If you aren’t currently exfoliating your skin, and want better skin, then you by the end of this article, you will be!
Thorough exfoliation of the skin unveils fresher, cleaner skin. Yes, the skin naturally sheds itself so technically you can leave this to natures cause. However, you’re probably reading this because you want BETTER skin, whether it be in general, for a special event or wedding that’s fast approaching. You want more smooth, even skin. Skin that glows from within. I get it. I’ve been in your shoes, I suffered pretty bad acne through puberty and well into my late 20’s (thanks hormones).
Be prepared! Your skincare routine is about to get a makeover as I share with you my favourite exfoliants and tips.
First up, a couple of hints to achieve better skin ;
Change your pillowcase regularly. Think dead skin cells, puss from burst pimples through the night (eeew), perspiration, leftover hair products like spray, dry shampoo, wax, gel and thats all the fun stuff even if you HAVE had a shower ( without washing your hair). And if you’re one to skip any sort of night time skincare routine altogether, or not washing your makeup off, you can add day old makeup, environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke ( yep, remember that person you walked past and you got a good whiff as you walked right into it?!) Well, thats all sitting on your skin. One word. AGEING. Actually, two words, lets add in DISGUSTING and follow that with go to bed clean!
Eat clean and drink water. Yep, I keep banging on about it but beauty on the outside really does start with beauty on the inside. If you suffer from congestion and pimples, try cutting back on diary as a test. It worked so well for me and yes, I MISS CHEESE but my skin has never been better. Check out my blog featuring Jess, a nutritionist, and what she has to say about healthy eating and skincare. 3 litres of water a day is essential. Especially if you are working on a fitness/ weight loss / generally -being -healthier- to -look -your -best- program as well.
Now, when it comes to exfoliants, there is a whole lot of products out there. I’ll explain a few different types so you can make the best choice for you and your lifestyle.
Typically used in the shower. If you want great results, sorry, but don’t use these on their own. Why? Because when people typically use a scrub exfoliant they tend to do it too quickly, use too much water with them and half the product goes down the drain, without it having much effect on the skin. I like to use a scrub exfoliant AFTER my ‘proper’ exfoliant and I do this on damp, not wet skin. This is called “double exfoliation” and many salons will do this in your facial treatment for a deeper exfoliation = smoother skin= better result. (Lightbulb! Yes! Thats why your skin feels so amazing after a salon treatment!) Sensitive skins don’t really like scrubs either, as clients I’ve found in the past when they scrub their skin, it becomes hot and irritated, so if you have hypersensitive skin, I’d stick to an enzyme based exfoliant ( explained below). And remember, if your skin is red and sensitive, this might be a different problem, being internal, hormonal or it could be from harsh product usage.
SIDE NOTE OF SENSITIVITY– If you use a cleanser and your skin feels SUPER clean and TIGHT after cleansing, this is actually BAD for your skin! Why? It means that you are stripping off your natural oils of the skin, your protective layer, and you are disrupting your pH level of your skin and making it prone to sensitivity and infection. Your skin should feel clean, soft and supple when you are using the RIGHT cleanser. Gel and foaming cleansers are generally the culprit of stripped skins, so if the above sounds like you when you cleanse, (that tight feeling) consider changing your cleanser to something more creamy. I guarantee that your skin will be transformed even with just this one step.
My favourite cleansers that I’m using at the moment are;
Charlottes Lab Hydrating Cleanser $20 – I use this one in the morning to wash my face before I go to the gym. It’s gentle, super hydrating and leaves my skin feeling oh so nice! Where to get it? Contact me! I currently stock some of Charlottes products or you can head directly to her website.
Eve Lom Cleanser 50ml $73 – I use this cleanser when I want to remove a full face of makeup. It comes with these awesome muslin cloths, and it smells like eucalyptus, it has a ‘different’ consistency, sort of similar to a hardened coconut oil, or like a thick grainy cream. It comes in a pot, and you warm it up in between your hands and massage it into the skin. Place warm muslin cloths over the skin so it can infuse and when you take off the days makeup and pollutants, the skin is left feeling so fab, just like I’ve had a facial treatment! The cloth also gives an added slight exfoliation effect… So its win win in my books!
My favourite Scrub Exfoliants are;
Chantecaille Bamboo & Hibiscus Exfoliating Cream – $124 . I use this every 2-3 days, and always after a full face of makeup day! I feel like it keeps me going in between enzyme exfoliants and because I go to the gym most mornings, I’m conscious of sweat and dead skin cell buildup and I feel this keeps it at bay.
Aveda Botanical Kinetics Radiant Skin Refiner $65 – This bamboo scrub is gorgeous and I’ll be going back to this one after my current Chantecaille one is finished. I love the bamboo granule feel and smell of this. Its really rare I purchase the same product twice, but this one is a winner for me. I use it in a similar fashion as the above. Every few days.
Charlotte’s Lab Mojito Lip Scrub with Pink Lemonade Lip Balm $16 – I LOVE this combo! It makes me feel like I’m sitting out on my back deck, relaxing with a mojito! Its a sugary lip scrub that instantly revitalises dry and flaking lips. Use a few times a week or as needed for instantly smoother lips.
