Plastic microbeads, those tiny plastic spheres added to scrubs and shower gels to exfoliate the skin, have now been banned in cosmetics and personal-care products sold in the US. It's great news for the environment—a single shower can reportedly result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean, where they are eaten by fish, marine wildlife and ultimately humans.
But there are numerous other ingredients lurking in popular face and body scrubs that could be bad for the environment and your health. Sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, phthalates and artificial fragrances are just some chemicals of concern.
So if you're in the market for an exfoliator to help with dry, flaky skin, choose one that's 100 percent natural and made with ingredients that are kind to skin and the environment, too. Here are five that get the job done with no nasties whatsoever.
Organic Cocoa Sugar Scrub, $11.95 (7 oz)
www.svasthya.com; tel: 516-387-4555
What do you get when you combine raw brown sugar with cocoa and a blend of coconut and sweet almond oils? A heavenly, skin-softening body scrub is what. Made with 100 percent organic ingredients and Vegan Society approved, this scrub is gentle yet effective and smells divine.
Eco by Sonya
Pink Himalayan Salt Scrub, $39.95 (8.45 fl oz)
www.greencorenaturals.com; tel: 586-371-4962
Designed to be used on dry skin prior to showering, this scrub is said to provide deep exfoliation and lasting hydration for face and body. Made with 78 percent organic ingredients, it's a delicious-smelling mix of pink Himalayan sea salt, shea butter, macadamia and coconut oils, and essential oils of pink grapefruit, lemongrass and peppermint.
Coconut Candy Scrub, $48 (5.9 oz)
www.odylique.com; tel: 617-500-8271
This 98 percent organic, certified organic scrub sounds good enough to eat, with ingredients like cane sugar, poppy seeds, virgin coconut oil and cocoa bean butter. Use it on damp skin for gentle exfoliation or apply when the skin is dry for a more intense, smoothing effect. Suitable for even sensitive types, skin feels polished and moisturized with a tropical scent.
Gentle Almond & Lavender Face Scrub, $26 (2 oz)
This non-abrasive facial formula contains jojoba beads and almond meal to gently exfoliate the skin, plus a blend of soothing plant oils and extracts, like safflower seed oil, shea butter and Arnica extract. It's certified organic and cruelty-free—and is 100 percent vegan too. Use it two or three times a week or daily if your skin is very dry.
Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator, $44 (2.54 fl oz)
www.paiskincare.us; tel: 855-322-7648
Like Kimberly Sayer's scrub, this product uses jojoba beads—tiny spheres of jojoba wax—for their natural exfoliating action. There's also a fatty acid-rich blend of plant oils, including moisturizing Hawaiian kukui oil, antioxidant-packed avocado oil and nourishing apricot kernel oil. It's a real treat for the skin and suitable for even the most sensitive types.