Is MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator The Best Scrub Ever?

by Gio

review mac volcanic ash exfoliator

Remember how hard it was to get your hands on MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator?

This scrub achieved cult status so soon, it was sold out in a matter of hours every time it was released! WTH was so special about it?

Hype. That sells more skincare products than good ingredients. *Sighs*

These days, getting your hands on this scrub has become a lot easier (MAC got the hint and added it to the permanent collection).

But that doesn’t mean you should head out to your nearest store and fork out $31.00 for a bunch of ash and sugar.

Yep, there’s not much else here….

Key Ingredients In Mac Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

Volcanic Ash

Here comes the hype part…

Volcanic ash is one of those magical powders brands swear can do anything. Boost collagen. Absorb excess oil. Draw out toxins from your pores. Take 10 years off your face. Make you tea.

The truth?

Volcanic ash is high in minerals, such as magnesium, silica and iron. Silica, for example, is a good oil-absorber. But that’s pretty much it.

Underwhelming, isn’t it?

And to add insult to injury, volcanic ash isn’t even black! MAC just added a black pigment to give MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator a dark colour that makes you think of volcanoes (and stains everything it touches). 🙄

mac volcanic ash exfoliator a review


Volcanic Ash may get all the glory, but it’s sugar that does the exfoliating job. Sucrose, to be exact.

As you massage it, sugar gently removes the dead cells on the surface of your skin, making it smoother and brighter.

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know that I prefer chemical exfoliation to scrubs. But if you’re a fan of scrubs, go for the sugar ones like MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator.

While apricot kernels and salt have jagged edges, sugar particles are round so they don’t scratch the skin. Having said that, there’s so much sugar here that the texture feels gritty so be gentle with it!

Related: Why I Ditched Scrubs For Chemical Exfoliants

Available at: $31.00/£22.00 at Debenhams, Nordstrom and Selfridges


The Bottom Line

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is just an expensive and hyped-up sugar scrub. If you know that and still like it, go ahead and keep using it. Otherwise, you’re not missing out on anything special.

Have you tried MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ingredients: Sucrose, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Methyl Gluceth-20, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Volcanic Ash, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Silica, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium Coco-Glucoside Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Fragrance (Parfum), Phenoxyethanol, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

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patuxxa April 2, 2014 - 2:34 pm

I’ve used up two bottles of this already and I have a third stashed away. It’s definitely my Holy Grail exfoliator! What I’ve found is that when you massage it, the sugar melts in a few minutes and you’re left massaging a creamy gray paste on the skin. This means there’s much less risk of over-exfoliating because the abrasive material (the sugar) melts away!

Gio April 5, 2014 - 9:45 am

Patuxxa, thanks for the tip! That’s very helpful. I believe this is a great sugar scrub, just overpriced. I also wish that MAC marketed it as what it is, a sugar scrub, rather than focusing on a fancy ingredient that does nothing. Still, they must have formulated really well if so many people, like you, love it so much. 🙂


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