www.reviewthis.com

The 10 Best Face Exfoliators of 2019

Face Exfoliators: The Best of 2019

Our skin naturally sheds off layers of dead skin cells. But this process, also known as exfoliating, can slow down due to aging, external factors, and genetics. If the outermost layer of the skin isn’t shed regularly, the dead skin cells can attract bacteria. This will lead to clogged pores, acne breakouts, and other skin issues. Facial skin, if not exfoliated properly, can look unhealthy and dull. But don’t reach for that pumice stone! Too much exfoliating or exfoliating with very harsh products can cause even more damage to the skin, like inflammation and rashes. The key is finding the best face exfoliator for your skin type and slowly incorporating it into your skincare routine. It might be tempting to scrub off all the impurities and bumps from your face every day but resist the urge. The best way to use a face exfoliator is by seeing first how your skin reacts to it. No matter your skin type, start out by alternating a face exfoliator with the best moisturizers and other nourishing products. Sometimes the best face exfoliator for you isn’t a physical one (a scrub that uses beads or sugar), but a chemical one (common ingredients are salicylic or glycolic acid). Not sure how to pick out the best face exfoliator? This guide is here to help!

Fruit enzymes are another way of chemically exfoliating your face. This a good ingredient for those with sensitive skin as fruit enzymes are gentler to the skin while still effective in exfoliating. If salicylic acid is too strong for you, or you just want a touch of AHA in your exfoliator, then reach for the MyChelle Dermaceuticals Fruit Enzyme Scrub. This is a physical exfoliator as well as it contains biodegradable jojoba beads and bamboo stem powder. These two ingredients will help physically scrub away any impurities, dirt, and grime from the surface of your skin. For brighter and clearer skin, the multi-fruit enzyme and AHA ingredients are there to help. You might feel a slight tingling sensation after applying this product, but don’t worry. This is only temporary and means the ingredients are working. This product is gentle enough for daily use but as it is a physical exfoliator it’s best to use this every other day at most. You can opt to leave it on the skin (sort of like a mask) for 1-3 minutes but it’s fine if you wash it off right after scrubbing gently. It has a pleasant smell that might irritate those who are sensitive to fragrance but this product generally works well among those with sensitive skin. It’s not too harsh despite the multiple exfoliating ingredients but make sure to moisturize the skin after use. It’s also not a face wash, so always cleanse the face with a gentle cleanser before using the scrub.

Key Features
  • Contains fruit enzyme and AHA
  • Vegan
  • Contains jojoba beads and bamboo stem powder
Specifications
  • Package Size: 2.3 oz
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Every day
  • Organic: No
  • Recommended Application Time: Evening
Pros
  • Biodegradable jojoba beads
  • Natural ingredients
  • Works for sensitive skin
Cons
  • Bamboo stem powder can leave granules on skin and hair
  • Contains alcohol
  • Takes long to wash off

Proactiv is a well-known acne-treatment brand, typically targeted towards teens and young adults. Their products are known to have prescription-strength ingredients to treat present acne as well as prevent it from coming back. The Proactiv+ line contains several steps, and step one is to cleanse and exfoliate with the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator. The Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator is not just an exfoliator, but a four-in-one product strengthened with the acne-fighting ingredient benzoyl peroxide. It’s a face wash, exfoliator, acne-treatment, and moisturizer all in one! Benzoyl peroxide is an ingredient that kills any acne-causing bacteria while preventing breakouts. The superfine micro-beads gently polish the skin to minimize the appearance of pores and reveal a softer-looking and smoother complexion. This product also contains glycolic acid, so you’re getting both a physical and chemical exfoliator in one. While they recommend using this product on dry skin twice daily, it can be very strong for those with sensitive skin. Allow your skin to adjust to the product by using it every other day in the beginning and see how your face reacts. If you don’t break out or feel dryness and irritation, work up to using this morning and night, every day. This face exfoliator also has a nourishing moisture complex to help skin feel hydrated and soothed. You’re not getting a ton of product for the price but Proactiv is a brand that works for many people. If you’re struggling with acne and want a deep clean for your pores, this could be the perfect face exfoliator for you.

