There are many benefits to gain from using best face exfoliators.
In order to entice you to continue reading this very long post I’m just going to tell you that, through facial exfoliation, you can prevent breakouts and get brighter, younger-looking, smooth skin.
My post on the best face exfoliators is going to encompass all I know about exfoliation.
Translation: it’s going to be a lot of ramblings plus some nice reviews on the best face exfoliators.
If you want smoother, brighter skin, if you suffer from dull or flaky skin or uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, if you have clogged or enlarged pores, stick around to find out more.
You’re going to find it useful.
Skip whatever parts don’t interest you, you don’t need to read everything, just what you came here to know.
Before actually talking about the best face exfoliators for various skin types and needs, I just want to talk a bit about exfoliation.
What it does for the skin and why it’s so important to exfoliate your skin regularly, even though it’s yet another thing that you have to cram into your schedule.
Well, at least once a week. Even if you only get to do it once a week, it’s still better than not at all.
Sometimes, the hardest thing to fit into a schedule are things that are important for you and you only. Tiny acts that benefit yourself only.
I’ll also talk about what makes the best face exfoliators be your best and how you should choose the one for what you need.
If you aren’t interested in any of those aspects of exfoliation, jump right down to the part of the post where I review the best face exfoliators and start reading from there.
I just want to provide complete information, to the extent that my knowledge allows me to.
Types of Exfoliation
In simple terms, exfoliation is the removal of dead or dull skin cells to reveal the smoother skin underneath.
That’s why you get that silky feel immediately after.
There’s no roughness left at the surface of the skin, the skin is smooth and it feels and looks rejuvenated. Brighter.
As we age, the rate at which our body sheds dead skin cells begins to slow down, it needs a bit of help (exfoliation) to reveal the newly produced skin cells.
There are two types of exfoliation:
- physical exfoliation (scrubs are the most well-known and popular in this category)
- chemical exfoliation (alpha hydroxy acids AHAs, beta hydroxy acids BHAs, enzymes) – this exfoliation type comes mostly in the form of serums and exfoliating pads
AHAs are mainly represented by glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid. Mandelic acid is the most gentle and glycolic acid is the most effective.
BHAs mainly refers to salicylic acid.
Enzymes are extracted from fruits.
Physical exfoliation removes the dead dull skin cells via rubbing, like scrubs – this method acts at the surface of the skin.
Physical exfoliation is based on grainy ingredients that slough off the skin.
Speaking of that,
If you have the money to go to a specialist, microdermabrasion is a wonderful option for a deep exfoliation that, among many other benefits, can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Chemical exfoliators actually penetrate deeper into the skin.
They basically dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells, which makes them more efficient and better for those with sensitive skin who can’t tolerate scrubs.
Chemical peels are actually the pinnacle of chemical exfoliation, just like microdermabrasion is for physical exfoliation.
Chemical peels require a specialist and are very expensive, not something that a lot of people can afford.
Or you can opt for doing a chemical peel at home. It won’t be the same as going to a specialist but it will be much cheaper and, in time, you will notice the very postive improvements. Check out my post on the best face peels if you are interested.
We’ll just have to stick to the best face exfoliators that can be used regularly at home and settle for that.
Why You Should Definitely Exfoliate Your Face
I actually got really into exfoliation when I discovered that my using an epilator to remove unwanted hairs was causing ingrown hairs on the lower legs.
I started learning about how to exfoliate legs.
At that point,
I wasn’t even thinking about face exfoliation. I was barely remembering to cleanse my face every night. I had no problem with cleansing in the morning but, at nigh, things were a hit and miss.
I was very young. And unconcerned about my face because I was just out of my teenage years and any breakouts were long gone.
I wasn’t aware that about 8 years or so down the line, I was going to enter my joyful period of adult acne.
By that time, I was well aware of the fact that you not only need to cleanse your face twice daily but you also need to exfoliate it regularly.
I already wrote a post on face washing tips and the best facial cleansers, feel free to read it if you want to update your knowledge on that topic.
Washing your face at least twice daily is the foundation of any skincare routine no matter what skin type or problems you have, much higher on the list than exfoliation. Right up there with using a sunscreen or a moisturizer with SPF daily, every day of the year not only during the summer.
You actually need to cleanse the skin before exfoliating it.
