Exfoli-Rater : The Face Shop + A VOLCANO

Hey it’s a Thursday, let’s rub something kinda gritty on our faces! YEP, it’s another edition of EXFOLI-RATER.


This time, it’s another K-beauty offering : The Face Shop’s Jeju Volcanic Lava Pore Scrub Foam (currently $6.96/5oz on Amazon). It’s got a kinda long name and an artsy tube, so let’s poke it with a stick and see what happens.


I love that the labeling has English and French (in addition to Korean) on the front, because that allows me to quibble with their naming choices : this is definitely more of a mousse than a foam. Before we get into it, let’s check the ingredients…

Ingredients : Water/eau, Myristic Acid, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Lauric Acid, Silica, Volcanic Ash, Cocamide Mea, Glyceryl Stearate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Menthol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Peg-100 Stearate, Polysorbate 20, Rose Flower Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Hexylene Glycol, Sasa Quelpaertensis Extract, Akebia Quinata Extract, Hizikia Fusiforme Extract, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Fragrance/parfum, Alcohol Denat, Disodium Edta

So, the main ingredients are fatty acids and a hydroxide, which together = soap. Then we ‘ve got silica and volcanic ash (along with corn starch and microcrystalline cellulose further down the list) presumably to give texture and some manner of scrubbiness. Also a whole lot of botanical extracts and oils, which Beautypedia would run screaming from, and a couple of things to emulsify/preserve/etc. OH, and also sodium lauryl sulfate. Yeah, I saw that in the ingredients and bought this anyway. I figured A) it has a ton of heavy saturated fatty acids in it [myristic acid / stearic acid are found in palm oil, coconut oil, butter, and other sources. Good foaming/cleansing agents, but can be comedogenic — I’m seeing conflicting info about whether or not these are acids to assiduously avoid if you have acne] [SEE UPDATE BELOW] and B) I figured the SLS might strip away any of the heavier comedogenic stuff and like balance it out [I KNOW that’s probably not how it works] and C) I was just curious and I liked the tube, okay?


To be honest, this does not feel super scrubby. Which, that doesn’t mean it isn’t doing something good! PLENTY of very effective mild surface exfoliants don’t feel like you’re rubbing your face with a handful of gravel. But if you’re really into that whole “no I want an ABRASIVE” thing, then you probably won’t like this. Also, as noted, it is a mousse annnnnnd my macro shot inadvertently made it look like [poop emoji without a face] :

You can see a few little bits of Scrubby Stuff (I guess?) in there, but on the whole, this feels more like a rather rich foaming face wash. In fact, after you apply it to damp skin and start rubbing it around, it actually lathers and turns VERY SOLIDLY WHITE :

(It was initially much more opaque than this, but the whiteness faded down a bit — lather collapse, one supposes — before I could snap a pic.)

ANYWAY. Yeah, this is more like foaming face wash. It doesn’t feel all that exfoliating — the overall texture has a very verrrry slight tiny grain to it (probably the cellulose) and a very sparse scattering of larger (but not sharp or rough) grains — but it does feel nice, and it has a pleasant low-key perfumey “floralish” scent (which is quite light and doesn’t linger after rinsing).


Did it clean my skin? Yes, I feel like it did. Did it seem aggressive or stripping or drying? No, it did not. Did it do a lot of actual exfoliating? Eh, I don’t really think it did. This is a fairly nice face wash on the whole, but I don’t believe that it removed a lot of exfoliatable surface stuff — the “grit” is sparse, the texture is quite soft, and it doesn’t include any chemical exfoliants like glycolic or lactic acids either. I’ll give it a C+ because it IS nice (and nicely priced!) even though I wouldn’t call it an exfoliant or even a “scrub” really. Should you buy this? If you’re shopping for an actual SCRUB, I’d say no. If you want a rather fun face wash AND you’re cool with the ingredients (i.e. you’re not particularly acne-prone, and don’t have super dry skin) then maybe yeah, worth a go! I’ll keep this in rotation and will doubtless use up the tube eventually, but I probably won’t repurchase.

UPDATE : Okay the first time I used this, I subsequently got a small breakout, BUT I had also slept in my makeup, so I chalked it up to that. Now after using it twice more, I DEFINITELY have a breakout going, and I 100% attribute it to this stuff. THE SCIENCE IS REAL, KIDS : I can attest that yeah, if you’re acne-prone, this is no bueno. I’m going to [safely, I think] assume it’s the myristic and stearic acids. Do you have normal or dry skin, and things that make other people break out have no effect on you? Then go for it, this stuff is pretty nice! Otherwise? AVOID.


The Face Shop Jeju 5oz $6.96 grainy scrub C-
Missha Super Aqua 3.4oz $9.82 pilling gel A-
Honey + Coffee Grounds puddle free? grainy scrub B-
Honey + Brown Sugar blorp free? grainy scrub B, lol
Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating 3.4oz $26.00 grainy scrub D
Skin Inc Pure Revival Peel 2oz $55.00 pilling gel + B
Juara Radiance Enzyme Scrub 2.5oz $35.00 grainy scrub B-
Skin Food Pineapple Peeling Gel 3.4oz $10.00 pilling gel B-
Dermalogica Microfoliant 2.6oz $45.00 powder, salicylic B
Ren Flash Rinse 2.5oz $48.00 grainy, vit C C
Algenist Triple Action 2oz $58.00 grainy, glycolic C+
Vasanti Brighten Up! 4.2oz $34.00 grainy scrub A
Acure Brightening Facial Scrub 4oz $8.49 grainy scrub B-
It’s Skin Citron Peeling Gel 4oz $10.00 pilling gel A-

Tried this, or anything else from The Face Shop? Discuss! Or not! <3