Review: The Great British Scrub Off

No, it’s not a 1990s style dating dilemma (I definitely don’t want no scrubs), but a semi-scientific comparison of body scrubs!  I have been meaning to do this ever since I sorted out my cosmetics and realised I had about 5 different types of body scrub – and I’ve since bought another one (!) so now there are 6 to choose from.  Given that it’s been such a hot and sweaty week, doing a full body scrub treatment on a Saturday morning is just what I fancied to help me feel fresher, and to get rid of a few little bits of peeling skin from my holiday.

I suspect my approach wouldn’t quite meet the expectations of the Scientific Method, but it was rigorous enough for me.  I applied each of my 6 scrubs to a different part of the body – two lower legs, two upper legs and arms.  I tried to use the same amount of each (a blob roughly the size of a cherry tomato) and to rub it into my skin for the same amount of time.  I did this all onto dry skin, and then rinsed my skin in the bath and examined the smoothness and softness of my skin afterwards.

Here are the scrubs!

These are a mixture of purchases, gifts and freebies, and I’d used them all before apart from the Ragdale Hall branded one, which my mum bought me last Christmas.  The Sanctuary one is an old favourite, the Decleor one was a freebie with a (large and extravagant) purchase, the Clarins one was a freebie ages ago, the Body Shop one was an impulse buy a little while ago, and the Elemis one was part of a recent and expensive haul!  And here’s the results:


Ragdale Hall Time To Pamper Body Scrub

Price: £6 for 200ml – cheap as chips!

Where to buy: M&S

Type of scrub: Pumice and bamboo grains in gel

Scent: Very light and fresh, smelled like cucumber and cut grass

Verdict: 6/10.  This scrub has quite a liquid-like consistency which meant it wasn’t particularly sticky and very light on the skin – it felt like it slid across the skin rather than needing to be rubbed in, so it didn’t encourage a scrubbing type of action.  The grains feel quite small so it was very gentle to use.  Overall my skin felt softer afterwards but not as exfoliated as the others.  I think this would be great if you’re sensitive to fragrance or don’t like a really harsh scrub.


Body Shop Vineyard Peach Exfoliating Cream Body Scrub

Price: Usually £15 for 250ml, but it’s a bargainous half price at the moment, only £7.50

Where to buy: Body Shop

Type of scrub: Seems to be prune/peach seeds and coconut shell grains, in a cream base

Scent: Very strong peach scent which is gorgeous but could definitely be a bit overpowering, and to me smells slightly artificial

Verdict: 7/10. I love the really thick creamy consistency of this one, but could have done with more scrubbing power from the grains.  It goes on very smoothly and I found it went a long way – even on my amazon-esque thighs!  Skin felt noticeably smoother afterwards.  I’m a bit conflicted on the smell – I like peach scents (in fact that’s why I bought this) but I did find it eye-wateringly strong and that would put me off using it for my whole body.  The scent doesn’t persist too strongly once you rinse off though.


Elemis Frangipani Monoi Salt Glow

Price: £37 for 490g, although I got mine as part of this gift set

Where to buy: Elemis

Type of scrub: Salt scrub, the carrier is oil based but feels more like a cream

Scent: Heady and strong scent of frangipani flowers

Verdict: 10/10. This is the most expensive scrub and for me I noticed a difference.  Out of all the ones I tried, this one had the nicest consistency and was most satisfying to use.  The smell is perfectly balanced (as long as you like frangipani!) and the texture of the scrub was both creamy and grainy.  There was an immediate feeling of really exfoliating the skin with this one, and my leg felt beautifully soft afterwards.  It’s really thick so it also feels like it goes further.  Gorgeous!  I have also tried the Elemis Lime and Ginger scrub in a spa treatment which was similarly lush if you prefer sharper scents!


Clarins Exfoliating Body Scrub

Price: £30 for 200ml (mine is a 100ml sample)

Where to buy: Clarins

Type of scrub: Bamboo powder grains in a rich cream

Scent: I didn’t really get much of a strong scent off this, just mild and vaguely floral

Verdict: 8/10.  I wasn’t as keen on the packaging of this, because the tube only had a tiny nozzle meaning it was difficult to get enough of the product out, and it’s also pretty pricey.  Overall this felt much more like an exfoliating cream than a scrub, it was gentle to use with very fine grains but also felt quite thick and luxurious.  It just wasn’t quite as satisfying as the more grainy scrubs to use.  But this scrub did appear to get noticeably more dead skin off my leg than any of the others I used, so by that measure it outperformed them all – the skin was literally rubbing off me with the cream!  And it left my skin feeling very smooth.


Decleor 100 Grain Body Exfoliator

Price: £28 for 200ml

Where to buy: Decleor

Type of scrub: Sugar, argan shell and orange peel in a thick gel

Scent: This smells gloriously citrussy and sweet – it’s just like Opal Fruits (Starburst for you young’uns!)

Verdict: 10/10. Oh my gosh I really love this scrub.  I really can’t find anything to dislike about it.  The smell is divine and lasts on my skin.  The texture of this scrub is just right, thick and sticky with a mixture of grain sizes, meaning that it feels like it’s really working.  When you add water the gel in this scrub turns to a lotion which made my skin feel more moisturised, and overall very soft.  I will definitely be buying this when my freebie one runs out!


Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Salt Scrub

Price: £13 for 650g (Boots have a buy one get one half price offer on Sanctuary Spa at the moment)

Where to buy: Boots or from Sanctuary Spa itself

Type of scrub: Salt scrub in oil

Scent: The Sanctuary Spa range has a really distinctive sweet almond smell

Verdict: 8/10.  This is a scrub I’ve been using for ages and the huge pot really lasts a long time.  Mine in the photograph is the old packaging, they’ve recently brought out new packaging but as far as I can tell the scrub is exactly the same ingredients.  This felt like a much drier scrub than the others I tried, because the salt is suspended in oil rather than cream or gel, however it goes onto the skin in a very satisfying way and is quite a harsh but effective scrub!  My skin afterwards felt very soft but the oil leaves a film on the skin that doesn’t wash off – this isn’t a bad thing as it gives the oil time to sink deeper into the skin, but if you don’t like that oily feeling it might not be for you.  I would say this is definitely the best budget scrub I tried.

So that’s my results!  I definitely feel that all of these left my skin feeling noticeably softer and smoother.  The expensive scrubs on the whole were nicer to use and seemed more effective, but there wasn’t a massive difference.  For a more gentle scrub that’s better for sensitive skin or sensitivity to fragrance I would say the Clarins one would be fab.  I will definitely repurchase the Elemis and the Decleor scrubs as they are both absolutely gorgeous.  And now I’d better go and clean the bathroom floor – always the downside of a full body scrub!  Have a fab weekend.

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