MAC Cosmetics Mineralise Volcanic Ash Facial Exfoliating Scrub Review + Full Physical, Chemical, Mar

Heyyy Beauties

MAC Cosmetics have a range of skincare items and today, I am going to be talking about and fully analysing the Volcanic Ash Facial Exfoliating Scrub 

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator Description/Details

The MAC Volcanic Ash is a Facial Exfoliating Scrub that removes dead skin and cleanses the face. The tube contains 100 ml (3.381 ounces) of product, has a shelf life of 24 months and is made in the USA. The exfoliator costs $38.00 AUD ($30.00 USD) and can be purchased from Mac Cosmetics Online.

How/When To Use

1• Smooth a small amount of product evenly over moist skin

2• Wash off with tepid water

3• Use one to three times a week

Exfoliator should be used after the Double Cleanse and before Toner.

I use this product in the shower because it’s so much easier and means I dont have to get water everywhere when leaning over a sink. I usually take my oil cleanser, water-based cleanser and exfoliator into the shower and do the first 3 steps of my skincare routine there.

Also as it says above, you don’t have to exfoliate the face daily. Some skin types won’t be able to handle it and the recommended amount of days is always 1-3 with all exfoliators. In saying this, if your skin can handle it you can deffo use exfoliator everyday, and the MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator isn’t very harsh so if you want you could get away with it. Personally, I exfoliate 1-2 times per week.

Physical Analysis

I am going to go over some physical aspects including Packaging, Consistency, Smell and Feel/How It Works, and then I will move on to the chemical, marketing and price analysis. Under that I will give you my overall thoughts on the product.


The packaging is pretty. You get a a fairly big tube that is see-through and has a nice look to it with MAC’s logo in white. I will say, the big patch of emptiness you see is how I got the product. I don’t think that this means your getting less product, I just think that it settles and goes down a bit, leaving a bit of a gap. This probably only happens to some tubes when getting moved around, etc, and I dont have a problem with it.


The Consistency of the MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is a thick type gel with chunks of ‘Volcanic Sand’ and sugar grains in it. The actual colour of the product is black, but it’s not messy AT ALL and spreads over the face leaving no colour.


The MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator has a pleasent, fragrance smell. It’s not faint, but it’s not extremely bold. Parfum, which is a fragrance ingredient that has no benefits for the skin, is responsible for the smell. The smell does linger for a bit but nothing too bad.  Remember, while this smells amazing, parfum does have the potential to irritate the skin.

Feel/How It Works

The MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is a grain-type exfoliant product. It contains fine particles of Volcanic Sand that gets right into the layers of the skin and brings any debris, makeup and muck out.

After you have rinsed it off and the face has dry, the skin feels SOOOO SOOOO smooth and soft. It is also very clean, and you feel so refreshed.  It really does make the skin feel sooo amazing afterwards, I was surprised that my skin was so soft because I wan’t expecting it when I first got it.

As I said above, the smell does linger around a bit after you have dried you face, which is okay because the smell is very very pleasent.

The MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliating Scrub sure does do it’s job, it effectively cleans the face and leaves the skin feeling beautiful and very moisturized.

Ingredient List

Sucrose, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Methyl Gluceth-20, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Volcanic Ash, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Silica, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium Coco Glucoside Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Parfum, Phenoxyethanol, CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides)

Chemical (Formula) Analysis

The MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator contains 17 ingredients in the formula- 14 of these ingredients are in the base formula and 3 ingredients are pigment chemicals. The formula is ranked by the Cosmetic Analysis Database as a ‘Average’ formula. The Cosmetic Analysis Database analyses and ranks all individual ingredients in the formula into 5 categories based on safety and functioning- highly recommended, recommended, average, not recommended and to be avoided- and then returns an overall formula reading based on this.

The ‘Average’ formula is a result of 1 highly recommended ingredient, 9 recommended ingredients, 2 average ingredients, 4 not recommended ingredients and 1 to be avoided ingredient.

Note- I am unsure of the exact concentration any ingredient is present in the formula because companies are not required to disclose this.

The Highly Recommended/Very Good ingredient in the formula is Silica. Silica is an ingredient with many purposes that promotes wound healing and stops itching.

The 9 Recommended/Good ingredients in the formula include Sucrose, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Volcanic Sand, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate and Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

Sucrose holds and retains moisture, keeps the skin in good condition and helps lighten and soothe discomfort on the skin. Lauramidopropyl Betaine helps to clean the body surface and maintains the skin in good condition.

Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate cleans and moisturises the skin. Volcanic Sand protects the skin and helps to avoid damage by external factors such as free radicals.

