Does it work?! St. Ives vs Equate Beauty: Apricot Scrub Edition

giphy (1)

Taking bets, right over here, which exfoliator works best? Unilever’s St. Ives‘ Fresh Skin Apricot scrub, as raved about in Allure Magazine–or the Walmart “knock-off”, Equate Beauty‘s Refreshing Apricot Scrub? I tell you now, I think you’re about to have your pants shocked right off. I’m going to start by stating that while these products claim to be “scrubs” you probably (read absolutely) shouldn’t actually use them as a scrub, but more as a wash. Here’s why: as exfoliators for the skin, they’re make with harsh granuals which scratch into the skin and IMG_2463may cause tears/micro-tears which, in a worst-case-scenario, could become infected. Some dermatologists suggest not using these products at all because of the harshness, others say there isn’t much of a problem with using them so long as you use them as intended and with a light hand. As a girl with oily skin, large-ish pores, and a dirty/dusty job, I absolutely depend on these products and have never had a problem with them. They help soften and brighten my face as well as clear out pores and remove dead skin–I’ve never had an issue with them breaking my skin or causing any infections. For the record, this is how I use them:

  • Two or three times a week, in the shower (When I wash my hair, every few days. Some people say washing your face in the shower isn’t a good practice because the water you shower with is hotter than the water you usually wash your face with, but I haven’t noticed any problems, so I’m going to keep doing it. Also, I use exfoliators less often in winter when my skin is a little more dry.)
  • A little bit goes a long way, you only need as much (if not less) as you would put on a toothbrush.
  • Use a light hand in circular motions taking care to avoid the eye area as well as any broken or irritated skin.
  • Gently remove by splashing face or lightly wiping away.
  • When drying your face, pat dry with a towel instead of scrubbing or rubbing.
  • I always follow my exfoliators up with a light weight, yet highly moisturizing facial lotion or oil to avoid my skin over producing the oils the exfoliator pulled out.

If you have sensitive skin or are experiencing agiphy (2) bad breakout, this may not be the product for you. That said, if you use these products as the packaging suggests and follow my tips, you should be golden and your skin looking amazing. So, let’s get on with the actual comparison.

Obviously the bottles look incredibly similar, and I’m sure there’s more to that than just a copy-cat designer, but the obvious difference between the two products is the price. On the Walmart website the St. Ives’ scrub costs $3.63 while the Equate Beauty scrub only comes in at $1.97. Total difference: $1.66. This means that you could almost buy 2 bottles of the Equate Beauty scrub for the price of 1 St. Ives scrub. Ultimately this is great because if the Equate Beauty scrub works, you’re officially cutting your exfoliator budget in half! But now for the real questions: Is saving $1.66 worth committing to a Walmart branded product? Does the Equate Beauty scrub stand up to the St. Ives Scrub? What is the meaning of life?

First of all, let’s take a look at the ingredients listed.

Seriously, when reading the labels on the back, the only difference I noticed is that the Equate Beauty scrub contained some plain glycerin that the St Ives scrub did not.

—-HOLD THE PHONE, CAT—- Isn’t glycerin what they use to, like, preserve bodies?

Um, the answer is yes. However, it’s far more complicated than that. Glycerin is magical, basically, and can be used in many ways including: sweetening toothpaste, toning/moisturizing skin and hair, and even preventing burns due to radiation therapy. Seriously- glycerin is in way more of your beauty products than I think you know. If you’re still not convinced, I introduce you to this article from WebMD.

So, I am ultimately persuaded to believe that if the Equate Beauty scrub isn’t any better for you (which it may very well be), it certainly isn’t any worse for you than the St.
Ives scrub is either. IMG_2467So far these products are neck-and-neck in my book. The second test I put these products to was all about the texture, as seen in the photo to the left.

Right off the bat I noticed two things: while the St. Ives scrub had more walnut and exfoliating granuals, they were tiny in comparison to the Equate Beauty granuals. Equate Beauty had fewer, but they were much larger (see the black specks?). Aside from this, the pasty consistency was bang-on between the two, leaving only one last test to maybe set them apart: the performance test.

I hopped into my obnoxiously steamy shower and set up my highly scientific experiment: St. Ives to the left, Equate Beauty to the right (I should note that I conducted this experiment multiple times to corroborate my initial findings, so nothing I’ve noted here should be coincidental). As I scrubbed the St. Ives scrub into the left side of my face, I noticed the same things I always do: it’s rough, smells slightly of chemicals or plainly synthetic, that there isn’t much lather, and that it spreads about as easily as one would expect a paste to. Then I got to the right side…

Drum roll, please.

The Equate Beauty scrub worked just as well as the St. Ives! *Cheering all around*

The only difference I noticed between the two was that the Equate Beauty formula smelled way stronger than the St. Ives. That is, the two smell exactly alike except that the Walmart branded one was much more concentrated and noticeable. The Equate Beauty scrub also required more scrubbing with an even lighter hand than I used with the St. Ives. This was simply because the Equate Beauty formula had fewer exfoliating granuals than the St. Ives meaning it needed to be worked with a little more. But what’s a couple extra seconds of scrubbing to save $1.66? I think nothing.

I’ve been using the Equate Beauty formula on its own for a few weeks now, and my skin is exactly the same as it’s been since I started using the St. Ives. I haven’t broke out, noticed any irritation, nor experienced any other negative side effects of using the cheaper formula. 10/10 would recommend.

In a final conclusion: the Equate Beauty Refreshing Apricot Scrub is a near perfect duplicate for the St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub. If I’m ever at Walmart when the time to buy an exfoliator strikes, I’m positive I’ll reach for the Equate Beauty scrub and save myself a buck and a half. However, it’s hard to argue that $3.63 is “way too much” for a product that actually works. I also love St. Ives in general, so I wont hesitate to continue buying their apricot scrub either if I happen to not be at a Walmart (which is likely, since I don’t necessarily live near one).

For the record, I have heard about the lawsuit against Unilever and the St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub. If you haven’t, I suggest this article from Allure. Here’s how I feel about it: Remember that lady who sued McDonald’s because she burnt her junk when she spilled coffee in her lap? Everybody was like, “What a total knob. Obviously the coffee is going to be hot. Don’t drink it while you’re driving, especially not right after you order it”. Yup. The two women filing the $5 million lawsuit against Unilever are grasping at thin air to try and make money out of their bad experiences with a product that they likely weren’t using correctly in the first place. It’s hardly something I consider taking seriously. These people are why we have those seemingly pointless or stupid caution and warning labels on everything:


And now you know everything I do about these two products. If you’ve ever used either of them, leave a comment below with your experience or opinion.

Lots of love,


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