How To Exfoliate Your Face In 6 Quick Steps

How To Exfoliate Your Face

If you’ve ever dreaded exfoliating, it’s probably because you don’t know how to exfoliate your face—and you aren’t alone.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy.  Exfoliating is supposed to be relaxing, leaving you with a normally unobtainable glow for days.

But if you’re like me, then you feel like you’re being physically tortured as you pull out your jar of seemingly razor-sharp goo or lotion.

And then you have all those questions that nobody seems to have a good answer for.  Questions like why is it good to exfoliate your face?

If that sounds like you, fear not!

We’ve got answers to all your questions about exfoliating and the best way to do it on your delicate facial skin (which is where we all want our skin to be the best it can be).

Simply follow these six easy steps on how to exfoliate your face, and your skin will thank you later.

Image via Marie Claire

Step #1 For How To Exfoliate Your Face– Find an exfoliator that actually works with your skin type

Different Exfoliators

If you don’t already know what skin type you have… well shoot, girl, it’s about time you figure it out.

Whether you have dry skin, oily skin, combination, or somewhere else completely on the scale, knowing your skin type will help you determine what type of exfoliator you should be using, along with any other skin care or cosmetic product.

You also have to decide what type of exfoliator your want to use—physical exfoliants, such as face scrubs and clay masks, or chemical exfoliants, such as acid serums and peels.

Don’t worry—I break it all down below and give product suggestions for each skin type.

If you have… oily skin, you’ll want to look for an exfoliator that contains charcoal in the ingredient list since it’s known for absorbing excess oil on your skin.

If you have… dry skin, you’ll want to keep your eye out for a manual exfoliator.

This is basically a fancy way of telling you to look for an exfoliator that has grainy substances in it to help get rid of the dry, patchy skin on your face.

You can also opt to use a face wash, rather than an official face exfoliator, and apply it using a washcloth or a Clarisonic Mia brush.

This has virtually the same effect as using a manual exfoliator.

Clarisonic Brush

If you have… combination skin, then you know finding a product that addresses both the oily and dry patches on your face can feel nearly impossible.

Your best bet for a face exfoliator is one that uses fruit enzymes as the exfoliant.

These tend to be gentle enough not to damage the drier areas on your face, while still leaving you with a fresh glow.

If you have… sensitive skin, this doesn’t mean you should avoid exfoliating!  You still need to learn how to exfoliate your face—trust me.

It just means that most face exfoliators on the market wouldn’t be a great fit for your sensitive skin.

Instead, use a washcloth and your favorite face cleanser to exfoliate your face.

You can also opt for something even more gentle than a washcloth, such as the Eve Lom Muslin Cloths.

Exfoliating Products
Image via InStyle

If you have… aging skin, then learning how to exfoliate your face is extremely important, especially since you aren’t turning over new skin cells like you were in your younger days.

To find your best match in a face exfoliator, look for a product that contains glycolic acid, which gently, but effectively, helps remove those dull skin cells.

If you have… acne-prone skin, stick to using a face exfoliator alone, versus using it with a facial brush or washcloth, which tend to harbor nasty bacteria.

For your face exfoliator, check out products that contain salicylic acid to keep your pores clear.

If you have… normal skin, and are the subject of all other womens’ envy, you still need to be exfoliating.

While most any exfoliator will do the trick for you, you may want to check the ingredients list for jojoba beads. (Before you freak…they are totally safe for the environment).

Jojoba beads are more gentle on the skin than some of the other ingredients found in other face exfoliators.

Step #2:  Learn how to actually use your exfoliator

Listen, I’m not trying to make you feel dumb, but if you’re going to learn how to exfoliate your face, there are a few simple steps you need to follow.

If you just pour a glob of exfoliator into your hands and start using it like a regular face wash, you’ll probably end up in a bad spot.

Since exfoliating can leave your skin looking more red than usual, you’ll probably want to stick to exfoliating at night versus the morning.

Many women also opt to use heavier skincare products, such as retinols, before bed, so getting rid of dead skin cells before applying those types of products will give you even better results.

When actually using the face exfoliator, begin by wetting your face with warm water, and gently begin to exfoliate your face in upward, circular motions.

This will help the product actually do its job. And unless your face exfoliator specifically says to use around the eye area, you’ll want to avoid that part of your face altogether. (Talk about extremely sensitive skin on everyone).

After about a minute of gentle scrubbing, wash off the remaining product with warm water, and pat dry with a clean towel.

If you have specific issues with your skin, you may add a step or two into this process.

For example, individuals with dry skin will want to focus on those flaky patches when exfoliating.

Women who struggle with sensitive skin, or even frail capillaries, will want to apply a face oil on their skin before using the exfoliator.

Find what feels best for your skin, and what you’ve found to work well when using other face products, and go for it!

Step #3:  Be gentle

Woman Exfoliating
Image via Cosmopolitan

If you’re like me, then this feels like the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do with a face exfoliator.

The entire point is to get rid of the dead skin cells and pull out those nasty black heads, right?

Technically, yes.

But ripping your skin off in the process is just going to leave you red and hurting.

