This is a little bit of a puzzle for me, how to word this post. I was going to write it anyway, and it would have been almost identical, because it's something that I found surprising, interesting, and important, and I wanted to share it with you. And then I was approached by a PR company, working with a brand I already had in mind as an example of good practice. So I ran the concept by them, they said "yeah, great", and sent me a sample to go with it. The post is as it would be otherwise, but now there are some extra images, and a review at the end. Please read this post as it is intended, a genuine post, the review hasn't changed my opinions or reason for posting in the slightest.
An email landed in my inbox recently, from the Marine Conservation Society. I like to give them a read, there's often something interesting, but this one article really caught my eye. It spoke about the increasing damage to our seas, caused by plastics, and specifically microplastics, which can be found in certain cosmetics, including scrubs & peels. Now, I must confess I'm a bit of a scrubber, and I've found that a regular scrub has done wonders for the chicken skin on the tops of my arms.
This email really shocked me, I hadn't thought about there being plastic in my cosmetics. And the first scrub I'd bought (at least in recent memory) was a very very natural one, filled with oats & sugar, more like my breakfast porridge than anything else. All it was liable to give a passing fish was a healthy breakfast. But that one had run out, and I'd won a different brand's body scrub, which I was now using instead. After reading this email, I went off to the shower to have a check, and there, among the ingredients, was Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Shock. It did explain though, why there was now a layer of goop regularly appearing in the bottom of my shower, which there hadn't been previously. It was at this point I started planning this post.
I checked the other members of my shower collection, and the majority were free of plastics, mostly because the brands I buy for myself tend to be at the more natural end of the market. Plastics can appear in ingredient lists as Polyethylene / Polythene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), so these were the words I was keeping an eye out for.
With Christmas fast approaching (there! I said it!), I know that pampering treats such as scrubs are likely to appear in many a Christmas stocking. Wouldn't it be great if this year, we could all make an effort to make sure that the gifts we give are going to protect our seas, as well as treat our loved ones? A minute checking the labels could make all the difference to reducing the plastic soup that is growing in the oceans as a result of the plastics that are washed down our drains & into the environment.
Before plastics started to be used in scrubs, companies used products such as salt, sugar, sand, coconut & cocoa beans. So I was happy to give Palmers new Cocoa Body Scrub a try. I'd tried their facial scrub in the past, and found it suited my skin, and didn't contain any of the plastics I was concerned about. So the Body Scrub would be ideal to replace the offending scrub which has now been banished to the recycling bin, where its plastics can be melted down into something useful.
I wasn't disappointed. The scrub smells divine. Honestly, I've wanted to gnaw my arms off, because they smell so gorgeously chocolatey. It's not sweet & cloying, just a subtle scent of chocolate, which gives me a lift when the day's getting too long for comfort. The crushed cocoa beans have a gentle exfoliating effect, taking off the dead skin cells, and brightening the skin, whilst the shea butter smoothes & soothes redness. I'd post a picture of my upper arms here as proof, but that's a difficult photo to take on your own! To be honest, it's actually far more effective than the now-banished plasticky scrub, and I can kind of see why. Microplastics are likely to be even shaped, round beads. There's only so much effect something smooth can have. By their nature, crushed beans, sand, salt, sugar, etc are going to be slightly rougher. Not so much as to cause discomfort, but enough to work better.
I was already a scrubber, as I said (it's been said before, much to the amusement of certain people) but now I'm a plastic-free scrubber. I'm definitely going to be checking ingredients more carefully from now on, both because I believe the natural products are more effective, and to protect the environment. Will you join me in being a plastic-free scrubber?
Disclosure. I received an email from the Marine Conservation Society, but was not asked to blog about the issue. I had already chosen to blog about the issue when I was approached by Palmers. I was provided with the Cocoa Body Scrub free of charge for the purpose of this review. I was not told what to write, by Palmers or the Marine Conservation Society, and all opinions are my own. Links are provided for your convenience, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme and will not receive reward for their use.