Tonawanda News

April 22, 2013

PINSPIRED: Silky, soft legs or death trap in a bottle?

By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News

— One night a couple weeks ago, I sat with my feet in scalding-hot water and my legs slathered in olive oil and a couple other ingredients from the kitchen.

I was thinking to myself, “This must be what a chicken feels like while it’s being poached.”

How did I get here?

Boy, the things I do for this newspaper ... for better and worse.

One of the charming — and scary — things about Pinterest is how some of the more “life hacker” or “DIY” projects suggest using products in a way you’d never imagine. Toilet paper roll as speakers? How about coconut milk or baking soda in your hair? OK, let’s give ‘em a whirl.

The latest one I tried involved scrubbing a little bit of a mixture of olive oil, sugar and lemon juice on my legs as a combo exfoliator/shaving cream/moisturizer.

What it turned out to be was a bit of a death trap.

I’ve tried commercial sugar scrubs with an oil base before. I initially didn’t like the greasy feeling, but once your skin is dried off after your shower or bath, you’ll never want to go back.

I hadn’t used a sugar scrub in a while because it’s just one of those things I never think to purchase, and my Texas-raised, humidity-loving skin has never adjusted well to the extreme cold of Buffalo, so this pin for “soft, silky legs in a bottle” jumped out at me.

I combined the ingredients according to directions on the pin — which leads to the website — and I was at first struck by just how oily the mixture was. Every other sugar scrub I’ve ever used was dryer.

The instructions call for 1/2 cup of oil — it says any kind of oil could work, including olive oil, which I had on hand — 11/4 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice.

This stuff had a good inch or so of oil sitting on top of the sugar once it all settled. And it doesn’t shake together well because the sugar is just so dense and heavy. I had to mix it up with my fingers before applying.

The instructions say you can use any oil you like, but I would definitely steer clear of olive oil. It just smells too much like I should be dabbing a nice crusty bread in the little nook made by my ankle bone. I tried to add a bit more lemon to make it smell citrusy, but that didn’t help. Perhaps some orange extract, or an aromatic oil would help.

Things got a bit scary when it came time to use the stuff. I didn’t want to take a full bath so I just sat on the edge with my feet and legs in the hot water. I soaked them for a bit, then scrubbed the dripping, oily mixture on.

It felt like the sugar was definitely doing its job as an exfoliator, but I was disconcerted by the pooling puddles of olive oil sitting on top of the water. Was this going to leave an oily film all over my bathtub?

The answer: Duh!

I’m used to the bathtub being a little slippery after using sugar scrubs, but this really took the cake. There was a ring of yellow oil all around the tub and when I stood up to get out ... well, let’s just say it took longer than it should have to get upright safely. I might have been convinced I would fall and die on that slippery surface.

In the end I had to scrub out my tub, re-wash my legs because I couldn’t get some of the sugar bits off, oh, and take my life into my hands. The end result? Yeah, my legs were pretty soft, but no better than just using the commercial stuff or even some good lotion.

So, sure, re-pin this project if you really really really need soft legs right this minute and don’t have time to go to the store.

But for my money, I’m going to Bath and Body Works.

Danielle Haynes is the features editor of the Tonawanda News. Find our pin boards by searching for “Tonawanda News” on


• WHAT: Sugar/oil skin scrub


• TIME: A couple minutes

• RESULT: Pin it if you're desperate, otherwise go for the store-bought stuff.