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The Best Face Exfoliators for Every Skin Type

By Ellie Child - 3 years ago | Updated

Gone are the days of rubbing our faces raw with a harsh microbead scrub. The beauty world has since moved forward in leaps and bounds when it comes to exfoliating face scrubs, and quite frankly, our complexions have never been happier.

Our once limited options have had a jazzy new makeover and now include a range of chemical exfoliants, enzymatic exfoliants, exfoliating face washes and face exfoliator brushes. Even the nation’s favorite St. Ives face scrub has had a revamp to make it a friendlier option for all skin types to benefit from!

With that in mind, we set out to discover the best face exfoliator for all skin types. We’ve split this guide into different subsections where you can discover the best exfoliating formulations that meet your personal needs. It’s time to kick dull, dry skin to the curb – for good!

Best for normal skin:

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

$8.59 $9.72 (12% off)

We envy you your normal skin, which means you don't need a super powerful exfoliant. You'll get great results from a gentle AHA like this mandelic acid from The Ordinary, which slowly penetrates the skin and exfoliates without irritation, all whilst keeping you hydrated and comfortable (thanks to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid).

Best for dry skin:

PIXI Glow Peel Pads


The 20% glycolic acid in these convenient pads will get to work on your pores and fine lines at the same time as rose water brightens your skin. There's also vitamin E and aloe vera to nourish dry complexions and let your new glow really shine through.

Best for oily skin:

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant


You’ll often see this Paula’s Choice liquid exfoliator on our wish lists, and with good reason!

This powerful chemical exfoliant melts away dead skin cells, dirt and oils by using a potent mixture of ingredients that leave you with a blemish-free complexion. The formula is fortified with salicylic acid which works on encouraging collagen production and renewing skin cell turnover for a filter-worthy visage.

Best for combination skin:

Murad Replenishing Multi Acid Peel


Are parts of your face oily and congested, and some dry and flaky? Try this innovative peel, which uses lactic, malic and glycolic acids to polish your skin of its dead cells and salicylic acid to unclog pores. You can say good-bye to dull skin, uneven tone and rough areas with continued use of this multi-acid peel.

Best for sensitive skin:

Florence by Mills Clean Magic Face Wash


With sensitive complexions, sometimes a leave-on product can be too powerful. That's why we recommend an exfoliating wash like this one from Florence by Mills. It has a creamy texture that won't strip your skin as it removes oil, dirt and makeup, and the antioxidant ferulic acid will protect your skin from environmental aggressors that can increase your sensitivity. There's also a blend of seaweed, ivy, lemon and sage to help with excess oil and blemishes. A happy, healthy complexion is just around the corner!

Best for mature skin:

REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask


Specially formulated for mature and sun damaged skin types, this skin-enhancing exfoliator is made up from 100% plant and mineral-derived actives that brighten up lackluster skin. Incorporate this skin care essential into your routine to smooth, firm and minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines. Trust us, it’s a game changer.

Best natural face exfoliator:

Antipodes Reincarnation Pure Facial Exfoliator


This gentle, cream polish gives all skin types a real boost, naturally exfoliating with jojoba beads, while nourishing and hydrating the skin with avocado oil, which is high in vitamins A, B and D, plus omegas 3 and 9. There's also calendula oil to sooth and repair your complexion and carrot seed extract to clear and revitalise dull skin.

Best enzymatic exfoliator:

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub


When we’re after skin as clear as Huda Kattan’s, we turn to the Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub. This enzymatic exfoliator is jam-packed with papaya enzymes, BHAs and AHAs that polish all skin types, uncovering a baby soft complexion that is super easy to maintain. Grime, dead skin cells and stubborn makeup have truly met their match with this exfoliator!

Best chemical exfoliant for the face:

PIXI Glow Tonic

$23.70 $29.00 (19% off)

Of course we had to feature the OG of chemical exfoliators. PIXI have led the way with their Glow Tonic formulation – a product that now sits prettily in the cabinets of beauty addicts everywhere. This liquid exfoliator employs glycolic acid as its main ingredient to melt away dirt and dead skin cells, uncovering a naturally glowing complexion with minimal effort.

Best face exfoliator brush:


$73.60 $89.00 (18% off)

This state-of-the-art facial brush encourages micro-circulation to detoxify your skin and help it glow. It even has skin sensors to analyze your skin condition and choose settings that cater specifically to your skin's needs! You've never had a routine this bespoke.

Best exfoliating pads:

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads


We love any product that offers convenience and effectiveness within a single use, which is why we seriously rate the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. Each pad contains a blend of lactic and glycolic acids that work together to come down on spots, grease, oiliness and enlarged pores. They even include soothing ingredients such as cucumber, Indian gooseberry, lemon peel and licorice root to improve the skin’s tone!

How to exfoliate the face:

1. Invest in a decent cleanser that works for your skin type

Our guide above outlines the go-to for your skin’s needs, so there’s no excuse for mismatches! Most dermatologists recommend using a chemical exfoliant over a physical one as scrubs can often irritate or break the skin.

2. Cleanse the skin before applying

It is best to use an exfoliator after cleansing your face in the morning or evening. This preps the skin and gets rid of any surface dirt.

3. Apply the exfoliator to the skin

For scrubs or physical exfoliators, apply to lightly dampened skin and massage in with your fingertips before rinsing thoroughly off. For chemical exfoliators, apply to towel-dried skin with a cotton pad, avoiding the eyes.

4. Follow up with your usual skin care routine

We recommend following up with your favorite serum or moisturizer to ensure that the skin is left feeling comfortably hydrated.

Ellie Child

Written by Ellie Child

With five years’ experience under her belt, Ellie has worked alongside a range of highly regarded makeup artists, giving her a real insight into what consumers should be spending their money on.

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