3 Scrubs That Don’t Scratch The Skin

I still remember my first facial scrubs when I started out on a skincare regime at 11. First scrub I used was from Biore (white and pink tube – I wonder if my Malaysian readers remember that? :P). I liked it so much; I stuck with it for many years. The second one I used many years later was the very popular St Ives Apricot Scrub.

See, the thing is, I didn’t even realise how harsh those scrubs actually were on the skin. They had sizeable kernels in them and while they felt pretty damn good on my overactive, oily, pimply teenage skin, as I began to try new scrubs, I finally realised how big those scrubby bits were. So as much as I enjoyed them when I was much younger, as time went by, they were soon forgotten.

Of course, days of harsh scrubs are pretty much behind us now. With technological advancements, facial scrubs are improving day by day. Instead of using kernels, consistently-sized micro-beads are used that are suitable even for sensitive skin. There’s no excuse for harsh scrubs now and for that, our skin can be thankful.

Uriage Gommage Integral Gentle Total Exfoliant, Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser and Kose Seikisho Exfoliating Massage Gel

As I’m always on the hunt for good scrubs (as much as I enjoy chemical exfoliants, there’s just something about a physical one that invigorates the skin better), I stumbled upon these goodies quite recently (except for the last one) and thought I’d share what I think about them with you.

Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser (RRP AU$30 for 150ml)

Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

This was recommended to me by one of the sales staff at Kiehl’s Melbourne Central. It’s actually a clay foaming cleanser that has minute beads that acts as an exfoliant as well. The beads are much tinier than most scrubs I’m used to, which could be why Kiehl’s say that it can be used daily. This doesn’t scratch the skin at all and it’s a pretty decent cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin and leave feeling dry and tight. I’d recommend this for younger skin, especially if it’s oily but not to be used daily. Even though the beads are very tiny, frequent scrubbing stimulates the production of sebum that makes the skin even oilier. I’d recommend using this every other day.

Uriage Gommage Integral Gentle Total Exfoliant* (RRP AU$39.95 for 200ml)

Uriage Gommage Integral Gentle Total Exfoliant

This is a multitasking scrub that doesn’t just go on the face but the body as well (hence the large tube). It sufficiently exfoliates the body yet is gentle enough to be used on the face without stripping the skin. It contains micro-beads that doesn’t scratch the skin at all. I like the fact that it’s not just for the face (I can scrub from top to toe at one go). Plus it smells like the sea which I just adore. :)

Kose Seikisho Exfoliating Massage Gel (RRP US$30 for 67ml)

Kose Seikisho Exfoliating Massage Gel

This has got to be the most interesting scrub I’ve ever used. I’ve heard a lot about Kose’s medicated Seikisho range but have yet to try any out. This was a gift from a dear friend. It’s a very thick, opaque inky-black gel that smells like Chinese medicine. It doesn’t smell very pleasant, especially if you’re not a fan of Chinese medication. It spreads out black and has a warming sensation when massaging on the skin. When you wash it off, it leaves a very light tingling feeling on the skin. There are less beads in the scrub than the first two but there is some exfoliating action going on. Again, there’s no scratching of the skin and right after cleansing, the skin feels deliciously cool and smooth. You just have to be careful about using this anywhere else outside the shower because this one stains. It’s just weird seeing dirty grey water rinsing off your face! :P

Uriage Gommage Integral Gentle Total Exfoliant, Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser and Kose Seikisho Exfoliating Massage Gel Swatches

I don’t have a preference out of the three as each has its own purpose. Okay, I suppose between you and me, I find the Kose black gel highly fascinating just because it’s not something I’m used to. Once, I accidentally left grey stains in the bathroom that the husband was mighty suspicious of. I just told him he must have been real dirty from his evening jogs that he’s leaving grey stains behind in the shower. Ahem. Shhhh! :P

Uriage Gommage Integral Gentle Total Exfoliant, Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser and Kose Seikisho Exfoliating Massage Gel

Have you used any of these scrubs before? What was the very first scrub you used and did it almost take your skin off? ;)

Note: Products marked with * were provided for editorial consideration

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23 comments… add one

  1. Rose

    That Kose one looks interesting! I’d be interested to try that one out, just for the novelty of the colour.
    Rose recently posted..LUSH Lip Scrubs ReviewMy Profile

    1. Tine

      It’s a very interesting one indeed! Just be careful it doesn’t stain your clothes or towel if you’re not in the shower :)

  2. Charlotte

    I don’t quite remember which was my first scrub, but my favourite thus far is the Face Polish from Laura Mercier! Can’t use it daily though, but I absolutely love the after effect! ;D

    1. Tine

      Oooh I’ve always wanted to try Laura Mercier’s Face Polish! Tempting, so tempting :P

  3. Karen

    Thanks for this helpful review! My first scrub is the St. Ive’s apricot scrub and it’s way too harsh. I’ve been on the look out for a gentle scrub for a while. I’ve seen the Kose scrub in Japanese markets but there aren’t very many reviews on it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Karen recently posted..Revlon Colorstay Foundation for Combination/Oil Skin (240 Medium…My Profile

    1. Tine

      While the St Ives Apricot Scrub is harsh for the face, I find it very good for the body, especially the elbows, knees and feet :)

      1. Karen

        I agree! I’ve been using it as a body scrub and it works great.

