Over the past few years, the lifestyle blogosphere (and Pinterest) has been overflowing with DIY coffee scrub recipes that claim to reduce cellulite and make our skin glow. First off, I know it’s been said that caffeine can reduce the appearance of cellulite, but has that been actually studied? (It probably has, I’m just suspicious.) I was always under the impression that almost nothing makes cellulite go away, even if you’re Kate Moss. Maybe the key is just setting the bar lower, and not hoping for products to make cellulite to go away, per se, but just to make it look a bit better. Like most women, I have some cellulite, and it’s not my favorite thing, but I think about it just about…never, because I assumed there was nothing I could do about it anyway. Besides, it’s on the back of my legs, at an angle that’s really hard to see in the mirror, so I’m always forgetting it even exists.
So, coffee scrubs have never particularly appealed to me in the cellulite department because they sound like too much of an As Seen On TV “miracle cure,” but rubbing my body down in coffee grounds and smelling like my favorite beverage all day? That’s something I could be down for. I kept tentatively planning to try to make a scrub myself (the recipes usually call for a mix involving coffee grounds, sugar or salt, and coconut oil) but it was about as low on my list of priorities as defrosting my freezer, so the Australian body scrub line Frank (which recently arrived in the US) seemed like the perfect opportunity to dip my toe into coffee scrubbing without any legwork.
Price: $15-18, Frank Body
The scrub comes in four different scents – Original, Coconut, Peppermint, and Cacao. It’s free of parabens and when I gave a quick glance to the ingredient list, everything seemed to be chemical-free. It arrived in a box with lots of “babe”-centered language on it. All the cutesy phrases and even the product descriptions are written in the first person by our old pal Frank, who I guess is an anthropomorphic coffee scrub? Who lounges on ladies’ naked skin all day when we apply the product?
Clearly, the packaging and advertising has a cheeky sexy undertone to it — which I guess makes sense when your product is used by stripping naked in the shower and rubbing yourself with a substance that if you close one eye is vaguely reminiscent of mud wrestling. Still, I found it a little…icky? I want to call it American Apparel lite, but that wouldn’t be fair — Frank’s ethos has no creepy predator vibes, but it does have a very male gaze-y approach to describing the scrubs and how to use them. I mean, just look at the company’s website, featuring live-action imagery of ladies slathered in coffee globs, lounging about as they rub their arms and legs and sensually squeezing lotion bottles until they erupt, as we do. Aside from that, I loved the design of the packaging (though it’s not very water-proof for a product meant to be used in the shower). Each scrub comes in the kind of pouch you’d use to buy coffee from your favorite local shop, which is such a cute touch!
Application: The instructions encouraged me to rub the coffee-infused bits all over my body, let it dry for 5-10 minutes, scurb, and rinse it all off. Sounds simple enough, right? It was, but maneuvering the logistics of such a messy process was kind of like learning to ride a bike at first. I was short on time, and I wanted to leave certain parts of my skin scrub-free to compare real-time before and after results, so I only tried it on my arms and one leg (at the time that seemed like a Serious Scientific Plan).
Results: This stuff is so much fun! If I’m being honest, my favorite thing about it is how MESSY the process is. Women are encouraged to stay tidy, especially by the makers of most beauty products, so something that’s marketed to ladies but still, well, super dirty, is a great time — as long as you don’t let yourself step out of the shower while coated in the scrub. Buh-bye, crisp white towels. The coffee color will spread! I’ve loved every scent so far, but I did my “official test” on the Original scrub. I was expecting a strictly coffee aroma, but it had a citrusy undertone to it as well.
The physical results were satisfying – it felt refreshing on my skin, and afterwards, my cellulite on the one leg I tried didlook a bit better. My skin felt softer and just overall refreshed, which is what made me the happiest. I intend to keep using it regularly, and I think over time the effects on my skin will increase, but what I loved even more than the actual results was the act of applying it. Besides the aforementioned mess factor, I liked how luxurious and almost defiant it felt to give myself a comparatively inexpensive pseudo spa treatment on a random Tuesday just because I felt like it. (And might I recommend, this can be an excellent, ahem, group activity.) On top of that, it’s just silly! Applying the scrub makes you look like you’re covered in dirt and it’s hilarious and wonderful. I mean, what kind of world do we live in that requires that we cover ourselves in coffee grounds for “beauty”? It’s the best kind of ridiculous. I love coffee in any form, so being covered in it was basically a dream come true.
Original by Claire Hannum @Claire_Hannum