Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

The Hit List

What’s the Best Face Exfoliator…?

What brand/product wins this category? Any particular reason it wins?

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

124 thoughts on “The Hit List: Best Face Exfoliator

  1. Amber

    I purchased a Clarisonic Mia the end of last year and have to say that after only 1 use my skin felt smoother than ever before! It is definitely a must have for me.

  2. LNU

    I’ve been using St.Ives Apricot Scrub for as long as I can remember and I think it works great!

    • venny

      second that! been using that for years.

    • Sara

      i’ve been using that for about a year. at first i loved then i realized that it is waaaay too harsh, whenever i use it my face is red for the rest of the day

      • Ashley

        I think that the St. Ives scrubs are better suited toward younger, less sensitive skin (although there are plenty of younger people who have very sensitive skin!). I used to use it, loved it, and then I stopped using it for a while. Bought some again, and HOLY CRAP. Painful and drying!

      • Denise

        Even though prevention is best, if you ever try something on your skin that leaves it red/inflamed, take 2-3 aspirin and it should calm right down…works great!

    • I was just going to say this. It works really well and it is cheap. I’ve been using it since high school and I’m 32 now. I like using alpha hydroxy acids too, but this scrub will always be one of my staples.

    • lo

      Agreed! I have a skin condition that basically requires I exfoliate every day, so I’ve tried everything. The fact that it’s cheap and doesn’t seem to irritate my skin is a life saver!

    • Yvonne

      ohoh my gosh that scrub is SO bad for your skin! I’m so sad for you guys. : (

      • Whitney

        Why is it so bad? I use it too and love it….

        • maggie

          i love it too! People always compliment me on my skin and how it’s as soft and smooth as a child’s so i don’t know what’s so bad about it. And i have really sensitive skin so i’d know right away if it’s that bad.

        • Shannon

          It’s because the walnut shell they use is abrasive and jagged and rips tiny tears in your skin, making it red and susceptible to allowing debris in. It’s like the worst thing you can use on your face. Any dermatologist or facialist will shudder if you tell them that is what you use.

          • LNU

            Ah! =O
            I’m gonna get a new one from Sephora instead, I had no idea.

          • lo

            I’ve used it for years and haven’t had any redness or tears or irritation… or any shuddering dermatologists haha. Granted, I don’t sandblast my face with it, either, which I’ve seen some people do. You don’t need to grind it into your skin for it to work!

      • Victoria

        I’ve been using st Ives too for a long time, my skins pretty hardy so I have no problems using it however I’ve been using sunscreens and night treatments, my clarisonic Mia is just great for everyday deep cleaning. It’s fabulous as getting the white heads around the sides and under my nose and chin.

      • Erika

        Scrubs with fine grains for face get into pores and tug them and tear them open more..Scrubs with microbeads are best because they roll out of your pores and don’t damage them..

        • Haylie

          It should be used only or two times a week so it doesn’t scrub your skin raw. It’s really not for sensitive but I have oily skin and I use it twice a week just to get rid of the dead skin cells. Then I use a scrub with microbeads everyday.

          It really depends on the person and their skin if it’s sensitive or not. It’s cleared up my acne so it’s a keeper for me until they come out with a legit study on the stuff that says you shouldn’t use it.

      • mlou

        It did break capillaries in my sensitive skin, but I haven’t used it for many many yrs.

    • JH

      yep! st. ives apricot scrub!

    • Alison

      My skin just hates this.

  3. Scientific Housewife

    I really like my Neutrogena Redness relief facial scrub. The scrubs are round so they don’t hurt and it usually does a great job :)

  4. Gisele

    Baking soda and Cetaphil

    • Julia

      Completely agree! Sometimes I use Philosophy Purity instead (just a more expensive better smelling Cetaphil IMO).

