Evergreen Salt Scrub

How To Make Moisturizing Evergreen Salt Scrub

I live in a northern valley where snow covers the ground for 4-5 months out of the year. It blankets the ground, making many plants invisible. During these white months the trees are often my focus as I take my afternoon walks.

This year I’ve been especially enamored with pine trees. I live in a ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forest. There are many more Douglas fir trees here, but the pine trees are by far the largest, some of them towering a hundred feet into the air.

Evergreen Salt Scrub

I’ve been snipping pine needles to use in teas, cutting branches for wreaths and swags and writing about pine trees in my latest monograph on HerbMentor.

Pine needles, resin and bark have long been used as medicine. They are used as a stimulating expectorant, helping the body to thin and expel congested mucus in the lungs and sinuses. Pine needles are high in vitamin C and make a lovely tea or can be infused into oils or butters for many tasty treats. The pine resin can be infused into oil and used for wounds, muscular pain or even to pull out splinters.

This year I wanted to enjoy the benefits of pine in a way that was entirely new to me, so I created this moisturizing evergreen salt scrub. This makes a great holiday gift!
Evergreen Salt Scrub

Why Use a Salt Scrub?

Salt scrubs are a mixture of oils and salts that you can gently rub into your skin in the shower to exfoliate your skin. Doing this regularly supports healthy circulation and helps your body to shed old skin cells. I love how incredibly soft my skin feels after a good scrub!

For this recipe I used minced pine needles as well as a couple of evergreen essential oils. I love that I’m slathering myself with the forest outside my door! It also reminds me to give thanks for the pines.

Earlier this year I met Robin Wall Kimmerer and she talked about the importance of “remembering to remember.” How do we remember to give thanks in our busy lives? How do we remember to remember what is most important? Immersing my life in herbs, whether it’s a cup of tea or an herbal salt scrub, is one way I remember to remember to give thanks and to prioritize what is important to me.

You could use any evergreen needles for this recipe – although I would stick with ones you can positively identify and know they are safe.

You could even use the needles from your Christmas tree as long as you know the tree hasn’t been sprayed with anything harmful.

Many salt scrubs only use a liquid oil as the base. This recipe also calls for shea butter and coconut oil. The combination of these, along with the olive oil, creates a deeply moisturizing blend that soaks into your skin. This recipe also whips the butters and oils together to create a light and decadent blend.

Evergreen Salt Scrub

How to Use a Salt Scrub

I use a salt scrub several times a week when showering.

First I get my skin wet. Then I turn off the water.

I take a bit of the scrub and rub it into my arms, legs and torso. I like to start at my wrists and ankles and massage towards my heart.

Avoid any open wounds, rashes or sensitive areas. How much scrub you use and how much you scrub is up to you. Some people like to use shower gloves to rub in salt scrubs.

When I’m done scrubbing, I turn the water back on and rinse off.

Note that your shower floor will become slippery. If this is a concern for you, you could keep some dish soap in the shower to help dissolve the oil.

And lastly a clean up tip: wipe down all oily surfaces with a paper towel before washing in hot soapy water.

Evergreen Salt Scrub

Moisturizing Evergreen Salt Scrub

With this recipe you can bring a bit of the forest inside. This simple salt scrub will leave your skin feeling super soft and deeply moisturized. This is a wonderful way to protect your skin from that dry and harsh winter weather.

What you’ll need…

  • 65 grams shea butter (roughly 1/2 cup)
  • 45 grams coconut oil (roughly 3 Tablespoons)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons minced conifer needles
  • 40 drops Fir Needle essential oil (Abies balsamea)
  • 20 drops Scotch Pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris)
  • 10 drops grapefruit essential oil (Citrus paradisi)
  • 1/2 cup salt (150 grams)
  1. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil on low or in a double boiler. Remove from heat.

Evergreen Salt Scrub

  1. Add the olive oil and needles. Add the essential oils and stir well.

Evergreen Salt Scrub

Evergreen Salt Scrub

Evergreen Salt Scrub

Evergreen Salt Scrub

  1. Let cool until it becomes solid. If you leave this on the counter, this can take up to five hours. If you put it in the fridge or the cold outdoors, it takes considerably less time. (It took my mixture 1.5 hours to harden in the fridge, but times may vary.)
Evergreen Salt Scrub

Not yet ready to whip

Evergreen Salt Scrub

Ready to whip

  1. Once it is solid (but still soft), use a rubber spatula to transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender. Blend on high until the mixture becomes thick.

