Some of Stef’s Favorite Exfoliators and Cleansers with Kick!

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Product Reviews, Skin Care


Written by Stef

Today Stef of the fantastical We Heart This (a little bit of everything, a whole lot of love) shares five of her favorite exfoliators.


When my face flakes
When my skin’s dull
When I’m feeling sad….


Gather ’round, children. I’d like to tell you about a few of my favorite scrubs (and I promise not to make your play clothes out of curtains!). That’s right — a good exfoliator can send me spinning on a mountaintop like a modern day Julie Andrews.

But first, why should you exfoliate? Because your skin is constantly shedding dead cells to make way for new ones. The old cells dull your skin, making it uneven and sometimes even dry. So you want them gone, pronto. Exfoliating moves this process along faster. With a good product, your skin will look fresher, you’ll have a smoother surface for makeup application and you’ll get more out of your other skin care products because they will penetrate the skin’s surface better.

Here are my current top five favorites:

1. Bobbi Brown Buffing Grains ($40)

Multi-taskers, listen up. This little time saver cuts two-product facial cleansing/exfoliating down to a single easy step. Bobbi Brown’s Buffing Grains are made of Japanese Adzuki bean powder, gentle yet powerful little granules that you can mix into your favorite cleanser to make it an exfoliator too.

And for bargain hunters, Angel Face Botanicals makes a version with 4 times as much product at half the price.

TIP: You can buy the bean powder from many health food stores for practically free. DIYers can even buy Adzuki beans whole and grind them at home!

2. Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub ($7.50)

Want another time saver? Check out Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub, my drugstore scrub of choice. I really consider this to be more of a cleanser with a kick, as it’s not quite the exfoliating powerhouse as some of my other favorites. But here’s why I like it…

… soy extracts and microbeads make it really gentle, and it’s also oil and soap free. Despite the name, when I used this daily I saw some dryness over time. I find my skin is happiest when I exfoliate twice per week, no matter the product.



3. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment ($85)

I know, I’m sorry. This stuff is expensive. But ExfoliKate is also the BEST exfoliator I have ever used. Why so good, you ask? The fruit enzymes in ExfoliKate seriously go to town on your skin; removing dead cells and taking names! It also eliminates bacteria and combats acne and blackheads too. And let me tell you, they chose the word “intensive” for a reason. This works without any scrubbing and in just 20-30 seconds. The results? You look like you just had a professional facial. We’re talking skin that looks sixteen going on seventeen! I’d recommend the Gentle version if you have even a hint of sensitive skin.

4. Blinc resurf.a.stic ($40)

From the folks who started the whole tube mascara craze, Blinc resurf.a.stic is microdermabrasion in a twist-up stick (think extra large Chapstick). One little twist and you have the product you need. Then, move the stick in a circular pattern on your face, adjusting the pressure where you need it. Best of all, no germy hands in a jar! It also has added moisturizing ingredients that adhere to your skin after the product is washed off, leaving it extra soft.

5. MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel ($80 for 30 applications)

Did you know that peels are exfoliators too? It’s true; a good peel can work just as hard as a scrub (maybe even harder, as they tend to have stronger ingredients).

Here’s why these palm size two-step peel pads are my favorite: the best facial I ever received was with an esthetician who had skin so clear and bright that she looked like a nightlight, and she told me her secret. MD Skincare’s Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, of course! She said she recommended it to everyone, regardless of age, skin type or concern, for noticeably better skin. She wasn’t lying! This helps with both of my major issues — anti-aging and acne — and somehow, despite all of its heavy-duty ingredients, it leaves my skin very calm. I buy the travel ones because they’re individually wrapped (and with a product as pricey as this one, you don’t want any of the pads to dry up). I’ve been buying it for at least 3 years (twice weekly), and every compliment I get on my skin, I chalk up to this. Try the Ten-Day supplyand see for yourself ($28).

Did I miss your favorite? Let me know! I’m always looking for a new product to have me singing like a Von Trapp. Till next time; so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!


Written by Stef

This post was written by Stef of We Heart This. A graphic designer, gloss girl and face serum addict, Stef lives in the Southern California desert with her husband and their four dogs.


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So far, 23 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. pinksoysauce says:

    I’ve never tried any of these but they all look great! I’ll check them out when I run out of my current exfoliator – Fresh’s Brown Sugar scrub. I heard that Philosophy’s Microdelivery Peel is amazing too. I’m using some samples right now and so far, I have to agree.

