Four basic ingredients and two minutes currently stand in between you (and me) and a homemade spa treatment! Oh, and this blogpost…I’ll keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Early in my teaching career I discovered a necessary job perk: spa day! I loved the kids and my chosen career path, but as anyone in the world of teaching knows, being a classroom teacher is hard work! My typical day started around 6am (in the classroom, not waking up) with meetings, planning, and cutting papers. I would finally return home late in the evening, around 6:30pm, with a large bag of papers and a computer full of emails. I loved watching my classroom kiddos flourish each year and become confident learners, but the additional job responsibilities were exhausting. Kuddos to all my teacher friends.
Due to the high-stress nature of the job, I adopted a yearly “spa day.” I chose one day each school year to take off and spend time relaxing at a popular spa in our area. This was my “sanity day.” The one day each year I would leave behind the stress of a rigorous schedule and early mornings for lavender scented linens and cucumber-mint water.
One of my favorite treatments was a green tea exfoliating facial session. The 30 minute experience always left my skin soft and rejuvenated–something a tired teacher was in desperate need of.
It’s been five years since my last “sanity day.” The good news is the spa experience didn’t end with my last year of teaching. Now that I have two little kids at home, I’ve learned to recreate mini spa sessions during my daily five minute sanity break (AKA: shower time). My DIY spa alternatives cost just pennies and only require basic household ingredients to make. A spa experience that saves money? I think so!
Because the exfoliator was my favorite treatment, let’s start our pampering time with this super simple four ingredient homemade version. First, before we get to the exfoliating and super smooth skin that follows, let’s take a look at the ingredients:
Green Tea: This simple ingredient can be found just about anywhere these days, from grocery stores to coffee shops. Green tea contains antioxidant properties that may help to reactivate cells and fight against damaged skin. There are many ways to use green tea in a skincare regime (and many companies now include this ingredient in high-end beauty products). In this recipe, the green tea leaves are added directly to the scrub to exfoliate the skin and get rid of unwanted pollutants.
Sugar: Good ol’ sugar is a humectant which may help the skin retain moisture. Sugar also contains glycolic acid which may help encourage cell turnover and fresh-looking skin. Not all sugar is created equal when it comes to homemade skincare. I highly recommend using a softer sugar (such as: organic white or brown sugar) for homemade exfoliating scrubs. The abrasive nature of more natural sugars (sucanat, coconut sugar, raw sugar) may leave the skin irritated and red.
Olive Oil: Yep, the same ingredient used to make homemade salad dressing may also be used on the skin. Olive oil contains three important antioxidants which may help keep the skin from aging prematurely. Oil is also known to help cleanse the skin by drawing out unwanted oils (read more about cleansing with oil).
Raw Honey: Honey (particularly honey that hasn’t been pasteurized) is a powerhouse of nutrients for the skin. It’s loaded with antioxidants and natural enzymes to help cleanse and nourish. Honey may also fight against acne thanks to the antibacterial properties.
Bottom line: This homemade exfoliator is good stuff!
Who knew a spa experience could be so simple? Four ingredients. Two minutes.
Homemade Green Tea Exfoliator
- 1 TB dried green tea leaves 2-4 tea bags depending on size of tea bag
- 1 cup organic white sugar or brown sugar, the sugar should be soft not large granules
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 TB honey
- 10 drops lavender essential oil optional
- In a medium-size bowl, combine all the ingredients.
- Store the exfoliator in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place (the linen closet or medicine cabinet).
- Apply a tablespoon of exfoliator at a time to your hands. Gently massage the skin (face and/or body) with the exfoliator for 30 seconds. Rinse the exfoliator from the skin with water and a washcloth.
Tried this today with mint green tea and added lavender and peppermint EO. Is there a reason you use Olive Oil instead of coconut oil? I have always used coconut oil in my scrubs. Thanks for sharing this!
No reason other than not everyone does well with coconut oil on their skin. Also, in cold temps, coconut oil will solidify.
These look amazing! I can’t wait to try this out! I was wondering where you go those jars? Did you get them on amazon? They look like the perfect size to store homemade skin care products!
Thank you in advance,
Hey Maria, Amazon or Target!
I love this!! Thank you so much! The simplicity of this recipe just adds to the magical-ness! I love that I can use this as both a body and a facial scrub. That’s awesome! I try teas all the time and right now I have a black tea and a chai tea that are not working out for me as far as tasty drinks. Would you see any issues in using these two other types of teas for this recipe?
Do we need to steep the green tea?
Hey Suum, No, because you’re not making tea or adding any liquid. You’re adding the actual leaves to the sugar mixture.
I am definitely going to give this a try—thanks! I have a quick question though. Will this help to get rid of the stubborn blackheads found on my nose?
Hey Kalyani, I would try a clay mask, like this one: https://livesimply.me/2016/08/19/soothing-clay-mask-for-stubborn-breakouts-and-scars/
Any reason I couldn’t use bergamot oil instead of lavender?
Hey Ginny, Possibly. Just be careful with sun exposure after using bergamot oil.
Love this recipe! I only had white tea bags so I used those instead but my face feels so much better! Doing this once a week for sure!!
So happy to hear that, Amber!
Just made this for gifts (and myself!). Love it, made my skin so smooth! Only thing I noticed is it stained my hands when I used it as a full body scrub. Not awful but definitely noticeable. Do you have any tips on how to avoid staining other than the obvious of not using my hands lol? Maybe a certain type of green tea?
Hey Rachel, I’m so glad you liked it. I haven’t had issue with staining, yet. Possibly the green tea used. What kind of staining–green, etc?
Yes a greenish tinge, on the dark side. I think I’ll try a different brand of green tea next time just to be safe. I used Bigelow this time. Maybe just a fluke thing that it happened!
Hmmm, interesting! Just a light massage (just a few seconds) is all that’s needed for an exfoliator, so possibly the tea was rubbed in a bit too much.
This scrub looks great! Can I use avocado oil instead of olive oil? Or maybe even almond oil? Not sure if they have the same quality for the recipe
I used a mix of coconut oil and it felt so good on my skin. I washed my face and neck with a moisturing soap and my skin feels so soft and nourished. Thanks for this recipe
When using the green tea bags, do you just place them with the other ingredients or cut them open?
Hey Tessa, Yes, cut the bags open and use the green tea inside.
Is it good for sensitive skin….?? My skin is hell sensitive…:(
Hey Kads, This is gentle on my sensitive skin, but I can’t say for sure since everyone is different.
Thank you for this awesome information!! I am going to use this in my cosmetology class tomorrow for our facials and I am excited to share all of the beneficial ingredients it contains. Thank you again.
Hey! Thanks for the recipe 😀
Just made it, still need to try it, but i was also wondering for the next time i make it, if it can be made with matcha powder instead of the green tea, or as a mix?
Hey Miriam, Definitely!
How long does this keep stored? Also, is it okay to use non-organic sugar?
Hey Lauren, This will keep for a couple of months, or longer (as long as water isn’t introduced into the product). Yes, any fine sugar will work.
I found this post on Pinterest as I was looking for easy DIY face mask, and I must say this is fantastic! My skin feels soft and exfoliated.
I am looking forward trying more of your DIYs.
Awesome, Bayan! Glad you enjoyed the exfoliator.
Can i use coconut oil instead of olive oil? I dont have any olive oil onhand 🙁
Hey Rochelle, Yes, you can ????. The only issue is that coconut oil will solidify if the outside environment is cool.