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Gentle DIY Cranberry Face Scrub for Sensitive Skin

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This cranberry DIY face scrub is a gentle exfoliating treatment for sensitive skin. Unlike sugar scrubs or other harsh exfoliants, this homemade face polish is made with soft cranberry fiber. It gently buffs away dry skin, revealing a smoother complexion without irritation or redness. Learn how to exfoliate sensitive skin at home with this mild recipe.

DIY face scrub for sensitive skin with cranberries

Have you ever used a homemade face scrub only to be left with red, inflamed skin? I know I have. I have very sensitive skin, so I have to be extra careful with the exfoliants that I use and how frequently I use them.

Exfoliation is an important step in any skincare routine, but it can be extremely damaging when not done properly. Unfortunately, many online face scrub recipes suggest using abrasive, irritating ingredients.

Sugar is one such example. The same goes for other coarse ingredients such as salt, coffee grounds, or walnut shells. While these products may be useful for your body, they’re far too harsh for the more delicate skin of your face.

But this doesn’t mean you have to stop making your own face scrubs. The solution is to use gentle, skin-friendly exfoliants.

Gentle homemade face scrub for sensitive skin

Most store bought exfoliating products are off the table for me, so I usually reach for a gentle BHA gel when I need to exfoliate. However, chemical exfoliants are slow-working, and sometimes I need a manual exfoliant on days when my skin is particularly flaky.

That’s where this recipe comes in. If you’re looking for gentle exfoliation, this homemade face scrub fits the bill. Instead of coarse sugar, it uses finely milled cranberry fiber to gently polish and refine the complexion.

Gentle DIY face scrub with cranberries

Unlike most face scrubs, it has a thick, velvety texture. This makes it more of a gentle skin polishing paste than a true face scrub, so it never feels like it’s scratching your skin. And sinced it’s oil-based, it actually helps nourish skin while it smooths.

This recipe is a lovely way to make your skin care routine a little more festive during the holiday season. However, its light cranberry scent and gently exfoliating properties make it a treat to use all year round. Plus, your skin will thank you for not subjecting it to a rough exfoliant!

Before we get into the recipe, I’d like to delve a little more into what makes sugar scrubs so damaging to your face. And why it’s not just those with sensitive skin who need to be careful.

Why sugar scrubs are bad for your skin

Exfoliating your face with sugar might seem like a quick and inexpensive way to get baby-soft skin. But in your quest for a smoother texture, you could actually be doing more harm than good.

Using coarse or abrasive products causes small micro-tears on the skin’s surface. Over time, these tears weaken the skin barrier, making your skin more susceptible to dryness, irritation, and environmental pollutants.

Unfortunately, a weakened skin barrier also causes accelerated skin aging. There’s nothing wrong with the natural aging process, but accelerated aging is a sign of poor skin health.

Short-term improvements in skin smoothness are simply not worth jeopardizing your skin’s future health and vitality.

Natural exfoliators for sensitive skin

Natural skincare products have become synonymous with good skincare products. But just because an ingredient is natural, that doesn’t always mean it’s better.

It’s not hard to see how certain ingredients can become an issue for our delicate skin barrier. If you look at a sugar granule up close, you’ll notice it’s full of rough, jagged edges. The same goes for other “natural” exfoliants such as walnut shells, coffee grounds, apricot pits, and baking soda.

There are better ways to naturally exfoliate your skin at home. You can make gentle homemade face scrubs with ingredients such as:

As a general rule of thumb, look for soft powder exfoliants instead of rough, hard granules.

Ingredients for gentle face scrub

Cranberry fiber or cranberry powder

Like the name suggests, cranberry fiber is the upcycled fruit fiber left over from juiced or processed cranberries. It has a soft, fine texture that makes it perfect for sloughing off dry skin in a skin-friendly way.

If you’ve ever used a gentle exfoliant like rice powder, you’ll find that cranberry fiber is even softer. I’ve found it to be one of the best natural exfoliators for sensitive skin.

Gentle homemade face scrub with cranberry powder

Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds which give them their characteristic bright red colour. Both help protect skin against oxidative stress and damage. While it’s unclear how much antioxidant benefit a rinse-off product can offer to skin, it can’t hurt to inject as many antioxidants in your skincare routine as you can.

I found cranberry fiber at my local bath and body supply store. If you’re unable to locate it, dried cranberry powder may be easier to find, which is made using the whole cranberry fruit as opposed to just the fiber.

Both products work very well for gentle exfoliation, so you can use them interchangeably. Just be sure to look for whole food cranberry powder, not cranberry juice powder.

As an added benefit, both cranberry fiber and cranberry powder will lend a light, natural cranberry scent to this face scrub.

MCT oil or caprylic/capric triglycerides

I chose MCT oil (caprylic/capric triglycerides) as this face scrub’s base. Of all liquid skincare oils, it’s one of the least likely to cause skin issues.

Besides being shelf-stable and non-comedogenic, MCT oil also boasts antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. As an added benefit, its unique fatty acid composition won’t feed skin yeast. This means that MCT oil is safe for those with seborrheic dermatitis, fungal acne and other skin conditions caused by yeast overgrowth.

This is only scratching the surface of why MCT oil is so wonderful for skincare. I go into far more detail in my recipes for homemade cleansing oil and blue tansy cleansing balm, so you may wish to check these out for more in-depth information.

