A Modern Strigil: Exfol Away from QVC

10 Jan

As any cellulite investigator will tell you, dry skin brushing is a simple yet powerful technique for tackling the blight. It increases circulation and helps clear the pores so the skin can detoxify, giving cellulite a good one-two punch.  But I’ve found that dry brushing alone is not enough to properly exfoliate the skin. Has anyone else noticed this, too?

How do you exfoliate?

Lately I’ve been experimenting with an ancient technique for exfoliating the skin.  It involves massaging oil into the skin, then soaking in a hot tub before scraping it off with a thin metal scraper.

This technique was standard practice in many other cultures, including ancient Rome and Greece and the Ayurvedic tradition of India. It is still common in parts of Asia, in the form of Gua Sha and Kerokan. We don’t have a name for it, so I will refer to it as “oil scraping.”

The Romans used an instrument called a strigil to remove the oil from the skin.  Strigils were an essential part of Roman bath culture.   You can read more about strigils and see pictures in this post. I scoured the Internet for a modern strigil but was unsuccessful in finding one. I came across a few skin scrapers made from other material (jade, animal horns, etc), but I was skeptical that they would work the same way. The blade needs to be thin enough to scrape away the dead cells but not so thin that it cuts the skin.

When I first started oil scraping, I used a large spoon instead of a strigil and it worked just fine.  But can you believe my wonderful sister-in-law found the perfect strigil-equivalent for me for Christmas? At Ross, no less.

The Exfol Away from QVC

It’s called the Exfol Away and it was made specifically for QVC. It looks like a razor, but instead of a blade it has a blunt stainless steel edge. The host says tools like this are popular in Europe and Australia.

Unlike a spoon, the curvature of the Exfol Away is just right for the skin. It feels especially good on areas with dry skin that tend to feel itchy.  Here is a cheesy promo for the Exfol Away. It really does scrape off all that “gunk” just like in the commercial, especially if you rub oil into the skin beforehand since it helps dissolve fat-soluble waste on the skin. The oil might go on clear, but it certainly doesn’t come off that way (gross, I know!).

Unfortunately, the Exfol Away is not longer available on QVC. I’m hoping they will offer it again soon. I would love to get the mini version for the face.  If you happen to see this product at Ross, do snag it. These babies are inexpensive and they are likely to last a long, long time.  If not, try using a large spoon instead. Don’t forget to rub oil into the skin beforehand and to let the skin soak in a hot tub for at least 15 minutes or so before scraping the oil off.  I am interested to hear your thoughts on the oil scraping technique. So if you try it, please come back and let me know how it goes!

Did you get any gifts this Christmas that might help with our cellulite investigation?

*This post is part of Monday Mania hosted at The Healthy Home Economist and Works For Me Wednesday hosted at We Are THAT Family.

A Cellulite Investigator Update

Thanks for stopping by The Cellulite Investigation.  Things are a little quite around here at the moment.  I’m taking an extended break as I get married and settle into married life and a new home.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon!

Comments

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Latebloomer says:
1/10/2011

You know, I love this idea–the strigil, the oil, the hot bath…. But the practical matter of having to clean the tub out afterwards (so those that shower the next morning don’t break their necks), every single time I soak in oil…. Well, it kind of takes the glow off the whole soaking in the bath thing. Anyone have any ideas? Something really obvious that had eluded me?

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I haven’t had a problem with that, Latebloomer. You’re putting the oil on your skin and not directly in the bath water, and most of it is scraped off with the strigil. Did you try it and notice a slippery tub afterward? If so, maybe it has to do with the softness of the water?

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Laurie says:
1/10/2011

We need to find someone to manufacture strigils again!

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Elizabeth Walling says:
1/10/2011

Wow, you found one! That’s awesome. I can really see how this would work more effectively for exfoliation. It appears that you can find them here and there out there on the internet, but not from a seller I can personally recommend. Might be worth a shot, though, if you can’t find one at Ross!

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Lisa says:
1/10/2011

This sounds great! What kind of oil do you use? Jojoba, Coconut Oil, etc?

