e.l.f. Cosmetics

Exfoliating Scrub

3.80 fl. oz. for $ 8.00
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Brand Overview

Exfoliating Scrub is a mixed bag that is highly likely to leave your skin confused, and you feeling frustrated. The formula is front-loaded with clay (kaolin) and mineral oil, two unlike substances that don’t play well in the same formula, but at least this contains some emulsifiers to make the mineral oil easier to rinse, though this scrub can seem messier than most.

The bigger question is why add so much oil to a clay-based product when clay’s main benefit for skin is that it absorbs excess oil? The logic doesn’t add up, but we’ll stop harping on that.

The scrub ingredients include alumina silicate and polyethylene beads, both of which are fine and unlikely to be too abrasive due to the emollient ingredients preceding them.  But skin isn’t primed for being soothed, as this scrub exposes it to lavender and citrus ingredients along with fragrance, all of which pose a risk of irritation.

We’re not sure who to recommend this scrub to, as its formula is bound to be too rich for oily skin yet potentially too drying for dry skin. It’s an OK option for normal skin, but nothing must-have. For truly great exfoliation, forget scrubs and use a leave-on AHA or BHA exfoliant instead. You’ll find our top picks here (along with scrubs, if that’s your preference).


  • Leaves skin feeling soft and smooth.
  • Inexpensive.


  • High amounts of clay and mineral oil make for an unlikely, potentially frustrating pairing.
  • The mix of lavender, citrus, and fragrance poses a risk of irritation.

More Info:

Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics: This product contains polyethylene beads, which is an ingredient that has come under controversy in the recent past. In December of 2013, research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Marine Pollution Bulletin demonstrated that although polyethylene beads are non-toxic to humans, they are not filtered during sewage treatment and are accumulating in waterways. This means the beads have the potential to negatively affect marine wildlife who mistakenly consume them (Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2013).

Additional research published in December of 2013 demonstrated that polyethylene beads have the potential to absorb pollutants while in waterways. This research was conducted to establish the potential of absorption, however, and was not conducted using samples from actual waterways (Cell, 2013).

Beautypedia does not take an ideological stance in reviewing skincare products; rather, our reviews are based upon each product's potential harm or benefit to skin contingent upon what independent peer-reviewed scientific research has demonstrated. On issues like polyethylene beads in cosmetics or animal testing, we present the facts without judgment so that you may make your own decision whether or not this product is right for you.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Soothe and smooth skin with this gentle exfoliating scrub that sloughs off rough, dry skin, revealing your inner glow!

Water(Aqua), Kaolin, Glycerin, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Alumina Magnesium Metasilicate, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Polyethylene, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Carya Illinoensis (Pecan) Shell Powder, Tocopheryl Acetate(Ve), Disodium EDTA, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Sodium Chloride, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance (Parfum).

e.l.f. At-A-Glance

e.l.f. (it stands for which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face) was founded by Scott Vincent Borba and Joseph Shamah. The story goes that one day Borba was shopping in a dollar store and noticed women dressed in designer clothing and sporting designer handbags loading up their baskets with inexpensive nail polish, eye pencils, and lip balm. He took note of the products being sold in such stores and quickly decided he could offer products of even higher quality at the same competitive price. His idea paid off, as e.l.f. has enjoyed continued success and increased distribution online and in retail stores.

For a line offering many products for just a dollar (OK, there are plenty that cost $3 and $5, too), there are a surprising number of hits in the mix (especially the makeup brushes). True, not everything is going to be as luxurious or innovative as some higher-end brands, but overall you're likely to be impressed with what they developed for so little money, and you may just find some beauty bargains!

For more information about e.l.f., call (800) 231-4732 or visit www.eyeslipsface.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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