Cultures and religions across the world have long made links between physical cleanliness and moral purity. Even this reviewer has mentioned the idea in an earlier post when comparing Zirh, to harsher scrubbing cleanser. Testing Osmotics’ Male Facial Cleansing Scrub, I got thinking again that the use of cleansers and scrubs has a strong psychological undertone: one is hoping to clear up impurities of life and of the soul by scrubbing away dead cells on the surface of the skin.

What I did not know then is that this process has a scientific name: The Macbeth effect. “Out, damn spot! Out I say!” In Macbeth’s fifth act, Lady Macbeth’s treacherous murder of King Duncan takes its toll and she begins obsessively washing her hands to alleviate her guilty conscience. Now, some four centuries after Shakespeare penned his play, scientists have found that physical and moral cleanliness are just as inextricably linked as he suggested. A series of psychological experiments have revealed just how deep these links run, and how people can literally wash away their sins.

Building on the psychological concept that the more you scrub, the more effective you believe the product and so the better you feel about your redemption, Osmotics has chosen the most violent road. Osmotics’ Male Facial Cleansing Scrub is definitely harsh and it contains diatomaceous earth (fine granulated powder from silica), and jojoba beads, both designed to rid the face of impurities.  If you do not think it works, no psychotherapist will be able to help!

The product is part of Osmotics’ four step regimen for men reviewed as a bundle elsewhere on Truth in Aging.  This unique, "all in one" cleansing scrub offers an appealing and sophisticated texture, it is transparent but for a multitude of blue-colored granules that glisten under the bathroom light. It holds together quite well, is not too liquid. This may due to the acrylates copolymer giving it the feel of a hair styling cream.

Osmotics is a reputable company using mostly quality ingredients and this product appears to be no exception. Cleansing is partly achieved through sodium lauroyl sarcosinate (known to be a mild and safe cleanser for both skin and hair that removes surface oil, bacteria, and dirt), cocamidopropyl betaine and  oleth-10 (both helping water to mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed off).  Plus Polyquaternium 10, a white granulated powder with anti-static and moisturizing impact. Strangely enough, many of these ingredients can be found in hair products. And there is a long list of nice botanical extracts, including aloe vera, raspberry, avocado, carrot, cucumber, calendula and grape with good purpose it is assumed and, fortunately, with no noticeable fragrance, all real plusses.

On the minus side, one assumes that the following three ingredients are in minute enough quantity to be safe : Oleth-10,  as well as polyquaternium 7 and Diazolidinyl Urea Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, a vegetable-derived preservative with the trade name Germall Plus.

Unfortunately, and despite its claim, the product does not “gently cleanse and exfoliate without irritation”, it scrapes the skin in an unremitting and almost violent manner. There is nothing gentle about this product. Whether one takes a tiny nut or one lathers a large amount gently, the feeling is always one of “scorched earth” approach. Indeed, if there is anything to take out from the skin, you can believe this emery rub will do it.

I am guessing that this grating comes from some or all of the silica and jojoba beads. But I was amused – and concerned – to find pumice in there. The latter is no less than rock, specifically an igneous rock formed when lava cooled quickly above ground. I remember vividly my grand father using a pumice stone to wash his hands after he did some especially dirty mechanics job… Why would you put this on your face?

This product has good ingredients but causes a horrible sensation, does it work? With relief, I can say that the impact on the face is not tantamount to the feeling on the skin. The skin looks matte and there is no apparent irritation. So perhaps Osmotics should grind the silica and the jojoba much much finer – and perhaps not add pumice - so that the experience be less aggressive?

As it is, it is almost as difficult to apply as to rinse and some residues are often left of the face, annoyingly in the eyes (which is not fun with contact lenses), even when washing it out under a full flow of water from the tap. More irritatingly, if some of these granules are left on the cheeks or neck, they certainly do not help the smoothness of shaving however good the shaving butter from Osmotics might prove to be (see next post).

Ingredients:

Purified Water, Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Aloe Vera Gel, Pumice, Oleth-10, Jojoba Esters, Tromethamine, Polyquaternium-10, Sodium PCA, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Fragrance Oil, Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium EDTA.