Key Features
  • Acne-treating cleanser
  • Sulfate- and paraben-free
  • Suitable for all skin types
Specifications
  • Package Size: 6 oz
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Every day
  • Organic: No
  • Recommended Application Time: Morning and night
Pros
  • Very fine exfoliating micro-beads
  • Helps treat and prevent acne with benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid
  • Best for oily and acne-prone skin
Cons
  • Can be too strong for sensitive skin
  • Doesn’t work on dark spots
  • Not eco-friendly due to the presence of plastic micro-beads

Nothing feels better than scrubbing away dirt and impurities from your face to reveal brighter, glowing skin. But some face exfoliators are neither here nor there, resulting in mediocre cleansing and exfoliating. If you’re looking for a face exfoliator that cleanses, sheds off dead skin and impurities but doesn’t dry out the skin, then check out the Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Scrub! Aveeno is known to be a brand that caters to sensitive and dry skin with their products that contain nourishing and non-irritating ingredients. This exfoliating scrub of theirs is so gentle that you can even use it up to twice a day. While that’s not necessary for a lot of people with sensitive or dry skin, it can work wonders for those with oily skin or for people who are constantly in dirty environments. For example, those who play a lot of outdoor sports will love this scrub as it gets all the grime out of the face without overdrying it. The Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Scrub contains super fine particles for gentle exfoliation. However, if you’re looking for a face exfoliator with a lot more oomph, this may not be for you. It doesn’t penetrate deep into the pores and some customers think that there aren't enough exfoliating particles in this product. If you struggle with excess oil, acne, and dull-looking skin, then you could give this product a try. It may smell good, but the presence of fragrance might be irritating for those with sensitive skin.

Key Features
  • Contains moisture-rich soy extract
  • Contains jojoba and castor oil
  • Soap-free and hypoallergenic
Specifications
  • Package Size: 5 oz
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Every day
  • Organic: No
  • Recommended Application Time: Morning and/or night
Pros
  • Not abrasive, gentle for everyday use
  • Smells nice
  • Works for different skin types
Cons
  • Not a lot of exfoliating particles
  • Very sudsy
  • Doesn’t exfoliate deeply

If you’re looking for a face exfoliator that contains a lot of natural ingredients, the M3 Naturals Charcoal Scrub might be for you. This product has a Dead Sea salt base that is infused with activated charcoal, collagen, and stem cells for bright and acne-free skin. This exfoliator will help remove any impurities and toxins on the face while promoting new skin cell growth. With this product, you can scrub away dark spots and acne to reveal brighter and smoother skin. While it is a salt scrub at its core, it also contains moisturizing ingredients like organic aloe vera, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and castor oil. This scrub can be used for both the face and body, though if you have highly sensitive skin you might want to keep this away from your face. Scrubs like this are better to use at night because you can make it a part of a long and relaxing skincare routine. This product can get very messy and will leave stains if not washed out properly, so make sure to apply this in the bathtub or shower only. Though this exfoliator has a lot of nourishing oils in it, you will have to soap your face and body after using this to get all the charcoal out. The charcoal is very fine and can get be difficult to remove without soap. So while it is a gentle product, it’s not suited for sensitive or very dry skin that may get irritated if constantly scrubbed and soaped. But if you have oily and acne-prone skin that needs a good exfoliator, then this could work great for you.

Key Features
  • Contains activated charcoal, dead sea salt, collagen, and stem cells
  • Minimizes pores
  • Natural exfoliator
Specifications
  • Package Size: 12 oz
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Twice a week
  • Organic: No
  • Recommended Application Time: Evening
Pros
  • Clears up acne
  • Keeps skin hydrated and soft after exfoliating
  • A little goes a long way
Cons
  • Not for sensitive skin
  • Very messy to apply
  • Stains everything

