10 Best Face Exfoliators for 2021

Your daily skincare routine might include all the basic stuff, such as cleanser and sunscreen, but it’s incomplete without exfoliation. Exfoliation means scrubbing off the layer of dead skin cells to reveal the brighter, smoother skin underneath. 

If your skin feels dull and dead, a face exfoliator might prove to be your best friend. Which exfoliator will earn a permanent spot in your skincare will largely depend on your skin type and personal preference. 

We have listed down the ten best face exfoliators that are trending in 2021. They will elevate your skincare routine and make you fall in love with your skin all over again. 

10 Best Exfoliators for All Skin Types

When you exfoliate, you remove the dead cells that make your skin appear dull and flakey. The whole idea of exfoliation comes from the natural process of cell renewal that your skin experiences every month. 

Woman with glowing skin.

Sometimes the natural shedding of cells takes longer and is less efficient, leaving the skin flakey and dry. That’s where exfoliators come in. 

There are mainly two types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. The chemical exfoliants use acid to get rid of dead skin cells, while physical exfoliants use micro-beads or grains. 

Both of these exfoliators help you get rid of dead skin and unclog pores without rubbing it raw. Keep scrolling to find the best face exfoliator for your skin type. 

1. Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser

  • Skin Type: Normal, Combination, Oily 

This two-in-one scrub cleanser contains natural jojoba and carnauba wax to exfoliate and unclog pores. In addition, the spearmint, lemon, and grapefruit extracts give it a refreshing natural scent. 

The Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser also contains caffeine that reduces dullness and re-energizes tired skin and ginseng root extract that revitalizes the skin for a more energized appearance. 

This exfoliator has a gel-like formula with naturally derived jojoba microbeads that are super gentle on the skin. Hence, you can make this scrub a part of your daily skincare routine. 

2. Cerave Salicylic Acid Cleanser

  • Skin Type: Normal, Oily, Acne-Prone 

The key ingredient in the Renewing SA Cleanser is the salicylic acid, a BHA, that gently exfoliates the skin and unclogs pores for that healthy glow. In addition, hyaluronic acid prevents the skin from drying out by retaining its natural moisture.

This exfoliator is fragrance-free and rich in vitamin D that prevents aging and other skin conditions, such as eczema. It also contains niacinamide, which keeps the skin calm to avoid any unwanted redness. 

Since this cleanser does not contain harsh microbeads, it is suitable for daily use on normal, oily, and acne-prone skin

3. Neutrogena Bright Boost Resurfacing Micro Polish

  • Skin Type:  Oily, Combination 

Neutrogena Bright Boost contains two naturally derived AHAs, glycolic and mandelic acid, that remove dead skin cells and boost cell turnover. This rich gel-cream has physical and chemical exfoliants that gently polish the skin, making it soft and smooth. 

The cleanser helps reduce pores and restores the skin’s natural radiance by treating dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and early signs of aging. It is recommended to use the cleanser one to three times a week.

4. COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner

  • Skin Type: All Skin Types

The COSRX toner is formulated with AHA, BHA, and purifying botanical ingredients that improve skin texture, eliminate dirt, exfoliate, and hydrate all at once. The gentle formula contains the AHA glycolic acid and BHA betaine salicylate to remove dead skin cells. 

The toner is powered by White Willow Bark and Apple Water, which smoothes out all skin types without irritation. You can apply the toner using a damp cotton pad or soak a few pads and apply them as a face mask on dry skin. 

For visible results, pair this face exfoliator with a good moisturizer and sunscreen. 

5. Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Scrub 

  • Skin Type: Dry 

The Peter Thomas Roth Power Scrub has a vitamin-rich formula that contains ferulic acid, a natural AHA that gently exfoliates the skin, giving it a softer and brighter feeling. The scrub is packed with exfoliating beads and spheres for multi-dimensional exfoliation. 

It also contains THD Ascorbate Vitamin C, a more stable form of vitamin C that boosts complexion by enhancing the skin’s natural SPF. Plus, the coffee butter beans deliver the much-needed hydration to the skin, making it the best face exfoliator for dry/winter chapped skin.  

6. La Roche-Posay Ultrafine Scrub

  • Skin Type: Sensitive 

La Roche Posay Ultrafine Scrub is a gentle exfoliating scrub formulated for sensitive skin. It contains ultra-fine pumice particles and glycerin that remove dead skin cells without disturbing the skin’s natural barrier. 

This ultra-fine scrub smoothes and purifies the skin, leaving it brighter and even-looking. It’s the face exfoliator for people with sensitive skin. It is recommended to be used two to three times a week. 

7. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

  •  Skin Type: Sensitive 

The Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant starts as a powder and builds into a paste with water. It contains salicylic acid, phytic acid, papain, and rice enzymes that buff off dead skin cells and even out skin texture. 

It gently dissolves dead skin using enzymes, and the Colloidal oatmeal and allantoin provide a soothing effect. This makes it an ideal face exfoliator for sensitive skin.

8. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

  • Skin Type: Dry, Sensitive 

This chemical exfoliant contains 10% lactic acid that provides mild exfoliation and purified Tasmanian pepper berry that works as an anti-inflammatory agent that calms irritation and sensitivity.

If you are new to acids, start with the 5% concentration formula and gradually move towards a higher concentration. You can also dilute the acid with other treatments to reduce its strength. 

9. Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid

  • Skin Type: Oily, Acne-Prone 

The SKIN PERFECTING Liquid is a mild exfoliator that contains a mix of BHAs to clean out pores and brighten skin tone. The 2% salicylic acid gently exfoliates the skin and cleans out pores. It also treats mild acne and prevents blackheads from appearing on the surface. 

The leave-on formula is perfect for quickly swiping on. However, the formula is drying and will not work on already dry skin. 

10. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial AHA + BHA Mask 

  • Skin Type: All Skin Types
Woman with beautiful skin.

The Drunk Elephant exfoliating mask is a blend of AHAs and BHAs, including salicylic acid that unclogs pores and improves skin texture. With a pH of 3.5, the face mask helps reduce dullness without causing sensitivity or irritation.

This face exfoliator is a good option for mature skin as it is a gentle product that reduces signs of aging. It also minimizes acne breakouts and fights signs of aging. 

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The Takeaway

Taking an extra few minutes to exfoliate every day keeps your skin young and healthy. While there are tons of options in the market, not every exfoliator will work for your skin tone and type. 

You might need to experiment with products to find the best exfoliator for your face. But once you do, it will be worth it.

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