Exfoli-Rater : Acure Brightening Facial Scrub

In the great hugely long list of Things I Enjoy Putting On My Face, exfoliators (exfoliants? exfolinatorizers?) are pretty close to the top. Despite using two different products that’re supposed to reduce keratin production, my skin remains hell-bent on producing as much Stuff as possible, and it behooves me to get the Stuff off the surface of my face lest it contribute to breakouts or show up as little flakes and bumps under makeup. Plus, exfoliatorantizers are fun! Unlike a lot of skincare items, they FEEL like they’re actually doing a thing! And thus, today we have another one to subject to my non-professional non-scientific scrutiny.

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub ($8.49 for 4oz on Amazon) is a gritty-grainy entry in our Face-Smoothing Face Off series. Now, we’ve all heard the dire warnings about using harsh scrubs on our delicate face skin : “omg too rough, too scratchy, microabrasions, quelle horreur!” And while yeah, it’s probably true that while hardcore products that incorporate big sea salt or giant shards of apricot pit are not ideal for your face, I really enjoy the feel (and the results) of a good scrub.

WHAT’S THIS ONE LIKE?

It’s COOL AS HELL, because it’s GRITTY DARK GREEN PASTE. It pleases me greatly to put things that look scary/inappropriate on my face. This stuff also has the advantage of smelling vaguely fresh and slightly medicinal — the ingredients include kelp and a tiny amount of spearmint, and that’s pretty much what it smells like to me. Slightly vegetal, slightly oceany, slightly minty, like a kale/seaweed smoothie (or a grittie?) with a mint sprig garnish.

WHAT’S IN THERE? 

The scrubby bits include lemon peel granules and walnut shell. BUT. While this definitely feels sufficiently abrasive, it doesn’t feel as scarily harsh as the ubiquitous and oft-criticized St Ives Apricot scrub (which also uses walnut shell, I believe). The granules in this feel relatively smooth, not like they’re scraping or scratching, and the walnut shell is actually rendered as flour rather than larger grains. It’s also got a number of potentially beneficial botanicals and assorted antioxidants and extracts, but honestly, I care less about that. This stuff only stays on your face for a minute or two, which really isn’t enough time for those ingredients to accomplish much. If you want to see what argan culture extract or chamomile or rosehips will do for your skin, buy them in a potent oil or serum that actually stays on your face.

DOES IT DO A THING?

It does do a thing! I love the feel and scent and overall experience of this, and my face definitely feels smoother after using it. HOWEVER. Grainy scrubs are often more adept at breaking up dead ready-to-shed surface skin bits than they are at actually removing them. I found that was the case here, too : scrub face, apply a little serum or light oil, let dry a while, dust skin with powder … and yep, quite a few surface flakes and dry areas. So if you’ve got little dry flaky patches you want to remove, you’d likely want to follow this with a light rubbing with an “italy cloth,” or your Clarisonic if that’s your jam, or even one of the peeling-gel type products that pulls away loose surface skin as it pills up.

ON THE WHOLE

I like it! I’ll definitely continue to use it, and may even repurchase. The fact that it does leave some little dry surface flakes behind leads my highly subjective scrub-judgement (EXFOLI-RATER?) to give it a B-. Pleasing to use, effective at smoothing, great if you tend to overproduce keratin or otherwise need extra sandblasting, but maybe not the best choice if your main issue is dry patches or little flakes. Bonus : It’s also both vegan AND cruelty-free, if those are important considerations for you!

INGREDIENTS : water/eau, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, euterpe oleracea (acai) fruit extract*, rubus fruticosus (blackberry) fruit extract*, rosa canina (rosehips) fruit extract*, punica granatum (pomegranate) fruit extract*, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract*, matricaria recutita (chamomile) flower extract*, aspalathus linearis (rooibos) leaf extract*, vegetable glycerin, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, juglans reglia (walnut shell) flour, kaolin (french green) clay, sodium lauroamphoacetate, sodium PCA, sodium lauroyl lactylate, citrus limon (lemon) peel granules, glyceryl Laurate, sodium cocoyl isethionate, cellulose gum, glucono delta lactone, chlorophyll, chrondus crispus extract, potassium sorbate, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, argania spinosa (argan) culture extract, chlorella vulgaris extract, salvia officinalis (sage) leaf extract, mentha spicata (spearmint) leaf extract, laminaria digitata (kelp) powder, lilium candidum leaf (madonna leaf) culture extract. *organic ingredient

COMPARISON CHART :

PRODUCT NAME SIZE PRICE TYPE RATING
Acure Brightening Facial Scrub 4oz $8.49 grainy scrub B-
It’s Skin Citron Peeling Gel 4oz $10.00 pilling gel A-

Tried this one? A fan of grainy scrubs or no? DISCUSS.