Looking for a gluten-free, cruelty-free, vegan, and paraben-free solution to your exfoliating woes? Then The Seaweed Bath Co. Detox + Age-Defying Purifying Micro Scrub might be for you! If you’ve got sensitive skin or are looking for natural skincare solutions, The Seaweed Bath Co. is here to help. They formulate their products with seaweed that’s packed with over 65 vitamins and minerals. Other ingredients are plant-based or natural to help soothe the skin. While this scrub is not fragrance-free, it does have a 100 percent natural fragrance so it might work even if you have sensitive skin. The Seaweed Bath Co. Detox + Age-Defying Purifying Micro Scrub has a super-creamy texture with extra-fine grains of volcanic particles. These tiny grains of sustainably sourced volcanic particles not only scrub away any dead skin cells, but they also draw out any impurities and debris. The seaweed and AlgaDerm Complex help restore the skin’s natural protective barrier while their Marine Tri-Peptide helps promote collagen growth for bouncier and more supple skin. While this face exfoliator is very moisturizing, it doesn’t leave an oily film on the skin. It leaves a refreshing cooling and tingly sensation because it contains menthyl lactate, a gentler derivative of menthol, which feel nice but isn’t for everyone. It also doesn’t lather up that much so if you’re looking for a foamier exfoliator or face wash, this might not be for you. The texture is more of a mask with exfoliants because it’s very creamy and not soapy. Age-defying results weren’t that visible after a couple of uses but perhaps over time, they will be.

Key Features
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • Contains seaweed ingredient for balanced skin
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Specifications
  • Package Size: 4 oz
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Every two to three days
  • Organic: No
  • Recommended Application Time: Morning or evening
Pros
  • Contains nutrient- and vitamin-rich seaweed
  • Smells great
  • Leaves skin feeling moisturized
  • Creamy texture with extra-fine grains of volcanic particles
Cons
  • Leaves minty, tingly sensation on the skin which isn’t for everyone
  • Doesn’t do much on wrinkles
  • Doesn’t lather a lot

Physical face exfoliators or those that use sugar, microbeads, and particles to scrub the skin can be abrasive and harsh. Those with sensitive skin aren’t encouraged to use these products as they can inflame the skin and cause it to dry out further. But that doesn’t mean that those with sensitive skin can’t exfoliate. Chemical exfoliators or products that use alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids can be used to chemically shed off dead skin cells and reveal smoother, more radiant skin. If you’re looking for a chemical exfoliator that doesn’t dry out sensitive skin, check out the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant by Paula’s Choice. This unique leave-on exfoliator contains salicylic acid, which is known to not only exfoliate but reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and minimize pores. Worried about leaving salicylic acid onto your face overnight or the whole day? This product’s gel texture and plant extracts will make sure your skin stays hydrated and moisturized for hours. This product is not a face wash or scrub, so use it after cleansing and toning the skin. Though recommended for daily use either in the morning or night, this product can leave your skin feeling a bit sticky and heavy due to the gel formula. Makeup might not look its best on top of this exfoliator, so it may work best as part of your nighttime routine. If you do prefer to use this in the morning, make sure to follow it with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 25 or greater for full protection.

Key Features
  • Non-abrasive leave-on formula
  • Gel texture for hydration
  • 2 percent salicylic acid
Specifications
  • Package Size: 3.3 oz
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Every day
  • Organic: No
  • Recommended Application Time: Morning and/or night
Pros
  • No harsh and abrasive exfoliants
  • Good for sensitive skin or skin prone to milia
  • Alcohol-free
Cons
  • Not for preventing breakouts in the long run
  • Gel texture can feel sticky
  • Can feel thick and heavy on the skin

Bored with the usual scrubs and exfoliating face washes? When exfoliating your face, why not combine it with a mask for a better experience? Enter the Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off that’s made with organic Brazilian black sugar to get rid of all those blackheads, pimples, and dead skin cells. The sugar crystals mean this product is biodegradable so you won’t be harming the environment while on the journey to smoother and softer skin. You can leave this mask on your face after cleansing for 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow all the nourishing and moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, macadamia seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil, and candelilla wax to enter and be absorbed by your skin. This sweet mask also contains caramel, so you might be tempted to give this a taste! But always keep it on your skin and away from sensitive areas of the face like your eyes and mouth. This face exfoliator is natural and gentle and works best for oily to combination skin types. But even those with sensitive skin found this exfoliator to make their skin brighter without drying it out. It’s good for the face and the body so if you do find sugar crystals that are a bit large, uneven, or jagged, use it on the elbows and legs instead. It’s gentle enough to be used daily if you have very oily skin, but for best results, use it every other day at most. You don’t need a lot of this product so a small jar will last you a while.