What is it about exfoliating your face that is so important?
Here are the main exfoliation benefits (chemical exfoliation in particular):
- removes dead or dull skin cells
- provides a more even skin tone
- hydrates the skin
- brighter complexion
- smoother skin surface, diminished fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production since chemical exfoliators reach the dermis (they go deep into the skin) – some pricier eye creams include AHAs among their ingredients alongside retinol and other anti-aging ingredients
- unclogs pores, which can prevent breakouts or at least reduce their number
- reduces blackheads appearance
- the acids used in chemical exfoliators can sooth irritated skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties
- allows active ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin
Will all problems go away because you’re exfoliating your face?
Of course not.
But it’s an important step, one that you should seriously consider including in your beauty routine, even if you’re just entering your 20s.
The sooner the better.
I know it’s another expense of both money and energy but, if you have the means, do it.
This article on the best face exfoliators will give you a good start by showing the right products to be used and how to use them.
How to Exfoliate Your Face
When it comes to how to exfoliate your face there are a few steps and things to take into consideration:
- cleanse your face whether you’re using a physical or chemical exfoliator
- physical exfoliators need to be massaged in circular motion on moist face (pretty much like cleansing, gentle circular moves) and then rinse off with lukewarm water – the key here is the word gentle
- chemical exfoliators are applied in a thin layer in the evening and, usually left on the face until morning, unless the instructions say that they need to be removed after a specified amount of time – it’s always wise to read the instructions and not assume anything from past experiences
- if you’re using a toner (it rebalances pH levels), in the case of physical exfoliators, apply it after exfoliating; in the case of chemical exfoliators, apply it before and leave it on together with the chemical exfoliator
- whether you’re using a physical or chemical exfoliant, apply your usual moisturizer or night cream, the skin needs to be hydrated
- if you’re using a chemical exfoliant, you shouldn’t apply a retinol/retinoid or benzoyl peroxide the same night (it can irritate or dry out the skin) – you can use them on alternate nights but only if your face is already completely used to retinoids/benzoyl peroxide
How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face?
It actually depends.
I know, not the conclusive answer that you were expecting.
It depends on what best face exfoliator you end up using and what are the instructions for it.
They all have instructions and indicate the number of times you should be using it.
Gentle ones, the ones that usually also hydrate the skin at the same time: can be used every day, even twice daily, usually instead of a cleanser.
The majority: exfoliate with them 2-3 times a week.
Powerful exfoliators for face: once a week (usually, that means scrubs but it can also be the case with some chemical ones).
Read everything it says on the package.
In my opinion, as long as you exfoliate at least once a week, it’s still good enough. It’s better than not at all.
How to Pick the Best Face Exfoliators for You
I will say this right from the start:
Chemical exfoliators are the best choice, they work great for all skin types (including sensitive skin) and penetrate deep into the skin to deliver multiple benefits from smaller pores, breakouts prevention, glowing skin to smoother youthful-looking skin.
One thing to remember:
If you have sensitive skin, you need a best face exfoliator for sensitive skin, that actually specifies that it won’t damage the skin barrier or irritate it.
Chemical exfoliators can be less harsher on the skin than a scrub.
It’s best to read lots of reviews for the skincare product you’re interested in.
Chemical exfoliation revolves around two acronyms that I’ve mentioned above: AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids).
Let’s see what problems they address and which would benefit you more.
AHAs: Brighter Smooth Skin, Good for Sensitive Skin
AHAs are derived from fruits and plants, they’re water-soluble acids.
They lead to quicker cell turnover, which means that they’re primarily used for a brighter skin and a more even skin tone.
They can also help with enlarged pores and with fine lines.
What you need to be aware of when you’re using AHAs is that they can cause sun sensitivity, itching, and peeling.
To counteract those effects you can apply a moisturizer on top of the chemical exfoliator and wear sunscreen every day.
You can start by using AHAs every other night for a while or two times a week if you want to take extra precautions and in a few months, if your skin doesn’t show any sign of being irritated or feeling uncomfortable, upgrade to using them every night.
Combine AHAs and retinol or other retinoids.
They’re both powerful products on their own and they both carry the risk of peeling the skin, retinoids a lot more so.
If you’re already used to either AHAs or retinol and you haven’t had any problems but you want to introduce either to your skincare routine, use them alternatively.
