7 Exfoliators to Try This Spring

When your skin's looking dull and breakouts are a constant battle, exfoliation is a must. Sounds like a very good reason for a Sweet road test….

A simple fact: Your skincare routine isn't complete unless you exfoliate regularly. It may seem scary, but dead, flaky skin isn't doing your complexion any favors.

If you're not sure how to select the best exfoliator for your skin, there are a few key things to consider. First, figure out your skin type to avoid any unnecessary irritation (sensitive faces fare better with a gentle wash versus an intense chemical peel, for example). Then, think about frequency: do you want a daily or weekly cleanser, or an intensive mask that will have you in tip-top shape after one use?

With all this and more in mind, the Sweet team tested out some amazing exfoliators—check out the suggestions below and see which one is right for you!

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For the Every-other-day Exfoliator: Philosophy Exfoliating Wash

Tester: Mallory Rice, deputy editor

My Skin type: Combination, sensitive

It Feels Like: An exfoliator that's gentle enough for daily use. It has a super-fine, sandy texture that's great for sensitive skin.

The Application: This actually works like a peel. After you activate it by gently rubbing it around on your skin, you wait 30 seconds for it to work its (mini) magic, then rinse.

The Results: Extremely smooth, and with a much shorter recovery period than usual (my skin normally needs 20 minutes or so to go from red to normal again).

The Verdict: I am definitely working this into my weekly routine. I'm not sure I'd really use it every day, but I think it would be a great every-other-day cleanser to keep my skin smooth and prepped for makeup application.

The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash by Philosophy, $28, ulta.com.

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For the Person with No Time: 10% Exfoliating Pads by Beauty Rx

Tester: Chantal Strasburger, assistant editor

My Skin type: Combination

It Feels Like: Rubbing sandpaper across my skin. But not as bad or painful as that sounds!

The Application: Incredibly simple—I just take a pad from the container and wipe it across my face. That's it! I've never seen exfoliators in this form, and I am very into it.

The Results: My skin feels slightly raw with the kind of sting that convinces you something must be working. Considering the pads remove the top layer of dead cells in order to reveal brighter skin, a little discomfort is to be expected—as they say: beauty is pain!

The Verdict: It's a one-step process with minimal effort, and the promise of glowing, even-toned skin is worth swiping a pad across my face every other night, so I intend on doing so until I run out! Or until my skin shines like a diamond—whichever comes first.

Advanced 10% Exfoliating Pads, $70, beautyrx.com.

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For the Beauty Guinea Pig: Wish Formula C200 Bubble Peeling Pad

Tester: Chanel Parks, assistant editor

My Skin type: Combination with dry patches

It Feels Like: Rough meets soft in a weird way, because while the applicator is a sponge, it also has a bumpy feel.

The Application: The directions say to rub your skin with the sponge for two to three minutes, which is a long time. It goes by faster than expected, though! It's so easy, too: Just wet the sponge, rub it on your face, then wash off the bubbles. I use the product all over my face and make sure to focus on my rough spots—near the nose and on my chin. Towards the end of application I can feel a slight sting, which I take as a sign that it's time to stop and wash off.

The Results: My skin is so smooth. Like, crazy smooth. It also provided a little brightness.

The Verdict: The bubbling sponge is fun to use and gives me a reason to be proactive about exfoliating, rather than putting it off. Also, I love how quickly it works, which allows me to get glowing skin in a matter of minutes.

Squish-and-Bubble Mesh Mask by Wish Formula, $7, glowrecipe.com.
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For the Goal-Setter: m-61 Power Glow Peel

Tester: Elana Rubin, editorial intern

My Skin Type: Normal to oily and slightly sensitive

It Feels Like: I feel a tingling sensation as I gently move the wipe around my face. There are ten individually packaged cloths in a box, and they're soaked in a lavender scent. I like the smell, but it's definitely an aroma that will linger.

The Application: At first, I'm a bit confused. I thought I was supposed to leave the peel on my face for one minute, like a mask. But you're actually supposed to wipe it over your face for that duration, like you do with a makeup-remover wipe.

The Results: My skin feels refreshed and hydrated, but also sticky. The product leaves a tacky finish on skin; again, it's similar to the feeling of a makeup-remover wipe.

The Verdict: I will try it again, as I'm curious about the long-term effects of this product. I feel like it may take multiple uses to yield the best results.

Power Glow Peel by M-61, $28, bluemercury.com.

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For the Luxurious: Bobbi Brown Radiance Boost Exfoliating Mask

Tester: Biya Haq, editorial intern

My Skin Type: Sensitive

It Feels Like: Being pampered in a five-star spa in the Swiss Alps. That's only a slight exaggeration.

The Application: The process is quick, easy, and very, very satisfying.

The Results: Usually I don't like to use exfoliation masks because of my sensitive skin (I turn into a strawberry), but this mask frees up my pores and leaves me feeling refreshed.

The Verdict: I'll be using this mask at least once a week. If one use has me feeling this good, I can't wait to see the results of using it for a couple more weeks!

Radiance Boost Mask, $47, bobbibrown.com.

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For the Restless: Frank Body Creamy Face Scrub

Tester: Tanya Weston, project manager

My Skin Type: Normal

It Feels Like: A much coarser exfoliator than I'm used to, with flecks of coffee grounds in the scrub. I wouldn't use this every day, but it's perfect when you need something extra.

The Application: Easy. Squeeze, apply, rinse. This scrub has a strong, invigorating coffee scent.

The Results: Very smooth. It certainly does the trick.

The Verdict: It works really well, but the scent and coarseness are not my favorite. The great results more than make up for it though.

Creamy Face Scrub, $20, frankbody.com

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For the Skeptic: Herbivore Pink Clay Exfoliating Mask

Tester: Ryan Adelson, editorial intern

My Skin Type: Dry

It Feels Like: A very clumpy and gooey mixture. (Disclaimer: I don't do masks very often.)

The Application: The application process is a little complicated for me. The instructions on the jar are not as precise as they could have been, and I have to do some guesswork on how to mix the mask. I can feel my skin tightening beneath the mask, so I assume I put it on correctly. I know the mask is ready to be rinsed off as soon as I feel it dry on my face.

The Results: My skin feels softer and looks smooth and shiny, just as the jar promises! I was a bit skeptical of the mask after the confusing application process, but I've been dealing with some particularly dry skin lately (due to cold weather) and after using this, I can actually feel and see a difference.

The Verdict: I would definitely try the mask again in hopes of perfecting the application and to keep my face radiant, while also feeling very soft.

Pink Clay Exfoliating Mask, $22, herbivorebotanicals.com.

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