We only have one face, right, so it’s important to be gentle with it. But where does that leave us when if comes to exfoliating? Overdo it and you’re looking at dry, irritated skin. Do it right, however, and it can be the difference between a dull-looking, congested complexion and a bright, glowy, healthy one. In fact, many skin experts say exfoliation is as important as moisturiser – if not more so.
Exfoliation is without doubt the very best thing you can do for your skin to improve circulation and keep your complexion radiant and glowing. Polishing away dead skin cells delivers a deep-down cleanse, rejuvenates and brightens and can help with excess oil, blackheads, rough skin texture, acne scarring and hyper pigmentation.Below, we’ve rounded up the 10 best face exfoliator to place your trust in now.
Top 10 best face exfoliator in the UK 2021
Here are our top 10 best face exfoliator for your face.
1. Omorovicza Refining Facial Polisher
Our panel said that using this face scrub was like having a facial treatment, as it smoothed and brightened the skin, leaving it looking clearer and healthier. Testers liked its spa-like scent and 93% were left satisfied with the product and would continue to use it. Hungarian moor mud and green microalgae help to restore and revitalise the skin, while copper and fruit extract work to eliminate dead skin cells. It’s also paraben-free. This facial scrub is gentle enough to use a few times each week.
2. Summer Fridays Overtime Mask Cult Beauty
If you’re after instantaneous results, this mask is as close to ‘miracle worker’ as you’ll get. It may cost you a handsome fee, but you’ll probably find you only need to use it once a week to reap the rewards. A slight tingling sensation (caused by apricot seed powder) starts the glow process, and then ten minutes later, you’re left with skin smoother than glass. Sensitive skin types may want to do a patch test, but it’s suitable for everyone.
3. Skin Regimen Enzymatic Powder
Liberty’s latest beauty find is a real winner. Designed to diminish the damaging effects of pollution, Skin Regimen’s Enzymatic Powder transforms into an airy foam once mixed with water, and works to brighten skin without harsh abrasion.
Not just a pretty bottle, this powerful formula is enriched with calming chlorella, enzymes and gentle rice star to ensure you won’t emerge from the bathroom red-faced.
4. Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten Gentle Daily Micro Polish Wash
Easy on the beauty budget, this is one of the better high street options. A lovely light gel texture with mid-level abrasion, that’s just enough to work well on stubborn skin cells, but not too much for sensitive complexions. It’s ever so slightly drying, which worked wonders on our tester’s oily t-zone to minimize their usual shine, and would be good for skin prone to oil and breakouts. The zesty orange scent is a delightfully refreshing, pick-me-up in your morning shower.
5. SkinCeuitcals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser
A cleanser is a great way to introduce acid exfoliators into your skincare routine if you’re on the cautious side. This cleanser gently starts to foam when massaged in with water which then works to eradicate any pesky blemishes to leave skin clear and silky smooth, without that tight-feeling dryness. This exfoliating cleanser helps deliver a clear and bright complexion while removing oil, dirt, debris, and long-wear makeup without stripping the skin of moisture.
6. Elf Gentle Peel Exfoliant
More of a “clean” product kinda gal?
This affordable but effective exfoliator is everything-free, including chemicals, parabens, sulphates and phthalates. Infused with nourishing and refreshing purified water, papaya and tangerine extracts, it ditches the dirt to reveal a refreshed and healthy-looking complexion. Use two to three times a week for smooth, even-toned skin.
7. Sensitive Ultra Fine Scrub
Just like the rest of the brand’s range, this cleansing scrub has been meticulously tested to be suitable for even the most sensitive skins, and is a great option for those wanting a good clean without stripping moisture or causing irritation.
Using physical exfoliants to gently purify pores and eliminate dead skin cells, it’s also ideal if you’re looking to clear up breakouts, and, being non-comedogenic, it won’t cause future congestion either. Follow up with a rich moisturiser and your dry skin will thank you!
8. CeraVe The Renewal of Sa Cleanser Salicylic Acid
You might associate salicylic acid with zits. And that’s true — it’s the face acid recommended most for acneic skin, because of its abilities to scoop out dirt and grime from clogged pores. But it can sweep away dead skin cells, too. This cleanser contains salicylic acid as well as ceramides, so it’ll keep your skin moist and make it smoother in the process. It’s fragrance-free and has close to 3,000 five-star Amazon reviews. It can be used on the body or the face.
9. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid
This leave-on exfoliant (the brand’s number one product worldwide, NBD) touts salicylic acid. A beta-hydroxy acid, sal acid is great at gently exfoliating and unclogging pores by dissolving the oil and other gunk and grime that can get lodged in there. Also nice: It’s a leave-on formula, so all you have to do is swipe it on and go. Try using it on areas on your body prone to breakouts too, think your back or chest.
10. Two in One Poreless Power Liquid
Apply this Korean beauty favorite after cleansing to help unclog and remove debris from pores, says Dr. Sonia Batra, a board-certified dermatologist and co-host of The Doctors. It also contains inflammation quelling ingredients like willow bark and allantoin to help soothe any residual redness.
As it is alcohol free and only contains 0.1% BHA, it’s gentle enough to be used with other AHA or BHA products such as the Cosrx One Step Original Clear Pad, or even the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid (4% BHA).
How to Choose the Best Exfoliant for Your Skin Type
It’s time to find the products that will work best for you. Let’s take a look at the most common types of exfoliators.
Physical exfoliators use ingredients like sugar or salt to create a scrubby texture. You can also find facial exfoliation brushes that scrub the dead skin cells from your face. While physical exfoliators are straightforward and easy to use, they’re often harsh on your skin. It’s easy to scrub too hard, or choose something a little too abrasive, and end up with red or damaged skin as a result.
Chemical exfoliators are where things can get confusing, with lots of different terms and acronyms. But this class of exfoliator is usually the best choice for your face. Chemical exfoliators use acids, rather than an abrasive texture, to get results. The acid breaks down the bond between skin cells, loosening the dead ones so they’ll wash away.
Choosing the Right Ingredients
Each type of acid has a slightly different effect. Salicylic acid tends to dry skin out, which is great for oily skin but not ideal for normal to dry skin. Glycolic acid is antimicrobial, making it a great acne-fighting AHA.
However, different products can also have different effects due to the acid concentration and other ingredients used. It’s possible to use both AHAs and BHAs at the same time, too. Some products contain both, or you can rotate between products to get the effects you want. Just avoid using separate products at the same time—that can get too harsh for your skin.
After testing a few things, you’ll soon start to see which ingredients work best for your skin, so you can target products that feature those. When you find the right products for you, the glowy results will be well worth it.