Forget about microbeads: these natural scrubs are great for your skin – and the oceans!
By Lora O’Brien
Do you consider natural scrubs to be a vital part of your beauty regime? I know I didn’t for years; it was just something I did on the odd occasion. But I was wrong. Exfoliation should be part of your skincare routine always (not just in springtime!) And here’s why.
Healthy, Glowing Skin
Our skin goes through a lot in a day. We put make-on on, take makeup off, we go out in toxic, polluted air and all kinds of nasty things end up on our skin. Exfoliating takes the top layer of crap off, which is great. It also removes dead skin, revealing fresher, younger looking skin beneath. This means makeup will go on much smoother, and if you’re applying fake tan, this is a vital step to prep the skin and maintain the tanning product for longer.
Pores are a nightmare for so many of us. They seem to get bigger with age, and when there’s a buildup of dirt and dead skin, pores will open up even further. If you feel your pores are competing with your nostrils in size, you probably need to exfoliate to remove the dirt from those pores and use products to minimise them. And remember: after cleansing with warm water, splash with cold water to close those pores again.
Reduced Acne and Breakouts
At some time in all of our lives, we’ve had to deal with a break-out. Whether it’s been on a rare occasion or a recurring problem it still makes us feel like rubbish. Many of us plough money into products hoping they’ll be the miracle our skin needs, but we never think a natural scrub could really help to reduce and manage further breakouts and acne.
But the truth is, a deep exfoliation will help to unclog those pores and remove both dirt and built up excess oils from the root cause, which if left will lead to breakouts.
Allows Other Products To Work
If you have a set skincare routine yet you fail to exfoliate, you could well be missing out on the benefits of your beauty products. Not using natural scrubs means that your pores can remain blocked, and so other skincare products won’t be properly absorbed, rendering them fairly inefficient.
Once you start to exfoliate, you’ll not only feel the difference on your skin, but you’ll notice that your other products will start doing their job much better.
Easy To Make
You can easily make the best natural scrubs yourself. One of the simplest recipes is:
- Put 1/4 cup of coconut, almond, olive, or moringa oil in a bowl
- Add 2 tablespoons of sugar or coffee grounds to oil
- Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the mixture
- Blend it all up, and follow the instructions below
How To Exfoliate
We’re given so much conflicting advice: exfoliate rarely. Exfoliate daily. Don’t exfoliate sensitive skin. The truth is, so long as your exfoliant of choice isn’t extremely abrasive, (you want it to exfoliate but not strip your skin entirely) you can use it a few times a week with no issues. Don’t be afraid to exfoliate your body, too – just be sure to moisturise afterwards.
One caveat: when exfoliating the skin on your lips, be extra gentle as the skin here is incredibly thin and fragile and could tear. Try gently brushing lips with a toothbrush after you clean your teeth, and prevent dry lips by using a lip balm at night.
One of the best perks of my job is when we get to try products ourselves so that we know how great (or not) they are. Result? I’ve personally tried and tested each and every one of these organic scrubs myself!
Allow me to tell you which of these you’ll be needing, what area of your body they’ll fix up, and where you can get your hands on them yourself.
10 Of The Best Natural Scrubs
1. REN Micropolish Cleanser
I started using this cleanser when I noticed by pores were getting larger, and boy, am I glad I did! This cleanser gently resurfaces your skin without leaving your face feeling scrubbed or overexposed.
It’s a 2-in-1 formula that deep cleans while eliminating dulling dead skin cells. It helps to refine skin texture, minimise congestion and reduce the risk of breakouts. A papaya derived enzyme works with glycolic acid to dissolve the bonds that trap dead cells and residue to skin’s surface, while tiny beads of natural amber are there to ‘polish’ your complexion.
I’m a huge fan of Frank Body products! I’ve re-purchased their body scrub too many times to count now, so I was excited to give their facial scrub a go.
Firstly, I know it says ‘creamy’ on the label, but this product was super creamy. It was like massaging a grainy coffee mousse into my skin. I left it on for five minutes and then washed it off with warm water, splashing my face with cold water one finished. It felt so hydrated, and my skin was glowing with good health. Plus, of all the natural scrubs, I love the scent of this one the best – coffee. Need I say more?
