The Face Scrub That Sleigh Bells’ Alexis Krauss Is Taking On Tour


"Festival season beauty tips" might be the most overused phrase on the internet during the March-June time periods of the past, oh, five years. But "festival beauty tips" from an actual festival performer kind of makes sense, right? Our pal Alexis Krauss (of Sleigh Bells) has played practically every open-air stage and desert venue there is—so BonnaXchellapalooza ticket-holders, take note. She's written us with her newest skincare discovery, prompted by some crappy news about her former tour essential: scrubs with microbeads.

I'll be leaving for tour next week, which means the dusty grime of Coachella mosh pits will soon be making its way deep into my pores. I've previously relied on my favorite exfoliating cleanser for this type of thing, but I recently found out that the essential scrubby ingredient—microbeads—are actually just tiny pieces of plastic. And these microplastics have been going down our drains and into our streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans, where they're causing extensive environmental damage. (More on that here.)

Thus began my search for a replacement trusty exfoliating cleanser to pack with me on tour—something all-natural this time. A friend suggested I check out a small Brooklyn-based sustainable skincare company called SW Basics. Made of only three ingredients (organic oat flour, organic almond flour, and sea salt), the SW Basics Exfoliant is by the far the most simple and eco-friendly of all the ones I've tried. I was actually surprised at how nourishing and effective this stuff is, especially given the uncomplicated formula. I guess sometimes it takes a scandal (microbeads!) to make you realize how easy it is to make the switch to eco-friendly beauty alternatives—or to open your eyes to a product that's just better, in general. Hey, the more you know!

x Alexis

Follow Sleigh Bells here

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Mademoiselle nature

    Super brand choice! really encouraghing that your are trying more natural brands :-)

  • anneblushes

    oh thank you for this!!! i have known about microbeads for some time, and it seems that by making your own scrubs or using eco-friendly ones, they are easier than ever to stop using. sw basics sounds swell! thx again. happy weekend!

  • charity snowden

    she rules and now i want that.


  • Speed

    Why not just grind these 3 ingredients & make your own? Nothing's happening in these very expensive but extremely simple products that prevent them from being easily duplicated (which is exactly what the proprietors of this business did) so long as you have an organic grocery store or website, and a food processor or coffee grinder.

    • Bianca

      my first thought as well. As to "Come on" - mixing three ingredients is not quite the same as a pizza (have you ever made dough form scratch?) or chocolate (tempering is a fine art)!

    • Amanda

      Agreed. This product is beyond simple. Not even any preservatives. Yes, you can make anything at home but paying more than $5 for this product is a ripoff I believe.

  • Elce

    The oat and almond flour are specifically chosen to avoid abrasion of
    the skin. It's very gentle. I'm not sure about the sea salt. How do you know some natural brands aren't well aware of this problem and use scientific methods or natural ones to correct it. For example, RMS beauty makes an effort to spherically cut their silica powder so that it won't be so damaging if you inhale some of the product.

    • Bells

      But how could I know which companies spherically cut the grains and which don't?

  • katie

    I've actually tried the S.W. Basics' oat scrub thing, and you're right-- it irritated my skin. I could feel the salt particles sort of scratching a bit. If you have sensitive skin like I do, I personally wouldn't recommend it. St. Ives all the way!
    However, I LOVE SWB's moisturizer and their ACV toner! I'm a repeat purchaser of both after buying them on a whim.

  • Cherryredgirl

    Very good brand that I've discovered on my last trip to NYC. I didn't buy their scrub though because the best face scrub is..... no scrub!! I used to scrub my face but a facialist from Dr Hauschka told me not to, I tried and YES she was right!!! So, no more face scrub for me and my skin is perfect :)

  • Dru

    It takes simple common sense to figure out how vigorously (or not) to be scrubbing your skin.

    I've personally never had a bad experience with at at-home natural scrub, my mother's homemade recipe kept my skin clear and free of flakes (which resulted from even the mildest face washes) for seven years, but the chemical cleansers/exfoliants are just not for me. Even with a Clarisonic!

  • Lena M.

    I've been called a debbie downer for bringing up the whole microbeads/microplastics issue, so it's nice to see there are others with the same concerns when it comes to our beauty/living habits and the environment. I just keep a small bottle of almond flour/meal in the shower. I can't exfoliate often since I have sensitive skin that hates me, but when I do that's all I use. I just pour a little in my palm and add a bit of water to create a milky paste. Light pressure or the Dr. Hauschka 'press and roll' method to apply. It works, softens my skin, and I think the almond oil in the meal has a light moisturizing effect as my skin isn't tight at all afterward.

  • Heather P.

    Thanks for the recommendation! I've been on the hunt for a new exfoliator anyway, so I might give this one a try!

  • slanketfart

    because most bread doesn't cost 28 dollars. duh

  • Siobhan

    I am very fair with rosacea-prone & sensitive skin. The best scrub I have used is the MiSMo Natural Face Exfoliator. Their previous formula did contain the micro-beads & for all the reasons mentioned in this post, they have changed the ingredients to incl rice powder. This scrub also contains MSM & is gentle enough to use every day which I do in the shower. I absolutely love it. Their is no 'rosy afterglow" and my skin remains red-free and calm looking. Great products from this Australian company for those wanting natural, effective skincare.

  • Cathy Strine

    I keep a small bowl of coconut oil and a tiny bowl of baking soda by my sink. Lay a warm, wrung-out wash cloth on my face for a few seconds. Dip my fingers in coconut oil and then baking soda, mix briefly in the palm of my hand- lovely scrub.