  5. Tiffany

    I’ve been using Clinique’s Turnaround Facial mask. It’s creamy and you put it on then let it stay on for 5minutes. After, when u wash it off as you’re washing it’s a scrub. Keep rubbing, it feels great then when completely washed off you’re left with smoothe soft skin anddddddd it leave teeeeeeny sparkles. So pretty! :) after it’s good to use the Clinique’s Turnaround moisturizer. Aweeeesome exfoliator & scrub all in one! =]

    • Hend

      Yes, It is my favorite too!!
      it leaves my skin very smooth, clean and a lil sparkly lol
      the whole turnaround range from Clinique is really good

  6. it’s not an exfoliator, per sé. but it’s an exfoliating tool!

    the best i’ve ever used is the body shop’s face buffer. you just use whatever cleanser you normally use then buff your skin. it’s gentle enough for every day use and it really makes my skin feel smoother and look better!

  7. I’m a newly converted Clarisonic Mia girl! But, for those times that I want to scrub, my favourite has always been Clinique’s exfoliating scrub. It scrubs without being harsh, but it isn’t too gentle, like the ones that only have a few round beads in them.

  8. Amanda

    I was afraid of exfoliating for the LONGEST time because I’d only ever tried the St. Ives Apricot Scrub which was way too rough for even my thick, oily skin and made me break out. But, my pores were clogged and I needed something.

    I trust Aveeno and use a ton of their products (including their new nourishing shampoos and conditioners, body wash, lotion and Positively Radiant Moisturizer), so I tried out the Skin Brightening Daily Scrub, and it is AWESOME! The little exfoliators are pretty smooth so they don’t hurt and it doesn’t break me out. My pores aren’t clogged anymore, hooray!

  9. audrey

    I use a Clarisonic Plus once per day with Shu Uemura Cleansing Gel. But if my face feels rough, I break out my Kate Somerville Exfolikate!

  10. StellarStace

    Aveeno’s Positively Radiant! It’s very gentle but my skin feels smoother and is never irritated after use.

    • Diane

      That’s my fav too! It’s not too expensive especially when you wait for a sale to stock up! I’ve gone through at least 10 bottles– and i’m super fickle about cosmetics!

  11. Nanett

    I prefer the Skin prep scrub from Dermalogica. It works wonders on my skin. I use it once a week to remove skin cells before I put on a moisturizing mask.

  12. selva

    For me, the best exfoliant is brand Apivita natural cosmetics made with crushed peach pit, the brand is sold in pharmacies in Europe

  13. Sophie

    Lush Ocean Salt!! It smells soooo good and really does the job.

  14. Kristy

    Buf Pufs. Old school I know, but the extra gentle ones are awesome.

  15. Isheeta

    may favorite is St. Ives Apricot scrub!

  16. Vanelle

    Kate Sommerville’s Exfolicate has changed my life!! And its all thanks to you. Thanks so much Christine baby!!!!! So worth the money. I would still buy it even if they doubled the price. *hope not* lol

  17. elise

    *light exfoliation: baking soda (just mix it into a paste w/water in your hands, then scrub, it really works)
    *deeper exfoliation: Avon Clinical Anew peel pads (they’re better and cheaper than Philosophy’s too 😀 )

  18. Anna

    laura mercier face polish

  19. Marisa

    Philosophy MicroDelivery Exfoliating Wash….i love this stuff!!! leaves my face fresh and smooth and feeling clean!

  20. Yvonne

    Clinique 7 day scrub. its moisturizing and i ALWAYS go back to it

    • Kim

      My favorite is Clinique’s 7 day scrub also. It’s gentle and leaves my skin smooth and polished.

  21. I recently picked up Cosmedicine Medi-Morphosis, a self-adjusting exfoliator. I really like it because it’s gentile enough for daily use, as the granules are very fine and dissolve after a few minutes of rubbing. I don’t use it daily, but I feel more comfortable using it more than twice a week than I do my St. Ives Apricot Scrub whih can be very rough. Also, although it’s around $40 retail, I got i for $16 at Marshall’s! I couldn’t believe when I spotted a whole Cosmedicine section there!

