True Grit: A Head-to-Toe Exfoliation Guide

You know the basics: Exfoliation—the act of buffing away dead skin cells—is the key to unclogging pores and keeping your skin buttery smooth. But did you know that not all exfoliators are created equal? What you need for your face is vastly different than what you need for, say, your feet. In service of smarter skincare, allow us to outline the best products and methods for four core areas.


When it comes to your more tender facial skin, you’ll want a gentler formula. After splashing on some warm water, we recommend something like Strivectin-SD’s Instant Retexturizing Scrub, which uses jojoba buffing beads to slough off dead cells and oat bran to calm any irritation. If your skin is acne or blackhead prone, a formula that contains salicylic acid, like Peter Thomas Roth’s Complexion Correction Pads, can help clear pores of built-up sebum and dirt without all the rough scrubbing.


If you’re really going for gold, try dry brushing your arms, legs, back and the whole shebang before you even step into the shower. The technique does away with dead skin while also boosting circulation and improving digestion. If you’d rather keep it to a single step in the shower, grab a loofah or a glove like MicrodermaMitt’s Body Mitt, which is especially good at tackling the rough spots on your elbows and knees.


For the gnarly skin on the backs of your heel or the soles of your feet, you’ll need to call in the big guns—a pumice stone or a callous remover which can really dig in. Just make sure to soak your feet in warm water before you start filing down any rough patches.


They’re easy to overlook, but chapped lips can get the best of anyone, especially in the winter. When you’re in a pinch, grab a wet toothbrush and gently rub it over the offending area to smooth away any flakes, then follow-up with a hydrating lip balm. For a more portable, long-term solution, try Supersmile’s Ultimate Lip Treatment. It’s a supercharged all-in-one balm which not only helps exfoliate and heal parched skin, but also rehydrates it every time that you lick your lips—no second application needed.

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