Exfoliation helps to prevent spots, brighten skin, reduce pores and retexturise your skin, while there’s something cathartic about a product that you can actually feel working as you use it. But those satisfying little beads are not as great as they seem – either for your skin or for the planet. Both beauty experts and environmental campaigners have spoken out about the negative effects of microbeads, a common ingredient in many exfoliators. Made from plastic, these tiny beads are too small to be filtered out of sewage systems and inevitably end up in the ocean, where they can cause huge harm to both marine life and birds. Besides, there’s little evidence these beads are very good at their job, as they are often too soft to have an impact. In fact, natural ingredients such as sugar, seeds and crystals are much more effective. Despite the obvious advantages of natural exfoliants it can often be hard to find one which suits your skin type. To give you a helping hand, we’ve compiled a list of our favourites for every skin type and every budget.
Not just an exfoliator, this emerald-green wonder product can also be used as a mask. It takes its colour from marine micro-algae, which eliminates dead skin cells and boosts radiance and also contains mineral rich Hungarian mud, pumice stone and purifying copper, as well as an anti-ageing mineral complex. The result is brighter, softer, firmer and more refined skin.
Like all their products, Oskia’s exfoliating balm contains MSM, a mineral compound with proven skin and health benefits. Tiny grains of the MSM and silica gently lift away dead skin cells and then dissolve in the water, while a zinc-glycine complex works to soothe and heal the skin, leaving it silky smooth. This is ideal for anyone with flaky, dry or dehydrated skin.
If you like to feel your skincare products going to work, you will love this scrub from Goldfaden MD. Made with pure ruby crystals, the organic formula penetrates deep into the skin for a really thorough exfoliation, making it perfect for those with oily or problematic skin. Hyaluronic acid prevents it from being overly drying but be warned, this is not for everyday use.
Despite their playful packaging, South Korean brand Tonymoly are not to be underestimated. This rejuvenating treatment contains both physical exfoliants (sugar and strawberry seeds) and enzymatic exfoliants (found in mushrooms) to lift away dead skin cells and brighten the skin.
For those with super-sensitive skin, an abrasive scrub or acid is best avoided. However you can still polish and refine your skin by using a muslin cloth to take off your cleanser, adapting the pressure you use based on how congested you feel. This works best with a cream or oil based cleanser – we recommend Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish. Also, make sure to wash the cloths after every few uses to keep them fresh. Washing them in a pillowcase keeps them soft without the need for chemical softeners.
This powdered exfoliator contains a mix of antibacterial tea-tree-leaf powder, abrasive crushed walnut shells and fine clay particles, to buff away dead skin cells and fight congestion whilst brightening the skin. To use, simply mix with a cleanser of your choice – the more you add, the stronger the exfoliating action will be.
This fresh citrus scented product contains organic apricot, bergamot and mandarin, and gently scrubs the skin without stripping the skin of it’s natural oils. The best part is it’s completely free from parabens, lanolin, alcohol, artificial perfumes, petrochemicals, phthalates and colourants, making it great for your skin – and for the planet.