  22. Jenn

    Soy Face Exfoliant by FRESH…. it is the best! :-) It is gentle but effective and smells divine.

  23. Somhrita

    I use ocean salt by lush twice a week + dermanew twice a week. If I am feeling really laborious I make a lemon sugar scrub for my face too.

  24. Julia

    I swear by Clean & Clear Daily Pore Cleanser. Been using it for years and I always end up going back to it even after trying other high end exfoliators.

  25. lizm

    Iv been using the queen helene apricot scrub it leaves my face feeling amazingly and its all natrual :)

  26. happy

    To a pea sized ammount of MAC cremewash then an envelop of ground up aspirin. HA!

  27. Diana

    MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator. My skin feels smooth but not tight and uncomfortable

    • Yaël from France

      I agree with you. It’s gentle and exfoliates very well. But my favorite is from Benefit : Snap Honey. It smells so good and is very gentle. The little parts of almond (not shell of almond) scrub very well but softly. My skin is smooth and clean.

  28. Naz

    Kiehls Epidermal Retexturizing Micro Dermabrasion,…pricey but worth every penny!

  29. Tina Marie

    I love biore’s pore unclogging scrub! It’s gentle enough that I can use it more than once a week. and it feels really nice and refreshing :)

  30. Michelle

    Old fashioned sugar and milk!

  31. marisa

    l’occitane brightening exfoliator. my skin has NEVER been so soft and smooth or looked so nice.

  32. Natalia

    My favorite non granular scrub is the Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser. My favorite granular exfoliator is the Bioderma Hydrabio exfoliating cream. It is so soft and moisturizing and exfoliates my skin like nothing else at the same time!

  33. Nazia

    Before I couldn’t live without St Ives Apricot scrub. Now I can’t live without my Clarisonic Mia. Hands down the best. Gives me baby smooth skin and my makeup glides on so much better!

  34. victoria

    i’d like to hear anyone’s opinion about the clarisonic. i love using the clarisonic, for the first time i found something that actually helps if not take away, diminish the whiteheads around my t-zone. i use it every night and i think it works better than st ives apricot scrub but i watched something on youtube saying the clarisonic is NOT an exfoliator. i get that it probably doesn’t help with anti aging or acne, that’s a whole different treatment etc but do you consider the clarisonic as an exfoliator, guys?

    • Ashley

      I don’t see why someone would say that it isn’t an exfoliation method. It’s a manual exfoliation method, like using a washcloth, a facial sponge/brush, or a scrub.

    • Maureen

      It’s not designed to be an exfoliant. It’s basically a deep clean for the pores because of the oscillations, which amps up the delivery of your cleanser to the skin. When you exfoliate, you’re putting pressure on the skin to break up dead skin cells (like with your hands, washcloth, granules etc) and if you properly use the Clarisonic, you press it lightly against the skin. If you press it too hard against the face, it isn’t able to oscillate properly.

  35. Anna Wilson

    ExfoliKATE! SO AMAZING! Like a facial in a bottle. No joke.

  36. Charlotte

    I love REN Jojoba Microbead Invigorating Facial Polish, the beads are smooth so they don’t damage your skin and it’s got peppermint oil in which is good for spots and is really invigorating in the mornings!

  37. nikki c.

    I use the orange exfoliating cleanser 360’clean with scrublet from loreal
    I like it because it’s not too harsh like the apricot scrub and itsreasonably prices and has a cool scrublet too;)

  38. tremorviolet

    I love my Clarisonic for daily use but for a product, I like the LE MAC Volcanic Ash exfoliator. I use it sparingly tho’ so it’ll last.

  39. kasu

    Kanebo-Sensai silky purifying silk peeling powder. It’s absolutely amazing!!! Leaves the skin soft, smooth and it’s not harsh at all! It’s ideal for sensitive skins!

