Reviewing some of my favourite eco-friendly exfoliants
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Three of the best… so I thought I’d get back to basics with something I use all the time. Exfoliating has been an essential part of my skincare routine for years. I find it really helps my skin, which is prone to dryness, and is particularly good in ensuring a smooth, even shave, preventing the frequently associated redness. It is thankfully becoming ever easier to find products containing natural exfoliants. Gone (hopefully!) are the days of the plastic micro-bead, here are the days of sugar, crushed fruit stones, and sand. But some products now take this a step further, finding their exfoliant in a waste product which is bountiful in the UK: coffee grounds. According to the British Coffee Association, we Brits get through around 90 million cups of coffee everyday. Granted, only a relatively small proportion of those will be fresh, ground coffee, but even that represents a huge amount of waste every single day. This can be composted, but it is great that some skincare companies are taking the initiative and giving these coffee grounds a new lease of life as a useful item.
So coffee body scrubs are hopefully here to stay. They are messy to use, giving your shower a bit of a polka dot look, but they are effective. Coffee oil is good for your skin, and most are a mix of coffee with other oils, so they have added impact as moisturisers. I’ve used quite a few of these now, and here I’ve picked out my favourites.
This is the first coffee scrub I tried, and it certainly won me over. They smell great and have a nice degree of coarseness, so they’re not too rough but firm enough to feel like they’re doing something. Scrub it all over, leave for a minute or two, and wash off for a satisfyingly smooth finish. It, and other coffee scrubs, won’t leave you feeling super clean as such, as the oils coat your skin slightly, but they will leave you feeling moisturised and supple. Scrub Love have lots of scents and formulas to choose from depending on your needs and tastes. The real downside of this brand is the packaging. It matches that of real drinking coffee, so it has a sense of humour, but the large sachet style makes it quite difficult to apply, and if you don’t want to use it all in one go (you won’t), it can be a bit hit and miss to reseal. So Scrub Love is good if you want to try lots of flavours, less good if you want to find an old dependable.
Regular readers will remember UpCircle from my vitamin C moisturisers post. They are without a doubt one of my favourite brands, and I have yet to find a product they make that I don’t love. Their coffee scrubs are no exception. My favourite is the tangerine, but the other scents are great too. It smells incredible, is really effective, and, like all their products, is sustainably produced. It comes in a metal tube (kind of like a tomato purée tube!), which makes it really easy to squeeze out every last bit. For repeat purchases you can also get an option without a cap, so you can reuse your old one and reduce waste! I believe this is the case for almost all of their products. The coffee is just the right texture, giving you a firm but still quite gentle scrub. It’s full of natural oils, so my skin feels pleasantly moisturised when I’ve use it. This helps to counteract any sensitivity I might get from exfoliating. All in all this is definitely my favourite coffee scrub, and one I’m happy to buy again and again.
Having not quite got up to speed on ordering things to Australia yet, I needed something to fill the gap when I ran out of UpCircle. ThankYou is an Australian social enterprise that commits 100% of its profits to funding safe water, hygiene and sanitation, and food security programmes across the globe. In the past it has got into trouble for the charities it has chosen to support. It does still support the Salvation Army, which has as questionable a reputation here in Australia as it does in the UK. But their support for particularly problematic charities does seem to be a thing of the past. The basic idea is one I can certainly get behind. Each product comes with a tracker code which lets you see what the profit from it has been assigned to. I tried this out and it works by offering you a chance to create an impact profile. You can then save the tracker codes from your products, and view where the profits have been assigned, up to 17 months down the line. Not quite the instant gratification you might be after, but still a cool idea. I bought my scrub a few weeks ago, and I can already see that it has been used to fund water, sanitation and hygiene programmes. Quite a neat idea, and one I’ll be keeping an eye on.
But back to the scrub itself. Lobbying saw ThankYou products stocked in Coles, Woolworths, and many of the other big shops, so it’s easy to get your hands on. Unlike the others on this list, it is more of a dry scrub. It’s a scoop up in your hand and try not to drop it affair, rather than a paste. The particles are much bigger than in the UpCircle scrub, and they’re not entirely coffee based (I think the other granules are sugar). It doesn’t feel as effective as the UpCircle scrub, but it’s still pleasant, and the macadamia oil has a nicely moisturising feel. All in all not my favourite, but a good stop-gap measure.
What are your favourite exfoliants? I love the idea of creating something new and useful out of something that would otherwise be thrown away, which is why I’m so keen on coffee-based products! Do you have any recommendations for what I should try next? I’d love to hear them in the comments!