Beauty 101: Your Complete Guide to Exfoliants

Augusta Falletta
Beauty 101: Your Complete Guide to Exfoliants
9 Start slideshow

Unless you’ve been born with some incredibly unfair perfect skin gene, you’re probably in the same boat as the rest of us when it comes to exfoliating. Between winter’s cold weather outside and hot and dry air inside, our skin is begging for some TLC. Because the where, what, when and why of skin exfoliants can be a bit overwhelming at first, we’ve put together a complete list of our favorite products for each area at every price point, as well as a guide on how to use your new go-to beauty item.

Where You Should Be Using Exfoliants: The main areas of use should be your face, lips, and body. Each area has a certain kind of exfoliant to use based on the level of scrub each kind of skin can handle. Your facial scrub will be gentler than your body scrub, because problem areas like elbows and knees need a more intense scrub than your forehead.

What Exactly To Do With An Exfoliant: After dampening the area you’re going to exfoliate, either use a loofah, wet cloth, or your hands to apply the exfoliant to your skin. Scrub the area in small circles to take off dead skin from every direction it may be laying in. Spend extra time in bigger problem areas (like your elbows) and rinse with warm water. Take off any excess exfoliant with a warm cloth and rinse clean, following with a moisturizer to lock moisture into your new, exfoliated layer of skin.

When You Should Be Using Exfoliants: Always exfoliate before applying a self-tanner on your body. Your face does not need to be exfoliated on a daily basis, but once or twice a week at night is ideal. For lips, exfoliate before you’re going to wear a bold lipstick so that attention is drawn to how great your lips look, not how dry your lips look.

Why You Should Be Exfoliating: Your makeup, self-tanner, and lipstick will go on more smoothly after you’ve exfoliated. For any time that you may be showing your skin during the winter, like at holiday parties, nothing looks better than supple legs and arms.

Now that you’re well-versed in the W’s of exfoliating, take a look at products for each area for every kind of budget in the slideshow above.

0 Thoughts?
1 of 9

Click through to find out which exfoliators we're loving right now for your lips, body and face!

Splurge: This body exfoliant from Lancome has magnesium, provitamin B5 and essential fatty acids, leaving your skin looking polished and vibrant. 

(Lancome Exfoliant Fraichelle, $33.50,

Steal: This body scrub made of raw sugar and coffee naturally gets rid of dry skin and wakes up your skin. 

(Biggs & Featherbelle Cofee and Raw Sugar Body Scrub, $10.99,

Splurge: The 'Laser-Free Retexturizer' is quite the mutlitasker for your face. Get ready for an exfoliant, peel, repair, and moisturizer with this product. 

(Peter Thomas Roth Laser-Free Retexturizer Exfoliating Scrub, $38,

Steal: Use this facial scrub from ProVectin twice weekly to see more radiant, youthful skin. 

(ProVectin Plus Advanced Facial Scrub, $9.99,

Splurge: Between the fresh feeling of an exfoliant and the invigorating peppermint oils, your lips will feel brand spanking new. 

(Sara Happ The Lip Scrub in Peppermint, $24,

Steal: This sugar scrub from Victoria's Secret gets rid of any dead skin that may be hanging around, plus gives you a lip balm to use directly after exfoliating. 

(Victoria's Secret PRO Smooth FX Lip Scrub & Balm, $16,

Splurge: This gentle facial exfoliant from Kate Somerville will decongest, detoxify and refine your skin. 

(Kate Somerville Gentle Exfoliating Treatment, $65,

Steal: If you've got sensitive skin, this gentle dermatologically approved aloe exfoliator is for you. 

(Aloe Gentle Exfoliator, $15,

Next slideshow starts in 10s

Gilt Editor on How to Perfect Your Outfit With Cashmere

Gilt Editor on How to Perfect
Your Outfit With Cashmere