    • luxebeautygirl

      I adore the Silky Purifying Peeling Powder! The super gentle-feeling powder-to-foam formula feels luxurious and its amazing how smooth and magically exfoliated skin becomes after. I use it as a part of my double cleansing Step 1 (remove makeup/oil), Step 2 (remove old skin cells, sweat, dirt) process. It’s a must have for humid, sticky summer days when skin feels grimey by end of day!

      Watch our for leaving it on your face for too long though – the product feels so gentle that you’d never expect its strength but it works EXTREMELY well!

  40. Jenn

    I haven’t really found one yet. MAC’s Volcanic Ash didn’t really do it for me, and LUSH’s Ocean Salt was too abrasive on my skin (and stung too!). So now I’m planning to find something natural or DIY it myself!

  41. Carrie

    I’m partial to Clean & Clear’s Morning Burst In-Shower Facial. You put it on your face while you’re showering and leave it on for a minute before you start exfoliating w/ the little beads. The steam from the shower is supposed to activate it, it smells wonderful, doesn’t irritate my skin and leaves my face feeling really soft.

  42. I don’t use an aspirin mask but I use 1 pill to exfoliate.

  43. Rosh

    I just add sugar to my face wash such as cetaphil but , if i’m in a rush the St Ives apricot scrub is great! I also like to grind almonds – not to fine and mix either with water or my face wash. I’m trying to go more green & these work great!

  44. Margie

    I just mix a little bit of salt with my regular Clinique face wash. Works great for me, so why spend any more money on it?;)

  45. Julia

    Just baking soda mixed with a cream cleanser for the face. For the chest, neck, and back, I like DDF Pumice Scrub for acne.

  46. Emily

    Cosmedicine’s Self-Adjusting Exfoliator!

  47. Victoria

    The best exfoliater is also the cheapest — one part baking soda and one part Cetaphil (or any other face wash). The baking soda is super gentle, yet gets rid of every single flake on my flakey skin :)

  48. Rebekka

    I like the Dermalogica Gentle Creme Exfoliant, it does a great job and is not abrasive at all as it works with lactic acid rather than beads, excellent.

  49. Marian

    I use Alpha Hydrox 12% souffle and retin A on alternate nights. I’ve been using these since the 80s and have no complaints about my skin.

    • ayse

      I am curious. By using these, do you seem younger than your age? Did Retin-a and ahas work for you?

  50. I use the Clarisonic too, but every couple of days I’ve been using the Modern Friction from Origins and LOVE it.

  51. Shannon

    I super love Burt’s Beeswax Citrus Facial Scrub… I can find it pretty much anywhere and its ALL natural! I have been wanting to try that dermanew facial tool though… kandee much? :)

  52. Brittany

    clinique’s super exfoliating scrub. just started using it. its pretty rough but i like that. it makes me feel like its working. also, its $25, which is pretty cheap compared to some other stuff that have at sephora these days

  53. jodi

    i got a clarisonic last year and its great. even helped with fine lines i’m 41 so anything that can take away fine lines is a + by me

  54. Dorie

    Phytomer Purifying Gommage Exfoliant! It is the best face exfoliator/mask I have used as of this date. Brazen Honey Mask from Lush is a close second.

  55. Diane

    Philosophy’s Vitamin C microdelivery peel. Your skin will feel like a newborn’s skin after just one use. The stuff is fabulous and actually lasts quite a long time since you need so little of it.

  56. Lexi

    i like Philosophy Micrdilvery scrub :)

  57. Sarah

    Hi guys! This is my first response ever… I really love my Clarisonic Mia on a daily basis, too. It just makes my skin seem cleaner. But the real game-changer for me is Peter Thomas Roth Un-wrinkle peel pads. I’m 27 so not really any wrinkles, but I’ve had acne and scarring since I was 12 years old, and leaving this on my face for only a minute after a wash and my skin has never been clearer. I still get period zits though, but less than 5 zits total when I used to have countless all the time! I think it’s the combo of Clarisonic Mia with L’oreal Genesis Pore Minimizing Cleanser once a dayin the morning, use it with my hands to wash off makeup at night followed by the PTR pads, which are a pretty good deal. Switch to glycolic exfoliants if you get zits, you won’t regret it!!!

