MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator Review

Containing natural Volcanic Ash with fine sugar crystals exclusively from the oh-so-exotic islands of Vanuatu, I bought MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator ($19) mostly because of its novelty factor.

The scrub itself is black and looks almost like tar. The beads are slightly bigger than the ones in my favorite MAC Microfine Refinisher and the texture has a bit more slip to it. I also love the smell but it took me quite a few uses to like the product.

The first time I used it, I absolutely hated it. I applied too much and massaged too hard. It did not foam as claimed and felt really harsh, giving me a mild tingling sensation. My skin felt clean but also irritated.

The second time, I used a lot less and massaged the product onto my face *really* gently. This time I did see foam and it rinsed off easily with warm water. My face felt super clean, not at all irritated and it just glowed – totally the result I was looking for! I tried it on my body and it worked great too.

The only complaint I have is the packaging. Since it comes in a big tub, you do have to dig your fingers in every time, which can get pretty messy. But overall, I do like this and will repurchase.

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. hey i love your blog!!!

    Thanks for the review on the MAC volcanic ash i have been looking for a good exfoliator…and now that MAC is having a 15% off sale…im pretty much game

    btw the way i think your gorgeous!

  2. mac is having a 15% off sale where? :O

    btw what do you do to deal with irritation and redness from exfoliating?

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