We’re here to answer all your questions.
Exfoliating your skin can pretty tricky! Exfoliate too much? Break out. Don’t exfoliate enough? Break out. Use products that are too abrasive? Break out.
We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs when it comes to this, which is why we’re here to spill all our secrets!
A little backstory before we begin:
Earlier this year, I decided to go a full 30 days without exfoliating my skin. I went from applying an exfoliating serum every night to absolutely nothing. And let me tell you, it was glorious. I never expected my skin to react so well! We’re talking…
- Less breakouts
- Smoother texture
- Glowy complexion
However, I noticed the skin around my nose and chin was a bit rough and congested. So, after the 30+ days were up, I introduced exfoliation back into my routine once a week.
This is where things got really fun!
I erased my pre-conceived notions on exfoliation and experimented with all different methods and products. The result? A new found love for minimal, yet effective exfoliation.
So with that, let’s get into the nitty gritty details!
What are the different types of exfoliation?
- MECHANICAL: This refers to anything physical you can use to exfoliate your skin – brushes, sponges, scrubs, etc.
- CHEMICAL: This refers to exfoliating acids – Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). These acids help to gently break apart dead particles on the surface of your skin. For a full breakdown of AHAs and BHAs, check out this blog post!
So, which of two is better?
It really depends on your skin!
- Dry, flaky skin – We recommend you stick with chemical exfoliation. Find products containing AHAs, like glycolic and lactic acid.
- Sensitive, acne-prone skin – We recommend you exfoliate with products containing BHAs, like salicylic acid.
- Oily skin – Get physical! Find scrubs or exfoliating tools that will gently remove build up.
- Combination skin – You might have to play around with both mechanical and chemical…but never at the same time!
Now, remember these are just general guidelines. Just because you have dry skin doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with scrubs and brushes. And just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you can’t try AHAs and BHAs. Your skin is unique to you!
How often should I exfoliate my skin?
Friends, please please learn from my terrible mistake!
Throughout all of last year, I was using an exfoliating serum or toner containing glycolic or lactic acid every single night. I thought if I didn’t use these, I would break out. Keep in mind, I was dealing with a lot of hormonal breakouts in 2019, so I was doing everything I could to keep those suckers at bay.
At the start of 2020, I said F* it to all exfoliation, and guess what? My skin never looked better! I quickly learned that exfoliating every single night was a HUGE mistake. Your skin does not need that much exfoliation.
These days, I like to exfoliate once or twice a week. I use either a scrub, brush or my pore vacuum to get that layer of dead skin cells off my face. Unfortunately, being that I overdid it with the AHAs, my skin is extra sensitive to them at the moment. But I hope to slowly introduce them back into my routine because they really give you a nice glow!
Sam manually exfoliates once a week, and then uses an overnight exfoliating treatment twice a week (on days that she doesn’t physically exfoliate).
Long story short, we recommend you exfoliate twice a week.
Our favorite products to exfoliate with:
For mechanical/physical exfoliation, we mix it up between scrubs and tools. I like to alternate between my pore vacuum, Clarisonic Mia Brush or the Good Molecules Pineapple Exfoliating Scrub depending on my mood that week. Sam alternates between the Frank Body Creamy Face Scrub and the Cocokind Sea Moss Exfoliator twice a week!
Pore Vacuum Pro Tip: Start at the lowest setting and don’t let the vacuum stay in one spot for more than a couple of seconds. You can work your way up to higher settings once you get the hang of it. While I’ve had a great experience with this vacuum, Sam experienced a lot of skin sensitivity and even bruising! So be really careful and gentle when using this tool.
When it comes to chemical exfoliation, we both love to use overnight masks and treatments. Once a month, I like to use the Versed Shortcut Overnight Facial Peel. It has two key AHAs, glycolic and lactic acid, to help give your skin a nice glow. Sam uses the Cocokind Resurfacing Sleep Mask twice a week to keep her skin fresh and rejuvenated. This mask contains bakuchiol, a super gentle, plant-derived retinol alternative that helps reduce wrinkles and discoloration or dark spots!
And there you have it! Exfoliation 101.
We hope this post helps clarify the world of exfoliation for you. As always, comment with questions below or DM us on Instagram to chat! We love hearing from you.