Saving Face: How to Make Pink Salt Coffee Scrub

You know that feeling when you have your morning coffee and start to feel slightly more alive? This coffee-based scrub is basically a latte for your skin. It’ll brighten and soothe your dead, winter skin into a state of complete bliss with just five common ingredients. Coffee and sugar scrubs are remarkably and offensively overpriced. Why would you pay thirty bucks for some basic cooking ingredients?

Photo by Gabriela Garcia

Photo by Gabriela Garcia

This is a strong exfoliant, and I recommend using it one to two times a week on your face and body. Since coconut oil has been known to clog drains, pour some baking soda and boiling water down your drain once a week to prevent any issues. With coffee, vanilla, and brown sugar, this is the yummiest, sweetest, skin-loving scrub to walk the earth. Oh, and it’s totally free of microbeads, harsh chemicals, or any of the other toxic nonsense that companies toss into their products like it’s goin’ out of style.


  • ½ tablespoon ground pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 cup ground coffee beans (caffeinated)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut oil

Instructions: Combine everything in a bowl and mix it all together with your hands. (You will have extremely smooth hands afterward).

Why these ingredients? Let’s talk about the cost and power of these five skin BFFs.

$3 – Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

One of my favorite combos – it sounds fancy, it’s reasonable cost-wise, and it’s pink. Himalayan salt is widely beloved. People buy lamps made out of it to battle their skin and mood disorders. People even made caves out of it in New York and go hang out in them. It is an excellent exfoliate, cleanses pores and normalize your skin’s oil production. Skip the specialty nonsense and go with this no-frills, cheap-o grinder from McCormick.

$6 – Ground Coffee Beans

Whenever my coffee beans go stale, I whip them up into this scrub. If that sounds kind of unfortunate to you, go for something a little classier and grab an organic blend. But also know that you will get many benefits regardless – the caffeine and texture of coffee is what makes it so well-built to exfoliate, and both of those things can be found in any run-of-the-mill brand.

$5 – Vanilla extract

All hail vanilla extract, the anti-inflammatory goddess of the spice rack! Throw in a teaspoon and your whole scrub will smell, taste and feel so delicious.

$2 – Brown sugar

The smaller, gentler particles of brown sugar make it a perfect complement to the fiercer-feeling coffee. It also absorbs moisture very well, making it a great addition to the scrub. You probably have some sitting in your cabinet in the form of an indestructible brick (which can easily be solved by wrapping said brick in a wet paper towel and microwaving for 60 seconds) but if not, hit the baking aisle and get it for basically nothing.

$3 – Coconut oil

Ah, coconut oil. It’s loved by wellness freaks everywhere. It’s made fun of by everyone on the internet, and it’s also a homemade beauty essential. It will take your makeup off, it will moisturize your skin, it will soothe you, it will smell like a delightful island.

If you are a first time coconut oil user or unsure of how it will fit into your long-term beauty routine, go for a small, shockingly cheap jar from Brandless ($3).

For the coconut oil veterans who are just beginning their obsessive phase, take the leap and buy bulk from Vitacost. You get 54 fl. ounces for $19.99 – most definitely worth it if you use it on the reg. A normal 16 ounce jar costs about $10 or more, which makes a cheap monster jar a much better investment for the coconut freaks out there.

Total estimated cost: $16 for about 12 ounces of scrub (assuming you don’t already own any of the ingredients)

Use this stuff again and again. Best part about using basic food products to construct dope exfoliates? Literally everything doubles as a very useful cooking item. After you’re done whipping up a nourishing scrub for yourself, use those same ingredients to make coconut oil stir-fry, a cup of coffee, a batch of cookies. That’s the magic of DIY beauty – it is multipurpose, cost-efficient, and absurdly simple.

Gabriela Garcia is a graduate student at Columbia University in New York.