Exfoliator – SKINCARE SECRETS, Sugar & Spice

Today we’re touching on one of my favourite types of skincare – exfoliator!

I’m sure that all of you (like me) are constantly on the hunt for products that will result in softer, smoother skin.  Exfoliating is one of my favourite parts of skincare, as you see and feel results so fast.  It’s recommended that you exfoliate your skin 2 to 3 times a week, and I do just that – however I don’t do it with the same product each time.  I like to use a strong exfoliator once a week, and then every other day or so I’ll use one that’s much more gentle and even mild enough for daily use.

There are also different forms of exfoliationphysical and chemicalPhysical exfoliators are ones where you can actually feel the scrubby bits that buff the skin.  These can often feel the most effective, but aren’t always recommended for people with sensitive skin.  You should also be careful about which kind of physical exfoliation you use.  Some of the ‘scrubby bit’s’ are made using microbeads (REALLY bad for the environment, so frowned upon quite harshly), and if the pieces that scrub the skin are too big or rough, they can actually result in micro-tears in the skin – so while your skin feels amazing after each use, they’re potentially damaging your skin for the future.

Chemical exfoliators use acids or enzymes to get rid of dead skin and build up.  While hearing the word ‘acids’ may cause you to think they can be extremely harsh, this isn’t always the case!  Sure, a chemical peel in a professional salon is a very intense form of exfoliation, most at-home products are designed to be very gentle, or you gradually increase your skin’s tolerance to them – i.e. you start with having them on your skin for short periods of time and gradually increase that to longer periods.  Others are so gentle that they can be used every single day!  If you have sensitive skin, you’ll more likely benefit more from a chemical exfoliator.

I can talk for DAYS about exfoliation and why it’s so important (just ask my husband, my sister and my friends – I swear their eyes glaze over), but it’s vital.  A lot of us spend large amounts on lotions and potions to keep us looking younger for longer – but if you’re not getting rid of dead skin cells and build up, you’re ultimately throwing the elixir of life at a suit of armour.  They just won’t penetrate your skin effectively.


Exfoliator – SKINCARE SECRETS, Sugar & Spice

Esse Cocoa Exfoliator 

I’ve raved about this many times.  It’s probably my top physical exfoliator of choice!

Not only is this very gentle, it’s packed with natural, organic goodness.  It uses cocoa to exfoliate, and smells just like chocolate covered Turkish delight.  I’m left with baby soft skin that’s been buffed and polished to perfection.  LOVE using this before makeup application.

It’s also packed with lots of natural oils, so it helps to delicately nourish your skin too.

Previously mentioned in: –

Empties April 2020

Best of Skincare 2019

April & May Favourites 2017

Exfoliator – SKINCARE SECRETS, Sugar & Spice

L’Oreal Smooth Sugars Glow Scrub*

These Smooth Sugars scrubs were released in South Africa just last year – and they were met with a great deal of enthusiasm too, as there have been amazing reviews from overseas!

There are 3 in the range, but I’ll only mention the 2 that I like – the Glow Scrub, and the one I’ll talk to you about next.

The Glow scrub has the closest texture and result to the Esse Cocoa Exfoliator, but being a drugstore product, it’s more affordable if you’re on a strict budget.  It buffs the skin gently but effectively, and the grapeseed oil it contains leaves skin glowing with health.  It also contains monoi oil and acai powder, so it’s like an energizing smoothie for your face.

These scrubs can also be used on your lips!

Previously mentioned in: –

May Favourites 2019

Best of Skincare 2019


Exfoliator – SKINCARE SECRETS, Sugar & Spice

L’oreal Smooth Sugars Nourish Scrub*

The Nourish Scrub, while containing cacao butter and smelling deliciously of chocolate, is actually a lot more creamy and nourishing than the Esse Cocoa Exfoliator.

I felt I definitely preferred the Glow Scrub overall, however this is an absolute GEM in winter, when you need all the extra moisture and nourishment that you can get.  This contains not only the cacao butter, but also coconut oil and cacao grains, so you’ll get a beautiful exfoliation, and your skin will feel moisturised after each use.

Also amazing to use on the lips, preps them perfectly for lipstick.

Previously mentioned in: –

June Favourites 2019

Winter Skin Saviours

Exfoliator – SKINCARE SECRETS, Sugar & Spice

Codage Scrubbing Cream

Years ago, when I did an international box swap, I received a small tube of this it was a deluxe sample size, or a travel size.  Either way, it contained enough for a handful of uses.