The biggest mistake women make when learning how to exfoliate your face is being too heavy-handed.

It shouldn’t hurt to exfoliate, so if you find yourself in pain during the process, definitely back off.

You have to remember that even if you don’t consider yourself to have sensitive skin, the skin on our face is, by nature, sensitive.

So if you go too overboard with scrubbing, or scrub for too long, you’ll likely do more damage to your skin than good.

There’s a reason this product has been specifically formulated to be an exfoliator, so trust that the product can do its job on its own, without you adding any sort of “muscle” behind it.

Step #4:  Cozy up to your favorite moisturizer

Happy Exfoliating
Image via Allure

Now that you’ve learned how to exfoliate your face, and you’ve become a total pro, you need to show your face some love.

You’ve just used a more intense, gritty product on your delicate skin, and failing to use a great face moisturizer would be a huge mistake.

Hopefully you’re using a face moisturizer every morning and night anyways, but if you tend to skip this step, just know that on the days you exfoliate, this isn’t optional.

On average, we lose about 50 million skin cells a day, and if they remain on your skin, your face starts to look dull and dry.

When you exfoliate, you’re removing those remaining skin cells, allowing your new skin cells to shine through.

To take care of your fresh skin, you have to be moisturizing.

No matter what moisturizer you use, whether anti-aging or ultra hydrating, make sure you never skip this step after exfoliating.

And if you’re feeling extra fancy, why not throw a face serum into the mix, as well?

Step #5:  Work it into your weekly skincare routine

Depending on what type of skin type you have, you’ll want to exfoliate your face a certain number of times per week.

If you’re an oily girl like me, you definitely want to steer clear of over exfoliating. It can actually cause your skin to dry out more and produce even more oil (not cool, bro).

For the most part, you should be in good shape if you stick to exfoliating three times a week—but definitely don’t do it more than that.

Any more than three times a week, and you’ll cause tiny cracks in your skin, leading to inflammation and loss of hydration.

As I mentioned previously, if you have oily skin, you’ll want to stick to just once a week, unless you feel like your skin needs it more often.

Regardless of the type of skin you have, though, be sure you’re actually listening to your skin.

If you feel like you need to be exfoliating more or less per week, then go for it!

Just because something is working for a certain season doesn’t mean it will work year round.

Being willing to listen and adapt to your skincare needs is rule #1 when learning how to exfoliate your face properly.

Step #6:  Showcase your gorgeous results!

I think I’ve made it pretty clear how important exfoliating is for all skin types.

But depending on what your main skincare issues and complaints are, you may experience different benefits once you’ve learned how to exfoliate your face.

If you’re prone to blemishes and clogged poor, exfoliating can begin to clear up your skin, and decrease the number of pimples you see popping up.

If you’re experiencing dull, dry skin, you’ll find that flaky skin is happening to you less and less, and instead, your skin feels more hydrated and plump.

Maybe aging skin is your chief complaint.  When you start to exfoliate, you are tricking your skin into acting young again, so continued exfoliation will lead to younger, smoother skin each day.

For all skin types, however, exfoliation simply gives your face an instant glow by clearing away the dead skin cells that cause dullness, and by allowing the other skincare products you’re using penetrate the skin more effectively.

So now that you’ve learned how to exfoliate your face, go out and flaunt that natural glow, and gorgeous complexion.

Next, be sure to read up on how often should you exfoliate your face for more helpful tips!

Natural Glow

Step #7 BONUS TIP: Don’t forget about your lips!

Whether you have someone to smooch or just want the option of rocking a gorgeous matte lip, soft lips are something to be desired.

And since they’re on your face, why wouldn’t I quickly chat about exfoliating your lips in this blog post?

There are many great options for lip scrubs on the market.

A few of my favorites include:  LUSH Mint Julips Lip Scrub, Fresh Sugar Lip Polish, Sara Happ The Lip Scrub in Sparkling Peach, Jane Iredale Sugar&Butter Lip Exfoliator/Plumper, and Tarte Maracuja Lip Exfoliant.

Or, if you’re feeling super cheap (like me), simply take some coconut oil, mix in some brown sugar, and rub all over your lips using your pointer finger or a soft toothbrush. (Then lick it off and eat it…duh).

Don’t forget that the same moisturizing rule applies for your lips, too.

After you use your lip scrub, make sure you coat your lips in your favorite moisturizing balm, or slap another coat of coconut oil on those newly soften lips.

Lip Scrub

Now that you know how to exfoliate your face (and lips!), it can seem like just an added step in your already lengthy skincare routine.  (Come on, I can’t be the only one who hates getting ready for bed every night).

However, there’s a reason so many celebrities and makeup artists swear by exfoliating—it actually works.

So if you practice some serious will power and stick to your exfoliating routine for just a few short weeks, you’ll be thanking yourself (and me) for overall better looking and feeling skin ;)

So what are you waiting for?

Grab your purse, jump in the car, and head to your local Target (#basic) to pick up the exfoliator that works best for you.

Or, who am I kidding?

Put on a pair of sweatpants and start browsing websites for the best face exfoliator available!

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