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A Cup o’ Joe: DIY Facial Scrub

The following article was written by PETA intern Sofia Hueter.

Many of us are accustomed to the daily ritual of guzzling cup after cup of coffee to stay awake because it is so ingrained in our society that habitually drinking something with caffeine in it every few hours is the best way to fight fatigue. Caffeine does, in fact, help to ward off our lingering morning drowsiness, but drinking coffee, though often delicious and enjoyable, is not the only way to get the caffeine fix that your body craves.

Did you know that your body can absorb caffeine through the skin? Although the exact concentrations of caffeine that can permeate the layers of your skin is still being researched, scientists do agree that, even if soaking your body with coffee doesn’t deliver the same kick that several cups of coffee do, it can provide you with a nice energy boost.

In addition to giving you a pick-me-up, coffee has other benefits. For example, it can be used as a wonderful skin exfoliant. If you have ever used products such as apricot scrubs, sea salt scrubs, or oatmeal scrubs, you probably have a good idea about what an exfoliating scrub should do for your skin. Exfoliating scrubs incorporate a coarse ingredient, generally something gritty or grainy, that is intended to slough off dead surface skin and reveal a new layer of youthful, healthy skin underneath. However, many store-bought skin products don’t always work as well as we’d like them to, and they often include unnecessary ingredients such as animal-derived products. But with this easy, cruelty-free, and natural vegan coffee scrub, you can make your own!

Cup O’ Joe Facial Scrub
4 Tbsp. olive oil
6 Tbsp. coffee grounds*
Container for finished product

  • Mix the coffee grounds and olive oil. (If you’d like to make more or less, the ratio is 3 tablespoons of coffee for every 2 tablespoons of olive oil.) The scrub should look like a coarse mud when finished.

*Note: The coffee grounds should be very fine because you will be rubbing them onto your skin. Put the grounds through a coffee grinder two times if you need to.

The coffee will exfoliate your skin while the olive oil provides a good source of moisture to keep your skin soft and hydrated. You can store your coffee scrub in the refrigerator if you prefer, but it will stay fresh for several weeks at room temperature.

To use, simply take a small dollop of the coffee and olive oil mixture and gently scrub it onto your skin. Then rinse completely with water.

Do you have any cruelty-free beauty secrets or at-home skin remedies? Tell me about them in the comments below!

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  • beautygirl says:

    if you were wondering to give this as a gift:
    take a small 1-3 oz bottle and fill with olive oil then add another larger bottle with coffee grinds and add instructions. that is what i suggest and what i give for gifts sometimes, depending on who you are giving it to.

  • AsianBeauty&MakeUp says:

    Looks great. I’m trying it tomorrow!

  • Lindsay says:

    I just tried this and I have to say I’m in love with the results! My skin feels so soft a from the olive oil and the coffee grounds just made my dry skin and blackheads disappear. 🙂

  • jessi says:

    Coffee grounds as in after you’ve made coffee, or before?

  • margarita says:

    I will try it, I Know another one in the blender mix 1 cup olive oil ,1 cup marine salt an one lemon cut in pieces with all the peel and everything and ground everything to a paste. I used for my hands and my feet Y supposed you can use anywhere. thanks.

  • osaid says:

    thanks for sharing….

  • coffeeeeeeeee says:

    can this be frozen? i’m wanting to make them for christmas presents and idk when is the best time to do it

  • Beauty says:

    I have tried this a couple times… get a great coffee for best success.

  • gemigirl says:

    Can’t wait to try the salt and lime juice idea suggested by christa!

  • joey says:

    While I do love this recipe and the ideas shared here, the concept of coffee as cruelty-free is incorrect. Workers in the coffee fields are grossly mistreated, under-paid and work in horrible conditions, due to a monopoly of coffee companies over production. Properly labelled fair trade is the only way to ensure cruelty free in every sense.

  • dbakeca says:

    Interesting tip.

  • Sudjimmi Qsuymz says:

    I just used this all over in the shower and while it did make quite a mess it felt lovely. my skin is glowing, moisturized, and while still damp smelt faintly of coffee 🙂

  • Kira says:

    thanx for this tip – this is really true!

  • Aaia says:

    Interesting beauty tip, i’ll surely try it, BTW i love coffee.. 🙂

  • Bean says:

    I mix used, still warm coffee grounds with vitamin E oil and use it to exfoliate my legs. But it definitely needs to be done in the shower with the curtain closed. =)

  • herbiesprincess says:

    Actually Coconut oil is better than Olive oil for your skin, as it’s the ONLY oil able to be absorbed by your epidermis and dermis.

  • Christa says:

    To exfoliate my face, I take a couple of spoonfuls of salt and mix it with just enough lemon or lime juice to make a paste. After I wash my face I give it a scrub with this. It’s great because you get the salt physically exfoliating and the citric acid chemically exfoliataing and loosening dirt from your poors. I do this a few times a week and my skin always feels so fresh after! I use left overs for my elbows or any other spots that look dry.

  • Nimni says:

    While definitely a perfect idea, it is NEVER a good idea to run already-ground coffee (especially already-ground and used coffee) through a grinder again. It gets stuck in the teeth and gears, can un-calibrate it, and can ruin a perfectly good (and expensive) grinder!

