NOTICE: This blog is no longer being updated, so medical information may no longer be accurate.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Body Scrub

This time last year when the stock market was cratering and we were tightening our belts, I really began to think about what true gift giving was about. In years past, for me it was all about the “stuff;” the toys, the gift cards, the jewelry, the power tools, etc. As with many things in life, it sometimes takes an outside force to move you out of your comfort zone and see the world in a new way, much like being diagnosed with celiac disease caused me to not only re-think gluten but the quality of our food in general. Crisis sometimes creates opportunity.

Last year, I made all of my Christmas gifts (with the exception of Santa Claus) because I felt the issues we were facing economically could be a great opportunity to “reset” my materialistic button. Most of us were in the same boat so there was no need to feel embarrassed if I gave someone an inexpensive homemade gift and they gave me a pricey gift. That was the rule, you can give a gift but it had to be homemade. I decided to fully embrace this opportunity because I love a challenge! What I did not expect was the pure joy and genuine “Christmas Spirit” that was all around us. I had so much fun that I decided to do it again this year!

When I was thinking of what I could make for my friends that was easy and inexpensive, I turned to beauty products. I love body scrubs but they can be pricey (I used to spend upwards of $40.00 for a container that would last me a week!) and they can contain all sorts of undesirables, especially for people with celiac disease* and other allergies.

*There is a lot of debate out there on whether or not topically applied gluten containing products (I am not including lipstick and lip balm in this statement. Anything that is put on the lips will inevitably be ingested so I ALWAYS make sure those products are gluten-free in our house) are absorbed into the skin and even if they are absorbed into the skin, does it cause intestinal damage to those of us with celiac disease? On one side, I am told by my GI doctor that as long as I do not eat my shampoo, etc. then it cannot harm me. On the other side, I read all of the information online that says otherwise. So which is it??

Like most things with celiac disease and the gluten-free life, there is not really a definitive answer to that question yet. What it comes down to is personal choice and risk. Gluten-Free does not necessarily “mean free of gluten” anyway. If 20 ppm is the proposed maximum limit a product can contain of gluten to be considered gluten-free (it was 200 ppm when I was diagnosed 5 years ago), is that 20 ppm per day? Per serving?  What if I eat 5 different products that each contain 10 ppm of gluten, have I just consumed 50 ppm of gluten? What will that do to me over time? I don’t know, but this is why I like to try and eliminate some risks when I can. Click here for a list of gluten-containing cosmetic ingredients that you can print and take to the store with you.

So… what is a girl to do with all of this information and feeling the effects of a lighter pocketbook? Make her own body scrubs! 😀 I made a bunch of these to give as gifts this holiday season. My friends and family have loved them and the fact that I took the time to make a gift, rather than simply buy one, has almost put some people into shock. I must say, that feels pretty good. 😉 The following recipe is probably all stuff you can find in your pantry if you are in need of a last minute gift or just want to exfoliate!

Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub (I found this recipe on the Bath and Body Recipes website. I added my own notes in the recipe below)

1 cup Granulated Sugar (you can also use Sugar in the Raw, etc. I go through A LOT of this stuff, so I buy a big bag of granulated sugar at Costco)

1/4 cup Oil (the recipe recommends Pumpkin Seed Oil or Olive Oil. I used Safflower Oil but I think you can probably use whatever you want. Just remember it is going on your skin so unless you want to smell like a stir-fry, you might not want to use Sesame Oil, LOL!)

1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree (I used canned but you could also make your own)

1/8 tsp. ground Nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground Cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground Cloves

1/8 tsp. ground Allspice

1/8 tsp. ground Ginger

Mix everything together and store in a container. I like to store mine (not the scrubs I give as gifts) in empty butter tubs, large plastic pickle containers, etc. It is a good way to recycle used containers and if you drop it in the shower, it won’t break like a glass or acrylic container will (trust me, I learned the hard way!). To use: apply generously to clean skin, massaging gently in a circular motion, rinse with warm water then pat dry. Scrubs are great for exfoliating dry skin and the oil is a great moisturizer. I like to use these especially on my elbows, knees and feet, areas that are prone to dryness. Mike, Sam and Luke also like to use this on their hands. Luke usually just eats it, but that is okay, it is GF and all natural! 🙂

Check out this article titled “The Pampering Pumpkin” to read more on the skin benefits of pumpkin!

Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub in a holiday container from the Dollar Tree!

Smells just like pumpkin pie. 🙂

Note to Kim at Gluten-Free Is Life: Don’t pass out, I know how much you love pumpkin! 🙂


  1. Love this! I am going to be selfish and make some of this for myself!

  2. Do you have to worry about the pumpkin spoiling? What can you add to it to preserve it?

    • D'vohrah,

      That is a very good question! I wondered that myself, but did not know the answer since I got the recipe off of another website that did not mention an expiration date. I used mine pretty fast and I put a not on each gift tag suggesting that they use it within a month. I will look around to see if I can find anything on natural preservatives.


  3. hi i stumbled on this website looking for a way to use the pumpkin pulp from our carved pumpkin. how do you use fresh pulp and can you store it?

    Any thoughts on homemade pumpkin shampoo and conditioner?

    cant wait to try this too! Thanks, gina

  4. I made homemade sugar scrubs and Chai mix last year for Christmas. I thought my Friends and Family were so much more excited!

    • Hi Kristi how did you use chai with your mix?

      would you mind sharing and posting the directions?

      thank you,Gina

  5. Hi again any thoughts on how to preserve this for a longer shelf life?

    I would like to make a bunch ahead of time to use or give as gifts.

    However i am concerned on how long this can be kept?

    thanks, gina

    • Gina,

      Okay, I have to say first, I am not a chemist and have no real experience in this stuff other than having followed other people's recipes (and this recipe belongs to someone else, see the link I provided in the post). Second, I am so thankful that you brought this issue up because I learned a few startling fact this morning that I was not aware of before.

      From what I've read today, this may not be a good gift giving option due to the food in it. I would say that (as the recipe is written, without any preservatives) this scrub should not be stored for more than 3-4 days, in the refrigerator (and I sincerely apologize to everyone for having not known this prior to publishing this recipe a year ago, I obviously didn't think it through!).

      I just found two websites with information on preserving homemade products: can order the specialized preservatives on this website).

      What you might want to do instead (and this is what I will be doing from now on), is write this recipe down on a cute gift tag and include it with a safer, non-food based homemade scrub, so your gift recipient can make it as needed. I did not realize just how dangerous a product like this can get if not preserved with an antimicrobial. The following is from the website, From Nature With Love:

      If you are formulating something that contains water, milk, hydrosols or other aqueous liquids, you will have to preserve the product or use it within 3-4 days refrigerated. It simply is not optional. Water provides a medium for harmful bacteria, mold, yeast and fungi to grow over time. If used, a contaminated product could cause severe health problems, blindness and even death. Your product must be adequately preserved to prevent contamination and microbial growth.

      Obviously it would be devastating if anyone was ever harmed from a gift you gave them, so unless you can properly preserve this, tell your gift recipient to store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (or just give them the recipe as a little bonus gift).

      I can't believe I gave this as a gift last year without knowing all of this…

      • Hi hey dont worry about it i think its a awesome idea! you meant well.. anyway after i left your site i checked it out and found a solution on another site apparently grape seed extract will work to preserve beauty products made from food…. the other suggestion was adding some rosemary oil.And still another vitamin e oil.

        plus storing the product in a dark container versus a clear one to keep out any natural light.

        Keeping water away from the mixture even avoiding dipping a wet finger into the mix.

        I think maybe if these methods were used it might be ok to keep the product longer. ? your thoughts?

        I have two reasons for wanting to no more on this one is i am going to start a gift basket business i would like to use organic or natural products, the challenge would be in the making and storing the products for long term use.

        Second i would love to eliminate all commercial products from my own house an go as natural as possible.

        Thanks again, Gina

        • vitamin e and grape seed oil are NOT product preservatives. They can help prolong the shelf life of another oil when exposed to oxygen. using them would be ok if you make this for personal use but not if you’re giving it to someone else. There are real preservatives you have to use.