A woman presses her lips

What is a lip scrub? How to make a DIY homemade sugar scrub

What does lip scrub do?

Lip scrubs are used to prevent dry and chapped lips and help to exfoliate dead skin cells, promoting smoother and healthier lips. They’re effective at removing excess skin and improving the appearance of the lips.

They tend to be made up of two primary ingredients, an exfoliant agent, like grainy sugar, and a moisturising aspect, like an oil, vitamin E or shea butter. Together, they’ll gently exfoliate the lips but also nourish them so they stay moisturised and smooth afterwards. If used regularly, they can help with cracked, dry or chapped lips by smoothing the texture of the lips and offering nourishment. With softer lips, it’ll help people who bite or pick at the skin or lips as well.

How to use a lip scrub?

How to apply lip scrub? It’s quite easy and effective. First, scoop some of the lip scrub out of its container using your finger - ensure you wash your hands before and after use. Spread the product across the lip evenly using that finger.

There are two different methods you can do to exfoliate, either rub your lips together and press them so they rub against themselves and exfoliate. Or you can use your finger to move in circulator motions to help the process, ensuring to get both lips and the small area around them.

Depending on the lip scrub, you can either wipe away the excess - if it’s edible you can even lick it off! Then just pat the area dry, and as most lip scrubs have a moisturising aspect, you can leave the remainder oil, vitamin E, shea butter etc, to work its magic - you don’t need to wash this off. Or if the instructions advise you to, you can gently rinse away the scrub and leftover sugar.

How often should you use a lip scrub?

When to use a lip scrub? This depends on each individual person and the condition of their lips. If you suffer from dry and chapped lips that are sore, you can use it daily, morning and night, and make sure you are gently exfoliating the area and not being too aggressive to cause more pain or damage. If you want a clean and smooth surface for liquid lipstick, you can also complete the routine before applying your makeup so you have an effective base to start with.

However, if you don’t bite or pick at your lips, and they’re generally smooth, you can use the lip scrub twice a week for a refresh and to remove excess makeup or dead skin cells.

Sugar is a gentle exfoliator and as long as you’re not exfoliating for more than 20 seconds or excessively, won’t harm or break the skin, so you can use them once or twice a day as part of your routine. The nourishing ingredients also help the grains of sugar glide across the lips and offer moisturising effects afterwards.

How long do you leave a lip scrub on?

You can use most lip scrubs for 20 to 30 seconds, however, it’s not a mask or treatment, so you don’t need to apply the product and just leave it on. Instead, allow the sugar to work its magic by either rubbing your lips together or using a clean finger to move the product in circular motions before rinsing or wiping off any excess.

Looking for a lip scrub that offers more than just sugar? Our natural lip scrubs are infused with shea butter, sweet almond oil and Vitamin E.

How to make a homemade sugar lip scrub?

Now, you want to try it out for yourself, and there are many ingredients in your own home you can utilise - so how to make your own lip scrub?

First, you’ll need sugar and a type of oil. Many oils, even some you have in your kitchen, have nourishing properties and can be found in skincare products. Olive, coconut, and sweet almond oil are common items you may have at home and use for cooking or preparing food. The same with honey, a nourishing ingredient that is safe to use on the face. Do not reuse old cooking oil or honey, ensure it’s clean and from the bottle and is within its expiration date.

Next, you simply mix in sugar and oil until you get a consistency you like. Lip scrubs tend to come in two different types, a drier formula that offers more product and usage and works well with wet lips to exfoliate. Or there is a wetter consistency that has a lower ratio of sugar in the formula, where you don’t need to wet the lips beforehand to get to work. Both work well and it’s typically down to personal preference when it comes to which type to pick.

A ratio of 80% sugar and 20% liquid - honey or oil - tends to give you a drier mixture, and 60% sugar and 40% liquid ingredients will offer a wetter consistency. However, you could try out a few different batches to find the right ratio for you and can go in between these amounts.

