Exfoliation: Beyond St. Ives

(I know, I know, it's the devil.)

When I was a young, zitty thing, with my life ahead of me, I used to use that damn apricot scrub with its hard shards of…rock? several times a week, something which now makes me almost black out to remember. What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking that it turned my skin over and got rid of all the dead stuff, making new skin cells possible!

Well, that’s still the goal, but thankfully we have so many beautiful options now that won’t leave us looking and feeling like we got dragged behind a motorcyle by our faces. Let’s discuss!

Sometimes people with dryer skin are afraid to exfoliate, since we often associate it with the process of scrubbing out pores and blackheads, etc., but exfoliation is vital for all skin, and I have honestly become obsessed with it these last few months. My skin has never been brighter, and it’s done a LOT to tighten my pores. Exfoliation is the future. Now, what should we be using?

I’ll start with what I currently use, and then branch out. I’m very fancy, and I am committed to finding price points that work for everyone, but it seems like I should be honest about what I actually use: the good shit.

I have become a devoted daily user of Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads, which have the benefit of being extremely user friendly (swipe one side over your face until the pad is dry, then wait two minutes and rub the other side!) and it’s easy to grab a couple of packets when you’re on the road. I noticed the difference almost immediately, and also I was bright enough to skip my retinol for the first week or so until I saw how my skin handled it.

I’ve had mixed experience with Paula’s Choice (both her recommendations and her products), but have been genuinely impressed with her Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid, which is designed to use twice a day, but I recommend starting with it once every other day, especially if you’re new to exfoliating. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen with this bad girl! She’s the real deal.

I must regretfully recommend Drunk Elephant's Babyfacial, which I use once a week and is…wow. It’s what it says on the tin! Good stuff. You’re supposed to follow it with their Virgin Marula Oil (and they usually include a wee bottle of it) but I have found that any gentle face oil or thick non-reactive moisturizer will do the trick, after waiting 10-20 min.

The last fancy product I’ll recommend is SKIN INC's Pure Revival Peel, which has a user experience which reminds me of the early days of blackhead nose strips and staring at your own filth afterwards. SECONDS after you apply this stuff, all the dead skin comes to the surface in weird little pieces for you to rinse off, which is extremely satisfying!

Other expensive and awesome exfoliators include the famous PS50 product from Biologique Recherche, which I’ve talked about before, as well as Tatcha’s Rice Powder, but let’s not get stuck at this price point.

Now, the good news is that you do NOT have to spend $55 to get a fantastic exfoliant. Let’s talk about our more reasonably-priced options:

Pixi’s Glow Tonic, like the PS50, is a toner which acts as an exfoliant (don’t you love killing two birds with one stone?) and is $15 at Target. It’s great.

L'Oreal's Pure-Sugar Scrub has “scrub” in the name, which conjures unpleasant memories of overly scrape-y products, but sugar scrubs are gentler and this one can be used three times a week.

Glossier's Solution is a great product, meant for daily use, and you’ll see results quickly AND more over time.

The absolute cheapest (and still very good) option for exfoliating is at most drugstores. It’s Simple Kind to Skin's Scrub, and it’s usually around six bucks!

Go forth and remove a layer of your face, but make it fashion.

Love you!