Key Features
  • Exfoliating mask
  • Brazilian black sugar exfoliator
  • Minimizes pores and reduces blackheads
Specifications
  • Package Size: 100 g
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Every other day
  • Organic: Yes
  • Recommended Application Time: Evening
Pros
  • Organic ingredients
  • Gentle enough to be left on the skin for 15 minutes
  • Smells good
Cons
  • Some of the crystals are large and jagged
  • May leave a film on the skin
  • A bit sticky

Not a fan of using scrubs or leaving on creams on your face but still want to exfoliate naturally and effectively? Check out these 20% Glycolic Acid Pads by Newport Cosmeceuticals. They’re convenient clinical-strength face exfoliators that are great for acne-prone skin. Unfortunately, instructions on how to use this product are pretty vague so here’s how to use this. After cleansing the skin, use the pads to swipe on the product over the face. You can target problem areas that are prone to acne such as the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). You can also apply this product on the neck and areas with discoloration or hyperpigmentation. Because of the high concentration of glycolic acid, too much of this product can sting and feel drying on the skin. After using the pads, neutralize the skin by splashing it with cold water. This will not rinse off the product completely but will lessen any burning sensation from the strong glycolic acid. Follow with a good moisturizer or night cream. You can use this product every other day or twice a week, depending on how your skin reacts to it. But using it regularly will help clear up acne and blackheads, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and bring back revitalized skin. This product contains lactic acid, witch hazel extract, and vitamin C so make sure to always put on sunscreen while you’re using this. Because of the strong ingredients, it’s best to use this product at night and then follow with sun protection and moisturizer the following morning.

Key Features
  • Contains 20 percent glycolic acid
  • Ingredients sourced from nature
  • Exfoliating and moisturizing
Specifications
  • Package Size: 4 oz, 50 pads
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Every other day or twice a week
  • Organic: No
  • Recommended Application Time: Evening
Pros
  • Convenient
  • Clinical-strength glycolic acid
  • Treats acne, fine lines, and discoloration
Cons
  • Can be too strong for sensitive skin
  • Pads dry out after a short while
  • Instructions are vague

If you’re a fan of using ingredients for the barbecue on your skin and you love the smell of tomatoes, try out the Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Facial Cleanser. It’s a charcoal exfoliating face wash that’s suitable for most skin types. Those with sensitive skin were able to use this product but take note of the presence of fragrance, which might irritate some people. This face wash contains unique jojoba spheres that are biodegradable (so you’re not hurting the environment) and gently exfoliate the skin. While you can use this daily (especially if you have very oily skin), it’s recommended to be used every other day or twice a week so that your skin doesn’t dry out too much. This is a cleanser and exfoliator, not so much a moisturizer, so make sure to moisturize after using this product. The Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Facial Cleanser keeps the skin smooth and prevents acne, but it doesn’t do much for acne that’s already on the skin. The combination of physical and chemical exfoliants (this product also contains salicylic acid) makes sure your pores get a super deep clean. There won’t be any trace of dead skin cells after you wash your face with this cleanser! You get 5 ounces of product in each bottle but a little goes a long way. Just a tiny amount will foam up and be enough for your whole face. This face cleanser doesn’t just exfoliate, it also helps minimize pores and the appearance of blackheads. Be wary of the fact that it contains charcoal, which tends to leave a stain or residue on the face. Make sure to rinse off thoroughly!

Key Features
  • 97 percent natural ingredients
  • Contains tomato extract as antioxidant
  • Jojoba spheres and salicylic acid for gentle exfoliation
Specifications
  • Package Size: 5 oz
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Every other day
  • Organic: No
  • Recommended Application Time: Evening
Pros
  • Biodegradable jojoba spheres for gentle exfoliation
  • Gentle enough to use daily for oily skin
  • A little goes a long way
Cons
  • Contains strong fragrance
  • Can leave charcoal stains and residue
  • Doesn’t treat acne but prevents it

The Body Shop is a brand known for dedicating themselves to creating cruelty-free beauty products inspired by nature. Their Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Exfoliator contains mineral-rich bladderwrack seaweed from Roaring Water Bay, Ireland, which is known to have detoxifying and purifying benefits for the skin. This face exfoliator also contains jojoba beads and olive stone powder to gently slough away any dead skin cells and clarify the skin. After scrubbing away any impurities, this exfoliator’s creamy gel texture makes sure to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized. Wash away this scrub and you’ll be left with no filmy or sticky residue—just a cooling and refreshing menthol sensation. While this cleanser is gentle enough for daily use, it’s recommended for oily to combination skin. Those with dry and sensitive skin might react to the product’s strong fragrance. While the creamy gel texture is hydrating, it’s not moisturizing enough for those with drier skin types. Always follow this and any exfoliator with night cream or moisturizer, regardless of your skin type. This exfoliator will leave your skin feeling smooth and clears out any acne or bumps on the skin. It’s not the most aggressive of exfoliators out there which might leave some people feeling like it’s not giving them a “deep clean”, but it gets the job done. You can mix a small amount of this into your face cleanser or apply it straight to your face after cleansing. A little goes a long way. Even if you don’t get a lot of the jojoba beads per application, you’re still getting that exfoliation because of the olive stone powder which is infused into the gel.

