I’ve been a beauty junkie for as long as I can remember – but until recently, exfoliation wasn’t an issue I was overly bothered about. I had convinced myself that I had sensitive skin in my teens (not strictly true – I blame those cheap self-heating face masks, which left my skin red and overheated) and had henceforth decided that rubbing hard grains over my skin wasn’t sensible nor necessary. Oh readers, if only I could pay a visit to the 16-year-old-me and have a stern word!
Exfoliation is both sensible and necessary. In fact, it is the key to smooth, glowing, even-toned skin.
But what exactly does it do? Exfoliation removes dead skin cells that have accumulated on the surface of skin. Without it, those cells are allowed to build up, which gives the skin a dull, lifeless appearance. Worse still, allowing the cells to build up on our face will eventually block pores and may result in breakouts. Gently scrubbing the skin allows it to rejuvenate, as it stimulates cell renewal – so exfoliation becomes even more vital to our skincare routine as we get older.
When skin is a more visible in the summer months, exfoliation should be our top skincare priority. I wish I’d known this when I was gallivanting around in the shortest mini skirts and vest tops in my teens (RIP skimpy clothes, it was nice knowing you!) There’s no need to worry about scrubbing away that well-earnt tan either – that sun-kissed glow isn’t held in the top layers of dead skin cells, so gentle exfoliation will in fact make it appear brighter.
Better still, exfoliation can be a truly indulgent experience. Gentle scrubbing can feel like a mini massage – and there are shelves of deliciously scented concoctions on the market these days, which makes exfoliation a real pleasure.
For body, one of my all-time favourites is Crabtree & Evelyn Natural Lemongrass & Brown Sugar Body Scrub, £15. The fragrance is utterly divine – a beautiful balance of fruitiness and sweetness, which reminds me of old fashioned lemon sherbet sweets. It makes me want to jump in the shower just thinking about it… I also highly rate Jo Wood Organics Everyday Langa Exfoliating Salt Scrub, £24 –the word ‘Langa’ means ‘sunshine’ in Xhosa, which perfectly sums up the warm, sunny, uplifting scent.
For face, I usually opt for something slightly gentler – so Caudalie Gentle Buffing Cream, £18, fits the bill perfectly. It contains grape-seed oil, honey, and jojoba microbeads to slough away dead skin cells, without irritation. The creamy texture feels wonderfully soothing on skin.