Face scrub replacement
May 18, 2011 9:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a face scrub to replace the (former) world's best face scrub.

My husband has been using the Nivea for Men Energizing Face Scrub for almost 10 years. He introduced it to me, and I've been using it for almost 7 years myself. We loved it...and they had to go and change the formula.

The new version now is like every other mediocre scrub on the market; a few large plastic beads, unpleasantly aggressive tingling, and an ineffective wash. I miss the very fine scrub that left my face feeling baby soft. It was the closest thing I've found to mixing baking soda or salt with cetaphil. We can always default to that, but it was so convenient to have a packaged scrub to use at the gym or for travels.

Does anyone have a face scrub to recommend that it very fine, cleans like a dream, and is not irritating?

I did see the other thread about the same product, but they were looking for a natural alternative. I'd just like something similar!
posted by lizjohn to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (37 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub is one of my favorite things ever. I've never used the Nivea stuff, so I really can't say how it compares, but as far as scrubbiness goes: it's gritty, but not nearly as gritty as the St. Ives Apricot Scrub that's so popular. It does have salicylic acid in it, though, which may or may not be a factor you're looking for.
posted by phunniemee at 9:16 PM on May 18, 2011

Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash is my favorite! It's got a very fine grit and my face always feels really soft after I use it. It cleans well and I don't find it irritating at all. I like it much better than most other scrubs because the grit is finer than a lot of the big gritty scrubs, but it actually feels like it's doing something, unlike other fine-grit scrubs.
posted by bedhead at 9:22 PM on May 18, 2011

I use Angels on Bare Skin from Lush. It's made of ground almonds.
posted by sugarfish at 9:23 PM on May 18, 2011

I agree with the Philosophy recommendation - it is by far the finest grit I've found so far.
posted by blackkar at 9:24 PM on May 18, 2011

Etude House Baking Powder Crunch Pore Scrub is a box of sachets which can each be used 1-3 times. The scrub is very fine, smells great, and is ideal for traveling. Etude House is a Korean brand that can also be purchased on Ebay.
posted by acidic at 9:27 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not generally a big fan of all Clinique products, but I like their exfoliating scrub -- very fine grit and otherwise gentle.
posted by Majorita at 9:30 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been using this L'Oreal cleanser from CVS and it sounds like just what you're looking for. I used to use that rocky St. Ive's stuff, and this leaves me feeling as clean and smooth without feeling like I'm making a terrible mistake by rubbing rocks on my face. This stuff feels creamy but the results are the same.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:41 PM on May 18, 2011

Baking Soda.

Yes, I'm serious. It ROCKS. Just mix into a paste - ENJOY.

Try it once, see if I'm not right.

Plus, I think it has skin health benefits beyond its magical exfoliating properties. But yeah, plain old Baking Soda.

(Sometimes, I mix it with Dr Bronner's or some other vegetable based soap, but usually, just baking soda and a little water for paste.)
posted by jbenben at 9:51 PM on May 18, 2011 [10 favorites]

My aesthetician (okay, someone I got a few facials from) introduced me to a product line called Tuel (formerly Eva's Esthetics). I love all their products, especially their moisturizers and sunscreen. But they also have a really great scrub, Tuel Peeling Cream. It's a very fine grain but works well, cleanses, and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth.
posted by JenMarie at 10:03 PM on May 18, 2011

Menscience's Face Scrub is a very nice, fine scrub. A bit expensive, though. If you're already mixing baking soda and cetaphil, put some in an empty tube and take it with you- it works just as well.
posted by t_dubs at 10:05 PM on May 18, 2011

i sometimes still use the St. Ive's Apricot Scrub (i'm surprised it's not getting more recommendations here - i think it's pretty popular) but i've mostly switched to Lush's Angels on Bare Skin. it is unreal. Lush also has another scrub - a little more gritty - made with vodka, that's called Ocean Salt or something similar. equally awesome, though a little less soft on your face.
posted by gursky at 10:16 PM on May 18, 2011

Aveeno has a couple of exfoliating scrubs that specify for daily use, which gives it that really nice fine texture you're looking for. I love the Skin Brightening formula.

