In the colder months, a good scrub is crucial to keep your skin from turning grey and grubby, but, when the warmer months arrive, we turn to them for other reasons.
Some of us want to ditch our winter foundation and use a lighter formulation whose transparency is less forgiving, while others start thinking of self-tan. The latter lot, in particular, need a smooth surface to avoid going piebald, and so they start scrubbing like hell, sometimes doing more harm than good.
The best advice when it comes to scrubs is that you must let them do the work. The product scrubs, you don’t. Go gently, let the grit slough away the dead cells and not the entire surface of your face. Remember, also, that little and often will achieve the desired result, whereas one session of savaging your skin will only leave you red-faced.
Origins Modern Friction, €44.20, Arnotts; Clerys; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16
Originally launched in a tub, this scrub now comes in a tube, making it infinitely easier to handle. The exfoliating action comes courtesy of rice starch, which eases away dead skin cells, while aloe soothes the newly revealed surface. “This is some piece of work,” a panellist said. “On dry skin, its grit sticks to the skin, which means you can work it in gently, and then the suds created on contact with water seem to effect a second wave of assault on dead cells. It stings like hell if you get it in your eyes, but is gentle on the skin.”
BEST BLAND AND BITTY
Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream, €23,
Clinique counters nationwide Utterly fragrance-free, as is this brand’s wont, this is a wonderfully straightforward product, and although we are not convinced that anyone should scrub seven days a week, this stands up to very regular use without any obvious wear or tear on the skin. “A nice balance of creaminess and tiny scrubby bits,” said a panellist. “It washes off better than it comes off with tissue, though they recommend both, and my skin felt clean and clearer afterwards.”
BEST TRUE GRIT
Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion, €47.50, Kiehl’s Boutique, 35 Wicklow St, D2 The grit in this is tiny, tightly packed, micro-ionised shells and willow bark, so it’s a serious scrub. The brand recommends doing a patch test in advance and warns of some redness and the need for an SPF after. But, oh, your skin will be smooth. “My husband found this too gritty, but admitted that he really scrubbed it in and he doesn’t use moisturiser, but, used with a light touch and with a cream to ward off any feeling of tightness, this left my slightly dry skin super smooth,” a panellist said.
BEST SOFTLY SMOOTH
L’Occitane Angelica Exfoliating Gel, €19, L’Occitane stores nationwide The light gel formula, with beads that are made of natural gum, means that this has a gentle feel on the face. This is part of a range containing angelica, an essential oil that is soothing and hydrating. “This is described as having a melting texture and it’s mushy — not too grainy, but with a satisfyingly rough texture. The scent is a nice morning pick-me-up and after regular use these past weeks, I feel fake-tan ready.”
BEST ALL-OVER ACTION
Comfort Zone Sacred Nature Gommage, €27, for stockists, tel: (048) 9046-1665
Unusually, this Italian, salon-stocked scrub says that it is suitable for both face and body and, to our surprise, it is gentle enough for the former and gritty enough for the latter. Jojoba spheres do the scrub work, while shea butter and Brazilian buriti oil moisturise. “The nutty smell is weirdly moreish and the effect on my skin is lovely: scrubbed, not stripped,” one panellist said. “It’s good on elbows and knees, too, after the winter woollens have left them grey and gnarly.”