Sunday, December 23, 2012

Facial scrubs: Which exfoliant to choose? Physical exfoliants (part 1)

We've decided we want to make a facial scrub, but we aren't yet sure what kind of scrub we want to make or what exfoliants we want to use. Let's take a look at the different scrubbies we could include in a facial scrub, then take a look at the different kinds of scrubs we could make! We'll start with part one of the physical exfoliants today, part two tomorrow, then on to the chemical exfoliants after Christmas.

What kinds of exfoliants can we use in a facial scrub? We can use many different things, but I would suggest we confine ourselves to more delicate exfoliants, rather than salt or sugar. I guess if you used berry sugar you'd have something finer, but I think that might still be a bit too scrubby for the face.

There are two types of exfoliants - physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants are things you add to a scrub that will remove the dead skin by abrading your skin, like pumice, seeds, or ground walnut shells. Chemical exfoliants are things you add to a scrub to remove the dead skin by penetrating the skin and removing the upper layers through a chemical reaction, like salicylic acid or AHA.


Jojoba beads: These are little spheres of jojoba that come in different colours and different sizes. The smaller ones are suitable for your face, the larger ones for the rest of your body. I tend to use the 60/100 in a facial product. (See an example of a surfactant based scrub here...) I've used them at up to 5% in a product, but you will have to tinker to see what you like. These do not dissolve in water or oil, but they can melt, so don't use them in anything that isn't around room temperature.

I've used these many times and they can be awesome and they can be annoying. It depends upon the product and your usage. I have found the little ones are quite good in a surfactant based scrub, but I've never liked them in an oil based product.

Loofah: You can buy ground loofah at many suppliers. It can be very fine or coarse. You can use as much as you wish in your product. It will not dissolve in water or oil and isn't picky about temperature.

Pumice: It comes in many grades, from very fine to coarse. It might not be the best choice for facial products, but it is lovely for foot scrubs. It isn't water or oil soluble and can be added to warm or even hot products. Consider the fine pumice on par with sand.

Salt: It comes in many grades, from very fine to no way is this dissolving in your tub, and many types, including sea, Dead Sea, solar, dendrite, and Epsom. It will dissolve in water based products, but it isn't that picky about temperature, but I tend to include it at the end of my product making in the cool or relatively cooler phase.

Sugar: It also comes in many grades from very fine berry sugar to very coarse Sugar in the Raw. It will dissolve in water based products and that solubility increases with temperature. I think most people would find the coarser stuff far too scrubby for our sensitive facial skin.

Sorry for the short post, but we're having guests over for brunch to celebrate my birthday in about a hour, and I still have to shower and make the mulled cider! 

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at a few more exfoliants!


Patricia said...

I love baking soda as a physical exfoliant--it's size and texture are perfect--but it dissolves in water and leaves an alkaline residue. I'd like to find a more neutral option!

p said...

Has anyone else had a problem with ground pumice smelling funny? It smells sort of icky and fishy to me, and I've had the same experience from two different suppliers. The scent overwhelms even 1% peppermint oil. I'm to the point where I'm not sure I can craft with it!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.