One night the chemical exfoliator, the other the retinol/retinoid. Apply a moisturizer on top, too.
Absolutely don’t forget about sunscreen with either products. Don’t forget about applying sunscreen daily no matter what your beauty routine entails.
In the morning, you can also apply a vitamin C serum, before the sunscreen.
The main AHAs are:
- glycolic acid – has excellent capability of penetrating the skin, it’s the best at that, being the smallest AHA and being highly soluble in water. It’s naturally found in sugar cane. A 10% glycolic acid formula can be used daily, especially if you’re already used to chemical exfoliators. A more powerful concentration can be used 2-3 times a week. It’s preferred by those who want glowing skin and smaller pores.
- lactic acid – can minimize enlarged pores and help with hyperpigmentation. It’s less active than glycolic acid, which makes it more suitable for sensitive skin. Not exactly suitable for oily skin. BHAs are better for oily skin, you’ll see just below why.
- mandelic acid is the least heard of among AHAs and there’s not a lot of conclusive research about it. It’s twice bigger than glycolic acid so, it penetrates the skin much slower, being less effective. It’s also gentler than the above two but light-sensitive (it must come in opaque containers).
BHAs: Oily and Acne-Prone Skin, Good for All Skin Types (Including Sensitive Skin)
When we’re saying BHAs we’re talking about salicylic acid and pretty much everyone knows that it’s an acid used against breakouts.
Salicylic acid unclogs the pores by removing excess oil and dead skin cells.
It works especially well against blackheads and whiteheads.
It’s good for all skin types but it’s especially good for combination and oily skin because BHAs are oil-soluble.
Chemical exfoliators with BHAs as their main ingredient have one main purpose: minimizing the appearance of breakouts.
Combined BHAs and benzoyl peroxide/retinoids.
Benzoyl peroxide, like retinoids, can be extremely irritating. Benzoyl peroxide is good for mild pustules, while salicylic acid is more appropriate for blackheads and whiteheads.
It’s never a good idea to layer on two powerful products when one is especially known for irritating and the skin and the other is a chemical exfoliant.
There are a few products that combine both AHA and BHA.
You should get one of those if you want the benefits from both these chemical exfoliators instead of combining them by yourself at home.
These are usually the scrubs.
Products that incorporate tiny grains of sugar, salt, coffee, jojoba beads.
They can be for all skin types, including the sensitive ones and some can be used daily.
Most are used 2-3 times a week.
In my opinion,
It can be more difficult to use a physical exfoliator properly than a chemical one.
The chemical one, followed by a toner and facial cream, is applied at night and usually left on the skin until morning.
The thing with physical exfoliators is not to use them excessively or to press too hard when massaging them into the skin or to massage them on the skin too long.
That can even cause micro-tears into the skin.
One simple way to know that you’re over-exfoliating: notice if your skin is more sensitive.
If it stings when you apply your usual moisturizer, then your skin is definitely more sensitive.
If that happens, stop exfoliating entirely.
Use just a hydrating cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, and the skin will heal itself pretty quickly.
My Top 15 Best Face Exfoliators
My 15 best face exfoliators are going to be a combination of physical and chemical exfoliators.
There will only be just a few physical exfoliators because chemical exfoliation for face has achieved high levels of efficiency and ease-of-use.
I think it’s harder to find a good facial scrub and they’re not cheap either.
I only included 3 best physical exfoliators but they’re all gentle.
My 15 recommendations are a mix of affordable and expensive exfoliators. Plus a very interesting peeling solution. And a 2-in-1 moisturizer.
I will mention for each exfoliator which skin types they’re best for.
1. TULA Probiotic Skin Care So Poreless Exfoliating Blackhead Scrub
Let’s start off this journey for the best face exfoliators with a scrub.
Physical exfoliators are not exactly my favorite but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t exceptions.
Wonderful exceptions like this pink salt, volcanic sand scrub from TULA.
It sounds exotic.
It’s the perfect example of how a facial scrub should be and should work.
The price is not so gentle, this is not a cheap facial scrub.