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I’ve been using almond oil, but coconut or jojoba would work well, too. You could also use sesame oil, avocado oil, olive oil… so many possibilities! I like to add in a few drops of essential oil, especially ones like rosemary or orange oil that are known to stimulate lymphatic circulation.

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Vanessa Chang says:
4/13/2011

Does anyone have any idea where I could get an Exfol Away unit??? Love this method of washing and cannot source anything in Australia!!

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They are very hard to come by. One lucky CI reader found one on eBay recently, but she said even that had a sticker from Ross (a retailer here in the States that sells excess inventory from other stores). They don’t seem to make it any more on QVC. I am still searching for a suitable source to recommend to other cellulite investigators (or in case mine breaks, heaven forbid!). I’m even contemplating the idea of manufacturing one myself, if I can figure out how to go about doing that. In the meantime, you could try a large metal spoon. That is what I used before my sister-in-law found the Exfol Away for me. It’s not quite as good but it gets the job done. Please let me know if you find anything!

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Dreamer says:
4/15/2011

Ok, I’ve been wanting a scraping tool for years. Since I had a massage by a therapist using Graston “scraping” tools. I thought that it really woke my body up in the most sluggish, thick areas of my body and that it had the potential to do great things with my celllulite.
Anyway, stumbled on your site today and was dissapointed to find no more Exfol Away on QVC. Then I found “Le Edge Personal Skin Exfoliating Tool” that was sold in England on the GBQVC, same product and also not for sale.
Then I found another in Australia. http://www.Myexfoliator.com. It looks very similiar but doesn’t have a handle. I ordered to be shipped to the USA at $128 for 2 sets (each set has one larger and one smaller tool, body and face respectively). Hopefully, these work well – I’ll let you know!

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Ouch, did you mean to write $128? The product looks promising, but I could not bring myself to put down that type of money for a piece of plastic and a blade. I think my ExfolAway was under $10. But sticker shock aside, I hope you like oil bathing as much as I do! Yes, please do let us know how it goes!

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Dreamer says:
4/18/2011

Yes, it really was $128 and I’m still in sticker shock!!! And because of the weaker doller to the AUD, I lost on conversion as well (included in the $128). But I feel that there must be some kind of patent controversy between the Myskn folks and the producers of the Exfol Away/Le Edge that is going to tie up distribution due to litigation (my guess – I saw nothing regarding a lawsuit on the web). So I thought I would take the plunge and get it now. Plus my 11 year old has started getting acne and the infomercial says it will help with that problem by face exfoliating. Right now, I have him using Alph Hydroxy and I’d rather he wasn’t putting chemicals on his face. I’ll report back :)

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Please do, dreamer! I’m curious to hear what you think of it. It seems to me this type of device would be difficult to use on skin with active acne breakouts. Have you read any of the posts I wrote about healing acne? That was “phase 1″ of my anti cellulite effort (I couldn’t expect to heal my cellulite if the skin on my face was so obviously distressed!).

I eventually figured out that fluoride was causing my acne. Every time I ingested fluoridated water or food that contains a significant dose of fluoride, my skin would break out within hours. It cleared completely when I limited fluoride in my diet. You can see the pictures here. Even if his acne is not caused by fluoride, it must be caused by something. Other common culprits are gluten or sugar. I hope this is helpful. Good luck!

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VEE says:
4/19/2011

I cannot believe the price either!!! For a piece of stainless steel and plastic – and Im buying with the AUD! Im not sure if I can bring myself to part with such coin – but do let me know how it goes – Im dying to know if its worth the buy.
The patent issue kinda explains why these things are as rare as hens teeth!!! Im going to contact the two Australian companies and ask them whats going on. I think its really interesting that a such a tool that was used so long ago can be patented. Obviously there is some huge benefit to the blade design with micro grooves?

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I can’t see how there could be a patent issue. Like you said, the idea for this kind of tool has been around for millennia. The micro groove edges could be an upgrade, but the ExfolAway has nothing like that. Here in the States, I figured it didn’t do well here on QVC. Why else would they end up selling the excess at Ross (a surplus store) and on Ebay?

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Trina says:
5/3/2011

This reminds me of an oriental treatment called Gua Sha, or skin scraping. If you search for Gua Sha on Ebay, you’ll see the scrapers they use.

