Generally, you only need two basic ingredients for a face scrub: a physical exfoliant and an emollient.
Sounds simple, but the types of both are critical—choose a too-harsh exfoliant, and you can quite literally scratch up your face, even cause microtears in the skin. “Try to avoid exfoliating ingredients that can be jagged, such as shells and fruit pits,” says Plescia. (Think walnut shells or even coarse sea salt). Rather, snag gentler granules: Plesica is partial to finely granulated white or brown sugar, finely ground oatmeal, or finely ground flours (think chickpea, rice, or almond flour).
You have a bit more flexibility in terms of emollients. You can use water, honey, or even yogurt to help liquify the scrub. Plescia, however, recommends choosing an oil: “Oils moisturize the skin and also allow for the scrub to be more easily rubbed in,” she says. As for which oils to add, well, that’s up to you: Try out different concoctions with olive, jojoba, almond, grapeseed, or even pumpkin seed oil (it’s great for acne-prone individuals) and see how each treat your skin.