I have very dry, flake-prone skin so using a scrub once in awhile is something that I try to incorporate into my routine. I don’t use a manual scrub as much as I used to — these days I use chemical exfoliants, like Paula’s Choice AHA 8% (Glycolic Acid) Gel — but it’s something I like to have on hand. When it comes to manual scrubs, I like a really dense scrub with superfine scrubbing particles. Some of my favorite exfoliating scrubs are the Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion scrub and the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion in a Jar which are extremely similar, so if you like one chances are excellent you’ll enjoy the other (just a tip).
I’d just run out of my last Olay scrub and I’m not certain if they even make it anymore because it always takes me ages to work through a jar, so when I spotted the Blueberry & Acai Facial Scrub ($5.99) at Trader Joe’s a couple of months ago I decided to give it try. I’ve been using it consistently twice a week since then.
The scrub comes in a heavy, frosted, glass jar and even before you twist off the lid you’ll be able to smell the strong, natural berry scent. I’m not familiar with acai berries but I’d the scrub smells like blueberries except a bit more sour.
The scrub itself is a beautiful mauve purple color with a thick, creamy texture reminiscent of Greek yogurt.
The exfoliating particles in the scrub are unfortunately blueberry seeds that are sprinkled sporadically throughout the cream. I say unfortunately because these seeds are quite large with very sharp edges. On a related tangent, St. Ives’ Apricot Scrub is a cult favorite for many but I absolutely hated it because of its crushed walnut shell exfoliating particles which I found too large, too sharp and too damaging to use on delicate facial skin. I would say that the blueberry seeds, while not as abundant in the TJ’s scrub as the walnut shells in the St. Ives Apricot Scrub, are as coarse, sharp and jagged if not more so. I suppose if you’re a fan of the St. Ives Apricot Scrub then that’s not a big but if you hated it then you won’t like this as a manual scrub either. If you try to use it as a physical scrub you’ll likely end up scratching up your face.
While it fails as a manual scrub, I think the Blueberry & Acai Facial Scrub more than succeeds as a chemical exfoliant. The cream contains alpha hydroxy acids (citric acid, malic acid and lactic acid) to exfoliate the skin and I find them quite effective.
To use the scrub, I recommend very slowly and gently massaging the cream all over the face. You really don’t want to rub it on with too much pressure or speed because of all those sharp blueberry seeds. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you’ll definitely feel the acids at work pretty quickly. On me, after a couple of minutes of massaging I start feeling a prickly, stinging sensation. I’ll just say it’s a bad idea to use the scrub if you have any open wounds (scabbed zits) or scratches (argh, blueberry seeds) on your face because the acids will burn.
Rather than a scrub, I feel this product works best as a exfoliating facial mask. After I apply the cream and massage it all over my face, I like to let it sit on my face for a bit until it becomes uncomfortable. For me that’s about 10 minutes max (usually less) before the tingles get to me. You might be able to stand it for longer. Then I rinse my face thoroughly with some warm water. It rinses off pretty easily but I suggest spending extra time making certain the scrub is completely rinsed off your face, especially around the hairline, because the purple color of the blueberries will definitely stain your towels.
I could do without the seeds but all in all the scrub leaves my face looking and feeling smoother and brighter. It doesn’t leave my face feeling tight or dry either which can probably be attributed to the soothing colloidal oatmeal and moisturizing shea butter in the ingredients. It isn’t what I expected when I bought it — I was hoping for a Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion in a Jar dupe — but I’m glad I got it.