Does the world really need another face scrub or exfoliator? Before you answer probably not, consider a new one from Lather that is fairly unique. Facial Polishing Powder ($11) is a vial of fruit and nut powder that can be added to a favorite cleanser for a customized and reasonably priced 2-in-1. Unfortunately, while the concept is a good one, the formula needs more thought.

The main exfoliator is ground adzuki seed. A Japanese beauty ingredient for centuries, adzuki is second only to the soy bean as the country’s important legume. It is a good source of the amino acid, arginine, and regarded as helpful acne. There’s also polishing tagua nut and more commonly seen walnut powder and antioxidant apricot.

What is mostly a decent product is marred by the inclusion of polyethylene beads. Plastic to you and me and most unlikely to be biodegradable. In fact, a lot of people are unhappy about the increasing use of micro-plastics as they are too tiny to be picked up by wastewater treatment plants and get back into oceans where they may be ingested by fish. Although this may be speculative and the impact of micro-plastic on the environment seems to be unknown, scientists have been getting concerned: “While we don’t yet understand the impacts of microplastics to aquatic organisms,” says Dr Joel Baker, professor at the University of Washington and Science Director of the Center for Urban Waters in Tacoma, “we do know that releasing persistent materials into the ocean will result in ever increasing concentrations of marine debris.” (source). There’s also chlorphenesin, an unpleasant preservative – although I can deal with this in a rinse off product.

I hope that one day Lather, which lists sustaining the environment as one of its missions and whose other products I generally like (the 10-Minute Brightening Glycolic mask is really good) reformulates Facial Polishing Powder without the plastic. Until then, I will pass on recommending it or including it in the TIA shop. A pity as it is fun to customize with a cleanser or oil. If anyone is tempted to try it, go gently with the scrubbing as it the texture is on the abrasive side (I bet they added those polyethylene beads in attempt to soften it up).

Ingredients: phaseolus angularis (adzuki bean) seed powder, palm phytelephas aequatorialis (tagua nut), juglans regia (walnut) powder, polyethylene beads, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, glycine soja (hydrogenated soybean) oil, simmondsia chinensis (hydrogenated jojoba) oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis (almond) oil, prunus armeniaca (apricot) seed powder, potassium sorbate, chlorphenesin, essential oil blend.