I was once told to never use anything harsh like a spin brush on the skin because it would leave it raw. If I remembered who told me that, I’d send them one of these brushes to prove them totally wrong.
This brush has been such a lifesaver and I could never think about a skincare routine without it now. I use this twice weekly, and I use it to really deep cleanse my skin. I add some creamy cleanser and really work it into my skin.
The bristles on this are so soft and fuzzy! I feel like the circulation to my face is improving, too. The best part is that this comes with a range of brush heads and tools, so you can really get into those hard to reach areas like beside your nose, or use it on your body, too.
Of all the natural scrubs, this Uma’s may use the most ancient formula: it’s made using a century-old Ayurvedic recipe based on Indian spices that are known to purify pores and clear out sebaceous glands.
This dry, exfoliating formula is a blend of oats and walnuts to slough away dead cells and rejuvenate the complexion, while Bentonite clay offers a rich boost of minerals and rose reduces redness and deeply hydrates.
Simply mix it with water to form a paste, or try it with organic honey, rose water or yogurt and leave on for five minutes as an indulgent, beautifully scented mask.
I’ve been debating whether to try a Konjac sponge for some time now, but I’m glad I took the plunge. The first time I used this sponge, I used it with a little Ren cleanser and I was not expecting my skin to feel so clean from such a small item.
It glided over my skin, giving an ever so slight exfoliation that made moisturising easier after my bath. My cream soaked in well and my body was left feeling truly hydrated. It may be worthwhile noting that the Konjac Sponge Co sells various sponges for different skin types.
6. Aromatherapy Associates Scrub
Aromatherapy Associates’ exfoliator is packed with ingredients good enough to eat: think sea salt, coffee, and grapefruit. The fine granules work to lift dead cells away on your body to reveal gorgeously smooth skin beneath.
It’s a hydrating scrub that never leaves my skin feeling dry or raw, but what I love most about this is the delectable frankincense infused scent. Oh! and it comes in gorgeous packaging. In fact, of all the natural scrubs here, this one is probably the poshest, and would make the best gift.
If you’re looking for a great facial and body scrub, look no further! Mio Skincare’s dual-action exfoliator will give you smooth, firm and healthier-looking skin, no matter where you use it.
Grains of pumice, lava and bamboo slough off dead cells, and then sweet almond oil, fig extract and organic shea butter all act to hydrate.
I find myself glowing like I’ve just had a facial after using this, and no wonder – apparently the omega-and-enzyme rich formula boosts collagen renewal and cell reproduction.
If I even see the slightest patch of flaky skin it just makes me feel horrid. Well, I won’t be suffering anymore, not after using this delightful body scrub. It’s the perfect way to bring your skin back to perfection after a day out battling the elements.
The exfoliating blend left my skin feeling fresh and super soft. I love the fact it comes in different scents. I used lemongrass but the peppermint and eucalyptus made my bathroom smell so gorgeous.
Get it here.
Rhassoul is a different type of clay to Bentonite, yet it still works the same to extract impurities from the skin. The only difference I find is that Rhassoul is a softer type of face mask than those based on Bentonite clay, which seems to dry and harden, leaving your skin feeling super tight. Rhassoul stays a little damp, so you can almost peel it of after awhile.
To really deep clean, steam your face lightly beforehand by placing your face a few inches away from a basin or bowl full of near-to-boiling water, and throw a towel over your head to intensify the steam. Once your pores are nice and open, mix the clay up with a bit of water, slap it on for 10 minutes, and rinse off – you’ll feel and look like you just took a quick trip to a spa!
Winter is hell on lips. Wind, snow and central heating all equal flakes and a lack of fresh pinkness to your kisser. Scrubs like this gently buff away dry skin leaving your lips smooth and ready for lipstick. I mean, don’t even try to apply a dark lippy if you have a single flake on your lips, please!
I love the different flavours these come in, and the Parma Violet one in particular threw me right back to my childhood. As I mentioned before, our lips are really sensitive, so don’t be too abrasive when using a lip scrub. Just use soft circular motions before washing the scrub off and then nourishing with a lip balm.
Get the recipe here.