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The Gloss Report: Facial exfoliators

March 17th 2014

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This week the Gloss team reviews the 8 best facial exfoliators - say hello to spring!

Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator

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Price: £14

Buy online: uk.lizearle.com

Feedback: "Liz Earle is a brand I always return to when my skin needs restoring back to optimum health and this product is one of my favourites. Perfect for all seasons, this gentle exfoliating scrub contains very fine jojoba beads which buff away dead skin cells to help purify the skin, without that harsh scratching that you tend to get with cheaper brands. Working it in using circular motions, it leaves my skin feeling thoroughly clean and fresh; the combination of eucalyptus oil, cocoa butter and almond oil works together to leave skin feeling soft, smooth and moisturised so it doesn't feel dried out once I'm finished. At £14, it is a great investment as a little really goes a long way, and I love the hygienic pump bottle that makes it super easy to use. However, though the name suggests it is a gentle exfoliator, it does state that it is not suitable for sensitive skin types."

Reviewer: SM

Score: 9/10

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

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Price £41.30

Buy online www.dermalogica.co.uk

Feedback “I'm obsessed with Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant. As a teenager with super sensitive skin that was prone to dry patches and the occasional bout of eczema, I found Dermalogica and fell in love. Over the years I've built up a decent collection and however many new ranges their smart guys produce, this is always my pick to recommend.

“A fine powder that creates a satisfying foam when mixed with water, this product is an enjoyable part of my morning ritual. Even after a heavy night out, a good massage with this foaming beauty gives me a healthy happy glow.

“Don't leave the lid off in the shower - if it gets damp it will be ruined. Do leave it on a little longer for a deeper clean. Do use it everyday. And do supplement with something stronger once a week - a girl’s gotta keep her skin sparkly clean. For me, this is the best daily cleansing product on the market ”

Reviewer TD

Score 10/10

Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator

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Price £27

Buy online www.timetospa.co.uk

Feedback “I'd heard this exfoliator was suitable for sensitive types thanks to its gentle formula and calming rose oils, so I was more than keen to give it a whirl. The texture is that of a light pink-coloured gel with small, smooth jojoba beads to exfoliate when applied on damp skin. Though this is reassuring if you're sensitive and want to avoid harsh scrubs, in practice it doesn't work all that well.

“As I massaged it in with circular movements I could barely feel the beads and the texture actually became quite oily. Once I'd rinsed it away my skin was left feeling no different, which was a disappointment as I expected to feel refreshed or to see a brighter complexion reflecting back at me in the bathroom mirror. It does have a beautiful natural scent of rose which makes it a pleasure to use, but where it's won points for being suitable for those with sensitive skin, it's lost out slightly on its effectiveness. Given the price, I wouldn’t buy it again but will use it in the interim as a more everyday product.”

Reviewer JJ

Score 6/10

Merumaya Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel

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Price £19.50

Buy online www.merumaya.com

Feedback “To be honest, ‘glycolic acid’ and ‘peel’ are two words that fill me with fear. So I’m sure you’ll understand when I say that this week’s Gloss Report caused me to feel a little apprehensive. However, I needn’t have worried because this peel proved to be a bit of a revelation: it was soothing, effective and most surprisingly, gentle.

“The refreshing gel formula left my skin feeling softer, fresher, more supple and prepped perfectly for my bedtime lotion slather-session. It contains glycolic acid integrated with pomegranate enzymes to dispose of dead skin cells and aloe vera to leave skin hydrated. All bases are covered so you can sit back and relax knowing that after three to ten minutes you’ll be left with skin that feels and looks smoother. Quick, easy to use and not as scary as I initially thought, I can see this becoming my weekly skin-brightening treat to help me wave goodbye to winter-weary, tired-looking skin for good.”

Reviewer AM

Score 9/10

Urban Retreat The Exfoliator

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Price £30

Buy online www.urbanretreat.co.uk

Feedback “Having always had sensitive skin, I’ve tended to avoid using exfoliators as I’ve found them quite harsh and irritating, leaving me with an angry rash sprawled across my face. However, when I purchased the entire set of facial products from Urban Retreat I felt I had to include the exfoliator in my new regime to really get a feel for the products as a whole. I have to say I absolutely love it.

