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Five Best exfoliating facial scrubs 2012

July 18, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 17 Comments

As Mark put it in his Skinfinite review, summertime heat and humidity can send oil glands into high gear. Combine this with sweat, airborne dirt and pollutants, and it creates perfect conditions for congested skin, acne blemishes, clogged pores and blackheads. It’s exfoliation time and do we have a Five Best collection for you! These will bring your complexion back to right and impart all sorts of other benefits as well. They can all be used with your Clarisonic or Sirius Sonic brushes.

Skinfinite Micro Derma Scrub (3.3oz/$35). This scrub doesn’t just exfoliate but also includes ingredients that are kind to the skin such as bamboo powder with flavonoids (with their purifying, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, they act as a natural exfoliator). Also included is passionflower extract with antioxidant, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging benefits. Plus, lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that hydrates and exfoliates, reducing wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.  A heavenly gender-neutral scent and the ability to unclog pores in two uses. Read Mark’s full review

LiftLab Purify & Clarify (4.4oz/$65 in the TIA shop). Purify & Clarify does what the name implies, exfoliating gently, tightening pores and hydrating. As always, with LiftLab, it utilizes some really interesting marine actives. The grainy texture sloughs the skin, but what sets Purify & Clarify apart is a very unique exfoliator: roe. Yep fish eggs. There is an enzyme that acts as an exfoliator by mimicking skin enzymes and degrading corneodesmosomes, the “mortar” in the skin's "bricks and mortar.” Dead skin cells are gently removed without harming the living skin cells beneath. There is another marine active here and botanicals with fatty acids and antioxidants. Read the full review

Stemulation Micro Derm Scrub (8oz/$34 in the TIA shop). Nisha summed it up: “this stuff is the bomb.” I would put it as this is the bargain of the year. A whopping 8oz and great ingredients for less than $30. The scrubbing stuff is is diatomaceous earth, a naturally occurring, soft siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine powder and is very light as a result of its high porosity. Sodium lactate, a natural salt derived from lactic acid, plays double duty as a preservative and an exfoliant. Plus there’s aloe, maritime bark, billberry and one my favorites, milk thistle. Read Nisha’s full review

SenZen Slough It Off Ultimate Exfoliant (2oz/$42). This has been a favorite of mine since it launched a couple of years ago. It seems to suit most skin types and just about every age. I particularly like that our 62-year-old reviewer found that “my skin has taken on a new glow, the color is softer, and my face and neck are *so* smooth ... the softness doesn't fade, either.  My face feels hydrated all day long ... makeup goes on smoother and seems to last longer, too.” There’s a ton of great botanicals – you’ll just want to leave this on like a mask and the scrubbing action is provided by ivory palm seed powder. Read Cindy’s review

Your Best Face Prep Microdermabasian (1.7oz/$80 in the TIA shop). This is an excellent product – an anti-aging mask and exfoliator in one. It preps the skin for the products you follow with and Prep has a creamy consistency with ultra fine crystals that leave skin feeling gently polished. Our reviewers report that it fades scars, takes out blemishes and is a powerful product when it comes to tackling blackheads. With an antioxidant white tea base, Prep is packed with yet more antioxidants, peptides – including collagen boosters Matrixyl 3000, Syn-Coll and Syn-Tacks – and vitamins. Plus there’s YBF’s signature free radical scavengers, spin trap and Lipochroman-6. A little goes a really long way. Read Katya’s review

Ingredients in Skinfinite: Aqua (Water), Bambusa Arundinacea (Bamboo) Stem Powder, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propylene Glycol, Lactic Acid (L), Dimethicone, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Squalane, Cetyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate (D-alpha), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Allantoin, Mica, Passiflora Laurifolia (Passionflower) Flower Extract, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Alcohol Denat., Potassium Sorbate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Gluconate, Glycol Distearate, Titanium Dioxide, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Carbomer, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Fragrance/Parfum

Ingredients in LiftLab: Water (aqua), myristic acid, glycerin, potassium hydroxide, stearic acid, peg-dipropylene glycol, lauric acid, olive oil peg-7 esters, crambe abyssinica seed oil, beeswax, peg-100 stearate, glyceryl stearate, cocamidopropyl betaine, hydrogenated jojoba oil, maltooligosyl glucoside, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel oil, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil, jojoba wax peg-120 esters, cetyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, sodium chloride, ormenis multicaulis extract, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter extract, tocopheryl acetate, tetrasodium edta, melia azadirachta leaf extract, melia azadirachta flower extract, amino esters-1, roe extract, coccinia indica fruit extract, solanum muricatum fruit extract, sodium hyaluronate, aloe barbadensis flower extract, fish plasma protein (cell protection protein), disodium phosphate, pearl powder, ocimum sanctum leaf extract, ocimum basilicum (basil) extract, lawsonia inermis extract, curcuma longa (turmeric) root extract, sodium phosphate, tin oxide, synthetic fluorphlogopite, titanium dioxide

Ingredients in Stemulation: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Leaf, Juice, Diatomaceous Earth, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Glycerin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract, Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) Extract, Pinus Pinaster Bark (Maritime Pine) Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Sodium Lactate, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Sodium Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

Ingredients in SenZen: Water, Phytelephas Aequatorialis (Ivory Palm) Seed Powder, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Sucrose Cocate Glycerin, Propanediol, Coco Glucoside, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Presscake Powder, Paullinia Cupana (Guarana) Seed Powder, Passiflora Edulis, Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Jojoba Esters, Allantoin, Phytic Acid, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, SENZEN Energized Liposomal Blend, Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens, (Geranium)Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Clycol Disterate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum)

