My beautiful little coral cabbages! Welcome back!
So, over the past couple weeks, I’ve been doing an experiment for you. Skin care is one of my most fundamental joys in life, as you may have come to realize, and while I’m willing to spend absurd amounts of money on that one aspect of my ‘routine’, I realize that not everyone is able or even willing to. So I’m going to spend some time talking about products in various price ranges, starting with exfoliating scrubs! Now, keep in mind that there are many MANY exfoliating products out there on the market. Just because I chose these three doesn’t mean they’re the be-all-end-all. I chose them because they were all formulated to work well with my skin type, fit in the three price points I had in mind, and were all slightly different. If none of them sound appealing to you, please don’t take my word as law.
Also, for those of you concerned about environmental effects – most exfoliating scrubs are made with either shells or microbeads. How environmentally friendly these are depends on how they’re composed. But usually, they’re not super ‘green’. This is really too bad, but I’ll try to touch on how ‘green’ and natural each product is as I discuss it. If you want the same effect without those ingredients, I suggest you look at peels. They’re harsher products for your skin, but with proper use provide much of the same effect. Options! We have them, and it’s a beautiful thing!
Let’s get reviewing, shall we?
So, I’ve decided to start with the most expensive of the bunch. This is, naturally, the Sisley Paris Botanical Gentle Buffing Face Cream. Coming in at a whopping $95 for a 1.8oz jar, this is what you buy for yourself when you want some serious pampering. I’ve used products from this brand before – most specifically, the black rose face mask – and been very impressed. Not thrilled with the prices, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet when it comes to making your skin happy. Especially when your skin is as snowflakey as mine can be!
This is… an interesting product. You apply it like you would a mask, let it dry, and then gently ‘roll’ it off your skin. Needless to say, it’s MESSY. They also tell you to only let it dry for a minute, but I found (through trial and error, because I want to be thorough for you!) that it’s more effective and easier to get off if you let it completely dry. Because it’s made with herbal extracts, it’s got an interesting but good smell, and it certainly feels nice on the skin. It’s not very attractive in the jar, and you have to stir it up a little bit every time as the water tends to settle at the top, but it feels nice and is relatively easy to get on your face.
Getting it off, however, can be a challenge. It’s just… messy. It gets all over the place, takes forever to come off, doesn’t all come off without the help of a muslin cloth, and is just generally a pain. What it does do, however, is make your skin feel really nice. I’ll give it that. You definitely get glow-y, and very very soft. So I’m going to tentatively recommend the product. For, you know, those Sunday evening pamper sessions where it’s okay if just your exfoliating step takes 45 minutes! It’s definitely an indulgent treat, but it’s not something I’m going to recommend if you’re looking for something that you can use a couple of times a week to really help keep your skin clear and fresh.
Next up, a product from one of my favorite skincare brands: Ole Henricksen! This is their Walnut Complexion Scrub and it is, as the name might suggest, mainly comprised of walnut shells. Well, walnut ‘powder’, which is basically just ground up walnut shells. It’s also got a whole bunch of other good-for-your-skin ingredients, including aloe vera, chamomile, and comfrey extract. Which is precisely why it’s my favorite of the bunch. Coming in at $24 for a 1.7oz tub, it’s certainly not cheap but it’s also not prohibitively expensive. The best part is that you only need to use a little bit to get the benefits. I find myself reaching for this more and more in the shower, after I’ve washed my face once, to really make sure my skin is clean.
Keep in mind that because it is an abrasive scrub, you should only use it 2-3 times a week. Those of you with sensitive skin should keep it to 1-2 times, and those who (like me!) suffer from combination/acne prone skin can get away with using it a bit more often than that. But walnut shells do carry the risk of causing micro-tears. So, be gentle with it when you use it, and don’t use it too often. I know I used to get super worried about micro-tears and the potential for infection, but I’ve found that as long as you’re not really grinding the stuff into your face, you’ll be fine. Be more gentle if you have large pores, but also don’t be afraid to use a stronger product like this.
Also, keep in mind that though the ingredients in this scrub *are* natural, it takes quite a while for them to decompose. So, if you’re trying to be super Eco-conscious in your skincare routine, this is your best bet of the bunch but it’s not perfect.
Last but not least, the bargain of the bunch! Coming in at roughly $5 for a large amount of product, St. Ives is probably a brand most of you are familiar with. I tried out their Pink Lemon and Mandarin Orange Scrub, which supposedly is brightening AND gentle! So gentle, in fact, that it’s nearly ineffective. It takes a LOT more of this stuff to reach anything near the same results as either the Sisley or the Ole Henricksen.
It’s got a nice fresh scent, and definitely removes dead skin cells, but just doesn’t give that oomph that I personally look for in an exfoliating product. I’ve used their other scrubs in the past though, and am generally comfortable recommending the line for those who are more price-conscious (while I used the CVS link to the product, you can pick these up nearly anywhere, though the price does fluctuate). This is a nice enough product, but I just can’t get excited about it. I would recommend it before the Sisley mostly due to the pricing difference, but it’s simply not terribly effective. Ah well, you can’t love them all can you? Even though I certainly try!
The Winner: Ole Henricksen!
Thanks for reading my lengthy thoughts on something as seemingly basic and silly as exfoliates, mes petites choux! I hope you liked it – do let me know if you want me to make this into something of a regular feature. I have a similar one planned for sheet masks, and boy has trying those out been an adventure. Let me know what you think! Ciao!