“Made from coconut, avocado and sweet almond oils this exfoliator was a perfect fit for me as I can also be prone to quite dry skin so its important to use natural products. Also increasing its kind-to-skin properties were the miniature ecoscrub beads: just big enough to ensure they decongested and detoxed the skin, but not large enough to cause inflammation or tenderness. It’s packaged beautifully and gives off gorgeous scents of lavender, rose geranium and ylang ylang.

“This exfoliator now features twice a week in my skincare regime and my skin has most definitely been clearer, cleaner and, if I do say so myself, a little bit brighter.”

Reviewer KR

Score 9/10

Indeed Labs Facial Powdered Exfoliator

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Price £19.99

Buy online Available from www.boots.com from 19th March and nationwide from 7th April

Feedback “Despite being a big fan of exfoliating, I’d never used one on my face, as I feared it would irritate the skin and make me break out. What attracted me to this exfoliator was that it’s an ‘enzyme micro-powder’. I’ve dabbled in my fair share of body scrubs so I was curious to see how a powder would work in comparison. It’s a combination of brightening, soothing and plumping ingredients, including bamboo extract, rice bran powder, pineapple enzymes, Okinawa red algae and hyaluronic acid, promising to ‘remove dead skin cells, unclog pores and promote cell renewal’.

“The bottle recommended that I dispense ‘two shakes’ of the powder and mix it with water. I thought that the bottle would have a filter in place to regulate the amount of powder that poured through the hole, but nope - I shook the bottle and emptied about half of it into my hand. After transferring some back in, I combined the fine white powder with water and it transformed into foam.

“After rinsing my face, I was surprised with the result: my face was the softest it has ever been. My skin felt like it had undergone a deep clean, leaving it smoother and more radiant. Once you get around the bother of (cautiously) measuring out the powder and achieving the right consistency, this product is a dream. However I’m not entirely sold on the powder formulation – call me old fashioned, but I enjoy having my products ready to use.”

Reviewer HI

Score 7/10

Clinique Exfoliating Scrub

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Price £18.50

Buy online www.clinique.co.uk

Feedback “This product could probably double up as a bathroom cleaner - if the grainy, menthol-infused formula doesn’t blow away the cobwebs, I don’t know what will. Designed for oily skin types, the thick, gritty scrub is water based and contains salicylic acid to cleanse and brighten. It buffs away any naughty flaky bits with ease and my skin definitely appeared more even post-use (pesky pores got back in their box too).

“My face was left tingly, smooth and refreshed, and moisturiser glided on, absorbing almost instantly. I’d definitely limit my use to once or twice a week however, as the scrub particles feel quite abrasive. I’d also avoid this product if I had sensitive skin as the minty fresh menthol could provoke irritation while the rough texture would aggravate delicate skin. Despite it’s clarifying claims, I’d also give this a miss if you’re suffering breakouts - it would only make blemishes angrier. For those with a generally well-behaved complexion, its polishing powers are impressive. You also only need a smidgen of product so it should last a good while, justifying the price.”

Reviewer AH

Score 7/10

Pai Kukui and Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator

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Price £20

Buy online www.paiskincare.com

Feedback "I have to admit that generally I am lazy when it comes to exfoliating my face. I'm so often trying to calm my skin down due to its oversensitivity that the last thing I want to do is scrub at it and add to the redness. However, last summer Pai changed all that when I discovered this product. Like all Pai products it is as gentle as can be, and enriched with organic ingredients.

“When you first pump the product out it's a little off-putting as it's a viscose, thick gel-like substance that feels like it will be really sticky to apply (like honey filled with sugar grains). However, carefully massaged onto dry skin, the 'perfectly cylindrical' beads don't scratch and the consistency isn't sticky at all - it feels like it's gently renewing the skin without causing any redness. Adding a splash of water, the texture changed to a milky gel which I could then wash away, leaving me with refreshed skin that wasn't dried out or angry-looking in any way. With regular use my skin tone seems brighter and I feel like I'm using less moisturiser than the cold snap would usually require.”

Reviewer JJ

Score 9/10

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