My skin & body care product obsession started at a young age. By middle school I was doing my own independent reading about – and purchasing of – beauty products. One of the first products I fell in love with (that I could afford to buy for myself) was St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub. This product has achieved cult status over the years, and for good reason – it left skin super-soft and glowy. I was thus distraught a few years later when one of the big beauty books said that my scrub with natural exfoliating particles should be shunned, as these irregular shaped bits can cause tiny tears in the skin. YIKES. Never fear, they said – swap in a scrub with manmade perfectly spherical plastic “microbeads”! No more mini-tears; totally skin safe.
This was all years before the green beauty movement took off, so no one really followed this thinking through to the obvious end…where we find ourselves today. These tiny plastic beads, which have become ubiquitous in thousands of products ranging from body scrubs to toothpastes, do not dissolve (DUH) and therefore pose a major threat to the environment.
In fact, a recent study reported that more than 8 trillion microbeads enter the country’s aquatic habitats daily. These seemingly innocuous microbeads have contributed to an increase in microplastic polluting the planet’s oceans and lakes, and pose a threat to aquatic life. These little plastic perpetrators have since been banned by public policy. However, if your favorite exfoliators contain these microbeads, you might be reeling over the ramifications on your skin.
What to use now? What works?
I’m proud to say that here at Travel Beauty, we’ve only carried scrubs with natural exfoliating particles. By virtue of them populating our virtual shelves, you know they get our stamp of approval as an all-around excellent and effective product. So if you’re on the search for a plastics-free scrub, look no further. Here is our list of the best of the best.
Lavido Gentle Exfoliator Peeling Cream: This exfoliator/mask is suitable for even the most sensitive skin. It contains Oyster Shell Powder and Pomegranate Peel Grains to provide a subtle scrubbing action, sloughing away dead cells and buildup. Scrub-a-dub for 20 seconds then leave on skin for another minute et viola! Glowy skin is yours.
Sasawashi Mesh Body Scrub Towel: If you want to forgo scrubs altogether, or want to boost your scrub with extra exfoliating action, this towel is perfect. Can be used in shower in lieu of a loofah or you can put your favorite scrub on the towel. You can also use it for dry brushing skin, if you find a skin brush too harsh.
Juara Invigorating Coffee Scrub: A much stronger choice of body scrub than the two mentioned above – this is not OK for use on the face! This invigorating body treatment is made with Indonesian Sumatran Coffee Beans, finely crushed walnut shells and gentle, sulfate-free cleansing agents. This scrub will *wake you up* as it stimulates circulation, exfoliates, cleanses and helps to firm, tone and brighten skin. Coffee has been clinically proven to provide powerful antioxidant and tightening benefits for skin – hence the proliferation of coffee scrubs. Juara’s scrub was one of the first and is still the best in my book. This unique scrub also features Vitamin E-rich Rice Bran Oil, which provides additional hydration and helps maintain skin’s elasticity, leaving skin supple, soft and smooth. Many people have cured their pesky keratosis pilaris with it. A true therapeutic body ritual in a jar.
FOR FACE & BODY
Yu-Be Foaming Skin Polish: I find myself writing about and recommending this face & body scrub often. Here’s why: At $18 (for an almost 7 oz) tube, it’s one of the best bargains in beauty. Because it contains fine grains of Rice Bran and Bamboo as well as gentle cleansing (no sulfates!) agents, this polish not only effectively exfoliates, but also works into a luxurious foam as you scrub, so no additional cleaning step is needed (just like the Juara scrub!). Skin is left totally clean and ready to soak up your skin care products like a sponge. It also has Ginger Root, Ginseng Green Tea, Geranium Oil and Camphor – all benefit skin in different ways and give this polish it’s refreshing and invigorating scent.
Mio Skincare’s Double Buff Dual Action Enzyme Exfoliator: Another scrub that’s safe for face and body, you can easily buff away dull, lackluster skin with Mio’s Double Buff. This non-abrasive scrub is dedicated to revealing brighter, smoother, more even toned skin. In place of harmful buffing fragments, this omega-rich exfoliator utilizes perfectly spherical particles of pumice, lava and bamboo to gently but effectively slough away dead skin cells. Extract of fig and organic shea butter hydrate and moisturize whilst organic sweet almond oil can soothe sensitive skin. The results? Smooth and supple looking skin with renewed clarity and radiance.
Not only helping skin to look smoother and more even, its formula is packed with essential nutrients which work to maintain elasticity so skin looks and feels younger, firmer and extra dewy. Use on a damp face or on a dry body, pre-shower. Like all Mio Skincare products, Double Buff is free from parabens, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance and colorants, xenoestrogens, PEGs, glycols and phthalates.