Tough love: the rough guide to exfoliating face scrubs

June 3, 2014

exfoliators snapThere’s something weirdly hopeful about a good face scrub. Like if you find the right one it might just erase all the mistakes you (and by you I mean I) made popping, picking, sunbathing and generally abusing the delicate skin on our faces. Alas, the miracle has yet to happen for me and after a decade of chemically peeling my acne-riddled skin with prescription strength vitamin A as a teen, I’m hesitant to do any more intense sloughing. Instead, I use old fashioned scrubs. But it’s a delicate dance for someone with a genetic propensity towards poreous gigantus (the technical term for big ass pores). Scrub with the wrong thing and you might just tear at those little dermal openings, making then larger over time. At the same time, you want to get rid of that dry, flakey layer between you and the world.

Searching for the right scrub made me feel a little like Goldy Locks. So which one’s too gritty, not gritty enough, just right? I answered that in my Ecoholic column on scrubs. Click here to get the full column. My household’s tried way more than we had room for in print, like Green Beaver (bamboo beads are rough but sparse, so it feels a little painful and yet not exfoliating enough), Yes to Blueberries (meh, could be more natural/effective, plus it kind of stinks), MyChelle (pretty good), Suki’s foaming cleanser (works but it’s drying as hell, if you’re used to creamy cleansers….my guy loved this one), Pure & Simple Sensitive Skin Exfoliant & Mask (should have mentioned this one in the column alongside the Pure &Simple Cleansing Powder, it’s a top performer with jojoba beads), Panagea Organics (great for those who love good grittiness)…if I remember more of them, I’ll add them here. Whatever you do, stay away with any scrubs with seriously water-polluting plastic micro-beads!

DIY ALERT: Who needs to buy a scrub when you can make one?  I especially feel  that about body scrubs, but DIY face scrubs work well too. I make my own with soothing ground oats (oat flour), optional hemp powder (leftover hemp protein powder I never eat) and green tea (just tear open a tea bag). Keep it in a lidded jar by the side of your tub, put some in your palm, mix with a little water to make a paste and voila!

Also in this column, you’ll find my greenwash of the week (“Pure Coconut,” my ass!) and some nature notes on the latest bee/pesticide research and campus divestment from fossil fuels. For all the juicy details, read on!