To exfoliate or not to exfoliate: that is the question

Skin exfoliation is an action widely recommended by dermatologists: exfoliating scrubs help to remove dead cells that accumulate in the skin, which will help to produce collagen, an essential substance for skin protection.

However, the vast majority of the exfoliants currently available on the market are not natural and are potentially harmful to the environment. The truth is that many of the solutions contain plastic microspheres (microplastics, therefore) as exfoliating agents. It is estimated that thousands of tonnes of microspheres found in cosmetic products and toothpastes end up in the oceans every year, being then ingested by fish, molluscs and zooplankton.

Cosmetic microspheres represent 4% of all the plastic in the oceans – they’re the most common microplastic found in the sea, and this is a perfectly avoidable situation.

So, should we stop using exfoliants, face scrubs and body scrubs?

 

The answer is simple: organic scrubbers

There is no need to go looking for complicated alternatives. Instead of using products with cosmetic microspheres and microplastics, try creating your own natural exfoliating products, both body and facial, using ingredients that are available all year round in your pantry .

You’ll see how easy it is to help avoid more microplastics in the oceans (and in your life).

Five natural, zero waste and DIY exfoliating scrubs

To get ready you’ll be needing open access to your pantry, a reusable and sealable container – like a glass jar –, a bowl and a spoon.

After trying out these natural, zero waste homemade body scrubs, you’ll never go back to non-natural ones. Remember that, although natural, these scrubs are not meant to be used daily – rather use them weekly or twice a week, according to your skin’s response.

Body or face?

Watch out for the differences between a body or face scrub!

Body scrubs are generally more aggressive and can cause sensitivity, redness or even dryness of the face skin, which is more sensitive.

The difference lies in the size of the grains that make the exfoliation. Body scrubs have larger and more concentrated grains, while facial scrubs are more liquid and contain smaller grains.

Sea Salt homemade body scrub
  1. Sea salt homemade body scrub

 

Ingredients:

  • Coarse sea salt;
  • Oil of choice (coconut, sweet almond, baby oil, etc);
  • Essential oil of choice (optional).

Steps:

  • According to the capacity of your container, place a somewhat large amount of sea salt in your bowl;
  • Slowly drip the oil in, until you achieve a wet sand-like consistency – not too runny, not too sandy;
  • Finish up with a few drops of your favourite essential oil (lavender, citrus, orange blossom, etc.) for aroma;
  • Once ready, transfer your homemade body scrub to your container and close it tightly.
Brown Sugar homemade body scrub
  1. Brown sugar homemade body scrub

 

Ingredients:

  • Brown sugar;
  • Oil of choice (coconut, jojoba, olive oil, almonds, etc.);
  • Essential oil of choice (optional).

Steps:

  • According to the capacity of your container, pour a decent amount of brown sugar in your bowl;
  • Drip the oil in, slowly, until you achieve a wet sand-like consistency – not too runny, not too sandy;
  • Finish up with a few drops of your favourite essential oil (lavender, lemon, orange blossom, etc.) for aroma;
  • Once ready, transfer your homemade body scrub to your container and close it tightly.
Coffee & olive oil homemade body scrub
  1. Coffee & olive oil homemade body scrub

 

Ingredients:

  • Coffee grounds;
  • Olive oil;
  • Vanilla extract (optional).

Steps:

  • Start off with a generous amount of used coffee grounds in a bowl;
  • Drip the olive oil in, slowly, until you achieve a paste with a sand-like consistency – not too runny, not too sandy;
  • For a lasting aroma, add a few drops of your vanilla extract – that pairs up very nicely with coffee;
  • Once ready, transfer your homemade body scrub to your container and close it tightly.
Honey & sugar homemade face scrub
  1. Honey & sugar homemade face scrub

 

Ingredients:

  • Granulated sugar;
  • Honey;
  • Sweet almond oil (optional).

Steps:

  • Add a few tablespoons of sugar to a bowl and very slowly add the honey. The consistency of this homemade face scrub should be a bit runny, just like a liquid soap;
  • If this mixture is too sticky, add a teaspoon of sweet almond oil;
  • Once ready, transfer your homemade face scrub to your container, and seal it tightly.
Oats homemeade face scrub
  1. Oats homemade face scrub

 

Ingredients:

  • Ground oats or oats flour;
  • Oil of choice (coconut, sweet almonds, etc.);
  • Honey (optional).

Steps:

  • Pour some tablespoons of ground oats into a bowl and very slowly add your oil – coconut works well;
  • The consistency should be more runny, just like a liquid soap, but with some granules;
  • If the mixture is not creamy enough, add a bit of honey until you feel it is just right;
  • Once ready, transfer your homemade face scrub to your container, and seal it tightly.

Your homemade exfoliating scrub is ready to use

Both the body and face scrubs must be gently massaged into the skin, in circular motions.

If you experience any discomfort while using it, wash your skin abundantly with cold water. Avoid using the scrubs on sensitive skin, wounds and moles.

And that’s it: you’re ready to use your natural, ocean-friendly homemade exfoliating scrub.