Let’s start with what exfoliating is. Skincare exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells either through a physical or chemical process.
My favorite way to put it… our skin cells renew themselves every 4 weeks (know anything else that’s a 4 week process for women?) but we don’t molt like reptiles. Instead our skin cells turnover on their own schedule during those 4 weeks making regular exfoliation an important part of your routine.
The new skin cells are under and ready to come through so when we incorporate an exfoliation step we encourage that new skin cell to come to the surface which results in brighter looking skin and improved skin tone.
Between the cold air outside and the dry air inside winter skin dehydrates faster so to keep skin glowing regular exfoliation is key. You’ll avoid dull winter skin.
Let’s talk about pores. You might be thinking of young people and blemishes (or those of us in our late thirties who still get blemishes every 4 weeks or so). Exfoliating can help with clearing dead skin cells out of the way which can cause blemishes but what we want to focus on is this…
As we age, our pores actually get larger. And the every-4-week process slows down a bit. Right along with like everything else. Without the help of a exfoliating product dead skin cells are more likely to pile up on your skin, increasing the appearance of the pores and potentially flaking.
Speaking of flaking if you’re noticing your makeup is looking dry and caky, yep you guessed it, exfoliation will help.
And if you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to the serums and creams you’re also using every day, exfoliating makes sure those products get to your skin cells instead of just sitting on top of dead cells that are on their way out.
Okay, we’ve covered why it’s important. Let’s talk about how to do it. I’m recommending Beautycounter products because I have hitched my wagon to the leader in clean beauty (we now exclude 2,800 ingredients from our formulas for their potential to cause harm, plus we’re getting closer to carbon neutral and our products do the dang work.)
When it comes to exfoliation your options are physical, chemical or both. Physical means there are particles of some sort that you can feel sloughing away dead skin cells from the surface of your face. Chemical exfoliation refers to a formula with acid ingredients. These product typically dissolve dead skin cells to reveal smoother skin. It’s dealer’s choice – one doesn’t necessarily work better than the other.
Beautycounter has a line of products devoted to exfoliation called Reflect Effect. There are three face products, one tool and one body product in the line. I’m going to walk through them now.
The O.G. of the Reflect Effect line. This product has been a Beautycounter best seller for years and it is the product that brought me back to the company after I took a break and tried to make my own skincare (it was lockdown ya’ll, things got weird).
It used to come in a dark grey bottle and if that’s what you’ve got on the counter at home don’t fret. The only thing that changed with this product is the package!
This leave-on AHA/BHA peel contains 15 botanical acids (9 resurfacing and 6 soothing acids) that gently break down the surface of your skin. It promotes cellular turnover for a smoother complexion, reduces the appearance of fine lines, minimizes the appearance of pores, evens skin tone and reduces the appearance of dark spots.
Apply 1 to 2 pumps to clean face and neck, and leave on overnight. If your skin isn’t totally dry it may tingle upon application. Allow the product to fully absorb (3 to 5 minutes, I brush my teeth while I wait), then follow with a moisturizer (the Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream). Then wake up to baby soft, smooth skin and watch your age spots, acne scars and blemishes fade with each application.
Because this product is
strong highly effective use it every other night. I alternate with the Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum.
We got a sneak peak at this product during Holiday 2022 and it quickly became a daily use product for me. This waterless exfoliating powder is designed to be mixed with your cleanser to create a customized level of physical exfoliation.
The polish gently buffs away dead skin cells while you wash your face to reveal softer, more even textured skin and a healthier looking complexion.
The powder is a combination of two simple ingredients. Alumina which is a naturally derived mineral ingredient with a course surface to allow for accurate exfoliation and bamboo extract powder which is a silica extracted from bamboo stems that will help to refine skin texture and make the exfoliation a little milder.
It’s kinda like micro beads but without the plastic.
First released in Holiday 2021, this AHA mask was an instant hit. This mask is designed to transform your skin from dull to dazzling in just 10 minutes, up to twice a week.
It combines chemical and physical exfoliation in the formula. The chemical exfoliation comes from a multi-acid blend of 10% AHA and 10% phytic acid. The physical exfoliation comes from bamboo particles in the mask. Plus a hydration-boosting saccharide isomerate soothes your skin so once you wash it off your skin is smooth as a baby’s bottom.
The 3-in-1 tool has a flat spatula end for easy application. A bristly end to loosen the mask and add to the physical exfoliation factor before your rinse it off. The third side is a bubbly side which helps to massage serums, moisturizers and oils into your face.
The tool can also easily be used with the Counter+ Charcoal Facial Mask which is amazing at removing impurities from your skin.
We also got to preview this during Holiday 2022 when it was paired with a tightening body serum. It’s for those of us who wished we could take a bath in the Overnight Resurfacing Peel. This is a chemical exfoliant designed for the body.
It’s especially effective on dry feet and any areas where you have bumpy skin. It is clinically proven to improve skin tone and smooth skin’s surface.
Designed as a gel lotion with a blend of glycolic, lactic and mandelic acid (mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from bitter almonds) to dissolve dead skin. It also has hibiscus flower extract to help even skin tone and leave skin looking radiant. Finally avocado oil and macadamia nut oil help to lock in moisture and leave your skin hydrated and healthy looking.