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The 12 Best Exfoliators for Soft, Smooth Skin


You’ve probably got your skincare routine down pat, but if you're anything like us, you can get a little lax when it's time to exfoliate. Proper exfoliation is super important, though: exfoliating your skin removes dead skin cells and allows your fresh, baby-smooth skin cells below to come through. And when you exfoliate, you’re also letting your skin breathe and drink in any other products you apply after–namely, your moisturizer

Plus, cell regeneration naturally slows down as we age, meaning we need a little extra help when it comes to shedding those dead skin cells—cells that can eventually lead to excess oil and clogged pores if not cleared away. 

The good news is, there's no shortage of exfoliating products you can use. From peels to serums to toners and more, there's an exfoliator for every skin type and skin need out there. Whether you have dry, combination, oily, or sensitive skin, you can get glowing skin easily by using an exfoliating product that's best for you. 

Continue reading below to find the best exfoliators for your skin, and get ready for your best skin yet.

ORIGINS Never a Dull Moment Skin-Brightening Face Polisher with Fruit Extracts

1. ORIGINS Never a Dull Moment Skin-Brightening Face Polisher with Fruit Extracts

This gentle manual face scrub is made with smooth, finely-ground apricot and mango seeds, in addition to papaya extract, which eats away dead skin cells without causing any irritation. Slough away patchy, dry skin skin to reveal your skin's natural radiance–the smallest amount gets to work smoothing and cleansing your skin. It’s great for all skin types, and won't irritate sensitive skin or cause breakouts in acne-prone skin.

SKIN & CO ROMA Truffle Therapy Face Gommage

2. SKIN & CO ROMA Truffle Therapy Face Gommage

This hydrating exfoliant's lush formula, delicate fragrance, and spa-worthy texture will instantly sweep you away to a relaxing Mediterranean beach, without leaving the comfort of your own bathroom. Featuring sweet almond oil, gentle apricot seed powder, and black winter truffle extract (which fights free radicals and decreases visible signs of aging), this face scrub will make you feel polished and rejuvenated. Apply it weekly to lift away dead skin cells and accumulated dirt and debris.

YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner

3. YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner

This is the nightly exfoliator that you’ve been waiting for. The proprietary kombucha blend includes kombucha black tea ferment, tree bark ferment, ginger, lactic acid and glycolic acid (two powerful alpha hydroxy acids that are popular chemical exfoliants), citrus bioflavonoids, and lemon water extract. The gentle conditioning toner minimizes the appearance of pores, refines and evens your skin tone, and also firms your skin. Plus, you don't have to rinse it off, so it's super easy to add to your skincare routine. We love this toner for acne-prone and oily skin, but it might be a little too strong for those with sensitive skin, so always test out a small amount first before applying all over.

CLINIQUE Exfoliating Scrub

4. CLINIQUE Exfoliating Scrub

This water-based scrub is perfect for oily skin. It de-flakes, refines, digs out the grime and dirt that cause blackheads, softens fine lines, and controls excess oil production. Most of all, it’ll leave your skin with a fresh, refreshing tingle. For happy skin, use once a day in the morning, being careful not to apply to open blemishes or sensitive breakouts to avoid irritation.

APTO SKINCARE Liquid Exfoliant with Pomegranate

5. APTO SKINCARE Liquid Exfoliant with Pomegranate

Get the smooth skin you’ve always wanted with this gentle but effective liquid formula, which contains malic, glycolic, and tartaric acids—all of which slough away dead skin cells that clog pores and slow down your regeneration process. Just soak a cotton pad with the formula and apply it a clean face—then wash it off after seven minutes. Use it once or twice a week, and you’ll notice the difference.


6. PIXI BY PETRA Glow Tonic

This iconic acid toner is a highly-concentrated facial treatment that deep-cleans pores and blots out excess oil and impurities. Glycolic acid is a powerful exfoliator that purifies the skin and reduces the appearance of pores, while ginseng improves circulation, and aloe vera soothes and hydrates. The tonic, which is suitable for all skin types, accelerates cell renewal and balances, heals, and soothes irritated skin. Use it after your cleanser, and follow up with a serum and moisturizer.

PURLISSE BEAUTY Blue Lotus Seed Mud Mask + Exfoliant

7. PURLISSE BEAUTY Blue Lotus Seed Mud Mask + Exfoliant

Looking for a miracle anti-aging facial that’ll only take ten minutes? Look no further! This detoxifying mask and exfoliant is formulated with a soothing blend of blue lotus, bamboo, ginger, mushroom extract, and white tea. Apply it and let it sit on your skin for ten minutes while excess oil and grime are sucked to the surface. Then, rinse off with water: you can practically feel your dead skin cells melt away. Use it one to two times a week, and marvel at the effects.

GLAMGLOW Tropicalcleanse Daily Exfoliating Cleanser

8. GLAMGLOW Tropicalcleanse Daily Exfoliating Cleanser

Combination skin will love this daily exfoliating cleanser, which is infused with superfruits (like acai, acerola, and goji berries), tropical fruit enzymes, and purple clay. Use it to gently polish away impurities and reveal balanced, smooth skin. It’s the perfect refreshing cleanser to start and end your day.

HEY HONEY Come Clean Propolis & Minerals Facial Scrub

9. HEY HONEY Come Clean Propolis & Minerals Facial Scrub

This rich cleansing and exfoliating scrub is super gentle, even for sensitive skin that usually doesn't do well with physical exfoliators. It helps lift away residue and debris in enlarged pores to leave your skin brighter and clearer. The non-abrasive crystalline beads are like magnets to draw out blackheads and prevent blemishes, and the infused propolis extract keeps your skin from ever feeling stripped or dry.

DR. BRANDT SKINCARE Microdermabrasion

10. DR. BRANDT SKINCARE Microdermabrasion

If you’re looking to slough away dead skin cells, minimize fine lines, and banish dark spots, look no further. This powerful, dermatologist-tested exfoliant, which was formulated for skin looking to address anti-aging concerns too, contains professional-grade exfoliating crystals identical with the ones you’ll find in microdermabrasion treatments. The result? You can polish away imperfections with ease.

GOLDFADEN MD Doctor’s Scrub

11. GOLDFADEN MD Doctor’s Scrub

This daily facial exfoliant removes dead surface skin cells as it hydrates, making your skin feel lifted and taut without drying you out or over-sensitizing your skin. Tiny crystals polish away old skin cells, while hyaluronic acid delivers long-lasting moisture, and seaweed and organic red tea extract fight off free radicals that increase the signs of aging. It’s great for all skin types.

MAËLLE BEAUTY Skin Sparkle Facial Polish

12. MAËLLE BEAUTY Skin Sparkle Facial Polish

For more even-toned, radiant skin, try this facial polish, which is totally free of scratchy shards or potentially irritating microbeads. It’s wonderful for sensitive and acne-prone skin, and it’s powerful enough to lift away dirt and dead cells. The dermatologically tested formula contains desert lime, a rejuvenating antioxidant, as well as nourishing desert peach, soothing and detoxifying aloe vera, and exfoliating wattle seed.

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About the author
Nirmala Nataraj
Ipster, theater buff, red lipstick wearer 4 life
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Article Last Updated March 19, 2020 12:00 AM