Weekend Beauty Hack: Total Body Exfoliation

Alle Connell
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total body exfoliation

We live for the weekends, and what better time than Sunday to relax, rejuvenate and get your beauty game on point? These are the best easy beauty hacks to help you look—and feel—your best in the week to come.

Let’s be real: when it comes to summer, having smooth, glowing skin is forever our #1 beauty priority.

And when it comes to getting—and keeping—exfoliation is your best bet. Not only does it slough away dull, tired skin, but it’s also essential for your health. When skin cells die, they can pile up and form veritable traffic jams that block pores and slow down cell turnover, resulting in acne, blackheads and an anything-but-radiant complexion. No thank you.

But exfoliation is a bit of a tricky game, because you can’t treat the delicate skin on your face the same way you’d scrub the tough skin on your feet. Don’t worry, we’ve done your homework for you: here’s your head-to-toe guide to total body exfoliation to get you glowing this week.

1. Feet.

Summer sandals mean that nice feet are essential—and the good news is that it’s really easy to incorporate exfoliation into your pedicure routine. Soak your feet in warm water for fifteen to twenty minutes to soften your skin, then use a gentle foot file like Sally Hansen Sole Control ($4.99, target.com) to slough away any tough skin on your heels, toes and the balls of your feet. Rinse your feet clean and pat dry with a clean towel as you marvel at all the skin that’s already sloughed away.

Now that you’re callus-free, it’s time to scrub! This will stimulate blood flow and reveal new, fresh skin so that your feet look their very best. Use a foot scrub with lots of small, smooth granules (we love The Body Shop’s Peppermint Cooling Pumice Foot Scrub ($14.99, thebodyshop.com) and rub it in small, quick circles starting at the heel and working towards the toes. Rinse your feet and towel dry, then apply an amazing foot cream to moisturize and protect the newly revealed skin. Our favorite is the Shea Butter Foot Cream from L’Occitane ($28, usa.loccitane.com); no other lotion leaves our feet feeling quite as delightfully soft.

2. Legs and arms.

It’s sundress season, and that means your legs and arms are on full display. And the best way to get them totally smooth and radiant is by exfoliating them with this super-simple DIY sugar scrub.

All you need to do is mix 1/2 cup of brown sugar with 1/4 cup of olive oil, then store your scrub in an airtight container. About halfway through your shower, turn off the water and use a golfball-sized amount of the sugar scrub to rub down your arms and legs, applying in a circular motion. Rinse well, and repeat if you’re still feeling a little flaky.

Your arms and legs will now look and feel incredibly smooth; make sure they stay that way by applying a good moisturizer. Origins A Perfect World Body Moisturizer ($34, orgins.com) is amazingly hydrating, and gives your skin a light, non-sticky shine that’s perfect for summertime.

MORE: 20 Beauty Tips for Your Best Summer Ever.

3. Chest and back.

Your décolletage and back are super-delicate, and likely really on display in the warm weather. But unless you want a chest full of tiny scratches, you can’t use a rough scrub—so what’s a girl to do?

That’s right: chemical exfoliation. As opposed to physical exfoliation (which involves scrubbing), chemical exfoliation relies on ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids to remove dead skin cells. Most body lotions don’t have enough active ingredient to make a real difference, so we use a face cream instead. Alpha Hydrox AHA Enhanced Lotion ($9.99, drugstore.com) contains 10% glycolic acid, which helps speed cell turnover and reveal beautifully radiant skin on your chest and back. Bonus: the AHA will also help to keep body breakouts at bay. Flawless summer victory.

4. Face.

Repeat after us: I will not use rough scrubs on my face. We understand the temptation, especially in summer when skin is really prone to patchy dryness, but exfoliating with barely liquified sandpaper will just do more harm than good. We’re talking redness, scratches, irritation, increased sensitivity to burning—let’s all agree to take a hard pass on that.

Instead, think gentle. Like REALLY gentle. After you’ve removed your makeup and washed your face, apply a blob of cream-based cleanser to a warm cotton washcloth and, working from the center of your face out, rub in small circles. This will remove any dry, flaky skin from your face without totally destroying it; it’s even gentle enough for regular retinol users.

5. Lips.

It is a truth universally acknowledged: no lipstick looks good on chapped lips. Dry lips can be caused by many things: allergies, sun exposure, lip biting, certain medical conditions—and although we can’t fix those issues, we can definitely tell you how to exfoliate your delicate kisser.

The skin on your lips is incredibly thin, which means you need to exfoliate really gently. We’ve tried a lot of lip scrubs in search of the smoothest pout, and the best is still Fresh Sugar Lip Polish ($22.50, sephora.com): simply apply the tiniest amount to your finger and rub in small circles until your lips tingle. Wipe clean with a cotton washcloth and apply a nourishing lip protector like Burt’s Bees Balm with Pomegranate Oil ($3.29, drugstore.com) to seal in the moisture and prevent more chapping from occurring.

6. Scalp.

You didn’t think we’d skip your scalp, did you? A dry, peely scalp is one of the most annoying beauty issues one can have—but luckily there’s an easy fix for it, and it’s called a scalp mask. Phillip Kingsley Scalp Mask ($30, phillipkingsley.com) is an exfoliating, flake busting miracle: you just apply to damp hair, work it into your scalp, leave it sit for twenty minutes, then wash it out. Your scalp will be free of dry skin and product buildup, and your hair luxuriously flippable—all without feeling stripped or dry.

Congratulations: you’re now exfoliated from head to toe and ready to conquer the world! Get out there and rule this week with your radiant skin.

MORE: 10 Things People With Great Skin Never Do.

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