  2. Sarah says:

    Of these I’ve only tried Exfolikate, but I have to agree, it is great and worth the $$… On the bright side, you only use a little each time and mine has lasted 6 months already w/ plenty still left 🙂

  3. Karen says:

    Stef! I can’t wait to try that Bobbi Brown exfoliator. My chin and nose need it ASAP!

  4. Tiffany says:

    oooh, the blinc one sounds really nifty 🙂 also I like that the md one comes in a smaller size so you can try it out before dropping the big bucks.

    my current fave exfoliator is neutrogena pink grapefruit foaming scrub. it smells amazing!

    • Stef says:

      Being able to buy a trial size is such a good idea, right? If companies really believe in their products I don’t know why they all don’t do it. Because if it works, you’ll buy it again (and probably the full size).

      The MD Skincare packs are great for travel too.

      I was JUST eying the Neutrogena pink grapefruit scrub, thanks for the tip!
      .-= Stef’s last blog post… Hourglass Holiday ‘09 – Get the Look =-.

  5. Julia says:

    I really like Dr Brandts microderm exfoliator. (Am I even spelling that name right?) It has very fine granules that really make my skin feel smooth.

  6. amy says:

    I want to try the Aveeno Skin Brightening Scrub because it is affordable and Aveeno products work well with my combo/dehydrated skin. I exfoliate 3x a week for my skin to be happy and relatively clear. My current go to exfoliator is St Ives Olive Scrub. Pretty much most of my skin care items have a light exfoliating purpose from my toner to serums to creams.
    .-= amy’s last blog post… MAC Warm & Cozy Shade Stick in Nurture Mini Review, Product Picture and Swatches Haul #2 =-.

  7. I’m also obsessed with exfoliators. As a gentle daily one, I like the dermalogica microfoliant – it’s a dry powder you mix with water to turn to paste.

    Right now I’m using the philosophy microdelivery daily wash coupled with the microdelivery scrub/peel system on a weekly basis. That stuff is amazing!! The weekly mask makes my skin so amazingly soft. It’s the first time I’ve backed up a skincare routine.

    I also have Kiehl’s Milk Honey and Almond sitting on my shelf, and I’d like to try their Pineapple Scrub some time as well.
    .-= scarlettholly’s last blog post… Tuesday Mood Session =-.

    • Stef says:

      Yay! A fellow scrubber. Try to get your hands on an Exfolikate sample, you’ll flip!

      I’m a huge Kiehl’s fan. One of my favorite lines really. But, I never found their exfoliators to be scrubby enough for me. It’s such a fine line between not enough and too much, isn’t it?

      You are the second person to mention Philosophy. I really need to give them a try…
      .-= Stef’s last blog post… Crème de la Mer lip balm and holiday ‘09 gifts =-.

  8. resham says:

    Thanks for sharing the article. Aveeno is a good one.
    I have tried the strawberry scrub from Mario Badescu, which is ok.
    My personal fav is Modern Frictionâ„¢
    Nature’s gentle dermabrasion. This stuff is cool…only drawback is that it will hurt if it enters the eyes.
    .-= resham’s last blog post… the BALM — SHADY LADY PALETTES =-.

  9. Ashley says:

    Soo.. All of that is on my 2010 wishlist! I can’t wait, really I can’t!
    .-= Ashley’s last blog post… Almost December! =-.

  10. Lulee says:

    poo… i want the MD skincare ones……. no money though! but now that I think about it , I’ve seen that brand on sample sale sites so i might just have to keep my eyes peeled (pun intended) next time. Thanks!

  11. knownever says:

    that blinc one looks pretty cool. i’m a sucker for anything in a tube or other portable package
    .-= knownever’s last blog post… Cookies and Goodies =-.

  12. Lady Pink says:

    I’m obsessed with pure pearl powder. I don’t know if you ever heard of this product. I never change product since I started to use pure JAJA pearl powder many years ago. It’s easy to use. Mix some powder with water, or milk, or honey, or fresh aloe and make paste. Put the past on my face every other night after cleaning face. Leave it on till it’s dry, then use water to rinse it off. It makes my face skin very soft, smooth and shinning. It also cleans the color spots and wipe out fine wrinkles on the face. It really serves the purpose of making me look younger

    I got this product from, it’s not expensive and real cool stuff. If you never use it, I suggest you should try it.

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