’ll never have to show up empty-handed to a party or dinner again.

(Image credit: Lauren Kodiak)

Which Salt to Use?

For this particular scrub, I used coarse sea salt. Sea salt is simply just evaporated seawater, which means it’s not processed and doesn’t contain any additives. Sea salt exfoliates by sloughing off dead skin cells, allowing smoother (and healthier!) skin cells to take their place.

If you have particularly sensitive skin, you can sub brown sugar for the salt. Brown sugar is a soft and gentle exfoliant, which makes it a milder alternative to the coarse sea salt.

Which Oil to Use?

Because there are about 101 uses for coconut oil, I always have some of this miracle-in-a-jar on hand. Coconut oil is deeply moisturizing, as it contains medium-chain fatty acids, which provide hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties. As a bonus, coconut oil quickly absorbs into skin, so it won’t leave your hands with a greasy residue.

If your pantry isn’t stocked with coconut oil, olive oil also works as a great natural moisturizer!

Which Essential Oil to Use?

I chose grapefruit essential oil for this scrub simply because it’s my favorite. Grapefruit essential oil brings a fresh, citrusy note to the scrub and leaves my skin feeling energized and bright. It also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which are bound to come in handy during the winter months. Lemon or orange essential oils would also do the trick.

If you’re looking for something more calming, go with lavender, bergamot, or chamomile essential oils.

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Gather your supplies: You’ll need 1 cup coarse sea salt, 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil, 5 to 7 drops of grapefruit essential oil, and a 10-ounce glass container. (Image credit: Lauren Kodiak)

How To Make Sea Salt Hand Scrub

What You Need


  • 1 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 5 to 7 drops grapefruit essential oil


  • Dry measuring cups
  • 10-ounce glass container (I used a Weck canning jar)
  • Fork


  1. Gather your supplies: You’ll need 1 cup coarse sea salt, 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil, 5 to 7 drops of grapefruit essential oil, and a 10-ounce glass container.
  2. Add the salt: Pour 1 cup of salt into the empty glass container.
  3. Add the oil: Pour 1/2 cup of coconut oil over the salt.
  4. Add essential oil: Add 5 to 7 drops of grapefruit essential oil to mixture.
  5. Stir the mixture: Stir all the ingredients until they’re well combined.
  6. Close the jar: Seal the jar and affix a label or gift tag to the top if you’re giving it away.


  • Use scrub sparingly — about once or twice a week — by spooning a small amount into your hands, gently rubbing it in, rinsing it off with warm water, and drying your hands thoroughly.
  • I tried (and failed) to wrap both ribbon and twine around this jar. (It was so slippery!) To save your sanity, just affix a label, tag, or bow to the top of the jar.