This Super-Simple DIY Lip Scrub Literally Costs Pennies to Make

homemade strawberry lemonade lip scrub
Penny Hoarder writer Grace Schweizer used many household items to make 4 DIY lip scrubs that cost pennies to make. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Natural, handmade beauty products often come with a hefty price tag — which is exactly what my budgeting app reminded me as I left a store recently with a bag full of pampering soaps, lotions and scrubs that would last me, at best, a few days.

“You’ve exceeded your monthly limit for ‘just for fun’ spending,” it warned — forcing me to drive home with that guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

So in the interest of not giving myself a buyer’s-remorse-induced ulcer — and of keeping my budget on track — I decided a little DIY session was in order.

After doing some research (and cross-checking my pantry for the necessary ingredients), I mixed up my own DIY lip scrub at home. And then, because it was so easy, I made a few more —switching up the ingredients and flavors each time because ya’ girl likes options.

After a bit of experimentation, I finally landed on a recipe that I love (and can change up to suit my mood) — and it costs literally pennies to make.

The Only DIY Lip Scrub Recipe You Really Need

diy lip scrub
Penny Hoarder writer Grace Schweizer tries out one of her DIY lip scrubs.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

For any lip scrub, you need two basic ingredients: an exfoliating agent and a moisturizing medium.

Your exfoliating agent can be pretty much anything you find in your pantry that is granulated and coarse: sugar, salt, ground coffee. Even something like cornmeal would work here.

As for the oil, it’s up to you which one you like best, although olive oil, coconut oil and jojoba oil are the most popular options. (I stick to the first two, because jojoba oil doesn’t come cheap and also shouldn’t be ingested and with a sugary-sweet lip scrub, anything can happen.)

So how do you make lip scrub at home?

For the most basic version, you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix them together until it reaches a goopy-but-not-runny consistency and that’s it. Seriously, so easy (and no trip to the store involved).

Put Your Own Twist on This DIY Lip Scrub

diy lip scrub
These four DIY lip scrub recipes feature cinnamon, cocoa powder, coffee and strawberries. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Now, while this recipe is perfect on its own (and so simple), I started to miss the funky flavors and colors in the lip scrubs I used to buy from the store so I mixed up a few more batches. I’m really excited about these.

For each flavor combination, I mixed equal parts dry and wet ingredients to keep the texture goopy. You don’t want it to be too dry, because it won’t stick, or too wet, because it won’t exfoliate very well.

For a chocolate fix, mix up brown sugar, coconut oil and a little bit of cocoa powder.

For a lip scrub that will wake you up in the morning, try ground coffee, granulated sugar and coconut oil.

I also mixed up a cinnamon lip scrub (which acts as a natural lip plumper) with a little bit of cinnamon, brown sugar and coconut oil. If you don’t like cinnamon, you can use cayenne pepper instead.

And if you want to make a lip scrub without coconut oil, try making one with honey, granulated sugar and a little squeeze of lemon juice. (I also tried adding a pureed strawberry to this one for a strawberry lemonade flavor, and it was so good.)

DIY Lip Scrub Container Options

diy lip scrub
Penny Hoarder writer Grace Schweizer scoops a lip scrub into a plastic travel container.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Once you’ve mixed up your lip scrub, you’ll need somewhere to store it.

I happened to have a couple of those tiny jam jars sitting around, so I used those, but you could also use an old makeup product tin (just be sure to clean and sanitize it), baby food jars, empty spice jars or just one of those sauce-sized food storage containers.

All of the lip scrubs on this list can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks except maybe the strawberry one. I’d use it sooner than later since strawberries don’t stay fresh very long.

When you’re ready to use your DIY lip scrub to exfoliate your lips, simply scoop a little out of the container with your fingertips, massage onto your lips using circular, scrubbing motions, and then wipe (or, ya know, lick) it off.

Follow it up with your favorite lip balm to lock in the softness and the moisturizing power of the oil.

Just make sure you’re not over-exfoliating. Stick to once or twice a week. More often and you’ll create a vicious cycle of overcorrection and dry, chapped lips, which defeats the purpose).

Grace Schweizer is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.