When it comes to exfoliation of the skin I have in the past have had a bit of a history. Over time I’ve used various different types of exfoliators which can be narrowed down into two groups, physical and chemical. Back in September I posted my first part of the series, My Exfoliation Story Part One in which I have to admit I never quite intended to leave the gap between this post and the previous as quite as long as I did.
In part one I looked at the different types of physical exfoliation I had used in the past, in which I came to the overall conclusion that despite turning towards more chemical exfoliation these days I can’t quite bring myself to skip physical completely; it just doesn’t feel right.
Part two will today look at some of the chemical exfoliators I have used in the past year in which in that time I’ve been able to gain quite a good idea as to how well they work for me. Starting off with the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner this was a product that I had read and heard so much about namely from Caroline Hirons. This was something that I really wanted to try as at the time I had no form of chemical exfoliator in my skincare routine other than the REN Glycolactic Radiance Mask which to be honest is more of a treatment product for once a week rather than an almost daily toner.
The Clarins toner for me worked relatively well and really did feel very gentle to use, I found it hard to imagine there being any form of chemical exfoliant within this due to how nice it felt to apply. Using this was the first time I had introduced AHAs into my routine; this stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acids which in a nut shell exfoliates the surface of the skin leaving it at the optimum level for moisture absorption. Using a cotton pad I would gently sweep this across my skin and down my neck and then proceed to use my moisturiser of choice. Generally speaking I only use this toner on an evening and even then I tend not to use it every single day perhaps only reaching for this three or four times a week. I have to say I do notice a difference when using this although it’s not something that appears overnight, a little bit of patience is key. My skin feels smoother, softer and looks much more radiant than before and does not feel irritated in the slightest through using this.
My first purchase from Space NK was the much hyped about REN Glycolatic Radiance Mask which was something I had once again heard a lot about prior to the purchase. If I’m honest having now had a long time to use this I do feel as though it was hyped up quite a lot, it’s good but for me it just wasn’t worth the attention it got sadly. I’m very loyal to REN and have some really positive experiences with their products yet sadly this left me underwhelmed as I was expecting more. The texture is a bit like thick marmalade which you apply as you would any other face mask and then leave on for around fifteen minutes. Whilst it did leave my skin feeling really nice and soft as well as radiant as the name would suggest I still found it as an overall thing to be a bit expensive for what it was. In the past I have read reviews of people who mentioned that this has stung their skin or that they have felt a tickling sensation. I’d have to agree with the latter but I’ve personally had no stinging or burning what so ever with this at all which is a big positive.
The last product I have to share with you is the Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads* which I have being using each night over the sixty day period. These pads are pre-soaked with the formula which includes AHA and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids which treat oily, acne prone skin and those pesky black heads) which aim to exfoliate the skin and clean pores as well as other ingredients which help to tone and improve the overall texture of the skin. Now up until receiving these I had never tried this type of product before whereby I must admit I was a bit sceptical as I thought they would be quite wasteful (I have a thing about using cotton pads and try where I can to not use them) however I put my scepticism to one side in order to try them out.
Over the sixty days I used these I did notice that my skin was feeling a lot more smoother, any little bumps that I had were disappearing and not returning however in terms of helping to clear out my skin I honestly don’t think that they worked in that respect; the old blackhead issue wasn’t really improving. One other factor was that at times when my skin may have been slightly broken or I had messed with a spot (slap on the wrists) using the pads would sting my skin which is only natural as they do contain an acid, however note that the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator does not do this. My general thoughts on these was that overall they were nice but for me they did not warrant the price tag, maybe they would have worked better for my mum though as being only twenty five I can’t help feel that maybe I was a bit young to really benefit from them.
Overall I have mixed feelings about the last two products here, I like them for one reason and don’t for another whereas the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator has seemed to come out shining. It’s not a miracle worker by any means but I think incorporating this into my skincare routine has helped to make a difference to the overall appearance of my skin.
It is extremely important to note that when using these types of exfoliants they will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and therefore sun damage so always ensure you incorporate an SPF into your routine. My favourite by far is the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SFP 50+ Ultra Light Fluid.