Exfoliating 101

Wonder why your skin looks rough and dull? The answer: Dead. Skin. Cells. These accumulate on our skin naturally so you’ve got to slough them off to prepare your skin for renewal and to generate new skin cells. Dead skin leads to clogged pores, excess oil production (hello acne) and the inevitable blemishes.

Exfoliation helps prepare the skin to better absorb all the products in the subsequent steps of your skincare routine.

Exfoliation is step 3 in the Korean beauty system. There are two types of exfoliating you can try, the manual kind, using a towel, scrub or something like a Clarisonic, and the chemical (which contains safe acids like AHAs and BHAs that dissolve dead skin cells.) The manual kind is good for every other day to everyday use, I do the chemical one to two times a week.

Wondering how to achieve a glowing complexion? 

You guessed it, exfoliate!

In addition to removing dead skin cells, exfoliation also helps prepare the skin to better absorb all the moisturizing ingredients that you’ll be slathering on in the remaining steps of your skincare routine.

Be sure to choose a type of exfoliant and frequency of exfoliation that works for your skin type. Test products out on a small area of skin before going all the way. Be wary of over-exfoliating as it can have the opposite effect and irritate or damage your skin.

Pay attention to your skin’s needs and treat it accordingly.

Manual Exfoliants

Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder

Throughout Asia rice (water and powder) has been known for its exfoliating, anti-aging and brightening effects. Tatcha’s rice powder has become one of my favorite products that I’ve purchased, the way it leaves your skin feeling is unreal. If you seek that squeaky clean feel then you’ll love this. I enjoy using this in conjunction with Tatcha’s Camelia Cleansing Oil, as a duo they’re perfect. I will also use this rice powder as my one step cleanser in the mornings as it helps turn my face into a smooth canvas for makeup application. The texture is pretty interesting and it offers an effective form of manual exfoliation.

Standout ingredients in this product include: rice powder, rice bran, papaya extract, pearl protein and Tatcha’s proprietary anti-aging complex which features green tea, rice and algae.

Hack: use this after your cleansing oil to combine steps 2 (double cleansing) and 3 (exfoliating.)

Skinfood Black Sugar Honey Mask Washoff

A new product for me, I found this hidden away on a random shelf in Ulta and got quite excited as I’ve heard a lot of great things about this mask. First off it smells divine! The sugar and honey make it very tempting to eat. I like that this mask is dual function, the sugar acts as a gentle exfoliator while the honey provides moisture.

The black sugar present in the mask is organically produced and enriched with minerals (phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.)

This is a 10 minute leave on mask, which you then wash off by gently rubbing it on your face, the sugar will dissolve taking dead skin cells along with it. I quite like using this for a midweek quick pamper session or if my skin is feeling a bit dryer than usual. After using it you’ll experience soft and plump skin.

Chemical Exfoliants 

Don’t let the word chemical scare you, these are actually gentler on your skin than traditional scrubs, and when used in moderation these products are safe for at-home use.

Products with AHAs (glycolic acid and lactic acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid) remove blemishes and dead skin cells, even skin-tone, unclog pores, they also help fight the signs of aging and reduce wrinkles.

Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon

This product combines both manual and chemical exfoliation with the power of citrus extracts, glycolic and lactic acids, and let me tell you, it works! After scrubbing your face with one of the pads your skin will feel as soft as a baby’s butt. I use this two times a week and it makes a huge difference when it comes to clearing up blemishes—that’s where the various citric extracts come into play.
The pads feature an exfoliating side and a soft side, use the exfoliating side to gently scrub, then pat in the fluid with the softer side and rinse.

To me this is a holy grail product, you feel and see results pretty quickly.

Next up Toner 101! Gotta admit I didn’t start using toner until last year. Find out my favorite options and why it’s a must in your cleansing routine.

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