I’m of the school that says that facial exfoliation should be a light touch. Our faces are delicate things; exfoliation should always be more gentle buffing than industrial cheesegrating.
Little and often is usually better and it’s one of the advantages of cleansing daily with a muslin or flannel, but I do like to start mini facials with a gentle scrub to prep the skin for facial masks or richer moisturisers.
This is a tale of two scrubs.
First up, Superfacialist by Una Brennan’s Rose Hydrate Brighten and Refine Facial Scrub. While this has a lovely delicate rose fragrance and a creamy consistency thanks to the cocoa seed and shea butter, the scrub particles (in this case, pumice) were just way too scratchy for me. Perhaps if you’re a rhino – in which case, congratulations on your reading ability – it might just about work. But I do find that particles like pumice, ground olive stones and other scrub ingredients that result in irregular-shaped particles always feel a bit ‘sharp’ and leave my skin a bit too red. I much prefer scrubs with particles that have a smooth or spherical shape: jojoba wax beads, for example.
All is not lost though. The Superfacialist scrub – shown below with its Rose Hydrate buddies (of which I have only complimentary things to say and will review soon) – has been moved to the shower where it’s proven to be a rather lovely body scrub (which, given it’s such a generous tube might be reason enough to buy it anyway). It’s just too much for my face.
Next up, Mary Elizabeth’s Camellia and Geranium Gentle Face Scrub*. Here there’s a base of natural oils, such as skin-saviour avocado, soothing camellia seed and hydrating sunflower seed. Having scrutinised the ingredients list, I can only assume the scrub ingredient is the Cupuaçu seed powder; an ingredient I haven’t come across before. It’s an incredibly gentle exfoliant and not at all gritty. Mary Elizabeth suggest it’s gentle enough for daily use and I’d be inclined to agree – although I’d always suggest that you’d be better off with an oil-based cleanser and a flannel.
Overall, it was a really lovely product to use and left my skin feeling really soft and fresh without the worrying redness of the Superfacialist. Fragrance-wise, the predominant scent is from the geranium essential oil, which is a lovely oil for the skin but not my favourite scent of all. Having said that, this was one of the nicer geraniums I’ve smelt with a nice freshness to it. [In case that sounds a bit odd, high quality essential oils will have subtle variations in scent depending on the growing conditions/geographic location of the source plants. I have therapist friends who buy certain oils from different suppliers because they prefer the fragrance to the oil offered by their regular supplier.]
Superfacialist by Una Brennan’s Rose Hydrate Brighten and Refine Facial Scrub, £8.99 for 150ml; available at Boots stores nationwide and online.
Ingredients: Aqua (water), polyethylene, caprylic/capric tryglyceride, cetearyl alcohol, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, pumice, cetyl esters, candelilla cera (euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax), rosa damascena fllower water, glycerin, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), sorbitan stearate, polysorbate 60, cera carnauba (copernica cerifera) wax, phenoxyethanol, coco-glucoside, pelargoneum graveolens (geranium) oil, fragrance, allantoin, benzoic acid, althaea officinalis root extract, menthol, panthenol, dehydroacetic acid, ethylhexylglycerin, sodium hydroxide, polyaminopropyl biguanide, salix alba (white willow) bark extract, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, citronellol, geraniol, dipropylene glycol
Mary Elizabeth Camellia and Geranium Gentle Face Scrub, £12.50 for 50g; available from Mary Elizabeth’s website.
Ingredients: Aqua, Persea Gratissima Oil^, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil^, Helianthus Annus Seed Oil^ Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactilate, , Sorbitol, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Powder^, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, , Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil^, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil^, Dehydroacetic Acid Linalool*, Geraniol, Citronellol ^ Organic
*PR sample – all opinions are my own.