LUSH Ocean Salt Scrub: Tried, Reviewed, and Adored

Reviews, Skin Care

LUSH Ocean SaltLUSH is one of my favorite brands, though not for the typical reasons.  Usually I love skin care products because they have some special ingredient or delivery system.  Yet I love LUSH for a truly distinct reason:  Their products are super fun to use.  In an otherwise typical Thursday night shower, you can use a LUSH bath bomb, only to suddenly have an infusion of brightly-colored hydrating liquid flood your skin.  It’s definitely exciting – bath products for the young and rebellious at heart!

Another view:  It's very blue, with a mix of fine and coarse-grain crystals.  Careful not to rub too hard!That said, I love the new LUSH Ocean Salt Scrub ($34.95, not only because it is super fun to use, but also because it is beneficial to the skin.  LUSH sent me a few samples recently, but I was most ecstatic about this salt scrub.  The main ingredient, sea salt, has been found to improve skin hydration, improve barrier function, and reduce inflammation due to the high levels of magnesium therein (International Journal of Dermatology, 2009).  What’s more, sea salt is gently abrasive, so it helps to remove substances and debris.  A little-known fact about such exfoliators:  When the skin is well-exfoliated, sunscreens work better.  This is because sunscreens were developed to reflect and/or absorb light from a completely flat surface.  For those curious, physical sunscreens like titanium or zinc oxide were designed to reflect UV rays, whereas chemical sunscreens like avobenzone or Parsol 1789 absorb UV rays and transmit them to a different form of (non-damaging) energy.  No matter which type you choose, the fewer bumps and crevices on your skin, the better a sunscreen will work.

GrapefruitI also love the fresh grapefruit and lime infusions in LUSH Ocean Salt Scrub.  A few LUSH products can be a bit on the basic side, with a higher, more alkaline pH, but these acidic fruits in LUSH Ocean Salt Scrub make it more soothing to the skin, as the skin’s lipids and proteins are less irritated in lower pH solutions (Dermatologic Therapy, 2004).

LUSH Ocean Salt Scrub has become one of my favorite products.  I use it twice/week on my normal skin, and I notice a difference immediately.  I also use it daily in the shower.  It’s really unusual to find a product I think is best for both body and facial skin, but for those with normal to oily facial skin, I think you may find LUSH Ocean Salt Scrub acceptable for both facial and body exfoliating.  My boyfriend said, “Your skin is so smooth!”  Needless to say, I will be buying this again!

Product Rating:  10/10  (High or optimized concentration of effective ingredients:  3/3.  Unique formulation or new technology:  3/3.  Value for the money:  3/3.  Sunscreen: N/A).

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  • I have never tried this product, though I have read nothing but rave reviews for it. I also adore the Lush brand ethos- they are definitely creating fun, unique products and show their conscience more than probably any other brand in the beauty industry. Having said that, I am a little surprised (not unpleasantly so) to see that you like this.

    Until recently, I was under the impression that salt was dehydrating to tissues. While this post is not the only thing I’ve seen of late speaking to the humectant properties of salt, I did notice the study you reference in regards to the benefits of salt speaks directly to those from the Dead Sea, which seem to be significantly higher in the key beneficial component, Magnesium.

    On Lush’s website they don’t specify that they are using Dead Sea salt, so my worry is that the salt would then become drying- especially with the use of vodka in the formula. I’ve also always worried that the jagged crystalline structure of the salt could tear at the skin (the same reason I stay away from things like nut shells and pumice in my scrubs).

    And then there’s the matter of the citrus oils. According to Paula Begoun, such oils are potent skin irritants (she feels so strongly about this that just about anything including oils like citrus, peppermint or lavender is bound to get a frowny face in her review!)

    Your explanation that the citrus oils essentially function as pH adjusters makes sense to me and speaks to why they may not be irritating in this particular formula, but it is a concern for me. I’ve actually stopped using my all-time favorite cleanser because of the amount of botanical oils it includes and their potential to create underlying irritation.

    I’d love to hear your view on the subject, as the use of botanicals has become almost pervasive as the “natural” trend in beauty continues to gain momentum. You’re one of my most trusted and relied upon sources for beauty info, especially when it relates to technologies and the mechanisms behind them. I know you’re super-busy (med school on top of being a blogging machine- don’t know how you do it!) but if you find the time, I’d definitely be interested in your thoughts!

  • Samantha

    I just discovered this site and so far I love it! It’s so refreshing to find product reviews from people who actually understand the science, not just the hype or personal experience.

    That said, I was wondering what you think of using sea salt, the kind you can buy in the grocery store (or source online?) and squeezing a bit of fresh grapefruit juice and a fresh lime juice over it? (I found it a bit… disingenuous?… that you referred to the grapefruit in this product as “fresh”. Maybe “disingenuous” is the wrong word… I don’t mean to sound too harsh!)

    I haven’t found any articles here yet on making one’s own homemade products (if you have any or if there are is a site or sites that you recommend, I’d appreciate links!). Obviously, most of the “high-tech” products you review here would be impossible to make at home, but a sea salt scrub seems like something that one could have without spending $34.95 ($35 for those of us who aren’t brainwashed by the .99 or .95 – or in the case of say, Apple products, $499 for an iPad – marketing trick) plus tax and/or shipping.

    I used to use a shower scrub made of sea salt and (I think) grapeseed oil. Some people swear by olive oil. When I used that regularly my skin (I only used it on my body because I was worried about oil on my face) was so soft that my boyfriend at the time expressed concern that it was “too soft” (I still am not sure what he was worried about, lol!). What do you think of re-creating that with grapefruit and lime?

    This company, LUSH, sounds like it makes fun products (I’d love to try that bath bomb!) but I think I’d rather save up for Chanel Le Blanc and/or other products that might actually work on the worrisome signs of aging on my 39 year old face. Plus, my insurance doesn’t cover much dermatology. 🙁

    Thanks again for this site! I wish I knew more about chemistry and it is really wonderful learning about ingredients and products from people who understand the science!

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