Caprylyl Glycol holds and retains moisture and softens and smooths the skin.  Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate helps to keep the skin and body surface clean.

Iron Oxide (CI 77491) filters UV rays in order to protect the skin and is also used as a pigment ingredient. Iron Oxides (CI 77492 and CI 77499) are tolerated pigmented ingredients.

The 4 Not Recommended/Bad ingredients in the formula include Parfum (Fragrance),  Methyl Gluceth-20, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate and Hexylene Glycol.

Parfum is a fragrance chemical that gives product’s their smell and masks the smell of other ingredients in the formula. Parfum is a skin irritant and one of the top 20 most common allergens. It may also cause photoallergic reactions.

Methyl Gluceth-20 is irrelevant to the environment, can irritate the skin and can make the skin more porous, which can allow hazardous materials to be absorbed. It also has some benefits including holding and retaining moisture and increasing the water content on the skin, which keeps it soft.

PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate can irritate the skin, is irrelevant to the environment and can make the skin more porous.  Hexylene Glycol can cause allergies and can kill skin-friendly bacteria. It does have benefits including maintaining the skin in good condition.

The 1 To Be Avoided/Very Bad ingredients in the formula is Disodium Cocamide MEA-Sulfosuccinate.

Disodium Cocamide MEA-Sulfosuccinate is a carcinogen and nitrosamine agent that is toxic.

So In Summary….

There are 3 moisturising and moisture retaining ingredients in the formula including Sucrose, Caprylyl Glycol and Methyl Gluceth-20.

There are 2 ingredients in the formula that soften and smooth the skin including Caprylyl Glycol and Methyl Gluceth-20.

There is 1 ingredient in the formula that promotes healing including- Silica

There are 3 ingredients in the formula that maintain the skin in good condition including Sucrose, Lauramidopropyl Betaine and Hexylene Glycol

There is 1 skin soothing ingredient in the formula- Sucrose

There is 1 skin protecting ingredients in the formula- Volcanic Sand

There are 3 skin irritants in the formula including Parfum, Methyl Gluceth-20 and PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate,

There are 2 allergens in the formula including Parfum and Hexylene Glycol

There are 2 ingredients in the formula that make the skin porous including Methyl Gluceth-20 and PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate,

There is 1 carcinogenic ingredient in the formula- Disodium Cocamide MEA-Sulfosuccinate

There is 1 toxic ingredient in the formula-Disodium Cocamide MEA-Sulfosuccinate

There is 1 nitrosamine agent in the formula- Disodium Cocamide MEA-Sulfosuccinate

The formula is very basic and doesn’t contain that many good ingredients. I have analysed the formula’s of soooooo many skincare products and the majority have a lot more beneficial ingredients than this. Especially for a ‘high end brand’, you would expect a more beneficial formula. I will say, the product does it’s job and works good. It cleans the face thoroughly and leaves it feeling sooooooooo soft, but the formula isn’t great.

Overall, I do really like this exfoliator and again, it does it’s job good but I am going to be looking for a more beneficial exfoliating product with better and more beneficial ingredients.

Marketing Analysis

Is this product marketed accurately?

In order to assess the accuracy of marketing, I looked up  how MAC describes the product and then made up questions that I set out to answer.

MAC Cosmetics describes the product by saying…

“A highly-effective cleanser and exfoliator that unclogs pores and adds instant moisture.  A duel-purpose cleansing and exfoliating scrub that blends natural volcanic ash with fine sugar crystals. Highly effective, the mineral-rich, concentrated formula foams on to refine and unclog the skin and add instant moisture, leaving skin feeling soft and comfortably clean”

Claims MAC Makes

Exfoliates skin, Smooths skin, Hydrating. Controls oil, For all skin types, Dermatologically tested, Non-acnegenic

Questions I Have After Reading Marketing

Is the product a highly effective cleanser and exfoliant?

The MAC Volcanic Ash is a very effective cleanser and exfoliant. After washing it off the face, your skin is completely clean. You can tell it has exfoliated the skin because the skin feels super smooth and soft and feels very light. MAC have definitely marketed this claim because it is a very highly effective cleanser and exfoliant.

Does it unclog pores and provide instant moisture? Does it leave the skin feeling soft and comfortably clean? How many moisturising and skin softening ingredients are in the formula? 

The Volcanic Ash Scrub thoroughly cleanses the skin. The fine grains of Volcanic Ash and Fine particles of Sugar get right into the skin, removing any bit of dirt, makeup or muck. In this way, it does unclog pores. It also prevents them from clogging up again.

