Virtually everyone has an exfoliating horror story: whether it's those painful at-home chemical peels (do. not. do. this. ever. please.) or D.I.Y. scrubs with oversized, irritating grains. So we decided to remedy this by testing out some of our own favorite exfoliants. During the tail-end of the winter months, nothing serves as a better mood stabilizer than sloughing off dry, winter skin to reveal a smooth, even complexion underneath. Say goodbye to the days of overzealous scrubbing and red, irritated skin the morning after exfoliating.
Origins Never A Dull Moment face cleanser is loaded with papaya extracts and instantly brightens. It won't dry out your skin and is more than gentle enough to use on the daily. We swear, a few nights washing with this, and you'll forget about flaky, dry February skin.
Genius facialist, Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate treatment is universally raved about for a reason—as Cov-alum Rachel Bilson told us, "I wash my face very night with it, and since my skin is dry it really works wonders!" This exfoliant does double duty with both tiny scrubbing beads and fruit enzymes, which blast your pores, and are followed up by soothing ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E, so you can forget the post-scrub redness.
Bobbi Brown's Buffing Grains come in a super luxurious glass vial that will instantly pretty up your bathroom (it's the little things, okay?), and is made with ground up adzuki beans to help completely obliterate dry skin. Unlike other grainy scrubs, this is an exfoliant that works miracles on even the most baby-sensitive of skin.
REN's Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask has won them legions of adoring fans for its serious radiance-boosting abilities; but their Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish and Micro Polish Cleanser are two similarly heavy-hitting exfoliants that we've been loving in the colder months. Plus, there's something slightly indulgent about a facial 'polish’; it makes you feel like your skin is really a fancy antique or something.
If you tend to go slightly neurotic with scrubbing, may we suggest going the route of light, at-home peels? Fruit enzyme peels are ideal for sensitive skin and give you a spa-like experience. Try Jurlique's Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator. It’s super gentle and gives you that Gwyneth Paltrow glow (results may vary! Don’t hold us to it.)
Philosophy's Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel takes the intimidation out of at-home chemical peels. The pads are saturated with their gentle triple-acid formula, which can even help with hyper pigmentation, discoloration and fine lines. This stuff is practically a miracle worker. You can either leave on the peel overnight, or wash off after a few minutes depending on your skin's sensitivity.
Listen, the marketplace is oversaturated with “try me!” “buy me!” products, but we’ve done most of the legwork. So go on and treat yourself, you (and your skin!) deserve it.