Looking for scrub in all the wrong places ...
March 21, 2011 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me find a shower body scrub like sandpaper?

I stayed at a hotel (the Sanderson, in London) that had a really gritty shower gel. I loved this stuff. They've since stopped making the stuff, and the scrubs for daily use available in the body wash aisle near me are pretty tame. Can anyone recommend something more powerful, ideally something widely/Internetly available?
posted by troywestfield to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This is a very low-tech solution, but it might be useful in your quest. I make my own sugar scrubs because I really like to feel like I've been sandpapered off, and storebought scrubs don't do it. Equal parts white sugar, brown sugar, and olive oil mixed together in a jar, plus a few drops of perfume oil or something if I want it to smell pretty (usually not). The brown sugar is a bit "squishy", and if it's not scrubby enough for your tastes, you can swap some of it out for more white sugar.
posted by bewilderbeast at 8:49 AM on March 21, 2011

St. Ives apricot scrub is very, very gritty (unless they've changed it in the past couple of years).
posted by Melismata at 8:51 AM on March 21, 2011 [6 favorites]

I really like scrubby bath gloves. They're good and scratchy, can be used with any soap or gel, and you don't have to worry about rinsing all the bits off or clogging your drain. Most drugstores have them.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:52 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

I like Ocean Salt from Lush.

Alternately, have you considered using actual sandpaper? Or, more practically, a foot file? Not just for feet anymore! (I use one on my upper arms, it helps with keratosis pilaris)
posted by cabingirl at 8:53 AM on March 21, 2011

Best answer: Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub will do this. It's a face wash, though, and has salicylic acid, so I don't know if it's really something you want to use for your whole body. But it's definitely got what you're looking for--it's like washing your face with a sheet of 220 grit. In a good way.

I agree with bewilderbeast about homemade sugar scrubs. I tend towards dry skin so it's not something I do often, but when I've come back from camping trips or things that have gotten me sufficiently gross, I mix a squeeze of my body wash into a cup of sugar and really go to town.
posted by phunniemee at 8:54 AM on March 21, 2011

Aqua Mirabilis bars from Lush are super-scrubby. They make a huge mess in the shower though, and are pretty expensive for what you get.
posted by mskyle at 8:55 AM on March 21, 2011

axe snakepeel has grit in it.
posted by chasles at 9:01 AM on March 21, 2011

Scrubby bath gloves are awesome for your body. Most large dollar stores will carry them.

For your face, Proactiv renewing cleanser or Phisoderm Clear Confidence Blemish Masque are good everyday scrubs.

When you really want to go to town on your face, mix the following in the palm of your hand: a tablespoon of baking soda, a drop of water, and a pump of your usual foaming liquid facewash. Be gentle as you exfoliate your face with this stuff- it feels smooth but it scrubs better than you think, so be careful not to rub it too hard over your facial bones. Do the baking soda thing, followed by a light moisturizer, the night before you need perfect glowing skin and you'll be amazed how good your skin looks the next day. I've been videotaped in high-def and had the cameraman compliment how smooth my skin looked, and I know it did NOT look that good before the baking soda thing!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:01 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Lava Soap will rip your skin right off! It's marketed as a heavy-duty cleanser for mechanics, etc., but it has pumice in it, so it's a great exfoliator. Available in bars or as a liquid.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:03 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that St. Ives doesn't do it anymore. Also, rumor is that some scrubs use plastic for the abrasive, which is all kinds of bad for the environment. Even without plastic, after having rooted around in the trap under my shower, I'm pretty hesitant to use anything solid anymore.

Sugar/salt scrubs are good, and also this scrubby cloth from Ulta works better for me than any bath gloves I've tried. Since it's long, you can wrap it around various assorted shapes and get a good amount of force going.

Depending on how bad your skin is, and I would NOT recommend this for anyone who has normal skin, but this works really well for ichthyosis - you can scrape something rigidly flexible, something like a library card, over flat parts of your body to remove quite a bit of skin. You'd obviously want to do that with wet skin, not dry, and probably not a library card in active use.
posted by arabelladragon at 9:04 AM on March 21, 2011

This scrub from Inecto works well as do the flavours from n-spa. (ASDA have the latter on the shelves).
posted by episodic at 9:08 AM on March 21, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers so far (and so fast). To clarify: Definitely looking for a body wash, not just for my face, and not for something else like gloves or bar soap. Have tried the Axe snakepeel, and it wasn't as gritty as I would like.
posted by troywestfield at 9:12 AM on March 21, 2011

I sometimes make a scrub by mixing cornmeal or ground almonds into liquid soap or shower gel, or sometimes just plain water. You have to do it on an "as-needed" basis -- you can't mix up a big horkin' batch and then let it sit, because it'd spoil -- but just keep a jar of cornmeal or ground almonds in the bathroom and then when you need to use some, just pour some into the palm of your hand, drizzle on the liquid soap or gel, and mix.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 AM on March 21, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry, dumb question: I've been assuming 'body scrub' (e.g., the n-spa to which episodic linked a few posts up) is somehow different from 'bath (or shower) scrub,' and that maybe you apply it pre-shower, and wash the body scrub off with soap/gel. Is that true, or terribly wrong?
posted by troywestfield at 9:15 AM on March 21, 2011

'nthing Melismata on St. Ives Apricot Scrub...it feels like 50% gritty sand and rinses off very nicely.
posted by samsara at 9:16 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Colgate's Octagon soap. It's a bar soap, but it has ... well, I'm not entirely sure what, but it feels like sand in it. It's cheap and doesn't require a loofah or washcloth or anything else. It's just a bar of soap.

