Are You Exfoliating Correctly?

Are You Exfoliating Correctly?
Irving Penn for Vogue

Using a face scrub may seem straightforward, but it turns out, there’s a right and wrong way to rid your face of dead skin cells. From the order that you apply a scrub with your other products, to the pressure you apply, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

To get the scoop on the best way to use the exfoliator in your medicine cabinet, we asked Beverly Hills-based esthetician Gina Mari to take a break from clients like Heidi Klum and Famke Janssen to answer our burning questions.

Click through our slideshow for expert tips to get the most out of your face scrub!

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    B: First things first, why is exfoliating important?

    GM: Exfoliating with a face scrub is an extremely effective way to slough off dead skin cells. When the skin is not properly exfoliated, dead skin cells will "stack up" and give your complexion a dull appearance. Pigmented areas will appear darker, and fine lines and wrinkles will seem deeper. Plus, when the skin is exfoliated, it will be more prepared for serums and moisturizers to penetrate properly.

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    B: Should you cleanse and exfoliate? What comes first?

    GM: Absolutely! Wash your face before you exfoliate. It's important that your face be clean from all makeup and other environmental pollutants that attach to our skin throughout the day.

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    B: Should you apply scrub to wet or dry skin?

    GM: When exfoliating the face, neck, and decolletage area, always use lukewarm water first. If you are exfoliating the body, there are "dry brush" techniques that can be extremely effective when no water is used. With this technique, the water comes second.

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    B: Is there a trick to using a face scrub?

    GM: After removing makeup with a proper cleanser, use lukewarm water and gently apply the scrub in circular motions, avoiding your eye area. Never tug or rub downward on the skin.

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    B: Is it best to press hard, or be gentle?

    GM: The softer the touch the better—let the product do the work!

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    B: How often should you use a face scrub?

    GM: This is completely dependent on the individual's skin type. Our skin changes day to day due to changing hormone levels, therefore your routine may change. I believe it is important to have an open dialogue with your esthetician or dermatologist to discuss the frequency that’s right for you. [Editor’s Note: In the meantime, start with once a week.]

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    B: What type of granules are best?

    GM: Too large of a granule can actually cause damage to the tissue, so avoid using anything too abrasive. I lean towards a small granule for most skin types, and I prefer extremely fine granules and enzymes for delicate and sensitive skin types.

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    B: What are your favorite face scrubs?

    GM: I recommend a stronger scrub, like Ayur-Medic's Anti-Bacterial Wash ($27) for acne-prone skin, and their Orange Blossom Exfoliant Scrub ($27) for normal skin. AmorePacific has a wonderful Treatment Enzyme Peel ($60) that has powder-y granules that turns into a paste with warm water, which is great for all skin types. If your skin is extremely delicate, I recommend a pumpkin exfoliant or a papaya enzyme peel that doesn't contain actual granulated beads. [Editor’s Note: try the Resurfacing Mask ($55) from Tata Harper]

    Keep clicking for products to try!

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    Goldfaden MD Doctor's Scrub ($75)

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    Amorepacific Treatment Enzyme Peel ($60)

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    Estelle & Thild Micro Scrub Lily ($41)

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    Estelle & Thild Micro Scrub Lily ($41)

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    Goldfaden MD Doctor's Scrub ($75)

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    Amorepacific Treatment Enzyme Peel ($60)

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EXPLORE: Gina Mari, Olay, Estelle & Thild, Goldfaden MD, Ayur-Medic, AmorePacific, Kate Somerville, Skin, Exfoliation
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