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I wrote a post about that too, Trina! You can read it here: Gua Sha and Other Strigil-Like practices. Have you ever tried it?

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Shauna says:
5/26/2011

I just came upon this website and found it interesting. I searched the internet and found the Pro Body Scraper. It’s only $7 including shipping and handling.

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Have you tried it, Shauna? I thought it looked good, too, but I was disappointed. I can see how it would be great for removing water after showering. It would probably help keep the skin moisturized, better than drying off with a towel. But for exfoliation, it didn’t work well at all. It’s made of a pliable plastic. Strigils need to have a stronger edge. Another CI reader suggested using a pan scraper (like the kind Pampered Chef sells). I haven’t tried it myself but she said it worked well.

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Tig Athe says:
9/19/2011

I have found 2 strigils on http://www.daegrad.co.uk through eBay recently, and have just received my order. If you go to the site straight and search for “strigil” in the online shop, the one I got is the second picture. Lightweight, but I’m looking forward to trying it!

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Tig, I just bought one of those, too! I ordered the copper one. Expect my review in the next week or so. Let me know what you think of it when you get a chance!

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Lori says:
3/6/2012

http://www.le-edge.com – More expensive than $10, but less than $128 :)

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Thanks, Lori! Le Edge was kind enough to sponsor a giveaway a few months back. Great product. I still use mine!!

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Anca says:
5/17/2012

I think some hair removal creams come with a plastic “thing” to scrape the cream from your skin. That tool could work for oil scraping too!

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Great idea, Anca. I’ll have to check that out. The problem with most plastic tools, and even most of the metal ones I’ve tried, is that the edge isn’t at the optimum angle. One of the reasons I like my Exfol Away is that it feels so nice, like a good back scratcher.

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Paula says:
6/3/2012

I know it’s not the same as the scraping you described, but one thing I like to do to exfoliate the skin is to mix the almond oil with coarse sea salt and rub it on the skin before soaking in a warm bath. After the warm bath I rinse with super cold water. I don’t know if it does the trick for exfoliating, but it feels great. This practice was traditionally done with salts from the Dead Sea.

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I do that too sometimes, Paula! When I do the oil bathing, I use salts in the bath anyway so I might as well rub them into my skin instead of pouring them straight into the tub. Feels invigorating, doesn’t it?!

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Elizabeth says:
7/20/2012

QVC now carries Le Edge tools for anyone interested–about 26 dollars

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Thanks, Elizabeth! For those who are interested, here is the link: Buy Le Edge on QVC

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victoria says:
8/12/2012

Melissa have you noticed a difference in your cellulite since using this strigil like tool? I found your website yesterday after I remembered In Latin class learning about roman baths and I thought about trying it on my own, I used the back of a butter knife..then I went online and found you! Just wanted to know if you’ve made progress

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hi, Victoria. Thanks for your comment. How funny how you found the site! I noticed that I feel amazing the day after I use the strigil, as if I’ve spent a week at the spa. It’s very refreshing to have your pores clear. I can’t say it’s made a difference in my cellulite at this point, though. Through the investigation, I’ve discovered that I had fluoride poisoning as a child and I suspect this is the cause of the cellulite. I’m in the midst of a major fluoride detox. I’m hoping when it’s over, no more cellulite. We’ll see!

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Michele says:
9/28/2012

hi. how do you know you had fluoride poisining as a kid? I have had cellulite since I was 12 and I remember swallowing fluoride at the dentist 3 times in a row when I was about 4 years old. I had a bad stomach ache all day that day. Could I have fluoride poising from that?

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I had chronic fluoride poisoning because the dentist gave me fluoride pills to take on a daily basis. I developed chronic nose bleeds and my teeth came in discolored with dental fluorosis. My parents asked my pediatrician about it and he didn’t know it was because of the fluoride. Now it’s common knowledge. What you are describing is acute fluoride poisoning. I don’t know if it would have the same effects as chronic fluoride poisoning. It’s possible. Do you still get a reaction from fluoride?

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Rachael says:
5/30/2013

Do you practice this routine before or after a shower? Do you soak in hot water or cool water?

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