  58. glycolic acid! any product that has it works. or shiseido men scrub. im not a man, but it really takes out my blackheads.

  59. Melody

    Ginvera Marvel Gel. So hard to get outside of Asia and it takes a few days for nice smooth skin, but it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin at all~

  60. I don’t think anyone has mentioned this, but aerie Botanicals Body Scrub is great as a facial exfoliator. I used St. Ives Apricot Scrub *blasphemy* for a bit, but it started to break out my skin! I didn’t mind the roughness of the scrubbers though – but I hear regardless of whether you can handle the roughness or not, it’s bad for you.

    I then switched to Aveeno, but the scrubbers were waaay to gentle for me, and didn’t really exfoliate my skin. I remembered that aerie sold a body scrub, so i decided to buy it and use it for my face. I absolutely love it! The scrubbers are gentle but strong enough to actually exfoliate, the scent is beautiful, and my face just looks so much cleaner and more vibrant after I use it. I also noticed that it cleared up my pimples – I was not expecting that.

    aerie Botanicals Body Scrub comes in 4 scents: Coconut & Vanilla Bean, Fresh Citrus & Papaya, Apple Blossom & Cucumber and Violet Leaf & Lychee (I use Violet Leaf and Lychee). They’re about $14.50 for an 8oz container. All the ingredients are 94% natural.

  61. Rachael

    I’m a huge fan of the Biore Microdermabrasion mixed with my morning face wash. Glides nicely and gentle enough to use everyday, which I do when my acne gets really bad. Makes my skin soft without redness or dryness.

  62. nicci

    Origins – Modern Friction…for me it worked better than the Microdermabrasion Renewal System from Revive!

    • annnnne

      me too! i just started to use modern friction not too long ago.. its made my skin so great! my pores are smaller, skin is brighter and overall clearer! i love it!

  63. shilpa

    i also use old fashioned things like…
    a mix of gram flour+milk powder+a pinch of turmeric+raw milk to make a paste…leave on face fr 5 min…then wash of in circular motion with rose water…
    gram flour exfoliates,milk powder and turmeric lightens the skin and milk moisturises…..all in one….a moisturising face pack and an exfoliater….

    sometimes i add my oriflame swedish spa minerals face scrub to my cleanser cetaphil when i m in hurry…..

  64. Jules

    CoalFace by LUSH.

  65. Amy

    The Lancome one is so good – don’t know exactly what it’s called, but it has a blue tube container. It smells good, is very gentle to your skin, and does the job perfectly.

  66. kenneth alan

    I loooove MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator and I got 2 bottles when it was re-promoted with the Style Black collection, but I’ve run out again. I wish they would just make it permanent.

    Now I use Kate Somerville Exfolikate and it’s AMAZING! (never would have found it without you Christine)

  67. Carmen

    The best Face Exfoliator is from Kanebo, Sensai Silky Purifying Silk Peeling Powder 40g!!!!

  68. Carmen

    The Best Face Exfoliator is from Kanebo Sensai Silky Purifying Silk Peeling Powder 40g!!!

  69. Fresh

    St Ives Apricot Scrub – Best stuff on a budget

    Those with some extra dough – LA Mer Facial Scrub – use it once a week and you’ll really feel like you just came out of a facial

  70. HooLaalaa

    I love love love LAURA MERCIER’S FACE POLISH!

    It’s the only product that works for my very very OILY skin!

  71. Ana

    Kanebo Silk peeling powder is soft with my skin and works fantastic

  72. Hilana

    Dove soap and sugar on my face and warm olive oil and sea salt on my body.
    I picked up St. Ives Apricot scrub when I was in the US in 2007 and despite having severly sensitive skin, it works really well for me. I do use it only about once a month though and the sugar and Dove soap once a week.