As it’s pretty much the case with TULA, the ingredients are just a fantastic mix:
- their signature probiotics for a for healthy, glowing, and balanced skin, after all they claim to be the leader in probiotic skincare
- pink salt, volcanic sand, pomegranate – these take care of the physical side of the exfoliation
- lactic acid and hibiscus flower acid – these are in charge of the chemical exfoliation – it’s a combination of physical and chemical exfoliating blackhead scrub
- raspberry leaf and witch hazel – these purify the pores for blackheads reduction
It will leave your skin feeling smooth and radiant, while reducing the appearance of blackheads.
It’s great for most skin types: oily, normal, combination, dry, mature skin.
It’s not for acne-prone skin. Or for sensitive skin.
Their instructions for using this TULA exfoliating blackhead scrub are:
Apply a dime-size on wet skin and gently massage it for up to a minute. Rinse with lukewarm water. Use it 2-3 times per week. Not every day, every other day if your skin is more resilient.
2. Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub, 3.4 oz
This is a gentle affordable facial scrub.
Perfect for all skin types, it won’t damage the skin at all if you follow the simple instructions.
It’s simple but effective and you can use it 1-3 times a week.
You just have to massage it into the skin with gentle motions for 30 seconds, rinse, and you’re done.
If you want a smoother radiant complexion without spending too much money and you’re still not sure about chemical exfoliation, then the Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub might be the one.
The removal of dead skin cells is ensure by the finely ground Ecuadorian ivory palm seeds.
Ginger, ginkgo, green tea, aloe, and coconut nourish the skin and unclog pores.
3. Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish, 2.6 oz
This is more than a scrub with professional grade crystals, it’s a whole team of physical and chemical exfoliators.
It’s an anti-aging treatment for rejuvenating the skin.
And the price definitely illustrates that.
It’s one tiny package for a big price.
Microdermabrasion scrubs should offer a deeper exfoliation through their fine particles that slough off dead skin cells.
Exuviance contains pure professional grade crystals used by dermatologists in order to achieve that.
But it doesn’t stop there.
For an even deeper penetration into the skin, chemical exfoliators are called to action: glycolic acid and papaya enzyme.
You should only use this scrub once or twice a week. Given the small size, that’s a blessing.
You only need to massage it into wet skin for 30 seconds and then leave it on for up to 2 minutes (1 minute for sensitive skin) before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
Is the Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish one of the best anti-aging facial scrubs?
Is it worth it? I’m pretty much leaning towards no.
Check out the next glycolic acid pads, compare them with this scrub and draw your own conclusion.
4. Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Treatment Pads, 60 count
The Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Treatment Pads are actually my first recommendation for a best chemical exfoliator for face.
There are some very good reasons for choosing this particular product as my first recommendation.
It’s a glycolic acid facial exfoliator in the form of pads.
These pads are very cheap and they will last a very long time.
I love the fact that this is a best facial chemical exfoliator that mostly everyone can afford and actually enjoy.
Those are my type of products and I’m always happy to talk about them.
The affordable price is not the most important reason.
Their popularity and the praises from users are the main reasons.
They’re being praised for their ability to slow down breakouts, to clean out pores and make them smaller, to make the face look brighter, and to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Those are a lot of problems but you also have to have realistic expectations.
The problems will be lessened thanks to the Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Treatment Pads but they won’t be solved completely just because you’re using them.
But they do help a lot. That’s what matters.
And they work for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
What’s the deal with these pads?
There are 3 glycolic acid concentrations to choose from: 10%, 15%, and 20%.
With these pads, it’s not only about glycolic acid in various concentrations.
There are other ingredients to get excited about:
- witch hazel
- retinyl palmitate (like retinol but weaker)
- vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate)
- ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C)
If you’re just starting with chemical exfoliators (something other than salicylic acid) or you have sensitive skin, start off with the 10% glycolic acid pads and use a pad just once-twice a week.
If there is no irritation/redness, increase to using 3 pads per week.
For sensitive skin that should be more than enough.
If you’re already experienced and you’re just looking for an upgrade, you will most likely choose the 20% pads and use them as often as you want.
They recommend using them 1-2 times daily but most users end up using them every other night.
5. Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant, 4 oz
This is for sure what we’re referring to when mentioning the words best face exfoliator.
If you’re looking for a great BHA exfoliator, stop and look at Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant first.
It might be exactly what you’re looking for.
I might say that the price is not that bad either. That’s a good surprise on top of a good skincare product.
As you might have read above, BHA exfoliators are best for acne-prone skin, blackheads, enlarged pores.
