Web development involves the meticulous creation of visually appealing and user-friendly sites. HTML lays the groundwork for this, but CSS brings it to life with colors, shapes, and sizes. CSS does have its limitations and drawbacks though. Often CSS isn’t maintainable, modular, or efficient enough for large-scale projects. SCSS (aka Sassy CSS) was created to help solve those problems. SCSS is a preprocessor language that compiles into plain old CSS. It’s basically a superset of CSS. It introduces features like variable, nesting, and mixins, allowing developers to write cleaner and more efficient stylesheets.

A Breakdown of SCSS’s Benefits

  • Reduces Code Repetition: SCSS allows you to define variables and use them throughout your stylesheet, helping you save time and prevent inconsistencies.
  • Helps Improve Organization: Nesting lets you indent code blocks, creating a hierarchy of styles. This helps create a more maintainable structure. 
  • Creates Enhanced Reusability: Mixins are reusable code blocks for styles. These are especially helpful for deifnitions that are used often, and they promote consistency and reduce redundancy. 
  • Allows Functions: This is a pretty amazing capability. You can create custom functions that perform calculations or manipulations to your styles.

Getting Started with SCSS

Fortunately, SCSS requires little effort to get started with. All you need is a code compiler. Tools like Sass or Dart Sass are great for compiling your SCSS files into CSS. These compilers can be installed globally using npm or yarn package managers. Once installed, you can run the following command: 

sass styles.scss styles.css //replace ‘styles’ with the name of your own stylesheets

Diving Right into Some Code

Variables: These are great for items that are often repeated in your CSS such as color variations. With variables, you can define a base color once and use that instead of an HTML color code every time.

$primary-color: ##BB8FCE; // define the color once

   body {
     background-color: $primary-color;

Nesting: Not only is nesting great for adding structure to your stylesheet that mimics your html, it more importantly helps create scoped styles, preventing your styles from leaking over to other elements.

.container {
     padding: 20px;
     border: 1px solid $primary-color;

     h2 {
       font-size: 24px;

In this code snippet, the font-size of 24px will only be applied to descendants of elements with the class .container.

Mixins: These are reusable blocks of code that allow you to encapsulate styles and patterns that are commonly used. They can even accept parameters for more customizations.

@mixin button-style($color, $padding) {
     background-color: $color;
     color: #fff;
     padding: $padding;
     border: none;
     cursor: pointer;

   .primary-button {
     @include button-style(#333, 10px 20px);

In this snippet, we created a mixin called button-style. It accepts two parameters, $color and $padding.

.primary-button applies the above mixin, and passes in the color and padding.

Functions: This is where you can do all sorts of cool things with calculations.

@function lighten($color, $amount) {
      $hsl: hsl(hue-adjust($color, -$amount), lightness(lightness($color) + $amount * 10%), saturation(saturation($color)));
     return hsla($hsl, alpha($color));

In this code snippet, we’re doing the following:

  • This function lighten takes in two parameters: $color and $amount, which specifies the amount by which to lighten the color.
  • The function calculates a new HSL (Hue, Saturation, Lightness) color value based on the provided color and the specified lightness amount.
  • It adjusts the hue of the color by - $amount and increases the lightness by $amount * 10%. The saturation stays the same.
  • Finally, the function returns the new color value in HSLA (Hue, Saturation, Lightness, Alpha) format, preserving the alpha (transparency) value of the original color.

As you begin to play around with SCSS more, you’ll discover more features including @extend, @if statements, partials, and more.