How To Properly Exfoliate Your Face


In my previous blog post on how to get rid of acne I mentioned exfoliation and how it plays an important role in our skin care routines. There are so many different types of exfoliators out there so it can be quite confusing to decide which one to use and how to use it. Today I will be addressing all of the key points about how to properly exfoliate your face as well as some product recommendations for each skin type. 


What is exfoliation?

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the very top layer of your skin. This allows your face to become softer, gets rid of tiny bumps, and unclogs your pores. Every time you exfoliate, it helps your toners and moisturizers to penetrate your skin even better instead of just sitting on top of dead skin on the surface. Your following skin care products become more effective after exfoliation and your makeup will go on so much smoother.


What are the different types of exfoliation products?

Exfoliating products can mainly be broken up into three different types: physical exfoliators, chemical exfoliators, and hybrid exfoliators. If you are using a chemical exfoliator, you should not be using a physical exfoliator. They should never be used together within a short period of time, so if you are switching from one to the other I recommend waiting about a week before making the switch. 


Physical Exfoliators:

Physical exfoliation can be done by using anything like a scrub, cleansing oil, cleansing brush, powder cleanser, clay mask, wash cloth, a foreo, or even by using a toner and cotton pad. The point of physical exfoliation is to buff away all of the dead skin cells by using one of these methods. For oily or combination skin I recommend mixing a few drops of Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil with the Klairs Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish and applying it to your face. With gentle rolling motions, massage the scrub over your face for a few minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water. For dry skin you can try the Klairs Youthful Glow Sugar Mask. Using a toner with a cotton pad can also work as a gentle daily exfoliation. Take note to avoid products that contain walnut shells, plastic beads, or anything too abrasive which can cause micro tears on your face.


Some products I highly recommend for physical exfoliation include the Clarisonic Mia Prima  ; By Wishtrend Green Tea Powder Wash ; Foreo Luna  ; and Klairs Toner Mate Cotton Pads


Chemical Exfoliators:

Chemical exfoliation is achieved by using any type of acid ingredient that dissolves dead skin and breaks the bond that causes it to stick to the new skin underneath. The most common chemical exfoliants are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA), as well as LHA and PHA. AHAs are water soluble which helps with tiny bumps and whiteheads. AHAs are ideal for dry, combination, and/or sensitive skin. BHAs are oil soluble and can penetrate deep into the pores to clear away blackheads. BHAs are ideal for oily and combination skin. LHA and PHA is ideal for very sensitive skin as they’re more gentle. Chemical exfoliators can come in the form of a liquid (toner, serum) or a cream. Be sure you are not using any physical exfoliators after you use chemical exfoliators because it will cause micro tears, redness, and irritation.


Some of my favorite chemical exfoliators are By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid Skin Prep Water  ; By Wishtrend Acid-Duo Hibiscus Cream  ; By Wishtrend 21.5% Vitamin C Serum  ; COSRX AHA Whitehead Power Liquid ; and COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid.


Hybrid Exfoliators:

I’ve mentioned that you should never use physical and chemical exfoliators together, but there are some products that were designed to combine the two and are safe to use. These products contain a chemical to dissolve dead skin cells and require a physical rubbing motion to buff them away. Peeling gels are the main type of hybrid exfoliators and do an excellent job at clearing up your skin. Begin with a clean dry face and apply an adequate amount of the gel on to your face. Slowly massage it over your skin as the gel starts to form small white particles. These little white dots are actually your dead skin cells that are being removed. After massaging for a few minutes, rinse your face with cool water. Follow up with the rest of your skin care routine and you’re done. 


Hybrid exfoliators I recommend are TOYO Cure Natural Aqua Gel  ; Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel  ; and Mother Made Exfoliating Peel Gel


How often should you exfoliate?

When it comes to exfoliation less is more. Do NOT overdo it. For oily and troubled skin exfoliate 2-3 times a week. For combination skin 1-2 times a week and for dry skin once a week should do the trick.



It is very important to care for your skin after exfoliating. Make sure to always follow up with moisturizing, calming, and soothing products. Finishing your routine with a cooling moisturizer that has been kept in a refrigerator is another great way to care for your skin post-exfoliation. It is best to exfoliate during your night routine and always use a broad spectrum sunscreen of spf 35 or greater during the day.

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