  4. Victoria

    My first facial scrub was St Ives Apricot Scrub and I love it. I used it in my twenties and I think it was discontinued for awhile. St. Ives came back with it last year and added a few more variants in their facial scrub range. I am currently using Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Skin Brightening Exfoliator and my face definitely looks brighter after using it. Do you know how does this compare against Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser? The one I am using is a bit drying and I use it 3 times a week.

    I have never tried the Uriage scrub but I have tried the black mask from Kose a long time ago. Did not know that Kose has a scrub as well :-)

    1. Tine

      I’ve not used the Clearly Corrective exfoliator but I reckon it’ll be stronger than the Rare Earth cleanser. Try cutting it down to minimum twice a week. Don’t exfoliate too often as it will give you premature fine lines. Good luck! :)

  5. Jessica W

    Oh, I remember those pinkish-whitish Biore tubes! That was my first one too and then it broke me out :’( I then switched to St Ives and at one point, used something from Body Shop too I think. I used to scrub myself raw around the nose area, thinking that it’d get the dirt and the oil out. (Silly me.) Luckily, this habit broke when it got too painful and my mom used to shout, ‘Girl, don’t scrub so hard, you’re not scrubbing the toilet!’ I used St Ives’ scrub for a while but nowadays I’m into more natural stuff, so am using the honey-sugar scrub for the skin, just gotta scrub gently on the face though. :)
    Jessica W recently posted..Cupcake loveMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha yay good to know someone remembers the pink and white Biore! :P Oh, I know what you mean! I used to scrub myself raw around the nose too! In fact, I still concentrate the most around the nose but have to go real slow and not overdo it.

      Hehehe your mum sounds just like mine. GIRL YOU THINK YOU’RE SCRUBBING THE TOILET AH?! Aww bless. :P

  6. Monica P

    Hi! Stopping by after seeing your blog featured on Confessions of a Skin Care Junkie! I’m a Gemini too !! My b-day is May 30th.

    I’m following you on blog lovin’ and looking forward to reading your posts.

    Monica.
    Monica P recently posted..Cream blazer with black piping and a Starry Night shirtMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Thanks Monica! Hope to see more of you here :) x

  7. Chelsea Preen

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any of these. The black one scares me, ha ha! I think the first scrub I ever used was a Clearasil one – way back as a teen – it was ridiculously harsh…
    Chelsea Preen recently posted..Review: Mary Kary TimeWise Plus+ Regena-Firm Eye Cream and Intensive SerumMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I remembered steering clear of Clearasil back in the day because of how harsh it was. It was almost equivalent to this day’s Proactive. I’m glad they’ve toned their formula down because I found the old one just too strong for the skin.

      Try the black one. It’s fun to use! :P

  8. Oh god, my first scrub……………….can’t remember lol. May be the apricot scrub from St. Ives?! I have tried the mask from the Kiehl’s Rare Earth line, and I really like it. I’ve heard great things about the cleanser, so I’ll definitely have to give it a try soon.
    Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog recently posted..Lee Hi First Love Inspired Makeup Tutorial|A Fresh, Charming and Delightful LookMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha looks like lots of women’s first scrub was the St Ives. It was highly popular back then, wasn’t it? There weren’t too many scrubs back in the day and when this one came out, even the guys loved it :P

  9. Dana

    First was St Ives and that was way too harsh!! peeled off my skin instead TT_TT uhuhuhu!!

    Now I use Simplicite One Step Exfoliating Cleanser :) and some days I’d use the Simplicite Exfoliating Face Treatment. LOVE!

    Kiehl’s Rare Earth, I used to use that too! Then I got my other half into it now he’s the one using it LOL!
    Dana recently posted..Mani Monday: OPI “Red Lights Ahead… Where?”My Profile

    1. Tine

      Ooh I like Simplicite’s exfoliating cleanser! I save small tubes of it just for travelling :)

  10. MC

    Ahhh, the St Ives Apricot Scrub! I remember that one. I totally used it as a body scrub, it was way, way to harsh for the face. Loved it on the body though. :P

    I totally love the Kose scrub (obviously *wink*). Something fascinating about it turning from black to grey. And the after feeling is great, face looks so clean and bright. Never noticed the smell though, must be used to it from the other items I use from the same Kose line.

    1. Tine

      Hahaha I have you to thank for the scrub and for introducing me to the range! I’ve always wanted to try it out but 1) they don’t have it here and 2) everytime I’m back in Malaysia, I get distracted by other things :P The skin feels very refreshed after it :)

  11. Kay

    I think my first scrub was the st Ives apricot scrub invigorating version in light beige tube, and I think I used that for almost ten tubes before I switched to another version that is good for preventing blackheads. After I found out the harshness of the scrub, I changed to the “timeless” version of the same brand which i bought it online and used about 4 tubes and they discontinued. A pity though, because that was awesome, doesn’t scratch the skin but really helps to remove dead skin cells thoroughly.

    Now I’m using a few scrubs at the moment and I like the freeman’s pink grapefruit scrub that is similar to st Ives timeless scrub because of the fine beads. The freeman’s one smells fresh and I believe it also used fruit acid to gently exfoliate the skin. On the third tube already ;) it’s cheap too. Probably you can grab it in Malaysia if you go visiting but might be a little hard to find.

    1. Tine

      Oooh I’ve heard of the Freeman’s scrubs! I’ve missed those. I don’t think they’re available in Australia (used to use them in Malaysia). Boo!

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