Ingredients in Prep:White tea (reverse osmosis water, white tea), aluminum oxide crystals, olivem (cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate), Pentavitin (saccharide isomerate), niacin, edelweiss extract, triglyceride, alpha arbutin, allantoin, Syn-Tacks (glycerin, palmitoyl dipeptide-5 diaminobutyroyl hydroxytheonine, palmitoyl dipeptide-5 diaminohydroxybutyrate), vitamin e, vitamin B5, Matrixyl 3000 (glycerin, butylene glycol, water, carbomer, polysorbate-20, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3), Syn-Coll (glycerin, palmitoyl tripeptide-5), olive leaf extract, Lipochroman-6 (dimethylmethoxy chromanol), idebenone, sodium hyaluronate, spin trap (phenyl butyl nitrone), orange oil, bergamot oil, paraben d

  • August 8, 2012

    by Terressa Cross

    This is good to know. I have tried everything from Burts Bees but way to oily. I’ve tried every product too at whole foods almost. I do the at home facial with the Riiviva Microdermabrasion tool for my acne scarring and it’s terrific. Its here at
    Do you have any recommendations as to what avenue to take for mositurizing with out all the oily residue that happens when I use oils. Thanks

  • July 25, 2012

    by Jennifer

    I would love the chance to try one of these face scrubs I am in need of a good product for my complexion to come back to life. I hope I get the chance to give my opinion.

  • July 24, 2012

    by Sophie

    Would love to try the skinfinite scrub. Am on the market for a good exfoliator!

  • July 22, 2012

    by Candy

    The FDA warned that phenoxyethanol can cause shut down of the central nervous system, vomiting and contact dermatitis.

  • July 21, 2012

    by Teri Dourmashkin

    Hi Laura....because the La Vie Celeste exfoliating mask also contains very gentle bamboo grains, you can first manually exfoliate using gentle circular motions for 30 seconds or so...this would actually function as a scrub. Then you would just leave it on for an additional 5-10 minutes before rinsing. If you find you need something additional , then I would alternate it with one of TIA's other great offerings in the scrub, Teri/La Vie Celeste

  • July 20, 2012

    by Leslie

    My favorite is REVERSE Deep Exfoliating Wash created by Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields. The entire 4 product regimen really smoothed and brightened my skin. Faded brown patches, too. Available from

  • July 20, 2012

    by Kate Z

    I just purchased the YBF Prep a couple of weeks ago so I don't get to try the new cleanser sample offer :(((
    I really like Prep. It's perfect for my combination skin and I'm sure going to love it this winter to slough off any dry areas. It's not too grainy that you feel like it will tear your skin but it does a good job cleaing out pours and leaving your skin feeling smooth and glowing. I've never said this about a scrub before but I love using this stuff.

  • July 20, 2012

    by Ann

    I have used and do use both of Arcona's grainy scrubs. They are both very effective, with good ingredients (although one has retinol which some don't care for) and are free of the usual nasty preservatives. But I think the best exfoliator and pore reducer is a face brush. I've been using the Skin Sonic, but I'd like to get a Clarisonic too.

  • July 20, 2012

    by kathy

    i'm 45 and would love to try this scrub....i have yet to find one that i really like

  • July 20, 2012

    by sherry chen

    i'm in my mid-twenties, and still have occasional breakouts. as a result, my skin tone isn't very even (plus i have noticeable pores). i would be interested in trying and reviewing these products to see if they can help.

  • July 19, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Dani, I think it depends on your skin and weather. But I would say every two/three days is best.

  • July 19, 2012

    by Laura

    I was wondering the same thing as Dani. I was thinking that a scrub would more likely fit in as a mask replacement. I alternate between twice-weekly masks using La Vie Celeste's glycolic and Andalou's brightening pumpkin mask. I don't currently have a scrub; would I replace one of my mask treatments, because they are already exfoliating?

  • July 19, 2012

    by Dani Valkova

    Very interesting article! Thanks Marta! Between my Mad Hippie cleanser and weekly JP Peels I have somewhat overlooked facial scrubs as part of my routine.. just to clarify something - is the best use for facial scrubs as a replacement for a cleanser during the summer months? Are they gentle enough to use daily or are they best left to a weekly use?

  • July 18, 2012

    by Cynthia Baughman

    The only one of these I've tried is YBF Prep, but I agree: it is excellent. Very effective at scouring pores and polishing skin with its teeny, tiny, buffing particles, but it does not leave the skin feeling at all raw or abraded. The fineness of the particles plus YBF's kind ingredients equals an effective, but non-irritating exfoliant. And yes, a little goes a long way.

  • July 18, 2012

    by Susan S.

    Hi Marta,
    I just turned 56 but still have really active sebaceous glands in the chin/nose area. Would love to try something to keep that area clear and un-clogged.

  • July 18, 2012

    by Charley

    I would love to try the Skinfinite facial scrub. If it's anything like their LOL Eye Serum, I bet it's a winner. Also, I notice my sunscreen getting stuck in my expanding pores -- I'm sure that's not the only thing getting in there. Thank you.

  • July 18, 2012

    by Laura

    I have suffering from dull, break-out prone skin for some time now. I am 37 with a fair amount of sun damage, as well as having occasional dermatitis flare-ups. Couldn't I just have one problem? I have noticed that my skin is also much less vibrant and healthy looking since having my first baby. I would love to try something to perk it up - I need a mommy makeover! Please consider me for the Skinfinite facial scrub review. I promise to give it a full test run and an honest review! Thanks!

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