You can also do laundry with it.

It's actual soap though, so you may want to use a moisturizer afterwards, since it certainly doesn't contain any.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:32 AM on March 21, 2011

If there's a Trader Joe's near you, try their Lavender Salt Scrub. It's very inexpensive for a salt scrub, and wow is it scrubby. Alternatively, make your own with fine-ground Dead Sea Salt and a massage oil like almond or jojoba. The bonus of using these salt + oil scrubs is that after they sand your skin to kingdom come, they leave some oil behind to moisturize so your skin is extra-, ultra-soft.
posted by ROTFL at 9:40 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I've never been as happy with the scrubbiness of a store-bought scrub as compared to a homemade sugar-and-oil mix.

Also, once I used a bag of flavored coffee grounds instead of sugar (because I thought it tasted weird and I wanted to use it up). They say caffeine firms your skin- don't know if it's true, but it worked just as well as sugar, anyway.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:51 AM on March 21, 2011

Oh, and regarding the St Ives Apricot Scrub -- St Ives seems determined to keep tweaking their product line and packaging until every customer is optimally confused. I wasted a lot of money buying what I thought was their old Apricot Scrub in a new package, only to find a creamy lotion with dainty specks of grit. Finally, I realized that the only real scrub in the line is now called the St Ives Apricot Scrub Blemish and Blackhead Control. It is a REAL scrub with jagged apricot-pit bits, guaranteed to exfoliate until your epidermis begs for mercy.
posted by ROTFL at 9:54 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use some cakes of salt I brought back from the Dead Sea and grind myself, so seconding ROTFL's suggestion.
posted by goo at 10:12 AM on March 21, 2011

The Body Shop's Olive Body Scrub is the grittiest I've tried. Crushed olive pits! Tough stuff. However, it's not a body wash. You need to wash with soap before (or is after?), apply the scrub, and rinse.

Another tip: there are several French brands that use coarse sugar in their scrubs. Search for "gommage."
posted by Opal at 11:05 AM on March 21, 2011

Oh! Have you thought about looking on Etsy? The sellers are the makers, and many will work with you on a customized product. You can try this search or this group.
posted by Opal at 11:32 AM on March 21, 2011

Step 1: Find your favorite non-scrubby body wash - based on smell, effectiveness as a solvent, or whatever.

Step 2: Add a heaping helping of this stuff, and mix well. (Ignore the *intended* usage. It's just the cheapest way google shows to get the stuff.) Your body wash is now liquid sandpaper.

Warning: Do not use near your eyes or on your forehead. Scratched corneas are badbadbad!
posted by Citrus at 12:04 PM on March 21, 2011

I started using Trader Joe's tangerine scrub after i tried it when I was over at my (ex) boyfriend's place.
It's very gritty and leaves your skin very smooth and soft.

Now that I don't live anywhere near a Trader Joe's, I've been using Neutrogena's Body Scrub (usually found in the womens section where all the face masks and loofahs are). And I also just started using Hugo All Natural Body Scrubs. I bought this on sale at Kroger and I imagine places like Whole Foods/Earth Fare carry it as well.
My boyfriend uses this as well because it helps his psoriasis.
posted by KogeLiz at 12:54 PM on March 21, 2011

Definitely check Etsy for this kind of thing. Many will be happy to give you a few sample sizes for a fiver, til you find the one you like best.
posted by elizardbits at 4:27 PM on March 21, 2011

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Gojo. Their pumice hand soap is made for car mechanics, and you can get it in various degrees of grittiness.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:44 PM on March 21, 2011

A big squirt tub of Orange from GoJo, purchased at the Home Depot, will be more than happy to grind off your skin. It's in the same vein as Lava soap, ie: intended for paint and grease.
posted by carlh at 6:01 PM on March 21, 2011

I've been assuming 'body scrub' (e.g., the n-spa to which episodic linked a few posts up) is somehow different from 'bath (or shower) scrub,'

I've never seen a difference between the two, and I'm not sure what would make a before-shower scrub different from a during-shower scrub (except that if you're using a super, super gritty scrub, and you try to use it on dry skin out of the shower, you're likely to tear your skin up- it's happened to me before). The only thing I can think of is that products that are advertised as a shower scrub may be more of a body wash with exfoliants in it. You could also try looking for body polishes, which tend to be super gritty.

Makeup Alley is a great site to look at product reviews- I think you have to be a member to search the reviews, but a quick search just turned up 907 products in the "body scrub" category.
posted by kro at 7:48 PM on March 21, 2011

L'oreal Exfotonic is very gritty, and isn't greasy (I don't like oily scrubs in summer). It is so gritty, it leaves my hands smooth from all the rub rub rubbing!
posted by shazzam! at 10:22 PM on March 21, 2011

Salux towels from Japan have changed my exfoliating LIFE.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:49 AM on March 22, 2011

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