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best exfoliator

What Is The Best Exfoliator?

As is the case with many beauty endeavours, things started over in the East. Whether it’s bathing in milk or using a face mask, the Eastern cultures were the first off the mark. This is also true for exfoliation. The benefits of this relatively simple procedure were acknowledged hundreds of years ago and are still assumed today, making it one of the most popular procedures at spas today. 

In this exfoliator guide, we will cover the best exfoliators available, tell you how we picked them, why we love them and how you can use them to ensure your glow up goes smoothly.

best exfoliator
For added effect you can use a brush to apply exfoliator to your skin.

Top 5 Best Exfoliators

Finding an exfoliator that works for you is a tricky situation. There are so many options available, and not only is there an insane variety, but there are different kinds of exfoliators. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to steer clear of the spa options like chemical peels and stick to natural exfoliators. 

Reviews Of Our Top 5 Best Exfoliators

Our Top 5 list is made up of a few of our favourite exfoliators. These options are as close to natural as you can get. They are environmentally friendly, cruelty-free and harmful chemical-free.

best exfoliator

Peet Rivko Exfoliator

  • Developed by the Peet Rivko founder, Johanna Peet, after she couldn’t find skincare products that worked with her sensitive skin. This company prides itself on ethical sourcing, simple skincare, made in the USA. They focus on plant-based products with zero irritants, which is crucial when developing products for sensitive skin.


This gentle exfoliator was developed especially for sensitive skin but is equally effective for all skin types. It is fragrance-free, creamy and 100% plant-derived using rice bran and oatmeal alongside jojoba beads as an exfoliant. It has zero toxins and zero irritants, so it’s suitable for all skin types.

Definitely a product worth trying if you have sensitive skin as it is calming and highly effective.

best exfoliator

First Aid Beauty’s Facial Radiance Polish

  • This option from First Aid Beauty is great for use as an everyday cleanser.


This is another super gentle, all-natural exfoliant that is perfect for all skin types despite being originally manufactured for sensitive skins. This product uses all-natural ingredients like Shea Nut Shell Powder, and Willow Bark Extract that buff and polish the skin, revealing the beautiful you. It is dermatologically tested and cruelty-free.

This product contains no alcohol or artificial fragrances helping ensure that your skin won’t dry out. This is a great product for regular use.

best exfoliator

Hanahana Beauty Exfoliating Bar

  • Hanahana Beauty founder, Abena Boamah-Acheampong, prides herself on her wealth of information on their favorite wonder ingredient, Shea Butter, fair trade and authenticity. She facilitates this by partnering with women in Ghana to promote their skills, support and uplift them in the process of sourcing the best ingredients. This has resulted in a fantastically natural and original product.


The 2-in-1 exfoliation bar is made with all-natural ingredients that leave your skin feeling soft and revitalised. The ingredients include consciously-sourced Shea Butter, brown sugar, cocoa butter and avocado oil. The sugar gently exfoliates your skin and the combination of oil and butters enrich and moisturise your skin instantly.

This luxurious product is great for travel and for all skin types and is wonderfully affordable. We highly recommend at least giving this product a solid try.

best exfoliator

Burt’s Bees Deep Cleansing Scrub

  • Developed by the Peet Rivko founder, Johanna Peet, after she couldn’t find skincare products that worked with her sensitive skin. This company prides itself on ethical sourcing, simple skincare, made in the USA. They focus on plant-based products with zero irritants, which is crucial when developing products for sensitive skin.


Burt’s Bees’ Deep Cleansing Scrub has been around for a while and is still highly regarded by its users. It is mainly for users with acne-prone or oily skin and uses jojoba beads and naturally occurring fruit acids to gently yet effectively exfoliate the skin. The beeswax helps to soothe the skin and prevent further irritation.

With a company that places such a high premium on skin nutrition, users can rest assured knowing that the utmost care has gone into formulating a product that is as kind to nature as it is to your skin.

best exfoliator

Pomifera Restorative Facial Exfoliant

  • Co-founder and chemist, Todd Johnson, decided to take a decent look at what has been considered the lowest of fruit - the Pomifera. This lowly plant, he found, had many wonderful benefits when it came to skincare. Also known as Osage Orange fruit seed oil, Pomifera oil has terrific anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it works so well in an exfoliant.


Combined with the healing properties of the Pomifera oil, this product also utilises walnut powder as an exfoliant. This rinse-off product helps enhance collagen synthesis and encourages cellular regeneration - what more could you want from an exfoliant?

This product is great for all skin types and is a high-quality product. The anti-inflammatory properties mean this product is great for people with sensitive skin or skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea.

best exfoliator
There are different types of exfoliators, dry and granular, cream based and even whipped. 

Simple DIY Options For You To Try At Home 

So maybe you want to try and make your own exfoliant. Believe it or not, it’s not that hard, and you can usually do it with a combination of a few things you most likely already have at home. 

My favorite DIY exfoliant is fine Himalayan salt mixed with coconut oil. This works incredibly well, as those are both products I usually have at home. I also use it as a full – body exfoliant. 

Other options you might want to include:

  • Sugar (Brown or otherwise)
  • Plain Salt (Try to go for a finer grain)
  • Oats 
  • Coffee
  • Baking Soda


You can mix these products with things like tallow, coconut, avocado, grapeseed oil or honey to create a paste to use. You can even store it in an airtight container to use at a later stage. But do keep in mind that this is a natural product without artificial preservatives. While both salt and sugar do act as natural preservatives, it is best to use these DIY exfoliators and scrubs within three months.

