Thursday, December 27, 2012

Facial scrubs: Which exfoliants to choose? Physical exfoliants (part 2)

What other exfoliants can we use in facial products? (Click here for part one...)

Seeds: You can find a variety of seeds at our suppliers, and you'll have to check which ones stay crunchy even in water! Ask your supplier for the suggested usage rates. I'm loving cranberry seeds right now, and I added them at 13% in the cool down phase of my oil based scrub and I really liked that! (This was for a hand scrub, so I used more than I would for my face!) I've seen blueberry, strawberry, cranberry, raspeberry, kiwi, pomegranate, and grape seeds available for scrubby goodness.

Shells: I've seen walnut shells and apricot kernels as exfoliant and a lot of people like them. I would only use them in oil based products, but some people like shells in products with water. These can be a bit much for people with sensitive skin.

Clay: This a great choice as a very mild exfoliant. Some clays will dissolve in water, so you might want to reserve those clays for dry scrubs to which you would add water right before application. (Look for more about clays in the next few days!) I've made nice clay masks out of lotion recipes and the clay added some nice viscosity to the product. (I used kaolin and rhassoul clay - more soon!)

Baking soda: This was mentioned by quite a few people, and I really like to use it in foot scrub bars with pumice. It won't dissolve in oils, but it will dissolve in water. This is a great choice for a dry scrub to which you might add water just before application or an oil based scrub. It will dissolve in water and could raise the pH slightly, so keep it away from water based scrubs or products!

Aluminum Oxide - Dermabrasion Crystals: These are white aluminum oxide crystals I found at Lotioncrafter (although they might be found at other suppliers). They are used at 1% to 10% in your water or oil based products. They are 120 size grit (102 microns). The supplier notes we must not be aggressive with these and advises we shouldn't use AHAs or retinoids on reddened skin. (For more information visit Lotioncrafter and read the listing.)

Bamboo exfoliating powder: This is made from bamboo. It is used at 5% to 8% and is 160 microns. I don't know much more than that. (I found this ingredient at Brambleberry. Click there for more information.)

Vanilla bean specks (INCI: Vanilla planifolia (vanilla) bean seeds): Created from ground vanilla bean pods that are dried and sifted. Use this dark brown fine powder at up to 50% in your anhydrous products. Try it first in your product in a small amount as it seems like these specks would get soggy in water. (Found this at Creations from Eden.)

Anyone have experience with these last two powders? Comment below! 

Always consider the skin type of the person for whom the product is being made. Every skin type can handle a little exfoliation, so it is a matter of finding the right exfoliant and level. For my sensitive, acne prone skin, I like to use lower levels of smaller and finer exfoliant, like jojoba beads or cranberry seeds.  I've tried low levels of dermabrasian crytals and that worked well also. Other people might be fine with shells or salt. My mom's best friend used my foot scrub bar with pumice in her face and liked it!

Always start at the lower amount - say 3% to 5% - and work your way up to using more. My best friend and I will make the cleanser or moisturizer first, then we remove about 95 grams of the product and add the exfoliant to it, then try it. If it feels lovely and scrubby, we leave it that way. If it isn't scrubby enough, we add more. If it is too scrubby, we add more product. Measure every single time you add something so you can make it the same next time!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at some oils you might want to consider as the base of an oil based scrub.

Remember that I have no affiliation with any retailer, and I offer this information based on my own experience or interest. Lotioncrafter does offer my e-books through its site, which is very lovely, but I don't have any other affiliation with Jen or her company. Having said that, I've shopped at Lotioncrafter, Brambleberry/Otion, and Creations from Eden and I was most pleased with the service and ingredients I bought. Okay, this disclaimer is getting a little long, but I want you to know that I was not rewarded in any way for writing this post. Except for the reward of feedback from you, my wonderful readers!


Michele Clarke said...

I have some form of itchy and painful eczema. When it was at it's peak I tried baking soda. It really did calm the itch while the lotion worked its way in my skin.

The basic sugar scrub with sunflower oil and little tea tree works on my arms- Keratosis pilaris.

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

I love water + baking soda for my skin, I have a friend who went to a beautician that mixed some raw honey with alum powder and scrubbed her face in a gentle astringent manner :)

I can't stand coarse scrubbiness on my face, so I will stick to baking soda and try next time the alum + honey :)

Anonymous said...

i scrub with corn meal.

Lorraine said...

Hi, loving the series on facial scrubs. I just wanted to say that it's worth pointing out that some of the commonly used physical exfoliators in the beauty industry are actually doing pretty horrible things to the environment -

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Thanks for the link. As a note, everything I mention in the post is biodegradable. They are referring to small plastic beads in the article.

Hi Michele! Try something with glycerin in it for keratosis pilaris. It makes a huge difference. (We have a lot of it in our lives with all the teenagers!)

Hi Rosi! Corn meal? Is this a one time usage thing or do you add it to your scrubs?

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan. I love your blog. You've selflessly granted me my own success with making lotion at home. Thank you so very much for the time and effort you put in, I too blog and I know it is time-consuming! What I wanted to ask, is if you can help me replicate St. Ives Apricot Scrub. They've changed the formula and people are complaining... I'd like to make something that's like the old one, as close as possible. They've supposedly removed Elderberry,Cowslip (Primula Veris),Sunflower and Chamomile. I don't know if they'd even make a difference (smile). But here is a link to the actual product. I'm a little hesitant to try a scrub. But I seem to do well with your recipes for sure.

bonnerauthor said...

I have had people ask for a foot scrub. I was able to get some ground walnut shells and was thinking of perhaps a gel or incorporating into an anhydrous balm, thickened with either beeswax or cera bellina. My reasoning is I want a product where the shells or other exfoliant won't settle and instead stay suspended.

Birgit said...

Hey Susan,

You asked for comments on bamboo powder and vanilla specks. Here's my two cents: bamboo powder - comes in different mesh sizes, some fine enough for face, some hard enough for feet. I actually quite like both. Vanilla specks, on the other hand, I find completely pointless. They seem to do nothing other than stick to your skin and do nothing to exfoliate.

Hope this helps,

Kaylee Jayne said...

Hi Susan,

So I have a follow-up question which combines two (three, really!) issues you've addressed separately (but I can’t seem find them together) on your blog: baking soda as an exfoliant, pH of skin, and CP soap.

This all started because I mentioned to someone that I liked using (and recommended to others) a bit of baking soda in my liquid facial cleanser as an exfoliant about two to three times per week. I was called irresponsible for suggesting this to people to use and accused of irreversibly damaging my acid mantle and the skin of others because of the 8.3 pH of baking soda. I understand that the pH of skin is about 5.5 to 6, and that it's important to maintain the pH. But I can't imagine that I'm destroying my skin for using baking soda on it twice a week. The person I was talking to demanded “sources” from me that what I am doing is permissible, but I had nothing other than anecdotes from myself and others that we have had success. I had no response to her pH argument, which obviously sounds great because it involves numbers and science. So my question is, I guess, what possibly could be the science behind my success with baking soda? Based on the pH approach, I should have dry, scaly, zitty skin, but I don't. Is it because of my natural skin type (according to what I’ve read here, I’m an “oily”)?

This leads me to part 2 of my question... about CP soap. I also have great success with CP soap, which I know, as a soaper and as someone who has read your blog, is at about an 8.5 pH. And you've mentioned that CP soap (and Castile in particular) can be a great cleanser for the skin. So what on earth can I say, based in science and not just anecdotes, to someone who tells me that "obviously" CP soap is bad for skin because of its pH? Does it matter that I follow up with a body oil or moisturizer? Is it the superfatting?

Thanks for your time!