It’s time to exfoliate!

It’s time to exfoliate!

I know the world is often leery of the word exfoliate. Many people fall into the only chemical exfoliators please.  Just give me the AHAs and get out.  (Or whatever their chemical exfoliate of choice is, there are many to choose from after all.) And there are some who are physical exfoliation only. And there are some who feel horror at the thought of their non-chosen choice or at either actually as they feel neither is necessary.

Personally, I use both.  While I am still experimenting with the chemical varieties, as I have not been playing with them long.  I have used physical exfoliators since I as a teenager.  And let me tell you, some of those early physical exfoliators were rough. 


With physical exfoliates there are two main things you want to watch out for.  The first is large harsh particles.  The larger, harsher bits can actually cause micro tears in the skin and that isn’t something anyone wants.  The most often culprit is walnut shell.  While powdered walnut or walnut extract can be fine, generally walnut shell is going to be a little on the harsh side.  If you take a bit of the exfoliate between your fingers and rub, you shouldn’t feel like there are hard pebbles in the mix.  If there are and you can dent them with your fingernail then you should be fine, if they are hard solid things, you might want to think twice about it. 

Or at least that is my rule of thumb. (Literally as I use my thumbnail).

I also do not have overly sensitive skin, so keep that in mind too.

The second thing you have to watch out with physical exfoliation is overdoing it.  I generally use a physical exfoliator at best once a week, and really often only once a month.  I use my exfoliators sparingly and generally when I just feel I need a bit of a scrub down.

For those who have been following my ongoing skincare use and evaluation, you know that a few weeks back I had some product reaction followed by hormonal breakouts which led to the incorporation of blemish fighting products loaded with salicylic acid. While great for fighting breakouts it does tend to dry the skin out a little bit.  Which isn’t surprising really when you think about it as it is drying out the blemish and there for the skin around it gets dry too. 

Plus as the blemish itself dries out if can leave flaky bits .

I generally find that just as things more or less finish up healing, I need a good physical exfoliant to scrub me down a bit.  I am currently reaching for the Kaoilin Micro Exfoliant from Annmarie Skincare. It came in a sample set that Annmarie skincare sent to me. I personally love this sample kit.  Actually I really like most of Annmarie’s sample kits.  They generally bundle a few of their products in sample size and offer them for a small price.  (This bundle of three: Kaolin micro exfoliant, charcoal cacao mask, and pearl illuminating mask retails for $12.99). Then you get a coupon code with the bundle that lets you take most if not all of the sample price off of a purchase.  While this bundle was sent to me by the brand I tend to pick up their sample bundles quite often.  (Less so now because I am trying to work through my skincare backups and clear a few things out).  The trick for me is deciding which product I actually want to order because I really like the brand. I love poking around their samples section on their website.

Get the Hydration & Exfoliation set to love your skin! $12.99 with free shipping

Annmarie Skincare is a clean skincare brand and one of my favorite things about them (besides their products) is that if you go on their website and click on their blog, scrolling down to their about the brand not only gets you news about their new releases and such but it also gets you to their annual sustainability report. They publish one each year, obviously, and you can what they are doing each year and see how it meshes with your thoughts on clean and sustainable.

I’ve noticed every brand seems to draw that line a little differently so I really appreciate being able to see in detail where they draw their lines (which quite honestly are pretty good)

the sample sized exfoliator

But feeling good about the brand and liking the actual product are not always the same thing.  There are several brands out there whose ethos I like, but whose products fall short of the mark.  I cheer them on and keep my fingers crossed, but their products aren’t quite there yet. You know those brands. The ones you really want to like, but just don’t end up using?

I’ve never really had that problem with Annmarie skincare and I didn’t have that problem with this exfoliator. 

*Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, *Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, [Sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate, Lauryl glucoside (saponified oils of coconut oil and plant starches/sugars)], *Glycerin (vegetable derived), *Diatomaceous earth (silica crystals), *Montmorillonite (green kaolin clay), Populus tremuloides (aspen) bark extract, Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, Essential oils [Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Salvia officinalis (sage), Cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass)], Xanthan gum (wood pulp derived).*Organically grown or wildcrafted

Wildcrafted: A selection of the herbs used in our line are hand picked in the mountains where they grow wild—this is the definition of wildcrafted. When we use wildcrafted herbs, we know that no commercial farming methods have been used, and that the plants are hearty, vibrant and full of skin-nourishing nutrients.

Annmarie Skincare

The Kaolin Micro Exfoliant doesn’t look that appealing in the jar. It is a tannish mud color. The scent is surprisingly of rosemary, at least to me. There is some aloe type scent helping to balance it a little bit but it is very rosemary to me. It isn’t overpowering but it does have an herbal/medicinal scent to it. I was expecting more of a clay scent to it if I am honest. Or something more earthy at least given the color, but it is a bright herbal scent instead.

Which I’m not mad about at all.

a small ammout goes a long way

The texture is of very fine grained sand and there are no hard particles or lumps in the mix. Very little product is actually needed. I dipped my finger into the small jar, rubbed the resulting product on the fist two fingers of each hand and then applied it to my face. I concentrated on the places where I get blocked pores and on the areas that have just healed from break outs, but that little bit of product is just enough to cover my entire face.

This is especially nice as it means that this small sample sized jar has more than enough product to last over a month. At the moment I am exfoliating once a week. If I use it less, then it will last longer, but for now that is where I am for this time of year and my skin’s concerns.

The product rinsed off cleanly and easily and I have to say I really like the way my skin feels after being rinsed off. Any dry flakiness is gone and my skin is smooth. I like to follow my physical exfoliators with a good oil and this time I used the Anti-aging oil from Annmarie. One drop is all that is needed as it is pretty spreadable stuff. I’ll be honest, the oil is my least favorite Annmarie product and the only one I don’t tend to reorder. I’ll use it if it is around because it is a nice formula, but it is too intensely herbal and medicinal scented even for me. It is a good oil, but once again my nose gets me in trouble.

Thus far it is the only product I don’t absolutely love from the brand, so I am okay with that.

But I do like to follow my exfoliation with a small amount of some sort of facial oil. I know it isn’t science but there is a part of my brain that thinks that now I’ve exfoliated my skin may be more accepting of products so I always add a good quality facial oil. Whether that is true or not I don’t know, but it works with my skin.

For me, the Kaolin Micro Exfoliant was a triumph and it certainly goes on the list of Annmarie Skincare products to reorder. It is gentle enough that I could use it more than once a week if I felt the need, but I will probably stick to my once a week approach. It does nothing I don’t want and everything I do want in an exfoliator and it has no bad stuff in the mix for me to worry about. Over all, its a definite win.

$12.99 Pure & Proven Trial Set: Kaolin Micro Exfoliant, Illuminating Pearl Mask, Charcoal Cacao Mask

$12.99 Pure & Proven Trio

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