Why Is Exfoliating So Popular?

Your skin is your largest organ. It is your first line of defence against the elements, and as it happens, it regenerates every 27 or so days. This regeneration process leaves dead skin cells on your skin, which isn’t a train smash, but it can leave your skin looking a little flaky, dull and lifeless. Our skin regeneration processes begin to slow down as we age, leaving a dull complexion in its wake. Exfoliating can stimulate collagen production, so while it removes the dead skin cells, it also promotes the growth of new ones. Dead skin cells can also contribute to acne and breakouts by blocking pores and causing problems. 

Enter the exfoliant. Exfoliating gently removes dead skin cells, improves circulation and brightens your skin, leaving your skin plump and full of life which is how it found its way onto our radar. 

Top Five Tips for Using Your Exfoliator

With the deluge of information that smacks you in the face when trying to find the best way to exfoliate, we decided to level up and bring you five tips for exfoliating well.

Use The Exfoliator Correctly

Whether you’re using a homemade sugar and honey mixture, or a store-bought exfoliant, follow the basic instructions – especially if there are chemicals involved. Always use clean hands and small circular movements to apply the product. For regular products, you can rinse after 1 or 2 minutes. If it’s a more chemical-based product, use it for the amount of time they suggest on the packaging. 

Get That Morning Goodness

Most experts agree that the best time to exfoliate is in the morning. Your skin does a lot of its repair work in the evening while you rest, making the mornings the best time to get rid of the dead skin cells that gather overnight.


Use A Moisturiser

Using a moisturiser after you’ve exfoliated helps to not only calm potentially irritated skin but can replenish some goodness, leaving your skin juicy and fresh. 

Use Warm Water, not Hot Water.

Using warm water while you bathe or shower is a great way to open your pores and prepare your skin. Be careful of using hot water after you’ve exfoliated because your skin will be tender and hot water could cause more agitation. 

Don’t Over Exfoliate.

Especially if you have acne-prone skin. Exfoliating too often can strip your skin of its natural oils, which inevitably increases sebum production. This, in turn, can lead to more breakouts. We recommend you exfoliate one to two times per week if you have breakout-prone skin and two to three times for combination-oily skin types. 

What Sets Exfoliating Apart from Other Skin Brighteners?

Over here at The Green You, we’re gaga for green. The best exfoliators are non-toxic and suitable for people with chronic illness or chemical sensitivity or anyone who is just keen on making more green choices when taking care of their largest organ. 

The exfoliator and skincare markets are saturated with chemical-driven products that might offer short term reprieve but at the risk of long term danger due to issues like hormone disruption or chemical sensitivity. 

The products we chose are evergreen and are, for the most part, suitable for all skin types, genders and ages. 

How We Picked Our Top Selection

To determine which exfoliators are the best, we looked at the following elements.

  • Non-toxic: Meaning there are no hormone-disrupting or carcinogenic chemicals in them. Most of them are biodegradable and completely safe. 
  • Cruelty-free: We like to keep our products as close to nature by ensuring their processes don’t involve animal testing. 
  • Green: They may not all be vegan products, but we aim for products that come from nature and can return to nature. We prefer products that work in cohesion with nature. 
  • EFFECTIVE: The products we choose must be effective – otherwise, why bother? You can have a terrific-looking product, but if it doesn’t work, what’s the point? These products are proven effective in doing their job. 

What Factors to Consider When Buying Exfoliators

When it comes to choosing the best exfoliator for yourself, there are a few aspects you should consider.

Skin Type

What’s your skin type? If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you might want to consider an exfoliator that is a little stronger. If you have sensitive skin, consider something that has anti-inflammatory properties like beeswax.


What are your goals? How often do you want to exfoliate? Do you have skin conditions that you have to take into account? All these factors play a role in choosing the best exfoliator that works for you. 


If you know you have an issue with chemical allergies or sensitivities, make sure you choose an exfoliator that is as close to nature as possible. Look out for ingredients like alcohol (that can dry out your skin a lot), fragrances, essential oils (that can act as an irritant) and parabens.  

Exfoliator, Alligator

As you can see, the topic of exfoliation is an exhaustive one. We hope you’ve found some answers to any questions you may have about finding the best exfoliator that works for you. If you want to try making a few of your own mixes before you buy, give our DIY section a read and see what regular exfoliation can do for you.


These FAQs might answer some lingering questions you might be having about exfoliators. If you still have questions after all this, feel free to drop them in the comments and we’ll see how we can help you.

Why Should I Exfoliate?

Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from the skin. It helps improve circulation and facilitates repair. It can also make your skin brighter.

Does Exfoliating Damage Your Skin?

Exfoliating too often with harsh products containing retinol or benzoyl peroxide can definitely damage your skin. These serve as irritants and can dry out your skin or even cause a light chemical burn, especially when used too often. Consider starting with mild, natural products, two to three times per week for best results.

How Often Should I Exfoliate?

Most experts recommend between two and three times per week. Exfoliating too often, especially with chemical-based exfoliants, can strip your skin of necessary oils and can lead to breakouts. Start at two to three times per week and see how your skin responds.

What Is The Best Time To Exfoliate?

We recommend exfoliating in the morning. Your skin repairs itself at night, leaving a layer of dead skin cells on your skin in the morning.

What Is The Best Thing To Exfoliate With?

There are a variety of tools you can use to expedite your exfoliation process. You can start with using your fingertips, or you could choose to use a washcloth, loofah, sponge or brush.

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The Green You


Tanja Franzsen

Tanja Franzsen


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