Get Ashy: MAC Cosmetics Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

Published in: MAC Makeup, Product Reviews, Skin Care


All soaps, shower gels and exfoliating scrubs have one glorious thing in common: they make us feel clean and pretty. And most of the time, cleansers and scrubs — true to form — look and smell clean and pretty, too.


Oh, but not so with MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator ($19). To be blunt, it looks like dirt — magical dirt.

As you might expect, it’s the jet black volcanic ash in the product that makes it look the way that it does. The feeling I got looking at my arms and legs in the shower after I worked the fine, scrubbing grains onto my freshly rinsed skin was one of impressed confusion. I was impressed because the product felt effective (like a good, deep cleanser) and confused because my skin looked covered in soot. COOL!

The texture first feels like fine granulated sugar rubbed onto my skin. Working the grains back and forth produces the exfoliating action, scrubbing away dead skin cells and anything else. After about a minute of rubbing and scrubbing, the grains dissolve away into a lightly scented (slightly sweet), moisturizing foam.

Hopefully, the jar lasts a long time. A little seems to go a long way. I used the equivalent of one heaping tablespoon to clean my entire body. MAC says Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is also safe for use on the face.

I’m picky when it comes to exfoliating scrubs. I can’t stand products with abrasive, chunky grains or crushed seeds that feel rough and scratchy. Volcanic Ash doesn’t feel like that at all; the grains feel gentle and soft. Nor does this stuff leave behind an oily film after rinsing like some other exfoliating scrubs do (Origins Salt Rub comes to mind). Clumsy girl + oily skin + slippery tub = recipe for disaster.

Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is an excellent deep cleanser, lightly moisturizing, that leaves my skin feeling refreshed and clean. Warning: avoid baking after use as the product leaves behind a lightly sweet fragrance like sugar cookies.


MAC Cosmetics Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

Price: $19 for a 4.5-oz. jar
Use: To exfoliate, clean and moisturize the body and face.
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A+

How’s it going today? Do you ever get the burning desire to spend the afternoon in an indoor mall? I woke up this morning absolutely certain that I had to go to the mall today. It was weird, maybe like how caffeine fiends wake up needing a cup of coffee, except in my case I needed the mall.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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So far, 23 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Beth says:

    Hey Karen!

    I’ve seen a few reviews of this product and I have to admit I’m tempted by it. I love the idea of putting something on that although it makes me look dirty, actually makes me cleaner!

    I know what you mean about the indoor mall thing. The weather here is pretty miserable (it rained for most of the day) and I wanted to shop. I ended up outside but thankfully the rain held off and I managed to get a few treats for myself and home without getting drenched.

    Hope your Saturday is a fun one!


    Beths last blog post..Big Game

  2. Karen says:

    Hi Beth,

    Indoor malls are like caves of refuge from the elements. It’s not raining here, but it’s really hot, and I don’t have air conditioning.

    I really hope you get your hands on this exfoliator. It smells great and works wonderfully!

    Stay dry, girlfriend. 🙂

  3. kris says:

    Karen, have you ever used Clinique exfoliating scrub? I haven’t tried this Mac one, but I really like the Clinique one. But be careful with it on the soft skin around your eyes.

  4. Glosslizard says:

    I want the mall too! 🙂

    I was poking around recently and was able to find this exfoliator at There’s been a run on it though, so it’s pretty hard to find!

  5. Lilan says:

    Hi Karen,

    I just used the MAC exfoliator this morning to scrub off the soot on my body from yesterday’s heat wave and I love it too! I reminded me of the last time I got a spa treatment with a mud exfoliator and wrap. All the dark gook on my body made me feel oh-so good when I was done!

    Hope you’re having a beautiful Saturday! I need to go to the store to pick up a few things to make dinner from some friends coming over tonight – what to make, what to make 🙂

    Lilans last blog post..Get the Look: Julianne Moore’s Glowing Cheeks

  6. Tekoa says:

    Dang, I wish that thing wasn’t limited edition. It sounds like something I’d like to try. Alas, it came out when I was on vacation. It was a great trip. In Israel my favorite parts were many, but one of the highlights was swimming in the Dead Sea. Or rather, “bobbing” in the Dead Sea. You physically can’t sink and moving around is awkward. Traditional swimming positions don’t work so well! I also managed to aquire some Ahava Dead Sea products. The toner feels especially nice.

  7. Dao says:

    I checked it out when I was at MAC counter last time and wasn’t so tempted. Initially I aimed for the mask version but MAC decided not to go with it, boo T_T

    I’m not such a big fan of scrubs, more of a masque person. It’s been raining non-stop for 2hrs in my place so hopefully it’ll cool down a bit. I start not liking summer that much already, too hot and humid!

  8. Meaghan says:

    This is the most amazing product! There is truly nothing else like it there! I bought two jars of this because it is limited edition and would have purchase more but it is now sold out everywhere. 🙁 There are rumors that this may me made permanent and I sooooooooo hope so. I emailed MAC to tell them how great this is and that they need to make this permanent- if you like it too maybe email too? The more people the better! The smell is amazing and the feeling it leaves is indescribable! MAC isn’t known for their skincare line but if this is a sign of what’s to come things are looking up!

    Meaghans last blog post..Cool Heat Face of the Day- Take 2

  9. Karen says:

    Hi Kris,

    Yah, that’s the Seven Day Scrub, right? I LOVE that one, too. 🙂

  10. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    Oh boy. I’m heading on over to the site right now… I hope I can stockpile a few jars.

  11. Karen says:

    Hi Lilan,

    Food and friends = Fun! Enjoy your evening and have fun cooking. 🙂

  12. Karen says:

    Hi Tekoha,

    How neat! I am pretty much a fish out of water (love to swim) so I wonder how it would be to float/bob in the Dead Sea. I’ve seen Ahava at a few stores… now I wanna try that toner. 🙂

    Girl, it sounds like you’ve had a really exciting few months. I’m really happy for you!

  13. Karen says:

    Hi Dao,

    I’m not a huge scrub person either, because most of ’em feel oh-so-scratchy, but this one was really wonderful. MAC’s been coming out with some nice skin care in the past few months; it’s starting to make me rethink the line.

    I don’t envy you in the humidity department. I hope it’s not too humid when I go to FL in November for my friend’s wedding!

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Meaghan,

    I think I will! I really love this and think they should keep it in skin care line up.

    I’m not the biggest fan of the MAC skin care line, but I really like this and Moisturelush.

  15. Lilan says:

    Thanks Karen!

    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend as well 🙂

    Lilans last blog post..Get the Look: Julianne Moore’s Glowing Cheeks

  16. Dao says:

    November should be really nice. In fact, winter is the nicest season in South Florida. Do you have any plans to hit Disney’s? Please do because the theme park is at its best that time of the year 🙂

  17. Michelle says:

    Cool, i’ll have to try this out after my B&BW’s Margarita scrub runs out (I like it, but I like to try new things). My mall day’s usually Wednesdays, during my two hour lunch break. Not a lot of time, which is good so I don’t do too much damage 😉 Happy shopping!

  18. Ellery says:

    I’ve wanted this since it came out, but I don’t think it’s coming to the UK. 🙁

  19. addicted_2color says:

    Hi Karen,

    Where in the world did you find this? Or did you buy it the first day (or shortly thereafter) it came out? I cannot find it anywhere =( Hopefully MAC will bring it back soon during another launch =( I never got to try it.

  20. megan says:

    ebay has some if you cant find it because its sold out

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