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15 Face Exfoliators for Your Most Flawless Complexion Yet

A skincare step you should not skip.

skincare index
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My skincare regimen consists of a laundry list of steps that I deem necessary for maintaining a healthy, glowing complexion. However, I must admit, through all of the double cleansing, multilayering of serums, and masking, exfoliating is hands down my favorite step. Gently working in my exfoliating cocktail—which consists of Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant ($59), Biologique Recherche's Lotion P50 ($65) and Sunday Riley's Good Genes ($122)—3x a week is truly therapeutic. Plus, it does the job of really getting down to business with clearing my pores of dirt and surface debris, and leaving me with a smooth and even skin tone.

If exfoliating feels foreign to you, or you know, just an extra step in a skincare routine you'd rather skip, know this: The benefits of regularly exfoliating are an increase in cell turnover, even skin tone, acne and sebum reduction, plus, a much deeper penetration of other topical treatments to follow—and that’s just to name a few. Also, all exfoliators are not one in the same. From a physical exfoliator with microbeads or granular powder, to a chemical exfoliator containing acids and enzymes, settling on the perfect exfoliant to slough off dead skin cells without leaving your skin dehydrated and irritated can be a daunting decision. But I'm here to assure you that there are effective and gentle exfoliators out there that don't do any of the above. Ahead, top-rated face exfoliators on the market suitable for every skin type and comfort level.

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The French-Girl Fave
Lotion P50 Original "1970"
Biologique Recherche shoprescuespa.com
$50.00

Although this product doesn't have the most inviting scent—in fact, it falls under the smelly skincare category—it's a holy grail solution for hyperpigmentation and retexturizing the skin. Loved by skincare enthusiasts, Lotion P50 has the consistency of a toner and is a triple threat as simultaneously exfoliates, hydrates, and balances the skin's pH levels. 

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The Sensitive Skin Hero
Daily Microfoliant
Dermalogica ulta.com
$59.00

This product comes in a rice-based enzyme powder that activates into a paste with just a few drops of water. Opt for this formula if you're looking for a gentle physical exfoliant without that rough, grainy texture that could potentially cause skin irritation.

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The Gel Exfoliant
Cleansing Complex
iS Clinical dermstore.com
$44.00

Exfoliants come in gel form, too. This gentle clarifying face wash is formulated with willow bark to remove dirt and debris from congested pores, and chamomile to heal the skin without stripping your skin of its natural oils. 

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The Lactic Acid Exfoliant
Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment
Sunday Riley sephora.com
$85.00

Sunday Riley's Good Genes is the secret to vibrant, younger-looking  skin. This highly potent formula works wonders with the help of lactic acid, which doesn't involve the harsh and irritating properties ensued from other less-friendly acids. A personal testimony: After applying Good Genes under my moisturizer at night, I wake up with plump and glowing skin. 

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The Dry Skin Healer
Facial Scrub
Dr. Barbara Sturm nordstrom.com
$70.00

If you deal with dry and flaky skin or early signs of aging (fine lines, wrinkles, or crow's feet), this face scrub should be front and center in your medicine cabinet. This vitamin-packed scrub is non-abrasive and works to smooth over rough patches and speed up your skin's cell renewal process, which fades the look of fine lines overtime. 

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The Anti-Aging Mask
Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Mask
Biossance sephora.com
$68.00

You're looking at a mask that does both: boosts collagen while gently exfoliates the skin. It's ideal for getting rid of rough patches, shrinking the size of large pores, and refining fine lines. 

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The BHA Cleanser
Regenerating Cleanser
Tata Harper Skincare sephora.com
$84.00

If you find yourself scrutinizing the price tag, trust that a little goes a long way with this daily cleanser. The mix of BHA and apricot microspheres gently smoothes uneven textures to reveal soft glowing skin on the other side. 

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The At-Home Facial
T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
Drunk Elephant sephora.com
$80.00

Treat yourself to at-home facial peel that's perfect for sensitive or easily irritated skin. It has a creamy, moisturizer-like consistency and upon application you'll feel a slight tingling sensation from the AHA/BHA combo. For best results, apply once a week for just 20 minutes. 

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The Nighttime Resurfacing Formula
AHA Resurfacing Night Serum
Farmacy sephora.com
$58.00

This nighttime renewal serum does all of the work while you snooze. Apply this serum, made of honey and a 14-percent AHA/BHA flower acid blend, before your night cream to achieve optimal beauty sleep. Then, awake to a fresh, glowing complexion. 

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The Exfoliating Toner
Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic
REN Clean Skincare dermstore.com
$38.00

As annoying as it is, dull skin days happen. This brightening tonic employs the help of lactic and azelaic to clear dark spots and blemishes while giving you a noticeable glow. Lather this toner on both morning and night for well-balanced, luminous skin.

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The Beginner's Choice
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid
Paula's Choice nordstrom.com
$29.50

This liquid exfoliant is the brand's best seller for a reason. It'll give congested pores a deep-clean and add a baby-smooth veil of hydration over your skin. Simply apply the solution to a cotton pad post cleanse and distribute a layer to your face, neck, and décolletage then proceed with the rest of your skincare routine. 

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The Cult Favorite
Pixi Glow Tonic
Pixi ulta.com
$18.00

Pixi's Glow Tonic continues to reign supreme as a cult favorite amongst exfoliators. Although this gentle formula has only 5 percent glycolic acid, it's powerful enough to gently promote cell turnover that leaves your skin literally glowing for hours on end. 

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The Deep Cleansing Exfoliant
Deep Cleansing Exfoliator
Caudalie sephora.com
$35.00

If you prefer a physical exfoliant, give Caudalie's deep cleanser a whirl. The natural corn beads sloughs off the build-up of excess oils and dead skin cells, while the menthol adds a refreshing kick that'll wake up the skin.

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The Hollywood Fave
ExfoliKate Intensive Pore Exfoliating Treatment
Kate Somerville sephora.com
$24.00

For those that prefer a clear indication that your exfoliator is working in real time, this has you covered. You'll literally feel two solid minutes of this exfoliator in action (don't worry, it doesn't hurt—it's effective). It's a heavy duty 3-in-1 gem that serves as a scrub, peel, and mask. 

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The Revitalizing Mask
Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer
Peter Thomas Roth sephora.com
$60.00

This resurfacing mask exfoliates, peels, and polishes the skin for a youthful and radiant complexion. The pumpkin enzymes gently exfoliates the skin without causing irritation, while the alpha hydroxy acid dissolves dead skin cells. Plus, your skin will feel extra polished afterwards from the aluminum oxide, which works to smooth uneven textures. 

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