For years, St. Ives has been known for its longstanding apricot scrub, a product we've long since stopped recommending due to its overly abrasive nature. Now, for the first time (at least since we've been reviewing this brand), they've finally, FINALLY launched an alternative to their scrubs: Exfoliating Pads.
Each pad is steeped in a water-based solution that contains an effective amount of the AHA lactic acid. The pH of 3.6 ensures the lactic acid (how much lactic acid the pads contain isn't revealed, but we suspect it's at least 5%) functions as an exfoliant, which is the goal.
Although these pads will exfoliate, the formula has some drawbacks that kept it from earning our top rating. The chief issue is the fragrance; the formula's scent is strong and lingers on skin after the solution has dried. The other issue is the citrus extracts that pose a risk of irritation. The amount of those is low (and allows St. Ives to beef up their "natural" claim) but neither of them are great ingredients for skin.
Despite the drawbacks, this remains an affordable, effective AHA exfoliant for all skin types except sensitive. These pads are fine for breakout prone skin.
Scrub-free exfoliating pads are non-abrasive and formulated with a neutral AHA Complex to release dull skin and impurities while leaving healthy, fresh skin intact. Fruit extracts and moisturizing vitamin E help skin feel soft and smooth. After 1 week, skin looks and feels fresher, younger, more radiant.
Water, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Prunus Ameniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Betaine, Sodium Hydroxide, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 20, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance
St. Ives At-A-Glance
Strengths: A couple of water-soluble cleansers, a gentle microdermabrasion alternative; some good, inexpensive body lotions; excellent hand cream.
Weaknesses: Overly abrasive scrubs; ineffective anti-acne products; dated moisturizer; overall, the facial-care products are substandard, even if they are inexpensive.
Two things set this line apart in the minds of consumers familiar with the brand: the Swiss angle and their apricot face scrubs. This notoriety didn't translate to thoughtfully formulated products, though. Instead, most of the scrubs are too abrasive, and the apricot is simply there as an extract, never mind that in a scrub it doesn't have any significant benefit for skin. The same can be said of the selection of supposedly Swiss-based herbs. Most of them have soothing properties, but it doesn't matter to skin if the ingredients came from Switzerland or South Dakota. If anything, the whole Swiss angle is getting a bit tired. You can bet that there are no scientists working high in the Swiss alps to formulate these products. St. Ives is a line with very little worth considering, so feel free to breeze right by as you shop for skin-care products at your local drugstore.
For more information about St. Ives, owned by Unilever, call (800) 333-0005 or visit www.stives.com.
The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.
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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:
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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.
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