Ingredients for 30g batch

24g sugar (80%)

3.5g honey (10%)

3.5g coconut oil (10%)


Weigh out your sugar in one bowl, and the honey and coconut oil in another. In some cases, coconut oil may be hardened due to the temperature in the atmosphere as it typically is a liquid at a standard room temp. If you need to melt your coconut oil for your lip scrub recipe, you can place it in the microwave in short bursts of 10 seconds at a time. Smaller amounts of coconut oil will melt faster so this shouldn’t take too long.

Once melted, add the honey and mix well. Allow the liquid to cool down for up to 20 minutes, checking on it to ensure the coconut oil hasn’t hardened. You don’t want to add hot liquid to the sugar as it’ll begin to melt and dissolve and you’ll lose a lot of your exfoliating agent.

Next, gently add the liquid to the sugar in small increments. Stir the mixture in well each time and slowly add the liquid a small amount at a time so it’s incorporated properly. Once it’s all mixed well, move the mixture into a clean container of your choice - an old lip balm or scrub jar. Allow the mixture to sit for 24 hours as it continues to emulsify and slightly harden - that’s the coconut oil - and then you’re free to use!

How to make a DIY lip scrub without honey or coconut oil?

Another DIY recipe is easy to substitute honey or coconut oil when it comes to making lip scrubs at home. You can replace coconut oil with olive oil or sweet almond oil, and you can either replace the liquid ratio with this oil or take out the honey altogether. Another common ingredient is shea butter, which in its pure form, is used for moisturising the skin and is used as a nourishing agent in lots of formulas for skincare.

So you can either choose to replace honey and coconut oil with shea butter and olive oil or just oil, they’ll still allow the lips to feel smooth and nourished afterwards.

What makes DIY lip scrubs different to store-bought tends to be the flavour and extra ingredients. Formulas can include vitamin E, lip-safe colours to make it pop and other nourishing ingredients you don’t have at home in your kitchen.

How to make flavoured lip scrub?

Adding flavour to your lip scrub will take it to another level. Now, honey in itself has a sweet taste so if you want to use that it’ll taste like honey, and the same goes for coconut oil which has a small taste. But, what if you wanted a fruity flavour, as an example, how to make a strawberry lip scrub? If you’re making a small batch at home for your own use, you can crush up 1 fresh strawberry and add it to your mixture for a fresh taste. Usually, if you’re using freeze-dried fruits, you may need to put them into a food processor until they’re ground down.

If you’re using fresh food, make small batches so that you use them up well, as they’ll eventually go off so you wouldn’t want to make months’ worth of lip scrubs in advance. 

It’s the same for the question, how to make an edible lip scrub? Using fresh ingredients, like a strawberry, sugar and coconut oil - all things that are safe to eat and cook with - your lip scrub is already edible! The same goes for adding honey and shea butter, shea butter is used for cooking in some countries so there won’t be any danger if you lick it off your lips after using your formula.

Although it can be used for cooking and is technically edible, if your store-bought lip scrub has shea butter in it, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically safe to eat. Ingredient labels will tell you if the lip scrub you purchased is edible and safe to eat and don’t assume it is if it isn’t clear. As products may include other non-edible ingredients like vitamin E, and oils, which take away the edible content like flavour and shea butter.

Shop our range of gorgeous lip scrubs, like our fruity watermelon lip scrub with vitamin E.

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vegan soaps, lip scrubs and candles you'll love

our handmade soap bars are vegan, homemade in the UK and cruelty-free. there's no palm oil, parabens or SLS in our products and they're designed with you and the earth in mind. soaps have added shea butter for nourishment, whereas lip scrubs are infused with vitamin E and sweet almond oil to help nourish the skin. when it comes to our soy wax candles, they're made up of vegetable wax, eco-friendly cotton wicks and recyclable glass jars which can be re-used or re-purposed to prevent waste.

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