On Search for the Best Face Exfoliator

October 21, 2016Notino
In the world of beauty and beauty products, dead skin cells are talked about so often and with such an abhorrence you would think there’s nothing worse than holding onto little bits of skin that’s done serving its purpose. True, it’s definitely not the prettiest image. But is it actually so vital to get rid of this ‘excess material’?


Well, no. For the most part, dead skin cells are not deadly skin cells, plus your body has a natural way to get rid of most of them. However, that doesn’t mean that exfoliating your face on a regular basis does not have its benefits. For instance, if your pores tend to clog, exfoliating might help. It will also make your skin smoother, which means that wrinkles or shallow scars will be less noticeable and—if you exfoliate carefully and correctly—your complexion will appear fresher, less tired. If you’re a makeup wearer, you’ll probably also notice that your foundation and other base products go on significantly better.

So what’s our Top 5 of face exfoliating products? In order of effectiveness, we recommend the following:

  1. Philips VisaPure Essential electric cleansing brush
  2. Sisley Brosse Douce gentle exfoliating brush
  3. Avene Cleanance exfoliating mask
  4. Clarins Gentle Refiner exfoliating cream
  5. Elemis Advanced Skincare Gentle Rose Exfoliator

But before you give any of them a go, you’ll need to determine which ones are best for you and how often can they be used.

How Often Should I Exfoliate?

Just like so many other things in life, this one depends on what’s best for your individual situation. Specifically, you have to consider whether your skin is oily, or more on the drier side, how sensitive it is, what climate do you live in, what traces your daily life might be leaving on your skin and of course what kind of a product you’re using. For instance if your skin is oily and you often perform physical tasks in a hot and humid environment, dead skin cells might cling to your complexion and you could stand to scrub them off a few times a week. If, on the other hand, your skin is naturally dry and sensitive, it will be a good idea to treat it extra gently.

Unfortunately, life is hardly ever this straightforward, so let’s come up with a general rule of thumb: Skin that doesn’t tend to be very sensitive and gets fairly oily can take daily exfoliation with a mild (!) product, combined with a slightly more impactful gel scrub once every week or two if necessary. Our tips? Try the Clarins Gentle Refiner exfoliating cream with natural microbeads for your nightly wash and add the Avène Cleanance exfoliating mask for acne-prone skin in case you tend to get pimples (remember it’s more environmentally friendly to opt for a natural face scrub that doesn’t contain plastic microbeads).


Dry skin generally doesn’t need quite that much scrubbing and sensitive skin wouldn’t react to it very favourably. Instead, go for a creamy face wash and if needed, use exfoliating products such as the Elemis Advanced Skincare Gentle Rose Exfoliator or the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator lotion. Best exfoliator for sensitive skin will generally have a creamy texture and extremely fine particles.

Gel Scrub or Exfoliating Brush?

Leaving aside chemical peels, which have way stronger effects and are best performed by professional beauticians in a salon, you basically have the option of either purchasing a product like exfoliating gel or exfoliating cream, or go for a brush that will do a similar job. So what’s the difference in the results, if there indeed is any difference to speak of?

First of all, you should keep in mind that the effects of using an exfoliating brush will depend greatly on your technique and the amount of pressure you apply to it. This isn’t quite the case with creams and gels unless you rub them into your skin really vigorously. On the other hand, a good brush is a long-term investment that doesn’t leave behind empty plastic containers every month and won’t leak into your bag while you’re travelling.

If you want to keep it simple, go for a basic mechanical brush such as the Sisley Brosse Douce, but make sure that the bristles are really soft and don’t forget to rinse and dry it thoroughly after every use. For more professional results (and at a considerably higher price) you can pick up one of the ever popular electric cleansing brushes. Our favourite is the Philips VisaPure Essential SC5275/10 that comes with two brush heads for both normal and sensitive skin.

Despite what some beauty vloggers might tell you, using electric exfoliating brushes every single day is in most cases really unnecessary. Maybe you think that living in a big city with tons of smog in the air leaves your skin in need of a daily deep cleanse, but you need to remember that any scrubbing means irritation of the utmost layer of your skin, even if it doesn’t manifest in redness or a rash. Electric brushes are highly effective and as such they don’t have to be used every morning or every night to make the desired difference to your skin.

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