Tried and True Natural Exfoliants

detox mask

Every skincare brand seems to round out its product line with an exfoliant. After all, exfoliants are as essential as cleanser and moisturizer to our regular facial care if glowing skin is what we're after (and we are, aren't we?!).

There may be an overload of exfoliants out there, but you won't have to spend another minute searching- I've been keeping careful track of the very best. These are enzyme/chemical exfoliants (read: they loosen dead skin cells and dissolve sebum with enzymes or natural acids, instead of scrubbing particles. 'Chemical' does not refer to any harmful ingredients!). These exfoliants typically perform quite well on skin that produces a decent amount of (sticky, pore-clogging) sebum and has slower cell turnover. Take your pick:

Organic Apoteke Detox Mask This is a new discovery, courtesy of Spirit Demerson of Spirit Beauty Lounge. It's no surprise that such a satisfyingly thick and effective gel mask is a favorite of the Spirit staff! My skin actually feels smooth for days after using- a major feat.  And it serves the dual role of nighttime spot treatment for blemishes!

Lily Organics Rejuvenating Enzyme Mask This sticky mask is the best to use when you have time to sit around with it on- at least 20 minutes, and more if you have it. Just spread it on and go about your business while it works wonders. Really, it does wonderful things for my skin each time I use it and it's very gentle, so you can use it a few times a week if needed. It has a base of honey (imagine spreading honey on your face- that's just what it feels like!) and contains papaya and pineapple (these naturally remove dead skin cells), skin cell-regenerating comfrey, healing lily, collagen-building horsetail, plus mint and vitamins C and E. It's a perfect mask for sensitive or damaged skin with fine lines.

REN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask This is the beauty editor standby. Ten minutes with the Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask will leave you a changed woman (or man). This sticky mask may tingle a little, but nothing major. The results, however, will be major.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel I love that this product comes in full strength and sensitive versions. The full strength peel contains 3-5% more hydroxy acids than the gentler formula (for a total of 13-15%). It definitely tingles on skin, and it may leave you with redness for a few minutes afterward (it's actually more like a boost of microcirculation), which fades to a beautiful glow. Definitely wash off all traces of other products before applying to avoid a reaction (live & learn!).

NOTE: These are gentle exfoliants, but you should always try out a patch on your skin before the first use. Darker skin types may be the most sensitive to hydroxy acids in chemical exfoliants, so please use care. Once you are certain that you react well to an exfoliant, try using it once a week to keep your skin in top shape.

The hydroxy acids in some of these products can also leave your skin sensitive to sun. If you weren't already wearing sunscreen daily,  start now. Kimberly Sayer London makes a pleasant SPF 25 lotion called Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer that goes on seamlessly under makeup!