It’s a warm, sunny and amazingly beautiful day here in Austin, making me long for summer and – and making me think about prepping my skin for summer! We are probably still one serious cold-snap away from consistently blissful weather, but my skin has suffered far more than usual this winter, so I’ve been stocking up on new exfoliating products and boy – I’ve found some winners!
Exfoliating is important to remove accumulated dead skin cells from your skin, to help clear out pores and hair follicles and to prep your skin to allow moisturizers to absorb by allowing them to penetrate deeply into healthy, vibrant skin. Moreover, it just feels good!
There is a lot of hype right now about dry brushing to improve circulation, refresh skin and stimulate the lymphatic system, and I tend to agree with most of the new “conventional” wisdom on this subject. The recommendation is to begin at your feet and, with long, sweeping strokes work up your body towards your heart. Your arms and upper body should also be brushed towards your heart to stimulate circulation. This all makes good sense – however, I don’t really think that you must use a dry brush (which can be a bit uncomfortable) to get great results or health benefits. To my mind, the important thing is to remove dead skin cells, give yourself a good massage to improve your circulation and spend a few minutes focusing on you and what feels good for you.
I love body polishes, which I consider to be any sort of abrasive material in a hydrating base. I love them because they often smell heavenly and leave your skin moisturized as well. They tend to be a bit less abrasive than more mechanical types of exfoliants, which is great for those with sensitive skin, oily skin or when pressed for time. They can often be used more frequently, too, depending on your skin type. My skin is so dry that I could easily use a body polish as part of my daily showering routine, and tend to use one at least three or four times a week.
Sweetsation is a cruelty-free company based in the US that makes small batches of skin care products. I have written about their skin care oil on this blog, and was delighted to have the opportunity to try the Allure Deluxe Roseraie Body Polish. This super-hydrating body scrub is a gorgeous pink color that has an intensely fragrant rose scent that is intoxicating. A small amount of this scrub goes a long way, gently exfoliating dead skin cells, working its magic on cellulite and leaving your skin refreshed and soft. The base is extremely moisturizing, and a soft pink sheen remains on your skin even after the shower. It’s lovely. With a retail price of $29.00 for a large 12 ounce tub, this product is simply a must-have! I have been using it about 4 times a week and I’ve barely made a dent in the container. As a side note, the company is an absolute pleasure to work with, they truly care about their customers and they have just launched an insider/rewards membership, so visit their website linked above. I’m excited to see what comes next from Sweetsation – I’m sure it will be amazing!
Of course, beauty junkies like us already have a host of products we are completely committed to, so if you’re looking for something that you can use your existing products with, I have two recommendations for you.
Thermalabs is a sunless tanning company dedicated to organic and safer methods of tanning, and we all know how important exfoliating is to sunless tanning! Their eco-friendly exfoliating gloves retail at $15.99 and wow! is this a great value for this set. Made of natural fibers, the package comes with three gloves and a finger glove with different purposes, all to exfoliate and leave skin refreshed and renewed. Choosing between the bamboo fiber and loofah, sisal or jute gloves would be a tough choice, but Thermalabs includes a very informative guide that tells you exactly which glove is best suited to each goal and skin type! It’s a very interesting read and I am excited to play with the different gloves with different products to see what results I can create. So far, I’m pretty impressed with the sisal and the bamboo/loofah but tonight I’m going to try the jute glove dry with an anti-cellulite body lotion that I’ve been waiting to try. If you are extremely left-hand dominant, this product could pose a challenge – all of the gloves are righty which is fine for me, but could be tricky if you were not very dexterous. My final thought on this product is this: these gloves are amazing for arthritic hands. I often struggle simply opening a jar, so holding on to a loofah or bath pouf for the entire time I want to shower or bath can range from difficult to impossible depending on how much my Rheumatoid Arthritis is bothering me on any given day. These gloves totally – and I mean totally – eliminate that challenge. It slides on to your hand easily and allows you to use your own hand to exfoliate. It’s so wonderful and rare to find products that are actually arthritis friendly, so a definite three-cheers to Thermalabs for that added bonus!
Last, but certainly not least, is the also arthritis-friendly ExfoliMATE Magic Body Cloth from Green Heart Labs. With a retail price of $14.99, the fun, animal-print (pictured above) body cloth is idea for reaching hard-to-reach areas. You simply moisten the cloth, place a small amount of the product of your choice on the cloth and go town on your skin. The cloth is long enough that you can easily get hard-to-reach spots like your back. This product is less abrasive than many other of the mechanical scrubbing tools, so if you’re looking for something fragrance-free, that you can use your own product with that is less abrasive than some of the other options, this would be a great choice for you. This product is one that I will definitely keep on hand at all times: to clean it, you simply toss it in the washing machine and you’re good to go. I like to travel quite a bit and despite the fact that cloth is quite long and wide, it folds into a nice little palm-sized nugget perfect for travel! Even if you don’t think this product is right for you – and I assure you it is – spend some time on Green Heart Labs website – they have several products that I’m eager to try – and a couple that just make you smile!
Happy scrubbing! Next up…the definitive guide to mascara.