I was very happy to have the opportunity to review Astara Daily Refining Scrub ($38). A bit about my skin: I have very oily skin prone to breakouts and blackheads. My skin needs exfoliants to control the oil, breakouts, and build up of skin cells, so I use products with glycolic acid and retinol. I wanted to incorporate a physical exfoliant as well to help with fine lines and congestion on my forehead, blackheads around my nose, and to help with occasional "peelies" from the retinol. I have used once or twice-a-week facial scrubs that can be harsh as I use a glycolic acid lotion which, when used together, strings and causes my face to get quite red. As this is a daily scrub, albeit advertised as gentle, I was worried about using it daily.
This scrub uses fine siliceous earth to exfoliate, along with aloe vera, comfrey, and basil to smooth skin, clarify, and minimize the appearance of pores. The fourth ingredient is sodium lauroyl sarcosinate that helps to clean skin and isn't expected to be harmful. I quite like the ingredient list.
This product comes in a plastic bottle with a lid that requires you to push down on one side so that the other side pops up, allowing the product to come out of small opening. The problem with the lid is that, with time, the residue dries out and clogs the opening. So I had to take the lid off to dispense the product, and either needed to pour it in my hand (often getting too much) or put my finger in the bottle. A flip-top lid would definitely be better.
Directions say to massage the product onto wet skin and rinse. For extra exfoliation, one can massage it onto dry skin. In the morning after cleansing, I used a dime size amount and massaged it in a circular motion for about a minute. I then rinsed, applied toner, and followed it with a glycolic lotion.
This scrub is whitish in color and gel-like. It smells great — a light citrus scent. The "scrubbies" in this are from diatomaceous earth, a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary rock which consists of fossilized hard shelled algae made up of mostly silica. Most facial scrubs I've seen contain aluminum oxide crystals, so this was a nice change. The scrub dissolves a little as it is massaged in.
I found this scrub to indeed be gentle enough for everyday use. Unlike with other scrubs I've used, putting on my glycolic lotion afterwards hardly stung.
At the end of one month of use my skin did look clearer. The little white bumps on my forehead had lessened and my skin was generally smoother, especially around my jawline. The scrub also helped diminish the peelies from retinol use. However, I did not notice any difference in the fine lines on my forehead.
I really liked this scrub, especially given that I can use it every day to gently exfoliate and improve skin over time. I will continue to use it.