No Scrubs: The Guide To Using Natural Exfoliants

Polluting the ocean isn’t the key to sexier, smoother skin. As public enemy #1, micro beads feel harsh and based on my experience, it hasn’t done anything to improve my skin texture. Rather than relying on plastic beads to clean my skin, I’ve realized that the best exfoliants come from the kitchen!

As a sustainable alternative, food-based scrubs exfoliate, improve my skin texture and make my cheeks glow. However, some ingredients are either a hit or miss. For instance, take Kylie Skin’s Walnut Face Scrub. Packed in an IG-friendly millenial pink tube, it’s a chicer alternative to St. Ives’ Apricot Face Scrub; however, its choice of using walnut powder has been dragged to filth due to the sharp edges of crushed walnuts. Since walnut powder has been linked to micro tears and abrasions on the skin’s surface, I wouldn’t want to use that too frequently on my face. (But, it works better on the body as it’s more aggressive!)

Since I’m on the hunt for the perfect natural exfoliant, what are some greener exfoliants that actually work on the skin?

  1. WANT Skincare’s Ginger Clay Scrub Mask
It stays on your hand, but this formula is messy at first!
This is what it’ll look like if you mix it with water
Underneath all my makeup are freckles, acne scars and clogged blackheads!

Made with French green and bentonite clays, this scrub is gentler than your derm’s go-to salt-based scrub. Since it’s in a small bottle, you need to gently squeeze it in your hand. Based on my experience, it has the most gentlest scrub to the point where you don’t feel any abrasion against the skin. In spite of its gentle formula, I feel that it didn’t *really* scrub away the dead skin cells. Instead, this product polishes up my skin without being overly aggressive and leaves the surface feeling velvety smooth with a matte texture.

Since it’s also a mask, what I love about it is that it’s got ginger for some extra added heat. If you’re looking to use some double duty for your face, it’s best to blend it with a hydrating mask for oil control and hydration. Since the formula is very delicate, go easy on the water as you need very little H2O to make the mask into a paste.

Based on my experience, this product works best as a mask as it can absorb impurities and exfoliate dead skin as I remove it.

2. Elysian 5 Skincare’s Coffee Face Scrub in Coconut Lime

This scrub seriously DOES NOT play!

Loaded with coconut oil and coffee, this scrub smells like you’re on a tropical vacation thanks to its essential oils. By adding sugar into the mix, this scrub feels aggressive, yet gentle. If you like the St. Ives formula, this is the closest thing you can get to due to the abrasive particles of coffee. While you may feel a heating sensation when using it, it does its job of exfoliating, yet it hydrates your skin (due to the oil). Safe to say, it makes my skin softer than a baby’s! For scented skincare aficionados, perhaps this is the all-natural version you need to try out.

Given that I have oily and sensitive skin, the coconut oil tends to feel kinda rich. However, it will be wonderful on drier skin textures as the oil does an efficient job at hydration.

3. Good Medicine’s Ashes Reincarnation Cleansing Grains

This product is super powdery and a little messy to apply at first
See how cool this is?! It feels like you’re making toothpaste once you mix it with water

OK, I *lurve* my French fries, but is it weird that I am rubbing potatoes against my face? It turns out that using potato in skincare is absolutely nothing new. Based on my experiences with using this face wash, I am honestly surprised that can make my face feel fresher and younger!

Anytime I use it on my face, I feel like my breakouts have been curbed and cleaned. While it DOES get messy when you scoop out the grains, it blends well with other gel-based face cleansers. Seriously, this cleanser does a LOT of wonders to brighten my skin, too.

4. Nadia Vega Organics’ Konjac Natural Sponge

I was wearing my Ashes Reincarnation clenaser underneath this, but the sponge does an amazing job at cleaning it up, too!
This Muka Concepts Mud Mask tightens my skin like crazy, but the konjac sponge cleans the mask without making a mess or leaving too much residue behind

I’ve had my fair share of trying out konjac sponges and I honestly couldn’t remember what prior experiences were like because I was using a bajillion skincare products at once during my college years. It wasn’t until last year that I stumbled upon Indonesian actress/entrepreneur Nadia Vega at Green Is The New Black, a sustainable market fair in Singapore. At her stand, she had her own skincare range and told me that I should try out her konjac sponge.

Compared to most konjac sponges I’ve tried earlier, hers were soft, bouncy and really exfoliated the moment I wet it. With this type of tool, it’s best to use it when you remove a mask or a face wash. Compared to using your own hands to wash off the mask/face cleanser, the sponge provides a neater exfoliation without splashing too much water all over the sink.

5. La Maison Du Savon De Marseille’s Exfoliating Fig Seed Soap

I’ve been using it up and this guy does NOT play!

During my trip to Paris last spring, my dad, aunt and I were wandering around Marais after we saw the Alaia exhibit. Given that there were a lot of clothing stores around the block, we got lost inside a soap store instead. Inside the store, there was an array of soaps in different colors, scents and varieties. Among all the types I found, I fell in love with La Maison Du Savon De Marseille’s fig seed soap (unfortunately, it is something you can only get at the store).

Made with shea butter, this soap feels moisturizing and compared to most salt-based exfoliants, I find that this one really does all the exfoliating thanks to the abrasive texture of fig seeds. It’s really helped me most with exfoliating the ingrown hairs from countless hair removal treatments. If you want a good body scrub that can remove ingrown hair, this is the one for you.

Since you can’t find it online, you should get the crushed apricot version on Amazon!

DISCLAIMER: Products #2 and #4 are given to me for review.

Published by

Michelle Varinata

Lapis - (n.) a layer Shrek once said that "onions have layers" as he was peeling one. Like an onion, I have layers. Born in Jakarta and raised in Singapore, I grew up being surrounded in a multicultural environment. Then, I moved to the States, where I lived in NYC and L.A. The creativity, hustle, bustle and vibe of those cities inspired me to become a blogger, journalist and influencer. Writing by day and living it up by night, I slay in the streets one OOTD at a time. Full-face makeup included, too. ;)

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