Key Features
  • Leaves skin feeling refreshed with menthol
  • Contains hydrating Bladderwrack seaweed
  • Cruelty-free
Specifications
  • Package Size: 3.3 oz
  • Recommended Usage Frequency: Twice to thrice a week
  • Organic: No
  • Recommended Application Time: Evening
Pros
  • Good for oily skin
  • Doesn’t leave a film or residue on the skin
  • Not too abrasive
Cons
  • Contains a lot of fragrance
  • Not for sensitive or dry skin
  • Doesn’t feel like deep cleaning

When it comes to skincare, simple is best. Regimens with many steps and products became popular in recent times, but there’s only so much your skin can absorb. For best results, it’s better to listen to your skin instead of following passing trends. The most basic skincare routine involves the following steps: cleanse, tone or exfoliate, and moisturize. You can add other steps like removing makeup before cleansing (also known as double-cleansing!), adding serums or treatments for specific skin issues, and applying masks. Many aren’t aware of how important it is to exfoliate, or the proper ways to do so. With so many exfoliating products out there, it can be hard to find the best face exfoliator for your skin type. Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing a face exfoliator.

Your skin naturally exfoliates itself, but sometimes it needs a little help. But what should you use and how often should you exfoliate? Even though some products pride themselves on being gentle enough for everyday use, it’s best to exfoliate twice a week at most. This way, you can allow your skin to regenerate and heal while also avoiding micro-tears in your face. Too much exfoliation can cause your skin to feel inflamed, break out in rashes and acne, or feel dry.

There are two kinds of face exfoliators you can use: physical exfoliators and chemical exfoliators. Physical exfoliators gently scrub off dead skin cells with a brush, a scalpel (only at the hands of a licensed professional!) or fine particles like sugar or microbeads. When buying physical face exfoliators like scrubs and masks, make sure to choose products that don’t contain large, irregularly-shaped exfoliants such as fruit seeds, volcanic rocks, or shells from nuts. While they may be more eco-friendly, these can cause micro-tears to form on your skin. Micro-tears can lead to acne and irritation and more damaged skin in the long run. If you like the feel of a physical face exfoliator and still want to be environmentally-conscious, opt for products that use fine particles like sugar. Salt scrubs can be used on the body but be careful of what kind of salt is used if you’re putting it on your face. If the salt crystals are irregularly shaped and large, they might damage the skin on your face.

Many dermatologists recommend chemical exfoliators for the face. These are safer and gentler on the skin and can be used by most skin types. Chemical face exfoliators contain ingredients that help promote skin cell turnover to reveal bright and glowing skin. There are two types of ingredients used in chemical exfoliators like peels and toners: AHA and BHA. AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids, exfoliate the skin by breaking down the glue that holds together dead skin cells. AHAs are water-soluble and therefore can’t go very deep into the skin’s pores. Common forms of AHA include glycolic acid and lactic acid. BHA, also known as beta hydroxy acids, penetrates deeper into the pores because it’s oil-soluble. The most popular form of BHA found in skincare products is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a keratolytic agent that softens and dissolves keratin, the protein in skin that causes cells to stick together. Keratin may sound like a good thing to have more of, but abnormal keratinization (shedding of skin cells) can cause skin problems like eczema and dryness. Salicylic acid helps normalize the skin’s keratinization, making skin cells function longer before shedding.

Now that you know more about face exfoliator ingredients and when to exfoliate, it’s time to slough off those dead skin cells and reveal the more radiant, glowy skin underneath! Finding the best face exfoliator will help achieve this coal.

Resources Cosmopolitan Philippines, GQ, Into The Gloss, The Skin Care Edit

Share this Buyers Guide