This one targets exactly that.
You should begin by applying it once every other day.
If you’re already used to acids, you can apply it daily. And then move up to twice daily.
The goal is to apply it twice daily, that’s when salicylic acid shows results, at least in my case.
Pat it dry into the skin and leave it on. Don’t rinse.
It works for all skin types.
With mask wearing and the possibility of developing maskne, you should also cleanse and apply this Salicylic Acid Exfoliant followed by a moisturizer or another round of vitamin C serum once you take the mask off.
If you’re more concerned about wrinkles than acne, you should check out Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant with Glycolic Acid Chamomile & Green Tea, 3.3 oz. It’s another chemical exfoliant at an affordable price.
6. The Ordinary Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%, 1 oz
The combination of AHA and BHA in the same product is no longer a novelty.
It’s much easier to get a best chemical exfoliator that incorporates both than to combine two different exfoliators by yourself.
There are plenty of skincare products that combine the two without neutralizing the effects of either.
What still surprises me is how affordable The Ordinary is.
These are the products for people with budgets like mine. It’s very nice, indeed.
This one is a peeling solution, it says so in its name.
A powerful best face exfoliator with both AHAs (glycolic acid and lactic acid in a very high concentration) and BHA (salicylic acid in a normal concentration).
Being a peeling solution means that there are a few instructions that you must follow:
- don’t use it more than twice a week, in the evening ideally – I would day that once a week is enough
- cleanse and make sure your skin is completely absolutely dry before applying this peeling solution
- apply it evenly on the face and neck
- leave it on for no more than 10 minutes (in my opinion, beginners should start off with 7 minutes and see how their skin handles it) – if you feel any discomfort, rinse it off immediately and moisturize the skin, use an aloe vera gel if you have one, as well
- rinse with lukewarm water
- limit sun exposure even if you’re wearing sunscreen
I would also recommend not waxing or epilating or shaving your facial hair for a couple of days after using this powerful peeling solution.
The Ordinary Peeling Solution is also not something that people with no experience with chemical exfoliators should use.
There are plenty of other facial exfoliating products to start off with before jumping to a peeling solution.
It’s like using a mask, a very nicely colored masked that acts as a powerful exfoliator.
They also have the The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solutionor the The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + Ha 2% for a gentle exfoliation, if you want to start off with a milder cheap exfoliant in the form of a toner.
7. COSRX Acne Pad Mild Exfoliator with BHA for Sensitive Skin, 70 count
Let me tell you right from the start that these pads are absolutely the cheapest mild exfoliators.
They’re actually described as a facial toner in the form of pads but they have an acid among ingredients so they fit right in as a best face exfoliator among all these other ones.
Given how affordable they are, I just had to talk a bit about these acne pads with BHA that work for acne-prone skin.
These pads don’t actually have salicylic acid among ingredients.
They contain Willow Bark Water, which contains anti-inflammatory salicin and betaine salicylate, which is used as an alternative to BHA.
It’s still pretty good.
The rest of the composition is made up of allantoin, castor oil, hyaluronic acid, and tea tree oil.
Run the pad over your face after cleansing.
You can use them twice daily, it’s gentle enough.
This acne pad has actually two sides, which is an interesting addition to the vast world of exfoliating pads:
- embossing side for exfoliation – run this one first over the face
- and side two is softer for a smoother complexion
After that, continue with your usual routine.
8. Bliss Glycolic Resurfacing Pads, 15 count
Given that you only get 15 of these glycolic pads, the price is quite high.
Bliss usually has high quality high priced products, I know that from their waxing kit.
But they’re incredibly popular and effective at smoothing out and brightening up the skin.
The reason for that?
These pads have a pretty nice concentration of glycolic acid: 10%.
I do love a product that makes the concentration clear.
That’s a good enough reason for me to include them among my choices for the best face exfoliators.
The Bliss Glycolic Pads can be used every night because the 10% concentration won’t irritate the skin.
But you can also use them every other day, they will last longer.
For soothing the skin against any irritation, Bliss has used witch hazel, licorice, and calendula flower extract.
They will exfoliate and target fine lines, discoloration, and imperfections.
Wipe the pad over clean skin until it’s dry, wait a few minutes and apply a toner (optional) and your facial cream.
