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Tried & Tested: Facial Cleansers

Time to get scrubbing, and we're going to head to toe. Let's start logically, with the face and a line-up of facial scrubs to get your pores cleaned out and your complexion freshened. There's nothing quite like a scrub to make your face feel really clean and a little early morning scour never did any harm. These are reviewed in ascending order of scrape, as all facial scrubs are not created equal.

YES TO CARROTS Gentle Exfoliating Facial Cleanser, €8.95 * * * There's gentle, and then there's feeling like nothing has happened. I guess my face must be fairly tough; while this felt fine, I didn't get the kind of intense cleanse that some of the other scrubs gave. If you have very sensitive skin, give this a try; otherwise, look elsewhere in today's column.

REN Jojoba Micro Bead Purifying Facial Scrub, €28 * * * * This brand is new to me -- always an exciting experience. This had the second least amount of 'scratch' to it, and the carrier cream seemed oddly sticky ... but the sensation of cleansing was all there. The scent is quite soothing as well; this stuff gets fairly close to one's nose, so it's just as well that it smells nice.

DARPHIN Exfoliating Foam Gel, €30 * * * * Talk about sweet-smelling. Once again, the Darphin crowd gets that part of the equation exactly right. Now, there's a nice moderate texture to this, so it would seem to suit everybody. It's also a lovely aqua colour, which is soothing yet invigorating. It feels like it foams, but you can't see it, and I'm not sure what difference that makes.

VOYA Love a Scrub Anti-ageing Facial Scrub, €28 * * * * Another new brand, and this one kicks butt. With just the right amount of abrasion, it's the perfect middle ground without being middle-of-the-road. The teeniest helping of scrub does the job, and the aftermath is extraordinary: I felt like I had a new face, smooth and glowing. This goes on regular rotation.

BENEFIT Honey Snap Out of It Scrub, €29.50 * * * I wished for more of a honey scent than an oatmeal-y smell, but that may just be my own olfactory quirkiness. This is smooth and silky going on, with enough scrubby heft to make you feel as if you're really doing your face a world of good. The naturalness of the honey is a bonus ... but damned if that oatmeal scent doesn't bug me.

BURT'S BEES Peach & Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub, €11 * * * * * This has got bits in it, scrubby bits, and I'm sure it's to do with the peach part of this scrub's equation. They're kind of huge and scratchy, but still convey the correct amount of scouring to your skin. It feels like something good is going on, and my pores certainly looked the better for it.

All products were tested over the course of four weeks


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