If MCT oil does not agree with your skin, feel free to substitute it for a liquid skincare oil of your choice. And if you simply don’t like oily face scrubs, you can omit the oil completely and use raw honey as a base instead.

Homemade cranberry face scrub

Beeswax

A small amount of cosmetic beeswax thickens this face scrub to a paste-like consistency. Aside from its nourishing properties, beeswax also provides a cushioning texture that helps protect skin against over-exfoliation.

Beeswax’s protective properties make it wonderful for dry or sensitive skin. I love using this versatile ingredient in many of my homemade skincare products, such as my DIY sleeping pack for dry skin.

If you’re vegan or allergic to bee products, you can substitute the beeswax for plant-based candelilla wax.

How to make this sensitive skin face scrub

  1. If you’re making the oil-free version of this recipe, simply mix your raw honey and cranberry fiber in a small glass container. If you’re making the full version of this recipe, proceed to the next step.
  2. In a small double boiler (or heat-safe bowl over a water bath), melt beeswax and MCT oil over low-medium heat. Remove from heat when the beeswax is liquified, which won’t take long.
  3. Add the cranberry fiber or cranberry powder and mix well to incorporate. While the mixture is still liquid, transfer it to your glass container.
  4. Leave your face scrub to cool to room temperature for about 40 minutes. Don’t place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process, as this will result in uneven cooling and a lumpy texture.
  5. Once your scrub is completely cooled, give it another stir to ensure an even texture. Your face scrub is now ready to use.

How to use your face scrub

Since this face scrub is meant to be followed with a gentle cleanser, it’s best used on unwashed skin in the morning or at the end of the day.

Your skin’s natural oils help provide an extra layer of protection against irritation, so you don’t to wash them off before exfoliating. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin.

Cranberry face scrub for sensitive skin in glass jar

However, if you’re wearing makeup, remove it first with a gentle makeup remover such as a cleansing balm.

To use the face scrub, scoop a small amount out of the container with clean fingers or a cosmetic spoon. Massage it into your skin with circular motions and very light pressure. You want to give your skin a gentle sloughing, not a rough scrubbing. As with any exfoliant, don’t linger on any particular spot too long.

When you’ve finished exfoliating, rinse off the face scrub with warm water and follow it up with a gentle face cleanser to remove any residue. Then, continue with your regular skincare routine.

Yield: 1 jar

Gentle DIY Cranberry Face Scrub for Sensitive Skin

DIY face scrub for sensitive skin with cranberries

This gentle DIY face scrub is perfect for sensitive skin. Unlike sugar scrubs or other harsh exfoliants, this face scrub recipe is made with soft cranberry powder to gently slough off dry skin.

Active Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

Tools

Instructions

    1. If you’re making the oil-free version of this recipe, simply mix your raw honey and cranberry fiber or powder in a small glass container. If you’re making the full version of this recipe, proceed to the next step.
    2. In a small double boiler (or heat-safe bowl over a water bath), melt beeswax and MCT oil over low-medium heat. Remove from heat when the beeswax is liquified, which won’t take long.
    3. Add the cranberry fiber or cranberry powder and mix well to incorporate. While the mixture is still liquid, transfer it to the container you instead to store your face scrub in. A small, heat-safe spatula works well for this.
    4. Leave your face scrub to cool to room temperature for about 40 minutes. Don’t place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process, as this will result in uneven cooling and a lumpy texture.
    5. Once your scrub is completely cooled, give it another stir to ensure an even texture. Your face scrub is now ready to use.

Notes

If you’re vegan or allergic to bee products, you can substitute the beeswax for 1 tsp of plant-based candelilla wax.

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Did you make this DIY?

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More gentle face scrub recipes

If you’re looking for more options to exfoliate sensitive skin, you may enjoy these recipes:

For even more natural DIY beauty ideas, follow us on Pinterest! You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Neelawan

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Hi do you know shelf life?

Neelawan

Thursday 4th of June 2020

@Kyla, Thank you so much! I love your website.. Everything is so pretty! I want to DIY everything!!!!

Kyla

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Hi Neelawan, as long as it's kept in a sealed container and no bacteria or water gets into the jar, the mask can last 2 years when made with MCT oil. As well, honey has an indefinite shelf life, but I still like to err on the side of caution. Hope this helps!

Anniken

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Thank you for yet another wonderful recipe :) Your blog is so beautiful, informative and inspiring :)

Kyla

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Thanks so much for the kind words, Anniken! ?

Cari

Monday 16th of December 2019

I love this recipe! Thanks for sharing.

Kyla

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Thanks Cari, so glad you like it!

Rebecca Dillon

Sunday 15th of December 2019

This sounds amazing. For maturing skin, I recommend argan or rosehip seed oil in place of the fractionated coconut oil (MCT oil.)

Kyla

Sunday 15th of December 2019

Thanks Rebecca! You're right, rosehip oil would be lovely, too.

Michelle

Saturday 14th of December 2019

I didn't realize how harmful sugar scrubs could be for your skin. I bet this feels amazing and smells so good!

Kyla

Saturday 14th of December 2019

Thanks, Michelle! It does smell quite good. I used to use way too many abrasive products on my face before I knew!