I have NEVER found a physical exfoliator to work this well.  In fact it even topped off the Esse one!  It’s a thick, white cream with some scrubby particles in.  They don’t feel very intense or large, but you basically massage this into dry (cleansed) skin until the cream has sunk in.  Then you rinse the remaining little particles away and feel your skin – dreamily soft and smooth.

This is designed with sensitive skins in mind, so it’s very gentle, and I’d use it before a party or night out, so my makeup would go on better.  When I used this, I actually had people tell me that my skin was glowing!

I know that Metropolitan Cosmetics do sell Codage products, but they seem to be out of this – hopefully it’s just a temporary Covid-19 issue and they’ll be restocked!

Previously mentioned in: –

My All Time Favourites

Birthday Wishlist 2019

My Ultimate Christmas Wishlist 2017

Exfoliator – SKINCARE SECRETS, Sugar & Spice

Dermalogica AGE Smart Multivitamin Thermafoliant

The unicorn of the exfoliator world – this is a combination of both physical AND chemical exfoliation!

I have had some hits and misses with the Dermalogica brand in the past – products I was obsessed with, or products that I had reactions to, never anywhere in between.  I’d be willing to bed that when I had reactions though, my skin was irritated with an impaired barrier (something I only learned about a few years after the incidents), and that the products that contain many actives, something my skin wasn’t accustomed to, were just too much at that time.

Either way – my skin ADORED this Thermafoliant!  It contains microgranules that physically exfoliate, as well as salicylic acid and retinol (and a load of vitamins) to chemically exfoliate and resurface the skin.  Plus, as you massage the product into the skin, it heats up!  It can be used on dry skin for a deeper, more intense exfoliation, or on damp skin for a more gentle one.  I used it on both, and never experienced any irritation whatsoever.

Beautiful stuff and amazing as a fortnightly treat!

Previously mentioned in: –

August Favourites 2017

Best of Skincare 2017

Exfoliator – SKINCARE SECRETS, Sugar & Spice

Optiphi Refine-Foliant*


I’m at this point in my love affair with Optiphi, where I feel like they can do no wrong.  I’ve never before used a brand where the products were so consistently effective!  I see results from them all, and out of all the products I’ve tried from the brand, this one is my favourite.

I’ve long been a lover of glycolic acid as a chemical exfoliant (and I still love it, but in a different way, as I prefer to use it as a daily/every other day gentle exfoliant now).  I’ve used ascorbic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid, and sure – I’ve enjoyed them.  However, after my very first use of the Refine-Foliant (from when they were in the pretty blue glass bottles), I’ve begun to lean towards these as my primary form of exfoliation.

I apply this at night, and I leave it on while I sleep, only removing it the following morning.  My skin is now used to it, and I can do this – however when you first begin, you need to let your skin become accustomed to it.  I began by applying it to clean, dry skin, leaving it on for 5 minutes, and then rinsing it off, before following up with my regular night time skincare.  I gradually increased this time to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes – you get my drift.

I have zero tingling or stinging, it doesn’t leave my skin red, yet I felt a real difference in the smoothness of my skin after just one use.  And with each use after that, I’ve felt more.  If I have a big event, I’ll often use some of this the night before, as I know my skin will be smooth and glowing – perfect for makeup application.  I’ve never had a product work so well, with so little irritation!

If I had to only ever use one product to exfoliate for the rest of my life – this would be it.

Previously mentioned in: –

July Favourites 2019

Best of Skincare 2019

Optiphi Classic Facial at M∙E∙G Skin & Body Experts

Exfoliator – SKINCARE SECRETS, Sugar & Spice

Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer

Another Dermalogica goodie – in one post!

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this, as I used it years ago (and occasionally raid my mom’s stash for one when I’ve run out of my own exfoliator).

This to my knowledge is much like their Daily Microfoliant, but in a much stronger form – each dose comes in the form of a pre-soaked little wipe that slips onto a finger, and contains a blend of AHA’s, BHA’s and enzymes to exfoliate the skin gently, but effectively.

I really enjoy the little wipe this comes on, as it also feels exfoliating in itself, and these are great to use as a more gentle way or polishing the skin.  I wouldn’t personally use them daily, but maybe every other day?  I also feel that my skin feels more hydrated when using these.  Beautifully gentle!



Keen on catching up on the previous posts in this series?  

Cleanser/Makeup Remover


Serum & Facial Oils

Eye Cream 




Have you tried any of these exfoliators?  What’s your favourite way of polishing your skin?

*DISCLAIMER – while some of these products were gifted to me in PR, all my opinions are honest and my own.


Beauty and Lifestyle blogger, wine addict and all-round lover of all things beautiful and sparkly!

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