EDIT_IMG_7600It’s best to be cautious when choosing a physical exfoliator. Many natural, organic options – think coffee grounds – seem great at first. But the uneven, pointy shape of the grain can cause micro abrasions on your defenseless face. These tiny tears damage your skin and accelerate aging – kinda the opposite of what most of us are looking for when we reach for the loofah. So don’t grab just any “organic” ingredient from your pantry and rub it all over yourself. There are inorganic options, like plastic microbeads, which have a smooth, uniform shape seemingly perfect for buffing away dead skin, but they’re dreadful for the environment, since plastic beads never dissolve. Microbeads have become one of the biggest pollutants in our waterways: Meant to be washed down the drain, these microbeads are also tiny enough to pass through water filters, making their merry way into our rivers, lakes and oceans. In any case, consumers woke up and protested the sneaky microbeads being added to their products, which led to a 2015 ban on the use of microbeads in the US. Luckily, there are exfoliator options beyond aggressively pointy organic rubs and and synthetic plastic beads. One is Éminence’s Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant. Éminence is a cutting edge company, and one that I have come to trust. They use only 100% organically grown ingredients from their farm in Hungary, are powered by solar and wind energy, and all of their packaging is made from post-consumer recycled products. Éminence isn’t a green-washed company with clever advertising; They’re actually committed to being green and it shows. The secret ingredient in their dermafoliant is something simple that has been around forever: rice. Women (and men!) in Japan, Korea, and China have used rice water, starch and fermented rice in skincare and haircare routines for generations, and science backs up the practice. Studies have shown that brown rice starch baths appear to repair skin damage and soothe common skin ailments like eczema. Rice starches are sticky which means they bind to dirt and dead skin cells, lifting them away. Yet it’s also a natural emollient, sealing in the natural moisture with a pleasant film rather than stripping all your natural dewiness away. I tried the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant during a three-week test run. Surprise: I couldn’t stop using it. Incorporating the dermafoliant into my routine was effortless. After washing my face, I shook a quarter-sized amount of the cream-colored powder into my hand and mixed it with a few drops of water to make a paste, which I gently rubbed onto my skin. I’ve encountered many suspect, strawberry-esque scents in the skincare realm, but this exfoliant smelled only of wild strawberries, rhubarb, and even buttermilk from the lactic acid. It smells less like fruit than a light dessert. It’s a simply gorgeous scent. My skin is particularly sensitive and turns dry at the drop of a hat, so I don’t use exfoliants in my daily or even weekly routine. Yet I had no issue using this dermafoliant three or four times a week, which I often did because it always left my skin feeling velvety and polished. Because the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant was such a freaking hit, I wanted to try a full-body version. However, I didn’t want to use up the one precious bottle that I had. Instead, I experimented by soaking in rice flour baths, exfoliating the rest of myself in the shower, and rice water rinses for my hair using rice flour leftover from a batch of Vietnamese crepes. Rice is one pantry ingredient that’s safe to use, and smart. The results? Baby soft and silky skin. I highly recommend Eminence as a product to get the right level of gentle scrub for your face.