All About Exfoliators
This is the secret to having smooth skin – exfoliation. It’s more than just putting on a moisturizer. It’s the 3rd step in the 10 step Korean skincare routine.
We’ve all had our exfoliator scary stories, remember using the St. Ives Apricot Scrub? (I hope some of you don’t still use that). Yes, I’m guilty of it. You don’t always have to exfoliate, especially if you have sensitive skin. When you do exfoliate, it’s best to use it once a week for clear and polished skin! Exfoliating helps slough off dead skin cells so your skin is clean for whatever is next in your skincare routine!
When diving into the world of exfoliation, you must know that there are two different types of exfoliators. Physical and chemical. Both will vary in strength and coarseness. If you’re on the hunt for a good exfoliator, keep reading!
Physical exfoliators: anything that is grainy or coarse that physically scrubs your skin (salt, sugar, coffee grounds, gauze). As you scrub and wash your face, you can instantly see how smooth and clear your skin is. This is why the St. Ives product worked so well, it gave us that instant smooth skin we all were longing for. Unfortunately, you can over do it. Over-scrubbing can cause you to destroy your moisture barrier and make your skin become dry and irritated.
Chemical exfoliators: It definitely sounds horrible, right? But don’t be afraid to put acids onto your face! I am an avid fan of acids, it’s what makes your face so smooth and poreless. Acids can slough off dead skin cells, promote cell turnover, and prevent premature aging. Some exfoliators have hyaluronic acid or other moisturizing agents that restore moisture into the skin by giving it an intense boost of hydration. Chemical exfoliators can be found in masks, serums, and cleansers, too! This can be a great option for people with sensitive or acne prone skin because you can’t over scrub.
Why use an exfoliator? New skin turns itself over every 6 weeks. Exfoliating helps with the skin turnover by removing the dead skin to reveal newer, brighter skin. If you are seeing dull, flaky, or uneven skin texture, this is when exfoliation will help. It also helps with the absorption of products.
Now you know what exfoliators are, here are some of my recommendations and favorites!
Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel ($28)
This gel gives you a “peeling” feeling. It looks like literal dead skin is coming off!
Lush Cup O’ Coffee ($12-23)
This is both a mask and a scrub. I love using this as a mask then scrub the coffee grounds into my body.
Lush Ocean Salt ($23-50)
Can be used for your body too! A great alternative for the one above if you’re not into coffee.
Magis Lene Hinoki Pure Soft Moisture Peeling Gel ($38)
This is also another great alternative to Dr. G’s peeling gel. Makes your skin look super polished!
Physical & Chemical:
Exfoliators that are both physical and chemical serve a 2 in 1 purpose. They contain some sort of physical exfoliator, it’s usually some sort of grain or gauze paired along with an acid. These are super beneficial if you have dull or uneven skin.
Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling ($27) – Comes in Lemon, Wine, and Green Tea
I’ve used all 3. It really comes down to what scent you prefer. Lemon helps with brightening, Wine helps with anti-aging, and Green Tea helps with acne.
Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial Mask ($68)
It’s an exfoliator and a mask! Packed with glycolic acid to chemically exfoliate the skin and it contains mineral powder to gently smooth skin. (It’s environmental friendly!)
Summer Fridays Overtime Mask ($44)
A much, much better alternative to the St. Ives scrub. This mask sells exactly like a pumpkin pie.
Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys ($35)
With a name like that, you can’t go wrong. These are gauze pads soaked in AHA to chemically and physically exfoliate.
Trader Joe’s Blueberry & Acai Facial Scrub ($6)
If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s near by, this mask is heaven on earth. It contains AHAs to chemically exfoliate and blueberries to gently physically exfoliate without it being abrasive on your face. It also smells like a smoothie!
Peach & Lily Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask ($43)
Can also be found at Ulta! Probably the best facial in a jar I’ve ever used. The acids are strong, yet gentle. My face literally feels like a baby’s butt every time.
Peach & Lily The Good Acids Pore Toner ($39)
This toner contains AHA to slough away dead skin, but it’s gentle enough to be used every day and night. It’s formulated for the most sensitive skin.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial ($80)
The cult favorite exfoliator. Anyone and everyone raves about this magic in a bottle. It seriously works, you’ll just have to see it for yourself.
Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask ($48)
This is comparable to the Super Reboot Mask! Just a bit more $$, but still as powerful.
The reason why you see majority of these chemical exfoliators as masks is because the acids need time to slough off dead skin and promote new and younger looking skin. Chemical exfoliators are basically facials in a jar. Don’t forget, when you’re using chemical exfoliators, please apply sunscreen! Acids are known to make your face sensitive to the sun.
A good rule of thumb, exfoliate once or twice a week, but no more than that. If you have sensitive skin, once a week or once every two weeks will do the trick for baby soft skin. Happy exfoliating!
I am not sponsored by any of the brands nor am I affiliated with any of the brands listed above. Thank you for reading & take care! – xoxo, Annie.