  • mrsnina99 says:

    This is a great beauty tip!! I have my own skincare line of products and I will be making a french green clay mask with coffee grounds in too. The product will cleanse the pores, exfoliate, and tighten your skin naturally with no added chemicals or preservatives. I have been doing the research for a while now so first I will use it and see how well it turns out.

  • youngredbird says:

    Yes, used grounds work as well!

  • jyoti says:

    i use lemon peel along with a little lime juice and few crystals of sugar to cleans my hands and feet. it works.

  • kate bradley says:

    ive been using this for months xD the olive oil doesnt clog your pours and it feels sooo good -_-

  • Natural Skin Care says:

    This really a good way for natural skin care, thanks.

  • Sorry about this, but says:


  • samantha_baxter88 says:

    I have also used a similar exfoliant, brown sugar and olive oil. Leaves your skin feeling rejuvenated and soft!!

  • Lauren says:

    Is putting olive oil on your face good for people with oily skin already? I feel like for people who get clogged pores easily, it wouldn’t be a good idea.. I don’t know!

  • Avni says:

    What about instant coffee?

  • Maria says:

    I have just seen in an old Danish magazine that the following mixture can be used to get soft hands and feet: 1 teaspoon of ‘used’ coffee grounds, 1 teaspoon of unrefined salt, and 1 teaspoon of oil (olive or other). Rub your hands or feet with the mixture and rinse.

    I’ll now try ‘used’ coffee grounds in the ‘Cup o’ Joe Facial Scrub’, too.

    Like Maya, I also use olive oil and salt as a body scrub.

  • Amanda says:

    i LOVE these DIY beauty stuff! I’m trying this and the rose petal one:)

  • Stacey says:

    has anyone found out yet if ‘used’ grounds would work too????

  • Maya says:

    Thank you so much. My facial skin loves this beauty tip! I use olive oil and salt as a body scrub.

  • Tina says:

    Could one use the coffee grounds that is left-over after coffee has been made?

  • Camilla says:

    Thank you, Ashley-P.

  • Ashley-P says:

    Straight of the can will work – just be sure the grounds are very fine!

  • Camilla says:

    Just like organmf, I would also like to know whether the coffee ground is left-over after coffee has been made, or right out of the can?

  • Britt says:

    Toothpaste (:
    Just use it as a regular face paste.
    It may sting a little but it makes your face feel fresh afterwards and does clear your face up because of some of the alcohol that is in it.

  • Breanna says:

    Wow…this sounds great! Im soo gonna try this!

  • Pat says:

    About thirty years ago, a woman in her 60’s with beautiful skin told me her secret was aloe vera gel. Aloe has vitamins and minerals and a compound that helps rebuild the collagen framework in your skin. Don’t buy the green, perfumed stuff in the suntan section, your skin doesn’t need green coloring, perfume and preservatives. Buy the good stuff made for human consumption in the health food section, keep the bottle in the refrigerator after opening. Just blot it on your skin and let it sink in, then apply a moisturizer to protect your skin. Cruelty free and kind to your skin!

  • Char says:

    Another good exfoliation scrub, and it’s moisturizing too, plain old oatmeal (Uncooked) Add to a washcloth soaked in cold water. Add additional water if necessary. Scrub. Removes dead skin and mositurizes.

  • Jan says:

    This face pack is good if your skin is dry. Mix ripe avocado, extra virgin olive oil and flax seed oil and apply to skin. Leave for 5-10mins, then wash off with tepid water. Leaves skin in good condition.

  • Elaine Baeza says:

    Olive oil and sugar – mix in the palm of your hand. Massage all over your hands. I have never tried it on my face but it should be ok. Rinse off with warm water – the sugar will dissolve and leave the oil. Rub in or lightly soap off the excess oil. Wonderful!

  • organmf says:

    Are those coffee grounds what is left over after coffee is made, or right out of the can?

  • Camilla says:

    @Eleonora: Unfortunately, honey is not cruelty-free.

  • cody says:

    honey is not vegan.

  • Christine says:

    It should also help if you have bags under your eyes. Products with caffeine are supposed to help with that.

  • cill says:

    skin brushing before shower in the am really wakes up your skin and exfoliates. Just brush starting with toes in little circles (not too hard, be gentle to your skin) up legs and starting at fingers up arms, then finish with belly. Use a soft bristle hair brush. After showering moisterize all over with 100% organic, fair trade cocoa butter (you have to heat it up with a hairdryer, this takes a few extra seconds but it is so worth it). This is better for your skin than any lotion ever made. And cocoa butter soaks right in, not leaving your skin feeling greasy.

  • dil says:

    i would love to use try this . thanks for letting us know .pls keep posting more cruelty free products which we can easily access.

  • Eleonora says:

    to make your skin really soft and reduce redness and inflammation: mix vinegar, honey, and a flour together until it form a thick paste. spread it on your face and leave it overnight.* then wash off in the morning.
    *it will dry and may sting a little and make your eyes watery

  • The Exfoliator says:

    Love it! Please share more vegan beauty tips.

  • sandee2002 says:

    I love mixing some of my leftover pineapple with a little bit of ground almonds for an exfoliating face pack that truly makes your skin glow. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes, also great on the chest and back. Be careful if your skin is very sensitive since pineapple can irritate your skin a little if left on too long. Then rinse with tepid water.