The All-Natural DIY Brown Sugar and Sake Scrub That Transformed My Skin

Today's post marks the first installment of our new Bridal Beauty series! I polled you guys on Instagram and—insert Praise Hands Emoji here—beauty + skincare was the topic y'all wanted to focus on first. (Even before speedy dress shopping, which we WILL get around to.)

At a dinner party, I was once asked: "What would you spend the majority of your expendable income on if you were crazy rich?" 

Obviously, if given the opportunity I would have said providing clean drinking water for all or something equally noble, but before I could answer my husband chimed in with, "Beauty products."

He knows me so well. 

So let's kick this series off with THE treatment that has made the biggest impact on my skin as of late: an All-Natural DIY Brown Sugar + Sake Scrub. 

This post contains generally helpful/informational links + a few affiliate links. Read our disclosure here.

Yes. YES. It's a do it yourself treatment that actually works. (Giving the side eye to you right now, apple cider vinegar "toner" that almost gave me a third degree burn.) This scrub is the real deal. Before sharing the recipe + application instructions with you, I want to give a shoutout to South Korean beauty influencer and YouTuber extraordinaire LaMuqe—I adapted this scrub from a recipe she shared in this adorable video, which she apparently got from an ageless lady that runs a food truck in her hometown.



SUBSTITUTIONS: The biggest change I made to LaMuqe's recipe was the substitution of dark brown sugar for the black sugar called for in her video. Unfortunately, black sugar isn't readily available (i.e. wasn't in stock at my local Whole Foods or Kroger). If you have an H-Mart in your town, though, I'm sure you could find some! I also use Japanese sake rather than Korean rice wine—you can't go wrong either way.

SKIN TYPE/CONCERNS: So that you know what I personally am working with...I am 27 years old, have extremely sensitive skin, and cannot tolerate common topical acne treatments like Benzoyl Peroxide. Discoloration/Melasma, uneven tone, and acne are my primary skin concerns. While aging isn't the most pressing concern for me right now, I'm very into the idea of keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay for as long as possible. 


DARK BROWN SUGAR: According to my friends (just kidding, they don't know me) at Beauty Counter, brown sugar gives skin a boost of hydration and encourages cell turnover to create tighter/firmer skin. Thanks to its molasses content, brown sugar also contains minerals that are not found in white sugar—these include calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Last but not least, brown sugar naturally contains the bacteria-fighting + anti-aging wonder that is glycolic acid

SAKE: I'm not crazy about the taste of sake, but I am NUTS about what fermented rice does for my skin...and so are the makers of the mega-expensive beauty product with a cult-like following, SKII. Long story short, SKII's formulation was inspired by a visit to a sake brewhouse. Researchers noticed that while the brewers' faces were wrinkled, their hands—which were frequently immersed in sake—remained soft and youthful. I think you see where they/I am going with this. Sake isn't just for chanting "sake bomb"—it is the bomb. According to my other (cyber) friends at 100% Pure, fermented rice reduces the appearance of sun and age spots, brightens and tightens skin, and actually soothes inflammation caused by acne and other skin concerns. I'll drink to that. 



The number one thing I love about this scrub is that I see results immediately after using it, every single time. I'm not sure how, why, or when a "baby's butt" came to be the ultimate measuring stick by which we measure the success of our skincare endeavors, but that's exactly what this scrub will get you. My skin is so soft and glowy after rinsing off this DIY scrub. The next morning after use, I typically find that active acne/blackheads have become less inflamed. Plus the glow is still intact! As for more longterm results, I do feel that using this scrub in combination with a Vitamin C serum has significantly lightened my melasma. 


This formulation should last you 1-2 months, if using on a once-per-week basis. No need to refrigerate—I store mine under my counter along with the rest of my products.

Items Needed:

  • 1 bottle of sake—Brand and price are not important. Just buy the cheapest one at your local grocery store! 
  • 1 bag dark brown sugar—I use Dark Muscovado Sugar from Mauritius.
  • 1 empty glass jar—Thank you, Bonne Maman, for creating delicious jam and providing the perfect sized glass jar for DIY facial scrubs. 
  • 1 wooden spoon—I have no idea why, but LaMuqe says to never use anything other than a wooden spoon when creating this scrub—no plastic or metal, etc. Maybe it's a chemical composition thing? Just go with it. 

How to Create + Apply:

**Quick note: Applying this scrub can be a little messy/drippy. With that said, I typically use it right before showering! 

1. Gather all ingredients/materials. Use a wooden spoon to fill an empty glass jar almost all the way full with brown sugar. Do not press down or "pack" the sugar. You want some space in between the granules! 

Keep going past this point, almost to the top.

2. Pour sake directly over the top of the sugar, stopping when the sugar is covered. Cover jar with lid and store for two days before using.

**Note: Sugar will begin to "melt" and sink to the bottom once sake has been poured. This is good and what you want to see happen—no need to add any additional sake or sugar. Allow mixture to sit for two days before using to allow the sugar granules to soften a bit. 

3. After two days, your scrub is ready to use! Make sure to pull your hair back and start with a clean face. I like Cetaphil Gentle CleanserClinique Cleansing Balm, and KLAIRS Deep Cleansing Oil for gently removing face makeup without stripping my skin of moisture.

4. Using your wooden spoon, scoop up some of the sake/sugar liquid and use it to coat/prime your face and/or neck for the scrub. The mixture will be thin and watery initially, but will turn into more of a syrup as time goes by.  

5. After "priming" skin with liquid mixture, dip your wooden spoon into the bottom of the jar and scoop out a dime-sized portion of sugar scrub. Use your fingers to lightly massage the sugar into your skin for up to 2 minutes. After you have finished exfoliating, let the scrub dry/firm up on your face like a mask for 10 minutes.

**Note: Your hands will be messy at this point—rub them together before rinsing to get a little bonus hand scrub action in! 

This photo included for instructional purposes only. If you love or value me at all, you will not Pin this image. LOL. But seriously.

6. Allow scrub to harden into a mask for 10 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. Pat skin dry and follow with moisturizer. Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream is my hero moisturizer! Never breaks me out, doesn't irritate, and actually calms my redness and sensitivity.  

Again, not the most flattering picture, but do you see that insta-glow? I'm obsessed!

That's it, y'all! One set of ingredients should allow you to create multiple batches—I'm already on my third scrub, and I still have enough sugar left for at least one more. Whether you're a beauty-loving bride who's planning a wedding in six months or less, or just a fellow skincare addict, please let me know what you think if you happen to try this all-natural brown sugar and sake scrub for yourself! I've already gotten my mom hooked and I'm betting that you're going to love it, too. 


PS: Just wanna talk about skincare 24/7 and ditch the wedding planning chat? Enter your info below to join our Skincare Junkies list and get occasional emails ooh-ing and ahh-ing over new product lines, skincare breakthroughs, before and afters, and the like. If you get a weird thrill from reading through the ingredients listed on the back of your fav products, this is the community for you.


  • Hiii

    I saw this blog post and ordered brown sugar(muscovado) and sake. But turns out i ordered rice vinegar by mistake instead of wine. My question is can i use rice vinegar instead of wine for this ??

    Rajvir kaur
  • Oh, girl! I will definitely be trying this!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published