  73. I LOVe Eucerin DermoPurifyer Scrub. it’s really gentle but it works for my combination skin.

  74. Maria

    definitely Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant – so effective at making skin smooth and soft but doesn’t have any gritty bits that feel harsh and cause broken capillaries!

  75. Shal

    I used to love the St Ives Apricot Scrub but was advised not to use it because the particles are jagged and create microscopic cuts in the skin. I now use Clinique’s Face Scrub in their Mens line. Weird, I know, but the scrubbing particles are small and do the job really well without being too abbrasive AND it has a cooling effect on the skin.

  76. Kali

    Origins Modern Friction FTW!

  77. KellyK.

    i love love love kate somervilles exfolikate, its the best i have ever used and i havent broken out nearly as bad as i usually do since i have started using it every other night… worth every penny!

  78. Stephanie

    My favorite is Lush’s Ocean Salt. I’ve been through a couple of tubs of those and love how it smells and how it performs.

  79. Georgia

    Kate Somerville Exfolikate! Works beautifully and instant results. ALSO the MD Skincare beta peel pads are hand down the best exfoliators if you can afford them. Changed my skins texture and moisturizer absorption within days. Seriou difference in my skins feel and appearance of pores and dry spots almost instantly.

  80. Leslie-Marie

    MAC Microfine Exfoliator, and once-a-year microderm treatment from a Professional. Those are the things that TRULY give results and keep you looking young. I’m 28 but people NEVER guess me over 22! I love the MAC one for weekly use too b/c it uses the Derm.-grade exfoliants!!

  81. the clarisonic mia is great daily, but even better with philosophy’s microdelivery. It is so fine that its ok to use w/ the miz.

  82. mlou

    Aveeno Daily Scrub for the past several yrs. Tried Dermalogica Microfoliant, but it was too harsh for my sensitive skin.

  83. dear christine…..
    i need you help…have been hearing a lot about clarisonic..wud like to buy one….
    but plz suggets which model shud i buy…..mia,classic,pro or plus?????i have super sensitive and combination skin….

    secondly..what brushes do i need to buy for my sensitive skin….

    thirdly i stay in india and there is some vlotage difference in india and usa….so will clarisonic charge unit work in india also ….???

    finally will clarisonic work with that is the only cleanser that suits me….

    i really need ur valuable help on this..looking forward to a reply from your side.

    • victoria

      hi i know your message was for christine but i would just like to share my experience. i use cetaphil with my clarisonic mia and it works fine for me. i bought the classic one before and returned it because it made my oily combo skin oilier but then i heard from other people that it may be because i used the cleanser that came with it. i tried again this time clarisonic mia w/ my own cetaphil and i love it now. i prefer the mia because it says the charger can be used world wide(100-240V), just need to purchase the different plugs to fit which country. i prefer the smaller handle. i have the sensitive brush but i don’t have sensitive skin so you might suit the delicate brush. it comes w/ only one speed but you know i actually prefer that, the classic one stops and goes it somehow confuses me. i use it every night so my serums and moisturizers sink in better and i was surprise how the smaller mia is just as powerful.

      • shilpa

        hi victoria…
        thx for sharing ur valuable experience with me…i guess for starters i shud buy hte mia version with delicate brush….shud suit me…

  84. Lisa

    clinique super exfoliating scrub

  85. Sarah-Beth

    i love the philosophy microdelivery peel. the scrub step is so fine and i always get compliments the next day after i use it

  86. i like the st. ives blemish and blackhead control exfoliater(:

  87. Cathy

    Skin Actives Alpha Beta Exfoliator Towels.

  88. Alison

    My winning combination is the Clarisonic (1 minute) + Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (1 minute). This combibation clears my skin up faster than anything else I’ve used. I find they enhance each other’s effectiveness greatly.

  89. Randi

    I like to use baking soda/water paste (or maybe I might mix it with witch hazel) once or twice a week for a deep exfoliation. I use a neutrogena scrub in the shower most days, but i only bought it because it was cheap. I need to find one I really love.

  90. Jenny

    Definetly St. Ives!