I've used the Philosophy scrub recommended by others, but I found the Aveeno scrub to be much more effective (both skin- and money-wise).
posted by moojoose at 10:56 PM on May 18, 2011

I love LUSH's Ocean Salt. I have sensitive skin and somehow my skin is able to tolerate it anyway. It leaves my skin very soft, and it smells delicious to boot.
posted by rachaelfaith at 10:56 PM on May 18, 2011

On preview...

@gursky I've read some dermatologists really discourage the apricot scrub now, because those pits are really harsh and damaging.
posted by moojoose at 10:57 PM on May 18, 2011

I like ANEW CLINICAL Advanced Dermabrasion System from Avon. I use it as a scrub.
posted by fifilaru at 11:08 PM on May 18, 2011

Two (problematically conflicting) things I've read about gritty scrubs recently:

1) uneven/not perfectly spherical natural scrubs, like walnut shell powder and seed-based scrubs, can tear/make tiny cuts in the skin which can cause wrinkles

2) plastic beads are bad for the environment and ocean life.

I've seen the tiny plastic beads for sale on their own on soapmaking supply sites, and presumably you could just add them to other cleansers yourself, but the environmental issue is disturbing.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:12 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Does it have to be a scrub? Because I find Philosophy's Purity cleanser to be just the thing... it's no grit, and so finer-than-fine. Apply in the shower, rub in, leave on for a minute or two while seeing to other showery business, and rub off. Seems to encourage exfoliation without being harsh about it.
posted by mumkin at 11:23 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've always been a fan of St. Ive's apricot scrub. It's not the gentlest, but it makes me look so fresh and clean. It smells great, the exfoliating agents are very fine, and they're natural too - ground walnuts and cornmeal if their website is to be believed. I like it, my mum likes it, and it's definitely worth a try.
posted by Ted Maul at 2:00 AM on May 19, 2011

Oh, I've just seen the issues some people have apricot scrub upthread. I guess I should read before I answer. But I do like the stuff. I don't think it's damaged my skin or given me wrinkles and I've used it for a few years. Just my experience.
posted by Ted Maul at 2:03 AM on May 19, 2011

I really really do not recommend facial scrubs. I used them for many years and they added to my skin irritation and gave me broken capillaries. Baking soda is the least bad of all possible scrubs, because of the fine evenness of the grains. But still, it is not good to abrade your skin like that. It's just inherently irritating.

Instead, I use a chemical exfoliant with 2% or more of salicylic acid. Garnier Pure has a non-abrasive face wash which, after basic cleansing with Cetaphil, I splash on and leave for two minutes before rinsing with lukewarm ater.
posted by tel3path at 3:57 AM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've been using St Ives' for at least a decade, probably more. People regularly think that I am my teenage daughter's sister. I can't use any medicated scrubs or cleansers, and baking soda is too fine. I don't use it every day, so maybe that makes a difference.
posted by jlkr at 4:08 AM on May 19, 2011

St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea Scrub. This is much different from the St. Ives kernel scrubs that are rough. The Green Tea Scrub is not the typical cheap "scrub" you will find in drugstores with hardly any exfoliating powers -- it is pure fine scrub.
posted by Fairchild at 4:42 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use Lush's Dark Angels, which is basically charcoal, sugar, and avocado oil. I love it, and it's perfect for my combination skin. I've also used Lush's Herbalism, which I liked as well; that's much more astringent, though, and dried out the dry skin bits of my face too much. (Herbalism has ground almonds in it, too -- not the shells, the actual almonds. So it's much less abrasive-feeling than the Dark Angels.)

