I may be going against the grain (excuse the pun) on this one, but I hate traditional exfoliators.
In the words of the great Sali Hughes, 'Until you remove dead , flaky skin all moisturiser will do is paste it down.'
You can not underestimate the power of a good exfoliator for chomping off those pesky dead skin cells So let's get down to the nitty gritty (sorry I couldn't help myself). They deep cleanse the skin, dislodging build-up in the pores and helping to break up white heads and black heads. They will also help smooth and refine the skin's texture, giving it a soft and supple look. Lastly, it enhances blood flow to the face, giving the appearance of a fresh glow. They do wipe away many a problem.
Whilst I may not be the biggest fan of the old school granular (read: itchy and irritating) exfoliators I am fully embracing the new kids on the skin care block; exfoliating toners, masks and pads.
Liquid Exfoliants look like traditional toners but bring a lot more to the S(kincare) club party. They're applied in the same way- on a cotton wool pad, swept across the face. Can be used once or twice daily, depending on how sensitive your skin is, and to gradually get your skin used to the intensity you can wet the cotton pad first. My skincare (and all round life) guru Caroline Hirons recommends using acids daily in the form of these toners. Keeping the PH of your skin acidic will help avoid breakouts, increase the thickness of the dermis and keep skin plump and juicy. One swipe skincare? Liquid Exfoliants are one of my faves.
Pads work in a similar way to liquid exfoliants except they are already pre-soaked in glycolic, salicylic or lactic acids (they decrease in strength in that order). They will help to sweep dead cells out from under the rug, reducing fine dry lines and blocked pores, leaving a smoother more radiant complexion. Can be used once or twice daily. These are the best.
Masks are perfect for when your skin needs a little extra ooomph. They range from gentle 'slougers' to at -home-microdermabrasions. These peels contain natural (such as fruit) acids, enzymes or chemicals to resurface without irritation. They're easier to use than 'scrubs', not scratchy and work on a deeper level. A little tingling is normal, make sure to protect your skin with a high SPF in the following days (new skin will be more prone to sun damage) Use one or twice a week.
Don't get over-excited and start over-exfoliating. Check whether the toner or pads are recommended for once or twice daily, and take a break on the days you decide to use a mask.
Check back for more in-depth exfoliator reviews