Exfoliators Reviewed! St Ives, Sanctuary, Tesco

I really love to exfoliate, and feel it’s a must-have in my beauty regime.  Over the past 3 months, I was looking for the “perfect” exfoliator.  I bought four exfoliating scrubs and two exfoliating mitts and tried them all out to find out which was best.  Exfoliating gets rid of dead skin cells, revealing newer vibrant skin, yada yada yada you all know why exfoliating is important for hygiene, stimulating cell renewal, looking your best, and all that lovely stuff.

The exfoliators I'm reviewing today: Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator, St Ives Microdermabrasion, Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish and the Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub.
The exfoliators I’m reviewing today: Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator, St Ives Microdermabrasion, Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish and the Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub. The gloves are Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove (89p, left) and Tesco Exfoliating Glove (99p for 2, right)

 

Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub: 8/10.

Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub
Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub

I really loved this one, and it’s scented with a cucumbery sort of body wash smell so leaves me feeling fresh out of the shower. Size: 150ml tube.

Pro’s: It was very gentle and you get a lot of product.  It contains sodium laureth sulphate, which is a surfactant (cleaning agent), and a lot of scrubs don’t contain any surfactant, so this one doubles up as a shower gel.

Con’s: The little microbeads were a bit few and far between so I wouldn’t be able to use this as my regular exfoliator.

A swatch of Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub.
A swatch of Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub on the back of my hand.

Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub Ingredients:  Aqua, sodium laureth sulphate, polyethylene, cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Crosspolymer, Cocamide DEA, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Magnesium Nitrate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.

Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish: 5/10.

Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish
Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish. The tube is in a bit of a state at the top and bottom because I wanted to use it for long enough for it to have a fair review.

 

I was really in love with the idea of this but the reality was less pleasing.  It claims to warm your skin (presumably to open pores and draw out impurities) but the warming effect lasts like 2 seconds and only while you’re actually applying it, so your fingers get warm because they’re constantly touching it, but your face doesn’t get this benefit.  It seems like a waste of a perfectly good chemical reaction.  Size: 100ml.

Pro’s: It does scrub your face, and the actual particles are quite small.

Con’s: Something about the chemicals used to make it self-heating seems to make my face unhappy and I always left the shower with a really (really) red face which was pretty annoying, and my face was also left quite sensitive so I couldn’t put my moisturizer on afterwards.  When I put it on my insensitive, normal-skin arms, the same thing happened.   I really don’t think this was suitable for my age.  While the heating part didn’t work, this product still had some skin-burning ingredients in it.  Maybe it’s aimed at people with more mature skin that needs attacking with dynamite to perk it up (why why why don’t 99% of skincare companies put a guide age on the packaging)?!

A swatch of Sanctuary Warming Microbrasion Polish.
A swatch of Sanctuary Warming Microbrasion Polish.

Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden Warming Microbrasion Polish Ingredients: PEG-8, Zeolite, Kaolin, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cera Alba, PEG-150, CI77891 (titanium dioxide), Cetyl Alcohol, PEG 100 Stearate, Trticum Vulgarae (wheat) Germ Oil, Solum Diatomeae, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxypropylcellulose, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Geraniol, Citronellol.

St Ives Microdermabrasion: 9/10.

St Ives Microdermabrasion
St Ives Microdermabrasion.

As far as bottles of exfoliating gloop go, the St Ives wins hands down.  I felt my face looked fresher and more radiant after I’d used it and it never looked red and scratched.  The only reason it loses a point is it’s slightly dehydrating to my face because I have dry skin.  Size: You get 125ml of this in a tube.

Pro’s:  It’s WAY more gentle than the Apricot Scrub.  It left my skin looking its best.  It was good for use on most of my upper body (I don’t exfoliate my boobs), especially the neck/decolette.

Con’s: It’s not strong enough to work its magic on my legs, and I was still flaking when I came out of the shower throughout this entire tube of scrub which I detest.  If you don’t have dry skin in this area, this may not be a problem.

A swatch of St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub
A swatch of St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub

St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub Ingredients: Aqua, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates/Palmyth-25-Acrylate Copolymer, Acrylates Copolymer, Disodium-2-Sulfolaurate, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed extract, Primula Veris Extract, Chamomile Recutita (Matricaria) extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower extract, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Polyacrylamide, Propylene Glycol, Sorbitol, DMDM Hydantonin, Parfum (fragrance), Linalool, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional.

Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator: 7/10.

Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator
Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator. Size: 100ml.

Pro’s:  It smells nice, the liquidy part of the scrub is very kind to the skin and does leave it perked up and feeling renewed.

Con’s: I didn’t like the scratchy bits (what do you call them – clearly not beads).  They were badly distributed through the product and they were of differing sizes.  I think they were supposed to look “all natural” (like you’d just be walking through a forest and be like, ZOMG there’s some exfoliating scrub growing out of that tree!!), but I wanted it to exfoliate my delicate facial area and I felt it was too harsh in the parts with the larger particles and too ineffective in the parts with the smaller particles/no particles.  This left my face with some angry red scratchy patches in some area and other areas didn’t look like they’d been cleaned properly at all.  I suppose this is intended to balance out over time but I don’t think I’d buy it again when I could spend the same amount of money and get a lot more of a lot better product from St Ives.

A swatch of Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator.
A swatch of Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator.

Alternative Use:  I found it was really good for attacking the cellulite or stretch marks (or whatever that stuff is) on my ass!!!  My ass is far too insensitive to care about distribution of scratchy particles, it could barely feel this stuff, and it did leave the skin in this area looking fresh and happy, so I added points for this because it was useful.  So there you have it, this one’s actually good for a shiny hiney rofl!!

Sanctuary Radiance Exfoliator Ingredients: Glycerin, Aqua, PEG-60, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polysorbate 60, Glyceryl Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Prunus Armeniaca (apricot) Seed Powder, PEG-100 Stearate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, /vitis Vinifera (Grape) seed powder, Lactobacillus/Cucurbita Pepo Ferment Extract, Limonene, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Benzoate, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) peel oil, Citris Nobilis (mandadrin) peel oil, Disodium EDTA, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Carica Papaya (papaya) fruit extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) fuit extract, EDTA, Citric Acid, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide.

Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove: 2/10.

Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove
Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove

Home Bargains has some phenomenal bargains and it’s a shop I trust when I want to try new things.  This was the first exfoliating glove I’d ever tried in my life, and in the shop I’d gently rubbed it against my palm to find out what the texture was like, but somehow I misjudged this.

Pro’s:  You could use it as an offensive weapon.

Con’s: The fabric on the “exfoliating” side turned coarse, hard and rough when it got wet, and I only put up with it for one shower because it was horrific.  For all that pain, you’d expect to emerge squeaky clean right?  So I was profoundly disappointed that it had removed NOTHING and all my dry flaky skin was covering my towel.  I HAD TO GO BACK IN THE SHOWER AND USE THE ST IVES TO FIX THIS, DAMNIT!!  I really don’t think this exfoliating glove was designed for anyone with skin and I strongly recommend not bothering with exfoliation if this is your only option.  I don’t know why I still have this in my bathroom, except to make me feel safer when I’m in the house alone in the shower, because of the previously-mentioned potential for use as an offensive weapon.

Tesco Exfoliating Glove: 10/10.

Tesco Exfoliating Glove Mitt
Tesco Exfoliating Glove

Pro’s: This was the second-to-last thing I tried, and after all the others, I can definitely say this was far-and-away the very best thing I have exfoliated with recently, and it now lives looped over the handle to my shower door.  I know you’re supposed to use both of these gloves one on each hand, but I generally only wash myself with one hand at a time so I put the second glove aside so I can use it when I throw this one away.  It’s gentle enough for the face and neck but strong enough to properly get rid of the dry skin on my lower legs.  I used it with my usual shower gel, which is the Original Source Lavender and Tea Tree shower gel, and my skin has been really happy with this one.

Con’s: None, really.

So that’s my round up of exfoliators.  My conclusion?  Save a boatload of cash and buy a 99p fuzzy exfoliating glove in your choice of fun colors. Or, if you really don’t like that idea, grab the St Ives – it won hands down for a liquid exfoliator.

Wanderlust: Iceland

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday again and today I want to talk about Iceland.  Iceland is one of my dream destinations, with its dramatic volcanoes, waterfalls, amazing winter landscape and, of course, if you go at the right time of the year, the Aurora Borealis.