When I don't have the money for Lush, I use Alba's Pineapple Enzyme facial cleanser, which is scrubby without being too gritty, and doesn't leave my skin feeling tight. It's available in most drugstores.
posted by shamash at 4:54 AM on May 19, 2011

Its expensive, but I like Origins Modern Friction
posted by mjcon at 6:46 AM on May 19, 2011

I use the St Ives renew or rejuvenate or whatever they call it. The one with alpha-hydroxy. It's much gentler than their basic Apricot Scrub. They also have a sensitive skin version of the Apricot Scrub, too.
posted by desjardins at 7:17 AM on May 19, 2011

Another devotee of Lush's Angels on Bare Skin here. Although it does have ground almonds, they are ground exceptionally fine, into paste; AOBS does not have the chunky harsh composition of St. Ives Apricot (which I used throughout HS and college). I use it every other day in the shower.

I'm so grateful that AOBS is a Lush top-seller, because if they ever discontinue it, I'll have to pay to have it reverse-engineered, which will be quite expensive.
posted by pineapple at 7:24 AM on May 19, 2011

I can't recommend Clinique for Men exfoliating scrub enough. It's expensive, but it's worth it.
posted by robstercraw at 7:31 AM on May 19, 2011

I like DDF Acne Scrub. It's a very fine grit, and helps keep my skin soft and smooth. I've seen that some of the reviewers can't use it everyday, but I've never had any problems with irritation.
posted by twoporedomain at 7:38 AM on May 19, 2011

Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub


< a href="http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=st+ives+scrub&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=13337749747545741761&sa=X&ei=BS_VTaLDN4LcgQeJpZCJDA&ved=0CE4Q8wIwCA&biw=1003&bih=558#">St. Ives sensitive scrub (although I heard the whole walnut thing is harsher on the skin. I use it more for a back scrub/summer scrub)
posted by stormpooper at 7:54 AM on May 19, 2011

Laura Mercier's Face Polish

It's crazy expensive but it's the only one I've found that doesn't make my sensitive, red face even more red. And oh-my-gosh is my skin ever smooth! Also, it doesn't stink.

It sort of sounds like you're looking for an all-in-one cleanser & polish. This one is only the polish.
posted by Zoyashka at 8:30 AM on May 19, 2011

Sugar mixed with a little olive oil until it's a thick paste. Use two washcloths. Scrub with one (moistened) while turning on the hot tap and putting the other washcloth under the water. When done scrubbing, squeeze the hot cloth dry as possible and put it over your face to steam off the oil. Repeat this step until the oil and sugar are gone. Bask in your nurtured skin.
It's sort of similar to baking soda but I find baking soda too harsh on my skin. I think a neutral to acidic PH is better for the skin personally.
posted by hecho de la basura at 8:32 AM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

Oh, you can also mix the sugar with honey to the same effect.
posted by hecho de la basura at 8:33 AM on May 19, 2011

I'd heartily recommend Scrub Your Nose In It. It's available in Canada at Shopper's so I'm thinking you must be able to get it in the U.S. somewhere.
posted by Go Banana at 8:46 AM on May 19, 2011

nthing Philosophy Microdelivery. It's on the expensive side, but if you join the Sephora club they send out coupons occasionally. And the giant bottles last a long time.
posted by easy_being_green at 9:34 AM on May 19, 2011

I use St. Ive's but my skin isn't too sensitive.

Please consider not using anything with plastic in it. As I understand it there's literally no plant/animal/bacteria in the world that can digest or break down plastic and it all just winds up in the ocean and on beaches.
posted by davextreme at 10:17 AM on May 19, 2011

I love the Go Jojo Facial Cleanser from SumBody. It's got jojoba beads that give a nice scrub without being too harsh, there's no tingling, and it leaves my face feeling soft and clean and (most importantly to me) not even a tiny bit greasy or sticky. It's designed for sensitive or dry skin, but it works very nicely on my problematically oily skin, too.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:11 PM on May 19, 2011

Skip the scrub and try a gentle home peel - MUAC 40% lactic acid is a good place to start. Just leave it on for a few minutes (start at 2-3 and work your way up) once a week and your exfoliation is taken care of. Also, after a few uses, your skin will look incredible and glowy and you'll never go back. I promise.
posted by R a c h e l at 5:00 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

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