The Good the Bad & The Ugly Truth’s About Face Scrubs!

Physical exfoliants feel amazing, they remove dead skin cells, help clear congestion, brighten the skin and improve absorption of active ingredients from our face serums and oils.

However, did you know some particles used in face scrubs are detrimental to our skin’s health and the environment?  

Face scrubs that contain particles with large uneven edges or sharp textures can cause damage to the skin, if the product also contains fragrance, colour or harsh preservatives this can increases the irritancy level.

Scrubbing your face with the incorrect exfoliant causes micro-tears, weakening the skins natural barrier functions.  This can lead to inflammation (redness), sensitive skin flare ups such as eczema and dermatitis, visibly larger pores, or rough flaky textures.  If you are prone to breakouts, you will likely experience an increase in papules as p-acne bacteria is spread from one pore to another.

There are also companies still using synthetic micro-beads as their scrub particles in their products (GASP!). Made of polyethylene (plastic) they are a major environmental hazard, washed down the bathroom sink or shower they end up in our oceans where they are consumed by aquatic life.

THE GOOD - There are many natural, biodegradable particles that are small, smooth and soft on the skin, rolling around to gently lift dead skin cells without irritation or micro-tears. Being derived from living plant sources they have additional benefits on our skin such as increasing moisture levels, calming sensitivity and delivering free-radicle fighting antioxidants.  

Here’s a quick guide to the scrub particles most commonly found and what ones are good for us, bad for us and ugly for our environment.

THE GOOD - Biodegradable, no micro-tears and added benefits for the skin.

  • Bamboo Particles
  • Jojoba Beads
  • Rice Bran
  • Oat Flour

THE BAD  - Scrubs that cause micro-tearing, irritation & sensitivity.

  • Nut Shells & Pips
  • Volcanic Rock
  • Salt & Coffee (Ok for the body but often too harsh for the face)

THE UGLY - Pollute our environment.

  • Microbeads
  • Synthetic Particles

The Quick Scrub Test Checking the ingredient list is just part of selecting a good quality exfoliant.  Pop a pea sized amount of the product on the back of your hand and massage in a circular motion. If you feel even the slightest pull or scratch on your skin it's going to be too harsh for your face.

Follow The Directions Even with a gentle exfoliant is it easy to overdo it.  Always follow the directions on physical exfoliants, most recommending use 1-2 times per week, if in doubt ask your skincare specialist or send us a message.

Our Exfoliant Recommendations Based on Skin Type

Vitamin C Exfoliating Cream , Best for dry, mature and sun damaged skins. Contains biodegradable bamboo beads for a strong physical exfoliant without the micro-tearing.

Superfood Microfoliant, Best for sensitive and great for congested & breakout prone skin. Contains natural rice bran and oat flour for an ultra-gentle exfoliation.

Skin Renewal Beta-H Pads, Best for heavy congestion & active acne. Contains no scrub particles at all. If you have active acne its best to avoid scrubs all together until the papules have cleared.


Exfoliants and Face Scrubs


  • This has helped me so much, easy to understand information for someone like me who knows nothing about skincare! 😂

    Shanaia Copper
  • I have the superfood Microfoliant and it’s so amazing for my skin which is super sensitive. Love there’s a safe way for me to still exfoliate. Thanks for the info.

  • I often use scrubs on my face not knowing what ingredients I’m putting on my skin and they often make my face worse off feeling dry and red. Already the overnight gel has helped with breakouts overnight which has been great! Great blog 💖 Thankyou for sharing your knowledge x

  • I have the st Ives scrub and it makes my skin feel so clean but it does make my skin really red and I’ve noticed I burn more now when I’m on the sun. Maybe this is why. Thanks!


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