Oh, don't pretend like you don't have one!
Not to brag or anything, but my garden is kind of exploding with goodies at the moment. Specifically: herbs (the cooking variety, people). I've got a bounty of lavender, sage, thyme, basil, cilantro, rosemary, parsley and mint. These things are bush-sized, too. To be completely honestly, I'm in a little over my head, here.
Mint is new to my sweet garden bed. I planted it on a whim this winter--along with parsley--while on a "European recipes" kick. I'd made this outstanding mint jelly for a roasted garlic and potato souffle and figured I may as well plant my own variety and source from my backyard instead of the grocery. I haven't made the mint jelly since. Go figure!
Anyway, because I have such an abundance, I've decided to get crafty with all my herbs. And thus, my fresh mint and vanilla bean DIY body scrub was born.
This homemade body scrub is super simple to make and, chances are, you already have most of the ingredients on hand.
Here's what you need:
- 2 cups of coarse salt (substitute Epsom salt, sea salt, white sugar or brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup body-approved oil (I'm using olive oil, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
- 1 vanilla bean (substitute 1 tbs. vanilla extract or a few drops of vanilla essential oil)
- Large handful of fresh mint (substitute a few drops of mint essential oil)
Measure out your two cups of salt (or sugar) and pour into a medium-sized bowl.
Next, add a 1/2 cup of your choice oil. You can add more or less oil depending on your preference. The more oil you add, the more "liquidy" the entire scrub will become. If you add too much oil, simply add a little more salt to balance it out.
Mix your oil and salt together really well.
Now comes the fun part: adding a fresh vanilla bean to the scrub. This part may sound kind of tricky, but it's really easy to do. Plus, knowing how to open and use a fresh vanilla bean is an excellent skill to have!
Start by placing your vanilla bean flat against a cutting board. Some vanilla beans come folded so it's a little trickier to flatten them out, but do the best you can.
Next, take a sharp knife and run the blade tip down the length of your vanilla bean. Do not cut all the way through the vanilla bean; only slice through the first layer of the pod. Just use a gentle hand and you'll be fine.
After cutting, pry the vanilla bean open. Vanilla smells amazing and tastes amazing, but it is kind of an ugly little thing.
Scoop out the contents with a spoon and then place into your oil and salt mixture, then stir. The little black "dots" should be evenly dispersed throughout.
Now we're going to work on the mint. I used about two small handfuls.
Roughly chop your mint up with a knife and then place into a separate bowl. Why? Because we're going down to muddle town.
Muddling is another good skill to have so, if you don't know how, prepare to learn! Not only will you be able to muddle herbs for DIY skincare concoctions, knowing how to muddle comes in handy when you're making mixed drinks with fresh herbs. Hello, mojito! I also made a pretty amazing strawberry basil adult beverage the other day that tasted incredible... I digress.
To muddle your mint, place the chopped pieces into a bowl, add the tiniest touch of oil and then use either a muddler, pestle or flat part of a spoon to grind. Muddling helps the flavor and scent of the mint really come out. (It goes without saying that if you're muddling herbs for a cocktail, you'd use whatever liquids are in the drink, not oil.)
Add your muddled mint to the oil, salt and vanilla bean scrub and mix really well.
And that's it! You're done! See? I told you it was super simple.
As for storing, place your scrub into a plastic or glass container about 3/4 of the way full. The oil tends to settle in the bottom, so before you use your scrub give the container a good shake to mix everything up again. Note that the vanilla and mint smell becomes stronger as time passes.
To use, apply a small amount of the scrub onto your body and gently rub back and forth. The salt exfoliates while the oil moisturizers and the mint/vanilla combination smells heavenly!
This scrub keeps for approximately two months.