By now we all know that while caffeine may not be so healthy to consume, it's great at busting cellulite when applied topically (in fact, many anti-cellulite creams have some form of caffeine as an active ingredient). So why splurge on an ingredient that we can find in our own kitchens? Coffee not only contains a healthy dose of caffeine, but when applied to the skin the caffeic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it's grainy textures makes for a great exfoliant. With all these benefits, it's no wonder that many luxury spas offer some variation of coffee scrub treatment on their beauty-boosting lists of services, but with a homemade variation combining coffee with other good-for-you ingredients, you can skip spending a fortune and get the same just-pampered glow at home.
I've been using the recipe below for over a year, and it's done wonders for my skin. The coffee gives an immediately firmer-looking appearance to the skin and, although that wears off, regular application of caffeine (combines with the motion of regularly massaging it into the skin) can improve circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Plus, between the exfoliating and beneficials properties of other ingredients, my skin is always silky smooth and moisturized (it's actually helped banish small patches of eczema on my legs that I was having to treat with a prescription cream before). You can play around with what ingredients you find work best for your skin, but here's how to make my scrub of choice in just 3 steps:
Ingredients (organic preferred):
- a glass jar or plastic container with lid
- coffee grounds (not decaf!) - can be the cheap stuff, but don't re-use brewed grounds
- natural cane sugar
- natural sea salt
- grapeseed oil or coconut oil
- essential oils of your choice (I prefer grapefruit and rosemary for their detoxifying properties)
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients
In you container, combine 3 parts coffee with 1 part each of the cane sugar and/or sea salt (1 part each if using both, 2 parts if using only one). Sugar contains glycolic acid that moisturizes and protects skin and is gentle on sensitive skin. Sea salt is great for detoxifying and absorbing oil, and can treat dry skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Step 2: add in the oils
Add in your oil of choice. It should be a lighter, skin-friendly oil - I prefer grapeseed oil for its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil is also great for moisturizing and cleansing clogged pores. Add your oil until it covers just about half of your dry mix. Now, add in drops of your essential oils. I like grapefruit oil (antioxidant, antiseptic, and stimulates the lymphatic system) and rosemary (hydrating and skin-renewing). Depending on how much you're mixing, I recommend about 10-15 drops of each (20-30 drops total) of essential oil per 1 cup of scrub. Essential oils are also a great addition to this scrub to add some pleasant fragrance to the otherwise (strong) coffee smell.
Step 3: Application
For the ultimate spa experience: this scrub can be applied and left on to really enjoy the benefits. Lay down a sheet (not your 400 thread-count Frette linens - this isn't going back on the bed) and gently rub on the scrub using circular motions starting from the legs and moving up. Always scrub toward the heart, as this helps promote good circulation. Lay down and let that coffee go to work. After about 30 minutes wash off in the shower with soap. If you can find the time, this is a great way to pamper yourself 1-2 times per month.
For regular use: I always keep my scrub on a shelf in my shower. I use it daily on my trouble areas (thighs, hips, belly) and 1-2 times per week on my entire body as an exfoliant. Just massage it onto the skin and wash off when done. But just like any other scrub, be gentle as you don't want to irritate your skin from overuse.
Do you have any favorite homemade scrubs or ingredients? Have you tried a coffee-scrub at home? Share your experience below!