Saturday, December 29th, 2012

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator
MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

Finally Permanent: MAC Volcanic Ash

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator ($28.00 for 3.4 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “foaming, cleansing, and exfoliating scrub” that combines volcanic ash with sugar crystals that is supposed to “leave skin feeling soft and comfortable clean.”  I’ve been using this exfoliator on and off since it originally debuted in 2008.  Why any brand rolls out limited edition skincare (or other basics, like eyeliners) is beyond my comprehension, but MAC has continued to re-release this exfoliator since 2008 in limited edition quantities.  However, it is now part of the permanent skin care range!

It’s a great sugar-based exfoliator that spreads evenly, easily, and foams and lathers up as you massage the granules against the skin.  It definitely leaves skin feeling softer and smoother in a few minutes.  I prefer using this in the shower–still, even after all these years!–because it also has black ash that creates a gray lather, so it’s easier to make sure it all washes off and doesn’t stay on the counter in the shower.  I haven’t used it in awhile, but I used it last night, and it is really a nice exfoliator.  It’s simple, effective, and is fun to use.

I was looking back on my previous reviews, though, and I was surprised to see the price of this change $8.50 over the past three years ($9.00 over the past four years, plus after it re-released the first time and they put it in a new tube and did some reformulation, quantity went down by about 25%).  It’s more observation than anything else, as I so rarely repurchase skincare that I’m not certain how much other brands increase skincare prices year-to-year.  MAC says it can be used on both face and body, but at this price point, it’ll just be a facial exfoliator for me!

See more photos!

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator
MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator
MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator
MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

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40 thoughts on “MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator Review, Photos, Swatches

  1. Sarah

    I bought it from the last release… it gives me break-outs :(

  2. Veronica

    The positive reviews from both you and the Muse are really tempting me to try this…but I admit I’m not particularly thrilled to hear about the price increase considering most of the drug store exfoliators I use work just fine. I’ll have to sit on it a bit before I decide to try it. :)

  3. Kenneth Strybosch

    I absolutely love this product!

  4. jane

    mac is getting too expensive for me :(

  5. julio

    Where’s the rating?

  6. Nicole

    I bought mine back in 2008 with Style Black and the tube contains 100 ml. The price policy of MAC is unbelieveable, 30 % over 4 years is not worth discussing. I don’t know any other brand I use, who increases the prices the way MAC does. Because of that I try to avoid buying MAC products and I bought lots of products over the past 13 years.

  7. Sabriel

    How long do you think that 3oz bottle would last?

  8. Mia

    I like it but I feel like the price point is too high and I could probably make it myself.

  9. Mir C

    wow so approx tripled in price? I wanted to try it.. love anything with clay or ash. LOL so weird I know but almost 30%..darn..

  10. Rosalinda

    I have curious to try this, but seeing as though the price has increased so ridiculously, I will pass. Quantity down, price up? Haha MAC you are seriously delusional!

  11. I have never used this before but thank GOD they FINALLY made it permanent. I always hear people talkng about how great it is and how sad they are that it’s LE, and it just made me frustrated at MAC for doing that to everyone!! 😛

  12. Sasha

    At the price and quantity I’ll definitely be sticking with Kiehl’s Rare Earth cleanser.

  13. Michelle

    How fine are the grains in this? Also, is it densely packed with grains or is it more like a few grains here and there suspended in cream?

    • They’re fine to me – don’t seem too large or too small – it’s not jam-packed with grains such that it’s ALL grains but it’s not so few that you need a ton of product to feel like you’re exfoliating.

  14. becca

    I absolutely love this stuff! I just ordered four for DH and I!!!

  15. xamyx

    I wanted to try it in the past, but I never indulge in LE skincare. Now that it’s permanant, I may indulge. Of course, with my luck, and because it’s MAC, it’ll probably be DCd within the next year…

  16. blueraccoon

    Christine, how would you say this compares to ExfoliKate if it does at all? That’s what I’m currently using, but it’s so pricey I’d love to find a decent alternative.

    • Nahhhhh. The thing is, ExfoliKate does it primarily through enzymes if I’m not mistaken, and this is more of a physical exfoliator since it uses sugar granules and silica beads. You’d want to look for a chemical exfoliator, which would be more comparable to ExfoliKate.

  17. I REALLY want to try this, but at $28, no way. I’m sticking with my Coral Actives cleanser mixed with baking soda. It does a great job exfoliating, and it’s cheap.

  18. Lark

    I have my doubts about MAC Treatment. It’s an afterthought for the MACaddicts. And pretty pricey. The wipes used to be standout, but are now a perfect dupe of Neutrogenas. I think I can do better than this.

  19. Kristina

    I have a bottle from a previouse release and its taking me forever to finish because i can’t stand the smell but I never notice anyone mention it. Does anyone notice a stong mettalic smell? I’ve noticed it from the first time I used it so its not a “its gone bad smell.”

  20. Stacey

    Cant say it enough. The first time whenever whatever product is introduced is the best…the best…in cost and in volume and in quality. Afterwards it goes down the hill. Estee Lauder brand does this ALL the time…I am so used to it. It doesnt matter if it is makeup/ cosmetics, clothing, shoes, car products, gadgets, dental anesthetics, computers…all the same…quality decreases…starts being made in the USA, Japan, Germany…and then goes to China, Mexico, Pakistan. Louis Vuitton is an iconic French brand…and now makes its ware in Mexico?

    Good example recently is MAC Stereo Rose…advertises .30oz on their OWN website, but if you look at the packaging…it says .29 oz. It may not be alot, but the company saves .01oz for every product that goes out…it adds up in cost savings. Same thing with dental anesthetic carpules….used to be 1.8oz per carpule…now it is 1.7oz per carpule, but the price only increases.

  21. Jaz

    I’ll stick to my oatmeal and honey scrub from the drugstore- 4 bucks and it works just fine. Mac is tripping.

  22. Courtney K

    I started using it on my chest where I have some rough patches and it’s definitely helping slough away the dead skin.

  23. Sharon

    I love this exfoliator i use it once a week. Amazing feeling after use. just got a back up.

    • Lavinia


      I just want to know if this is safe to use when pregnant as you need to be careful of what ingredients you use on your skin as it may not be safe for the baby

      Many thanks

  24. Renee

    Woohoo, now only if they could bring back the Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask too!!! Loved that

  25. Sel

    I have very dry, so how would this affect my dry skin. Would you recommend it or not?

  26. Lavinia


    I just want to know if this is safe to use when pregnant as you need to be careful of what ingredients you use on your skin as it may not be safe for the baby

    Many thanks

  27. This product works great for me. I seemed to break out at first, waited a week or so and tried it again with nice success. It looks like we are about 50/50 on this one.

  28. I’ve used this exfoliator a couple years ago. I thought the size and texture of the granules were just right and I liked the way it felt on my skin. I think I actually used it on my chest (which is very comedone prone) more than my face. Anyway, after reading the review, I was rather shocked at the current price point. I mean, this is a good product, but nothing out of this world in my opinion, and I’m not sure whether this new price is justified

  29. Nekona

    This sounds pretty neat, though as a geology major I’d note that volcanic ash can be like small bits of glass.

    Never the less the geology factor is probably going to lead me to buy this…