Here’s some pictures that really capture why Iceland floats my boat:

iceland volcano iceland hot baths iceland wanderlust1 iceland waterfall1

What would I do when I went to Iceland?

Well, you can’t always count on seeing the Aurora Borealis – some of my rellies were there for 2 weeks and never saw it at all, at the specific time of year when it should have been at its best.  For that reason, I wouldn’t go to Iceland just for that, and I wouldn’t depend on seeing the Northern Lights as a make-or-break the trip kinda thing.

First, I’d want to see the blue lagoon, a geothermal lake that’s also a pretty nifty spa resort.  Can you imagine traveling through miles of icy glaciers, then getting into a swimming costume and swimming outdoors in hot spa temperature water, surrounded by ice.  Access to the Blue Lagoon is limited by tickets, and ticket prices start at E35.  More information at http://www.bluelagoon.com/

Then, if that hadn’t blown me away (and doing these in order matters, otherwise I would never appreciate the Blue Lagoon in all its glory), I’d take a trip across to Askja.  Here’s a picture:

askja volcano lake

You can climb it.  Not only that, but once you’ve climbed inside this amazing volcanic crater, you can totally swim in that.

But if you do it first then Blue Lagoon will be a teensy bit anticlimactic.  More info on Askja.

I’d probably be fairly tired of swimming after all that (I’m not a great swimmer to start with and I’m terrified of specifically shaped swimming pools – don’t ask me why, it only makes sense to me.  Needless to say that when I was in Sindelfingen I was clinging to the side like a limpet nearly in tears).  So I’d go do some museuming after that lot, with a visit to the Culture House in Rejkjavik, where you can find The Sagas of Icelanders manuscripts alongside modern Icelandic art.  Guided tours in English are at 2pm!  Find out about opening hours and ticket prices here (it’s in Icelandic Krona so you may need a currency converter).  Other Icelandic museums worth visiting in Rejkjavik include The National Museum of Iceland (Thjodminjasafn) which covers a lot more of Iceland’s thousand-year past.  If you’re anything like me and love a good romp around the geological and non-human aspects of a place, The Natural History Museum of Iceland might be for you.  I would certainly love to go there, as its British equivalent is one of my favourite places to go in London.

After all that indoor stuff, I’d probably want to get out again, this time I’d go for some of the world-class waterfalls, a handy top 10 list of these can be found here (with stunning photographs).

To round up my visit, (if I had enough money to spare – it costs 39,000 Icelandic Krona which I just converted, is about £202 British Pounds), I’d want to top my visit off with a trip into the heart of a dormant volcano with the “Inside the Volcano” tour (it’s one of those guess the hidden meaning names, amirite??).  There’s a video and full tourist details here.  It’s not for the faint hearted/people with a fear of depths (heights?)/claustrophobic though so it’s probably not for everyone, but for me it would be a truly stunning experience to round off the rest of the trip.

That’s my take on what I’d do in Iceland if I ever get there:  What would you most like to do in Iceland?  Have you been?

Travel Tuesday: In Pictures: The Mercure Barony Castle Hotel, Peebles

Last week on my trip to the Highlands, I checked into the Mercure Barony Castle Hotel, Eddleston, near Peebles, for a couple of nights R+R after two days car camping and climbing mountains and whatnot.  Peebles is in the Scottish borders between England and Scotland (far, far away from the Highlands) and we stayed here on our way back down to England.

To be honest, for the price I paid through booking.com, I wasn’t expecting an awful lot.  And the hotel is currently undergoing renovation so there were ambient builders and buildy noises, but they were mostly unobtrusive. There was a spa that I didn’t take pictures of because obviously phones and water don’t mix. But seriously, you have to see the grounds.  I could throw some hackneyed phrases around in a flailure to describe the place, but why TELL you about it when I could just SHOW you?  The Mercure Barony Castle Hotel was very photogenic, and it was pretty damn awesome to stay in a real castle!  Enjoy:

The castle, as it looked from the approach.
The castle, as it looked from the approach.
One of the turrets.
One of the turrets.
One of the many delightful waterfalls in the castle grounds.
One of the many delightful waterfalls in the castle grounds.
Some trees in the castle grounds.
Some trees in the castle grounds.
Intrigued by this mysterious sign, we looked around for the altar.
Intrigued by this mysterious sign, we looked around for the altar.
I was doing a distant staring pose so you could tell I was serious about finding this altar.
I was doing a distant staring pose so you could tell I was serious about finding this altar.
This is Commander Riker calling Beverly Crusher on the Enterprise. I'm on the surface of the planet, and that thing is happening again where I cannot straighten both legs at once...
This is Commander Riker calling Beverly Crusher on the Enterprise. I’m on the surface of the planet, and that thing is happening again where I cannot straighten both legs at once…
I wanted to do a mock-sacrificial virgins pose but the surface was very slippery and wet so clearly it wasn't good sacrificin' weather.
I wanted to do a mock-sacrificial virgins pose but the surface was very slippery and wet so clearly it wasn’t good sacrificin’ weather.
Looking back the way we came.
Looking back the way we came.
We don't know what these barrels be doing here, but there were no hobbits or dwarves around so we concluded that they'd escaped from them and were on the loose somewhere else in the grounds.
We don’t know what these barrels be doing here, but there were no hobbits or dwarves around so we concluded that they’d escaped from them and were on the loose somewhere else in the grounds.
We continued exploring.
We continued exploring.
Another mystery - a secret garden!  I half-expected to see Alice in there.
Another mystery – a secret garden! I half-expected to see Alice in there.
In another direction, the ice house.
In another direction, the ice house.
The silent tragedy of the lone lost glove.
The silent tragedy of the lone lost glove.
It makes the pitiful sound of one handed clapping while it awaits its life partner's return.  A poignant reminder that we will all have to be a lost glove at some point in our lives.  Or am I taking this too seriously?  These gloves always make me sad.
It makes the pitiful sound of one handed clapping while it awaits its life partner’s return. A poignant reminder that we will all have to be a lost glove at some point in our lives. Or am I taking this too seriously? These gloves always make me sad.
A sign for the Mapa Scotland, the amazing 3D relief map of Scotland, built by Polish soldiers, showing all the Scottish mountains; this was a key attraction when the hotel was built but has now fallen into obscurity.
A sign for the Mapa Scotland, the amazing 3D relief map of Scotland, built by Polish soldiers, showing all the Scottish mountains; this was a key attraction when the hotel was built but has now fallen into obscurity.
Repair work on the Mapa Scotland, the current hotel owners hope that the map will be restored to its former glory and become more well-known as it was an ingenious way of mapping such a densely mountainous country.
Repair work on the Mapa Scotland, the current hotel owners hope that the map will be restored to its former glory and become more well-known as it was an ingenious way of mapping such a densely mountainous country.
What castle hotel would be complete without a llama farm on the other side of the ravine where the three waterfalls flow.
What castle hotel would be complete without a llama farm on the other side of the ravine where the three waterfalls flow.
A close up of the llamas.  The blips in the background are wild rabbits who like to hang out with the llamas.  There was also a pony around somewhere.
A close up of the llamas. The blips in the background are wild rabbits who like to hang out with the llamas. There was also a pony around somewhere.
Just beyond the grounds, we found some mysterious Victorian ruins.  But that's a mystery we'll examine in another article.
Just beyond the grounds, we found some mysterious Victorian ruins. But that’s a mystery we’ll examine in another article.

I hope you liked this castle hotel as much as we did.  I can’t stress how amazing the pool, hot tub, jacuzzi and experience showers were as well.  For a very long time I have been petrified of indoor pools (last one we went to, I clung like a limpet to the side, panicking, all my muscles contracted and I couldn’t even swim a single width), but I actually managed to do some swimming here (ok, not the first time we went down, but the second, third and fourth times? I was doing lengths).  The breakfast in the restaurant was also outstanding, I think you could find a satisfying breakfast at their ample buffet, whether you are a carnivore, herbivore, fruitarian or simply a cereal fan; they even had soya milk for my tea!!  I can’t wait to stay at the Mercure Barony Castle Hotel again, and there will definitely be an again, this place was incredible.  I wanted to live there and was genuinely sad to leave.

If you would like to stay there too, I recommend that you use Booking.com to get fantastic rates.

Please note this article contains affiliate links so that if you want to stay in this incredible hotel, you can book it at a low price via Booking.com, which is a website I have used for years to get the best hotel deals and am excited to share with you. Any commission I get doesn’t affect the price you pay for your hotel.