Enzyme Exfoliants Explained.
These are typically come in a powder form, that you mix and add water to, massage it into the skin, leave for a few minutes then rinse off. Many products use a fruit enzyme ( most common being pineapple or papaya) to gently dissolve dead skin cells, providing a deeper level of exfoliation and therefore better results in terms of smoother, softer skin.
Ella Bache Granule Free Microfoliant $75 – Do you have sensitive skin and want a deeper exfoliation? Then this is the perfect product for you. It’s granule free, smells likes roses and you activate the enzymes by massaging it into the skin with a little water, leave for a few mins and rinse off feeling refreshed. I have this one in my makeup kit because I can use it on any skin, regardless of their sensitivity level and get a great immediate result.
Tathcha The Rice Polish $95 Rice bran, papaya enzyme and Japanese rose all contribute to skin feeling softer and fresher. This one slightly foams up on the skin to give that really deep clean ( yet not tight!) feel.
My fave mask based exfoliant for brighter skin!
While I have used pretty much every exfoliant known to man, I REALLY like the mask based ones with kaolin in them. Kaolin is a clay, and I like these because I apply with a brush, let it dry a little and rinse off. I love the deep cleansing, tightening feel they have on the skin. Just personal preference! As I’m getting older I think I love that lifting and tightening feel more and more! I haven’t gone down the fillers and botox road just yet so maybe this is why! 🙂
I love to use this mask when I’m in the bath! Its a face mask, that I apply, and let dry a little then use a bit of water to massage the jojoba beads into the skin. Even if you’re new to skincare and masks/ exfoliation, then this is a perfect first product for you as it’s a bit of a 2 in 1! Skin is left feeling really smooth, soft and supple and it doesn’t matter if you’re oily or dry or combination. Even sensitive skins could use this one as its not scratching on the skin, and the jojoba beads leave a nice level of hydration to the skin.
Another fave one if you have pigmentation….
Ren 1 minute Flash Facial , $65 , is a product I love! It’s super quick, and uses vitamin c to brighten and refresh the skin’s surface. Perfect before makeup application- but I wouldn’t use this on extreme sensitive skins. I tend to use this product if I’m a bit short on time, and need a quick boost before a makeup application if Im going out for the evening and want that “glow from within” look. I find that with the Vitamin C content, its particular good to brighten a skin with freckles ( like mine!) .
Alpha Hydroxy Acids ( AHA’s) / Glycolic Exfoliants Explained
These come in a few forms. Some AHA’s come in a mask you leave on for 5 mins, others come as “facial pads” that you wipe over the skin and rinse off, others come in a serum to use at night time. These are typically the stronger style of exfoliants more suited for an oilier /combination skins. If you are really red and sensitive normally, I wouldn’t use these. I’d stick to something enzyme based that’s going to be a little more gentle. But if you want great results and to reduce things like acne scarring, pore size, and overall texture, then glycolics are for you. Just be sure to ALWAYS wear sunscreen when using a glycolic treatment ( well, any exfoliation treatment for that matter) as the skin becomes hypersensitive to sun, causing freckles and pigmentation to get worse, and the whole idea of glycolics are to even out complexion, so sunscreen is very important.
The one I use every few nights is Drunk Elephant TLC glycolic night serum. This is a sure way to give your skin a kick up the butt! Apply it one night and wake up the next morning feeling instantly smoother. Its my little dream in a bottle really! Drunk Elephant TLC night serum $196
So, Now that I have bombarded you with all that info, hopefully you will make it easier for you to choose an exfoliant thats right for you. If not, email me and I can help you along the journey!
My personal exfoliating routine, as of October 2018.
Every 3 days ( or thereabouts) I use the Chanticelle Bamboo scrub after my morning cleanse. I have already been to to gym by this stage, so after cleansing with Charlottes lab cleanser, I pat dry my face with a face washer in the shower to remove excess water from the skin then use the scrub. I like it to feel pretty gritty, that way I know its giving my skin a deeper cleanse, rather than going down the sink.
Wednesday – Facial Day. I give my skin a good ‘facial’ treatment where I use the Eve Lom cleanser with muslin cloths, Charlottes Lab Jojoba and Kaolin mask, I then use the Drunk Elephant TLC night serum. I then apply my night night creams on top of this.
All of my current fave products…
Final note on exfoliation…
Listen to your skin! Over exfoliating is a bad thing as it will damage the surface layer. If by using any products your skin becomes red or sensitive, discontinue use or cut back on the amount you are exfoliating. Women over 30 can afford to exfoliate a little more often, say twice a week ( which is pretty much what I do). Bear in mind that my skin is used to swapping and changing products, and is pretty resilient. It’s certainly not sensitive, but it is on the drier side.
On the flip side, under exfoliating is not great either and will result in dull looking, patchy and uneven skin. If you are using serums and face creams as well, is important to lift up the dead cell buildup to make sure these serums and creams penetrate properly. So it’s a real trial and error when it comes to how often you need to do it. If you are new to it all, start off once a week. If you are more confident, once every 10 days and if you’re in your 30’s, go for twice a week.
And remember….. sunscreen please! 🙂