The Volcanic Ash Scrub does leave the skin feeling super soft and clean and does provide instant moisture.  It has 3 moisturising and 2 skin softening ingredients.

The 3 Moisturising Chemicals are Sucrose, Caprylyl Glycol and Methyl Gluceth-20.

The 2 Skin Softening Ingredients are Caprylyl Glycol and Methyl Gluceth-20.

For a formula, this isn’t many softening and moisturising at all. Most formulas have several moisturising and skin softening ingredients and 5 really is not many. Again, the product does moisture and soften the skin but the ingredients in it are not that great and there is certainly a lack of beneficial ingredients. I would say the product leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturised temporarily, but not for the long-term. This is expected because the goal of an exfoliator is to cleanse the face, not moisturise it. Overall, MAC has marketed this accurately because it does unclog the pores and does moisturise and soften the skin.

Does it smooth the skin? What ingredients contribute to this? 

The MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator does smooth the skin so much.

There are 2 ingredients in the formula that smooth the skin – Caprylyl Glycol and Methyl Gluceth-20. Again the above applies here, this really isn’t many skin softening ingredients for a formula to have and other products have A LOT more. However, the exfoliator does physically smooth the skin.  MAC have accurately marketed the smoothing claim.

Is the product Non-acnegenic? Does it contain any comedongenic ingredients?

The formula does not contain any comedogenic ingredients. Comedogenic ingredients block the pores and lead to the formation of acne, blackheads and whiteheads. To check this claim some more, I ran the formula through the CosDna database and found that only one ingredient out of 17 has the potential to cause acne, which is Hexylene Glycol. However, Hexylene Glycol is only rated as a level 2 acne causing agent, which is very low, meaning it is unlikely to cause acne.

Claiming that a product is fully non-acnegenic is a big claim since everyone has very different skin and reacts to things differently, so I am unsure if this claim is completely accurate. I can say that the formula does not contain many acne causing ingredients at all (only 1) and will most likely not result in breakouts.  I would say MAC have accurately marketed this claim for the most part.

All in all, the Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is marketed fairly accurate by MAC. There are no claims that are downright incorrect and everything they have mentioned can be backed up. I do think they have left out a lot of details because they haven’t had much to say. For example, they haven’t included the benefits of any specific ingredients in marketing like most brands do, which is because there really isn’t too many beneficial ingredients to talk about. Anyway, marketing is accurate for the most part.

Price Analysis

Is this product priced accurately?

$38.00 AUD – $30.00 USD

I think the pricing of the MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliating Scrub is accurate. You get a bottle with lots of product that will deadset take you AGES to run out off. The product physically works really good and fully cleanses and exfoliates the skin. It also leaves the skin feeling so soft and smooth.

While the formula isn’t exactly amazing, it isn’t horrible either and the product does the job, there is no two ways about that. Taking all this into consideration, I think MAC have accurately priced this product.

Overall Thoughts/Conclusion

The MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliating Scrub is a facial exfoliator that cleanses the skin and removes dead skin and debris. It leaves the face feeling sooooo soft and clean. The formula is very average and does contains a few beneficial ingredients, but not many.

All in all, I do like this exfoliator and it does the job. However, there are a lot more exfoliators out there with a better ingredient list so I am going to be on the hunt for a better one (hint, I have found one, but I’m in the starting stages of testing it, lol).

I am deffo not going to blacklist this product, I will continue to use it from time to time when I need it. I do think it is a really good product, and it is washed off the face pretty quickly so the formula quality matters less than something that is going to fully absorb into the face (like moisturiser), but I do prefer using products with better ingredients. If your looking for an exfoliator that cleanses and exfoliates the face, and you don’t want to spend too much, I would deffo give this a go.

Have you tried the MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator? If so, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Main Points/Summary

• Facial Exfoliating Scrub

• Contains 100 ml (3.381 ounces) of product

• Shelf Life of 24 months

• Made in the USA

• Costs $38.00 AUD – $30.00 USD

Grainy, Sugary Consistency

• Pleasant fragrance smell (Parfum is in the formula)

• Nice Packaging 

•  Formula ranked by Cosmetic Analysis Database as ‘Average’

• Not the best formula, not the worst

• Marketed fairly accurate 

• Priced accurately 

Links To My Related Posts

My Other Skincare Posts- My Skincare Category Page Link

My Other Exfoliator Posts- My Exfoliator Category Page Link

My Other MAC Cosmetics Posts- My MAC Cosmetics Category Page Link

Where To Buy MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator???

MAC Online- MAC Online Site Link AU , MAC Online Site Link USA

+ Any MAC Cosmetics Retailers

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