Although intense facial scrubs and rough sponges used to be medicine cabinet must-haves, times have changed—and so have people's opinions on facial exfoliation. Now, at-home physical exfoliants are a bit of an outcast in the skincare world, especially when compared to their chemical counterpart. I hate to say it, but their bad rep isn't entirely undeserved, either.
Some (emphasis on "some") physical exfoliants are too harsh, causing skin irritation, dryness, redness, and a damaged skin barrier. The solution seems obvious: Blame the product, banish all scrubs from your house, and let your dream of baby-smooth skin die. But all that's not actually necessary—especially when you consider just how beneficial physical exfoliation can be when it's done right.
Fortunately, StriVectin Pro Glowfoliant Mix-in Microderm Crystals ($45) makes a successful physical exfoliation treatment, sans the irritation, way more doable. The microdermabrasion crystals are infused with a blend of skin-loving alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which help hydrate and exfoliate the skin and promote collagen production. It's a microdermabrasion technique that might just redeem physical exfoliation once and for all.
StriVectin Pro Glowfoliant Mix-in Microderm Crystals
Best For: Face, neck, and décolletage
Claims: Renews skin for a brighter, smoother complexion; results comparable to professional microdermabrasion treatment
Why We Love It: Easy-to-use and non-irritating formula with visible results
Other StriVectin Products You'll Love: Super-C Retinol Brighten & Correct Vitamin C Serum ($72), Anti-Wrinkle Recode Melting Serum ($89)
StriVectin is known for its scientific approach to skincare. (It's actually one of the few skincare brands that puts all of its finished formulas through independent clinical testing and shares the results with customers.) In keeping with their results-are-everything mission, StriVectin's latest line of products is all about effective formulas and tangible results.
The Pro Glowfoliant Mix-in Microderm Crystals is, above all else, about function. The cap of the container even has a hidden spoon (that feels very Spy Kids-ish) to make scooping the crystals as easy as possible. Once mixed with your cleanser of choice, the dermatologist-grade, AHA-infused microdermabrasion crystals help to gently exfoliate your skin in just 15 seconds.
Based on an independent clinical study, Strivectin's microderm crystals yield both immediate and long-term results. According to their findings, after one use, 100% of participants felt that their skin felt "polished and smooth as glass." Not too shabby.
After 4 weeks of continued use, participants saw even more results. 90% said that their skin looked "brighter and more radiant." That's not all. 90% also reported that it was the most effective exfoliator that they'd ever used.
How To Use It
Before using the microderm crystals, wash your face thoroughly. Once your skin is clean and damp, slide the spoon out of the lid and scoop out a pea-sized amount of crystals. Then, mix them with your facial cleanser. (To make sure that this won't irritate your skin, I'd opt for the gentlest cleanser you have.)
Once combined, apply the mixture in circular motions to your face, neck, and décolletage. Make sure to keep the pressure light. No intense scrubbing, no matter how tempting. After 15-20 seconds, rinse.
For best results, use the mix-in up to two times per week. And don't forget your sunscreen! Exfoliation, even when it's gentle, will make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
I have a history of over-exfoliating, so I took the instructions for this product very seriously. Turns out, following the directions actually does work—at least, in this case, it did. The whole application was easy, if specific. And the microderm crystals weren't as intimidating as I imagined them to be. They blended easily with my cleanser and didn't cling to my skin when it was time to rinse. No stray, sandy patches to be found.
A few hours later, I was still touching my cheeks every couple of hours, surprised by how soft they felt. (I guess this is what a good exfoliation looks and feels like?! Who knew!) In all honesty, I don't think my skin was this baby-soft even when I was an actual baby, so this exfoliator is definitely a winner in my book.