Recently, I’ve been feeling that my chemical exfoliant, COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, isn’t playing especially well with my skin, and I’ve been looking to change products. I have a couple more chemical exfoliants sitting in my skincare queue, but I have also considered trying out more physical exfoliation. I haven’t really used much physical exfoliation since learning about the environmental damage of plastic microbeads, which ruled out my former favorite facial scrub by La Roche-Posay.
It was just my luck that I was chosen by Jolse, a favorite online Korean beauty retailer, to review a new facial scrub.
TIA’M is supposed to be a sister brand of COSRX, though I can’t find any official detail on this online apart from info on other blogs. The brand was previously known as O.S.T., and their most famous product was their Vitamin C serum (it’s now known as My Signature C Source, and I have that waiting in my fridge!). But before I try that serum, I have TIA’M’s new facial scrub to try.
It’s called TIA’M Anti-Pollution Salt Facial Scrub, and it comes in an 80 mL tub for about US$15 shipped (at Jolse).
TIA’M says the following:
A natural salt facial scrub gently exfoliates and instantly transforms rough and dull skin into radiant and smooth complexion.
- Purifies Pores: Eliminates fine dust, impurities and blockages from your skin
- Acne-Buster: Disinfects and cleanses acneic skin and helps naturally heal skin inflammation
- Removes Dead Skin Cells: Gently exfoliates to buff the dullness of skin and evens skin texture
- Enhances Skin Hydration: The plentiful minerals regulate oil-water balance, while hydrating your skin
- Sticky and soft texture strongly absorbs dead skin, impurities and waste from skin
- Skin is heated during rubbing and it can help remove toxins from the skin
- Get a silky-smooth skin with natural salt granules, not small unknown microbeads
- Sea salt packed with healthy skin-friendly minerals delivers a multitude of complexion benefits
There weren’t any English ingredients listed on the packaging, but I found some sources online state that in contains 20% salt and contains Camellia sinensis leaf (green tea) extract. An entry at CosDNA says the ingredient list, in English, is:
Glycerin, sodium chloride, stearic acid, glyceryl stearate, polysorbate 20, dipropylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, polyacrylate-13, polyisobutene, Camellia sinensis leaf (green tea) extract, Rosa davurica bud extract, Ligularia fischeria leaf extract, chlorphenesin, fragrance.
Spread appropriate amount over the dry face avoiding eye and lip areas to prevent irritation and gently massage the face. (If you have sensitive skin, spread it over the damp face.)
Specially, gently roll on the area of dead skin cells and enlarged pores and then wash off with lukewarm water.
It has a very light, inoffensive (to me) floral scent.
The texture is a bit different—it’s really thick and sticky! It’s actually too thick to comfortably rub onto the face as is. If I’m using it on a freshly washed and patted-dry face, I just place a few dabs on my skin, then slowly, as my face warms up the product, smooth it out over my skin. If I rub it in cold, I feel it’s too abrasive.
One cool aspect of this product is that it heats up upon contact with the skin. I’m not sure whether the chemical reaction is caused by water or some other catalyst, but generally in similar heating masks, something like zeolite is used since it results in an exothermic (heat-releasing) reaction upon contact with water. In this mask, the heating action is mild, but pleasant. It doesn’t last very long, though.
I much prefer using this scrub on a slightly damp face. The salt granules are quite small and well-distributed throughout the product, so it doesn’t feel too abrasive, as long as there is some water to help soften it all up.
Quite honestly, I’m not sure I like the idea of using a salt scrub on my face, if only because I use salt to clean out my cast iron frying pan—and let me tell you, it does a fab job of getting that burned gunk off!
Obviously, the salt I use (Kosher) comes in much larger granules, but it still bothers me a bit. Salt granules, even very small ones, will have jagged edges. Using a fine salt scrub on my face a few times is probably fine, and actually feels quite nice! But I would not especially want to do this long-term, and will go back to exploring more chemical exfoliants. (To be perfectly honest, though, physical scrubs really do feel great, don’t they? I’ve been liking a peeling gel better for gentle physical exfoliation.)
So, if you do like physical scrubs on your face, this product is quite a nice one and I think it’s better than, say, the infamous St. Ives Apricot Scrub. (I recently found myself in the possession of a new tube of this for the first time since high school, and gamely tried it on my face. I lasted ten seconds before I washed it off and relegated it to foot scrubbing duties.) I just don’t feel this salt scrub is right for my own face, and I’m much happier using the rest of this up—and a little goes a long way—on my body, instead.
Just watch out for any scrapes you may have! I love a salt body scrub, but good golly do they hurt if I have a tiny cut somewhere.
TIA’M, formerly O.S.T., is presumably a sister company of Korean skincare brand COSRX.
TIA’M Anti-Pollution Salt Facial Scrub can be found online at Jolse for about US$15, with free worldwide shipping. The tub contains 80 mL.