If you’re still emotionally and (maybe physically) scarred from years of aggressively sloughing your skin to pieces as a teen with a certain, infamous apricot scrub (you know the one), it’s time to give physical exfoliants another chance. While gritty face scrubs have been the subject of much skin-care debate for years—with many beauty pundits arguing that physical exfoliants are too harsh and can disrupt your skin barrier—dermatologists say they’re worth having in your medicine cabinet. You just need to find the right one, and use it correctly, of course.
Case in point: Beekman 1802 ‘s Milk Scrub ($29), the gentle-yet-effective facial polish that made me rethink physical exfoliants for good (and didn’t trigger any deep-seated teenage angst in the process.) This milky cleanser polishes away dry, dull build-up to reduce the look of pores and uncover brighter skin, all while being kind to the skin’s barrier and microbiome.
Key ingredients: jojoba beads, oat milk, goat milk,
Determined to change my strained relationship with facial exfoliants, I wanted a scrub that was going to get my face squeaky clean without stripping it in the process. With a name like “Milk” Scrub, I already knew this face wash was going to be a softer alternative. Instead of harsh sand or crushed walnut shells, Milk Scrub is fueled by fine jojoba beads, which soften in contact with water to loosen up dirt, grime, and dead skin. The more you massage it into pores, the softer the beads get, except they don’t completely disappear like other melty sugar and salt scrubs do, allowing the exfoliation benefits to be drawn out until you wash it off.
It contains other “soft” ingredients, too, which are exactly what derms recommend when shopping for a skin-friendly face scrub. There’s oat milk, which is a commonly used to soothe dry, irritated skin. There’s also goat milk, a natural source of lactic acid (a popular chemical exfoliant), and probiotics to balance and nourish the skin’s microbiome. (It’s also Beekman’s signature ingredient that powers most of its beauty and wellness products.).
At first, I worried that the Milk Scrub’s soft and gentle formula wouldn’t be exfoliating enough for my skin. But it’s actually changed my mind about how I approach exfoliating altogether. Instead of blasting my skin with heavy-duty exfoliants a couple of times a week as per usual (and risk compromising my skin barrier in the process), the Milk Scrub is so creamy and gentle that I can get away with using it every single day without drying out my face or triggering a break-out.
I’ve been using the scrub as my nighttime cleanser for the past few weeks. After removing my makeup, I massage it on my damp skin in circular motions, applying very light pressure. The jojoba beads offer just the right amount of grit, while the soothing, oat- and goat-milk base feels comforting and nourishing on my skin. The best part is that I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything after each use, unlike other sand-paper-y exfoliants that have left my skin feeling tight and stripped of all moisture. A bit of Beekman’s wondrous polish leaves me feeling smoother and more hydrated immediately after rinsing—not like I need to dip my face into a vat of moisturizer. What’s more, using it nightly has actually done a better job at keeping clogged pores at bay than my old exfoliation technique ever did.
The moral of the story: face scrubs aren’t the enemy—and gentle ones can actually be more effective. If the Milk Scrub changed my mind on physical exfoliants, odds are it can change yours too. Snag yours on the Beekman 1802 site.