There is no more satisfying act, when showering, than to be giving yourself a good scrub. Exfoliation literally scrubs off all your dead skin cells, making your skin look fresher, less dry and more radiant. It’ll improve your circulation too, so many women swear by it as a cellulite treatment. It’s also a non-negotiable before applying fake tan (or ridding yourself of an old patchy-looking one).
You should aim to exfoliate once a week. It comes down to your preferred method as to how often you should do it – gentle exfoliates can be used up to 3 times a week.
There’s so many natural exfoliates to choose from, each one carrying their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Being the tanorexic I am, I’ve sampled quite a few over the years and as such, am pretty confident I know what’s what.
A natural exfoliating product will physically scrub off dead skin cells. There are many products that you can buy to exfoliate your skin, but the problem with most of them is that they contain microbeads. Microbeads are terrible for the environment. The small plastic beads in these products aren’t filtered out by water treatment plants and are being washed right back into our water supply, often with harmful results for marine life. The EU has banned these from being used now, unfortunately not all countries have caught up. All the following options are either 100% natural and microbead-free or at least reusable.
Note: These reviews will largely focus on exfoliaters for use on the body. A physical exfoliator is much more effective for use on the body than the face. The skin on you face is way more delicate and thin so what works on your thighs will be far too rough on your face.
Eco Tan Certified Organic Pink Himalayan Salt Scrub
Made with pink himalayan salt, lemongrass, coconut oil, macadamia oil and peppermint which work to target stretch marks, cellulite, dry skin and pigmentation. It can be used on both the body and the face for an intense hydrating exfoliation.
This scrub is made by the creator of one of my favourite tans, Eco Tan. Given that, you would expect them to know a thing or two about the perfect exfoliant for fake tan prep. Well you would have thought wrong.
- Smells amazing – the lemongrass scent is so fresh and uplifting
- Leaves your skin silky soft and hydrated, thanks to its coconut oil base
- Himalayan sea salt is used to provide the exfoliating properties. This salt is naturally rich in a tonne of minerals so it’s brilliant on your skin.
- Remember that silky soft skin you get thanks to coconut oil? Try applying tan over that and check your results. To save you time/money – it’s crap. You shouldn’t apply fake tan over moisturisers, and definitely never over oils. It dilutes the tan and stops it soaking in. If you’re not using this product for pre-tan prep though this won’t worry you.
- Salt grains are not that good at scrubbing. It gives a very gentle scrub action, but no where near good enough for tan prep or significant results. You could get away with using this product every two days without any issues. Because of these gentle grains it could be good for use on the face. Unless you suffer from acne; in that case, don’t use coconut oil products on your face.
Verdict: Great, gentle scrub to create soft, more hydrated skin. Don’t expect heavy duty exfoliation. Suitable for frequent use. Not suitable for fake tan prep.
Buy now: $34.95 from Flora & Fauna
Atom Coffee Body Scrub
Atom’s high quality ethically sourced (Fair Trade) Ethiopian dry roasted Coffee beans offer enticing aromas of strawberry jam sweetness with cocoa in the finish. African sweet orange oil added to the mix gives a bright, uplifting and invigorating sensory experience. Sounds good enough to eat, right? You should see the ingredients list, it really is!
- OMG when I opened this I was almost tempted to sit it in a coffee plunger and brew it up! It smells so amazing, like a decadent coffee-orange dessert. So heavenly.
- It left my skin feeling amazing a soft.
- Does a decent job of exfoliating as coffee grains are pretty robust.
- Oil-based mixture, so similar to the Eco Tan product, it’s no good for tan prep. You could use it the day before though without problems.
- It’s like rubbing coffee grains onto your body, rather than a cream or body wash. There’s a little oil in it to help emulsify it a bit, but if you’re not careful, half of it we end up down the drain. Which is a bit of a shame.
- To maximise the benefits you need to wet your skin, apply then leave for 5 minutes. Pretty sucky standing around wet in a cold bathroom for 5 minutes.
- Makes some pretty dubious claims like it’s great for cellulite and psoriasis. But to be fair, most coffee scrubs make these claims. It’s just really untested/unproven. Also I doubt the makers have ever had psoriasis to make the claims, I for one wouldn’t rub it on mine!
Verdict: I loved this more than I thought I would. It did a good job exfoliating, enlivened my skin and smelt so good. Plus the smell lingered so I went to bed still smelling delicious. My tip: Apply carefully and maybe stick KUWTK on to watch from the bathroom to help the time pass faster.
Buy now: from Flora & Fauna, $21
These unique scrub pads are made from natural coconut fibres bound together by a non-toxic adhesive. They’re biodegradable, compostable and exceptionally hygienic it stays fresh and effective for months. Sounds good right? Well they’re not. They’re shit. Complete and utter shit.
- Everything else
- Left my skin sore and scratched up. Like you could see the red scratch marks all over my body. They weren’t far off drawing blood! Even rubbing very softly still destroyed me! And it hurt too.
Verdict: I desperately wanted to like it so kept revisiting it when I got brave, but to no avail. Even at $5.45, they’re still not worth it.
Use them in the shower – wet them up, add a little soap (optional) and scrub all over.
- My goodness they work. Perfect for tan prep as they quickly remove dead skin. Perfect for removing skanky looking old tan. Perfect for invigorating and freshening your skin.
- Get into every nook and cranny your hands can reach
- They last for years, just stick them in the wash every so often
- Dirt cheap
- They’re made from polyester, which is essentially plastic, so they’re no good for the environment.
- Can be abrasive. Overuse or scrubbing too hard can cause dry skin or irritation.
- Too abrasive for for use on the face (unless you’re super gentle)
These bad boys have been tan essentials for me for the last decade. They’re so cheap and work superbly. I would love to swap them out for a natural fibre glove but does that even exist? If they do, give me a shout out as I would love to try them.
Buy now: from Pharmacy Online, $5.95
The final word:
Exfoliating your body doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Integrate it into your shower regime, at least once a week, and you’ll start reaping the benefits instantly.
Note: I found this Hemp Mitt at The Body Shop. Could this be the answer to by biodegradable dreams? Stay tuned!