Evergreen Salt Scrub

  1. Using your spatula, transfer the mixture into a medium sized bowl. Gently stir in the salt.

Evergreen Salt Scrub

Evergreen Salt Scrub

  1. Place the salt scrub into a small container with a lid that can be kept in the shower.

Evergreen Salt Scrub

This salt scrub will keep for a very long time. I recommend using it up within 6 months.

Yield: Makes roughly 1.5 cups of salt scrub.


Here’s a little experiment I tried this time around.

After I mixed up the scrub, I put some of the scrub in a silicone mold and then put that in the freezer. The next day I popped out these cute, single use, body scrub snowflakes. This is a really convenient way to use the scrub – the only drawback is that they need to be stored in the fridge so you’d have to remember to grab one before heading to the shower.

Evergreen Salt Scrub

Now I’d love to hear from you.

What are your favorite ways to enjoy pine or other conifers?

Have you made salt scrubs before?

I’d love to hear what herbal gifts you are making this holiday season!

Let me know in the comments below.

We Wish You a Happy & Healthy 2018!

Team LearningHerbs

As we complete our 13th journey around the sun at LearningHerbs, we have a LOT to be grateful for.

2017 brought us the Alchemy of Herbs book selling nearly 30,000 copies and making several best seller lists, the release of the Apothecary videos, Herb Fairies finally being printed as “real” books, and the opening of our brand new HerbMentor site.

It’s been quite a year, and we could not have done it without you.

Thank you SO much for being part of the LearningHerbs community, and we can’t wait to show you what we have in store for 2018.

May you have an herbal filled Holiday Season!

Lots of love,

Team LearningHerbs

John, Kimberly, Rosalee, Deb, Van, Jan, Emily, Althea and Lindsey

  1. Happy and Safe Holiday Wishes to you two also, thank you for sharing awesome info!

    • You’re so very welcome!

  2. What a lovely recipe, I will be making it for sure :) What kind of salt do you use, fine or coarse? Thanks!

    • I use fine salt, but if you really like a strong exfoliation you could do coarser.

  3. Can the oils be changed out, say rosemary and lavender?

    • Sure, any essential oils of your choosing could be used. You may need to adjust the amounts however.

  4. Another question about the salt, is it regular table salt that is iodized? Thank you.

    • I don’t know that it really matters but I used sea salt from Mountain Rose Herbs.

  5. Being worried about others slipping in the tub after bathing with oils, sprinkle baking soda in the tub. It makes the tub non slip, and I can easily scrub it out, too.

  6. Thank you for this fabulous recipe! I have just added it to my gifts to give, two will be going to people I have a lot of trouble picking gifts for so an extra big thank You!

    One question, are there any kinds of evergreens and/or evergreen essential oils that are not safe to use in this recipe? I realize the needles need to be free of spray but is any type of conifer needle safe to use? And I have some white pine essential oil on hand, it smells nice, I’ve never used it in a skin application though so I’d like your opinion please. (I have other ingredients, I’m a soap maker and if necessary it will just need to be a little less evergreen but if possible I’d like to use the oils I have, such a wonderful scent and so seasonal.)

    It is going to be a fairly herbal gifting from me this year, I’ll be handing out jars of herbes De Provence (mainly made with herbs I grew myself), digestive lozenges made with marshmallow root powder, spices and honey, and bottles of elderberry and marshmallow syrups.

    Thank you for a year of information and inspiration, it has been much appreciated! Wishing you and yours a Happy Yule and Merry Christmas
    Bright Blessings!,
    Grey Dove

    • Your gifts sound lovely Grey!

      To answer your questions: Because this is for external use only there aren’t any evergreens that shouldn’t be used. Technically Yew (Taxus spp.) is not to be used internally and I wouldn’t choose it for this recipe either, but I doubt it would cause problems. You can use white pine essential oil. I’m not sure how many drops.

      Enjoy your gift making!

      • Thank you, it feels better to have that confirmed. I can sincerely add yew is one evergreen that never crossed my mind. I’m not sure it grows here but if it does I haven’t met it (and I did always want to). Anyway, that means the branches waiting on my counter now will be becoming part of a gorgeous scrub in their near future. Thanks again, and A Joyous season to all!

  7. I love you guys! Thanks.

  8. Will this mold without a preservative?

    • Salt is an amazing preservative. I’ve never seen mold on my salt scrubs.

  9. Thank you fairy much, beautiful hearts, always inspiring and giving lots of great ideas. The smell of this one must be so uplifting.
    Thank you for your loving treats.
    Flying kisses of gratitude and koala hug to all of you*

  10. If we can’t find pesticide free pine trees, can I use the rosemary that I have grown instead of the pine needles? Since i’ve Grown this, I know it’s pesticide free.

