The Best Way to Exfoliate Lips, Face, and Body
We all know the importance of cleansing and moisturizing, but did you know that exfoliating is an essential part of a healthy skincare routine, head to toe? There’s an easy way to find out if your skin could use a little scrub: take a quick look in the mirror (we’ll wait).
Ok, now check all that apply:
Uneven skin tone
If you checked any of these boxes, exfoliating can help! (If you didn’t check any boxes, you’re some sort of magical unicorn and you can stop reading to go do more important things like save the world.)
Exfoliating products help skin look smooth, radiant, glowing—even younger—by removing dead skin cells from the surface, which make skin, lips (yes, you should exfoliate your lips), and cuticles look dull, dry, flaky, rough, and uneven. What’s worse is that when dead skin cells build up, they make wrinkles and fine lines look way more obvi, they form calluses (especially on your feet), and they can clog pores, leading to breakouts and ingrown hair—ouch!
So, here’s what you need to know. For starters, there are 2 ways to exfoliate:
Physical: Physical exfoliation is achieved by scrubbing, using a granular substance like sugar or sea salt, to name a few.
Chemical: Chemical exfoliation isn’t as scary as it sounds (in fact, it’s often gentler than physical exfoliators). All it means is that, rather than scrubbing your skin, enzymes and natural acids, like glycolic and lactic (also known as AHAs), help to loosen dead skin cells so they can be whisked away.
Now here’s the best way to exfoliate as part of your skincare routine:
The easiest way to add exfoliating products into your face routine is by swapping out your regular cleanser for an exfoliating one, like BFF: Best Face Forever™ or, for guys, Bromance™ with a more aggressive scrub for his oilier, thicker skin.
Most skin types benefit from using an exfoliating cleanser once per day, either AM or PM. This blogger likes using her BFF: Best Face Forever™ in the morning because it has an invigorating peppermint and grapefruit essential oil blend. If you wear a lot of makeup, you might prefer to exfoliate at night to help take everything off.
1–2 times a week, your complexion will benefit from exfoliating products that work a little deeper. Whole Lava Love™ with volcanic ash, charcoal powder, and eco-beads is the best way to deeply exfoliate extra dry or uneven skin.
If you use anti-aging products, including peptides and retinol, or treatment products containing ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or glycolic acid, use them the OPPOSITE of when you exfoliate (exfoliate AM and use treatment products PM, or vice versa). Exfoliating can leave skin temporarily more sensitive, increasing the risk that your treatment products can burn or sting.
Speaking of treatment products, if you experience breakouts, scrubbing can spread bacteria and irritate skin further. Soothe on the spot with an imperfection crème like Too Hot to Spot™, the best way to chemically exfoliate the dead skin that can block pores, with glycolic acid, witch hazel, and tamarind extract.
Lips make up some of the most sensitive skin on your body and need extra TLC. Always follow your exfoliating lip scrub with a moisturizing balm—preferably one with beeswax to help lock in hydration—to keep lips smoother longer. We love oversized Mint Condition™ Mega Lip Balm with beeswax plus sustainable shea butter and peppermint.
We’re talking about the hair that you shave or wax. Exfoliating before AND after hair removal not only helps you get a closer shave/smoother wax, it also helps prevent painful ingrown hair.
Start with a scrub or body polish in the shower or bath like You Apricaught Me!™ or Lady Limoncello™. Exfoliating scrubs and body polishes help lift hair away from the skin so it’s easier to shave or wax. Plus, they help remove dead skin buildup so you can get closer to the base of the hair.
If you’re waxing, exfoliate the day before so your skin isn’t overly sensitive.
When it comes to dull, dry, rough skin on your body, there are lots of options to get your skin glowing. It all depends on the level of dryness you’re dealing with:
For light exfoliation, a simple Chunk™ Big Bath Bar, like Where You Bean All My Life™ with AHAs from sugar and milk, can do the trick on the daily.
For medium exfoliation, stick with a body polish or scrub (like the one you use before you shave).
For heavy exfoliation, opt for a seriously scrubby Snarky™ Bar like The Healer™. It contains scrubby beads made from sugarcane, plus moisturizing shea butter, and is the best way to exfoliate very dry or rough skin.
Exfoliating not only helps remove dead skin, it also helps sunless tanner look smooth and even. If you plan to safe-bake (there’s nothing fake about it! It’s smart!) exfoliating beforehand is a MUST. For tips on how to apply the best self tanner for a natural looking glow, click here.
Feet deserve their own special category because they tend to get the biggest buildup of dead skin in the form of calluses and dry cuticles. They need a targeted scrub like Rubby Scrubby™ Exfoliating Foot Stick (it’s easy to use in the shower or bath). Take it a step further to give feet the 1-2, physical-chemical exfoliation punch with Toes Before Bros™ Hot Wrap Foot Mask. It helps soften calluses and cuticles with enzymes from pineapple and papaya, plus oat amino acids.
The best way to keep freshly exfoliated feet feeling smooth is to use a different moisturizer than the one you use on the rest of your body. Schwanky & Soft™ Exfoliating Foot Crème contains exfoliating glycolic acid to help prevent rough patches from coming back.
Remember that list you checked earlier? Using this guide of the best ways to exfoliate head to toe and adding exfoliating products into your routine will soon have you unchecking those boxes (hello, looking like a unicorn!) and leave you with glowing, radiant skin.