The formula will gradually release glycolic acid into the dermis as you sleep.
I also love that each pad is packaged individually.
These pads are excellent for most skin types.
They’re not recommended for sensitive skin.
9. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, Exfoliating Pads with AHAs, 60 count
These are some of the most affordable exfoliating pads with AHA that you can get.
And, naturally, some of the best since they’re included among my selection for the best face exfoliators.
There are 60 pads in the container.
That’s really nice for a very good price.
The composition is simple:
- lactic acid
- glycolic acid
- aloe vera
- hyaluronic acid
- and a bunch of fruits, leaves, and roots extracts, including lemon peel extract – all with properties for brightening up the skin
The list of ingredients is very nice, oil-free, non-comedogenic, alcohol-free, sulfates-free.
It’s in line with the other FAB skincare products.
The FAB Exfoliating Pads with AHAs are good for most skin types, including dry sensitive skin.
But not for acne-prone.
It’s a formula that’s meant to deeply exfoliate thanks to the two AHAs (no concentration provided for either) but they also provide a balance with the aloe vera and the hyaluronic acid for dry sensitive skin.
You still need to moisturizer immediately after. These pads are not hydrating enough on their own.
How you use the FAB Exfoliating Pads with AHAs is simple, too: simply wipe the pad across face and neck until it gets dry.
They can be used even twice daily.
If you want brighter skin, consider getting these pads.
10. CANE + AUSTIN Exfoliating Pads/Face Peel, 60 count
These pads from CANE + AUSTIN are quite expensive.
If you want something more affordable in terms of exfoliating pads, check the above ones from Glycolix.
Let’s get back to these fantastic expensive exfoliating pads from CANE + AUSTIN.
When it comes to the CANE + AUSTIN Exfoliating products there are quite a few to choose from:
- there are the ones for acne with 2% Salicylic Acid, 5% Glycolic Acid called CANE + AUSTIN Acne Retexture Pad
- then there’s the CANE + AUSTIN Retexture Pad with 10% glycolic acid
- and finally, the crown belongs to the CANE + AUSTIN Miracle Pad, which promises results comparable to 30% glycolic facial treatment but it doesn’t actually have 30% glycolic acid
The last two are targeting fine lines and wrinkles since they also contain retinyl palmitate (similar to retionl but weaker), a vitamin C derivative (ascorbyl palmitate), vitamin E, and Coenzyme Q10.
Each of these 3 exfoliators contains 60 pads. That’s pretty good, the price is high but they will last a while, depending on how often you end up using them.
You are advised to use these pads twice daily, in the morning and evening after cleansing.
Run the pad on the face until it’s dry. Don’t rinse after. Just continue with your skincare routine.
If you’re using it in the morning, too, definitely apply sunscreen before leaving the house.
If you use the pads only at night they will last 60 days instead of 30, which some people prefer to do since they are expensive.
11. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Glow Moisturizer, 1.7 oz
This is a 2-in-1 product.
It’s a best face exfoliator with AHAs and a moisturizer at the same time.
You cleanse your face and then you apply this Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Glow Moisturizer and you’ve already taken care of both exfoliating and moisturizing with the same product.
But it doesn’t come cheap. Like, at all.
It contains both glycolic and lactic acids. It doesn’t mention any concentration.
On top of those two AHAs, we also get pumpkin, pineapple, and papaya enzymes.
It’s an exfoliating powerhouse for glowing skin.
Since this is not only a best face exfoliator but a moisturizer at the same time, it can be used twice daily.
Hyaluronic acid is the main moisturizing ingredient and the napol cactus fruit extract prevents any irritation that might be caused by the acids.
12. Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment, 1 oz
This is a really famous skincare product.
It’s also well above my budget.
I’m pretty sure it’s not the first time that you’ve come across the Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment.
That name Good Genes is really catchy.
It does say right there on the bottle that it will instantly plump the look of fine lines and wrinkles in 3 minutes.
It’s pretty obvious that this is more than a best face exfoliator.
It’s an anti-aging skincare product that anyone would want to use for smoother, brighter, younger-looking skin.
Let’s see what makes it so famous and praised by all:
- high potency, purified grade lactic acid for deeply exfoliating and removing dead skin cells to reveal smoother clearer skin while fighting visible signs of hyperpigmentation
- aloe vera
- plus another few extracts (roots, leaves, flowers, and yeast extract)
- meadowfoam oil – it’s not oil-free
If you have normal, oil, or combination skin you can leave the Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment on overnight.