    • Rosemary sounds like a lovely substitute for pine and it’ll be especially nice to make it with something you’ve grown.

    • If using Rosemary it will oxidize and turn a brownish black color because of the salt oxox

  11. Is this for facial use too?

    • You could try that… I personally prefer less exfoliation and lighter oils for my face.

    • Please do not use salt scrub on your face, use sugar scrub instead. Salt under a microscope is very sharp and with make tiny cuts. For your facial tissue this is not a good thing.

  12. This recipe looks lovely, I LOVE the smell of real pine!!!

  13. Thank you John and Rosalee and all at Learning Herbs for all the good work you do and for creating this community of plant appreciators. Wishing you all the best for a restful holiday and joyful new year.

  14. WOW, this is amazingly interesting… I did the same thing…
    I have been on a tree kick this whole year, Pines, Firs & Cedar

    About two weeks ago the dry skin was happening, I made a fir & cedar needle sugar scrub…

    And as I read your 2nd paragraph above Rosalet, I could have been reading my own words… What A TRIP!?

    I put my sugar scrub for sale on Etsy, and tomorrow I’ll be teaching it to folks in Spokane at the Co Op :)

    Same wavelength!

  15. I am making a thyme bath soak this weekend. What conifers are safe to harvest from for this recipe?

  16. Thank you, I look forward to making the salt scrub. Happy Holidays to your wonderful LearningHerbs group!

  17. So happy to see you all, I feel like you are my family there ,over the ocean in U.S. I am so happy to discover you and John Gallagher more than 2 years now. Your book is so amazing, every time I open it, is like I discover a new piece of precious gem. I wish you Happy Holiday! And an abundant New Year 2018! With love from Romania,

  18. Last year I made salt scrubs but I have never used solid oils and I have not whipped them. Great idea and a great way to use the beautiful trees in my PNW backyard! Thank you!

    This year I have made fire cider, facial sugar scrub, a savory herb spice blend and hand sanitiizer for gifts. I am always inspired by your recipes and ideas!

    • Just curious which oils you used for hand sani?

  19. thank you for this recipe and I too will be making it for my daughters as they love my homemade bath products that I make. Thank you and have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy and exciting New Year. Debbie

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’d love to try salt scrubs but I just have to wonder…I have a septic system, do you think running the shea and coconut oil down the drain is a concern?

    • It is no different then all the cooking, pan washing, other oils and lotions you use. I have been on septic for for over 30 years, no problems.

  21. This year I want over board with the ever green. I made what I call whipped butter cream which isn’t as heavy as body butter, bath bombs, some candles and some bar soap and made a gift bag with all of those in it. I also made the ever green salve. Now that I have the salt scrub recipe I will need to add that too. What fun. Thank you for the great recipes. I so appreciate all the hard work you put into these recipes and SO thankful that you have been so generous to give them away.
    Blessings for a Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all of you!

  22. thank you for your teaching and lovely pitcures happy holyday susan

  23. I love this recipe! I am following you guys from UK. Love your recipes! I am just a beginner in using herbs and essential oils at home, but the interest on the subject runs in the family, I remember picking up wild herbs in the Bulgarian Rodopi mountain with my grandparents when I was very young.
    I am making sugar scrubs and gave it as gifts to friends who loved it. Latest batch I made was with whatever I had around so carrot oil and peach kernel oils were involved together with orange essential oil, a bit too much of the carrot oil and my tub didn’t like it (yes her in UK your shower is usually over your bath tub). I use sodium bicarbonate for cleaning so all fine! I was afraid to include hard butters in the scrub but will give it a go. I also made some body butter that includes shea, mango, coconut, olive oil and essential oils and friends who tried it loved it. I have picked some Self-heal on my last visit to Bulgaria ( where I am originally from) but haven’t had the chance yet to make the skin serum from your recipes.
    Best wishes to the team! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas time and keep up informing and inspiring us! Thanks for having you!

  24. Where can I get the minced Conifer needles, I live in Atlanta. THE NURSERY DOES NOT CARRY THEM.

  25. Is it safe to use red cedar instead of pine? I have 3 beautiful trees in my backyard. Also what do you think about using white sage instead of or in addition to pine. Thanks. Love this website and all the wonderful information you share.

  26. I used sugar for one batch! I love the snowflake molds!

  27. Ho just made this only with rosemary and bay oil, smells amazing.. In the chiller now, some shell shapes to small pots. Thank you

  28. We grow organic (no sprays) Christmas trees, so this recipe is great for all the pine needles we collect through December.

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