Oily or combination skin might not need a moisturizer to follow it up. That’s mostly for dry skin.
If you have sensitive skin, you can leave it on the skin for only 15 minutes and then rinse.
It can also be used as a radiance primer under foundation, I guess that’s unexpected but this is a pretty unique product.
It’s still just too expensive for me but it might not be for you.
13. Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil, 1.18 oz
If you’re looking for a best face exfoliator but you’re more into clearing up clogged pores and preventing breakouts and you’re a Sunday Riley fan (meaning you have a lot of money to spend), then the Sunday Riley U.F.O. might be what you’re looking for.
This brand really kills it with the catchy names.
It’s not exactly an exfoliator. As the name says, it’s an oil.
But it does contain 1.5% salicylic acid and you can apply it directly after cleansing and you don’t even need a moisturizer on top, this oil is good on its own.
Those with skin prone to purging, are advised to only use it 2-3 times a week in the beginning.
It’s primarily for acne-prone skin (blackheads, whiteheads, acne scars) but it does address other skin problems, like hyperpigmentation, dryness, fine lines and wrinkles.
Besides salicylic acid, the Sunday Riley U.F.O. has other impressive ingredients:
- tea tree and black cumin seed oil for purifying the skin
- licorice root and hexylresorcinol for their brightening properties
- aloe vera and jojoba oil
- and a very long list of other seeds, flowers, and fruits oils or extracts
The list of ingredients is directly proportional to the price in the case of the Sunday Riley U.F.O.
14. Eminence Organic Skin Care Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel, 1.7 oz
This exfoliating peel addresses the concerns of those focused on anti-aging products.
It’s primarily for aging skin, for preventing the appearance of fine line and wrinkles.
But it works for all skin types, including acne-prone and sensitive skin.
The ingredients are simply wonderful and a large majority are organic:
- AHAs – glycolic acid, lactic acid
- an array of powerful antioxidants: acai berry and goji being only a few in a very long list of extracts and juices
- sunflower seed oil
- aloe juice
- L-Arginine with powerful anti-aging properties
- hyaluronic acid
- grapefruit fruit extract for its powerful enzyme that acts as an exfoliator
- alpha lipoic acid and Coenzyme Q10
This exfoliating peel comes with 35 natural cotton rounds for a perfect application.
The unexpected part?
That these are dual-textured cotton rounds: the soft side for sensitive skin and the textured one for a deeper exfoliation.
Dispense 1-2 pumps on a cotton pad and run it on the face in circular motions until dry.
It will last quite a while since you’re most likely going to use it twice a week or even once a week if you want it to last longer since it’s quite expensive.
At least it measure 1.7 oz instead of 1 oz, that’s pretty good.
15. SkinMedica GlyPro Antioxidant Serum, 1 oz
And we’ve reached the last of the best face exfoliators.
I started the list with a scrub and I’m ending it with a serum.
This is also the most expensive product on this list.
The SkinMedica GlyPro Antioxidant Serum primarily addresses people who are looking for anti-wrinkles products.
Those who want a rejuvenated look.
But it works for all skin types, it really addresses everyone. Everyone who has money to spent, that is.
Besides the price, there’s nothing to complain about.
The exfoliation part is covered by the glycolic acid, no concentration mentioned but it’s the second on the list of ingredients, right after water.
The rest of the long list of ingredients includes cassia angustifolia seed polysaccharide which is a powerful antioxidant, green tea leaf extract, pomegranate extract another powerful antioxidant, licorice root extract, aloe leaf extract, hyaluronic acid, and some other extracts.
The interesting thing is that it’s recommended to be used every morning after face washing.
If you want it to last longer, you can only use it 2-3 times a week, alternate with a vitamin C serum on the days when you’re not applying the SkinMedica GlyPro Antioxidant Serum.
If you think of the amount of antioxidants that it has that protect against environmental factors, it’s pretty easy to understand why it’s supposed to be used in the morning.
I wouldn’t recommend using another exfoliator at night, that would seem just too much since this SkinMedica GlyPro is powerful best face exfoliator in the form of a serum packed with just as powerful antioxidants.