Things We Finish: ExfoliKate


Annnd another one bites the dust. This week we hear from our Senior Editor, Annie, on the exfoliating treatment she used till the bitter end.

It was a woman by the name of Oprah Winfrey that got a 12-year-old me hooked on facial exfoliation, specifically baking soda combined with Cetaphil cleanser. I would press and mush and violently massage the grainy mix into my skin until I turned the rawest shade of red—because that's exfoliation, right? Kids, you see, are stupid. Exfoliation shouldn't feel like a DIY cabinet resurfacing project. But I can't deny the gratification I get from a grainy texture—I'm still trying to accept the way some brands call a watery liquid a "lotion;" it's hard enough without having to factor in the revelation that exfoliators do not need to be tactile, physical scrubs, but come in the form of gentler, chemical versions as well.

And that's why I love love love Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate, which marries both physical and chemical exfoliation into one asparagus-colored, herby pineapple-scented paste. The physical exfoliator comes in the form of tiny beads that feel like fine grains of sand, and it contains everything from fruit enzymes to lactic acid which rep the chemical side of things. After washing, I pat dry, mist my face with Evian water, and gently massage a two pea-sized amount of ExfoliKate around my face in small circular motions—concentrating on any areas where I'm a bit flakey, like where a zit has healed and the scab is hanging on for dear life. This part doesn't last any longer than about 20 seconds. Then I just let it sit for about a minute, so the enzymes and acids can get to work. I rinse with lukewarm water, pat dry, and glow. I really like using it when I need perfect makeup application—the smoothing results are instant and I guess you could say similar to a resurfacing project, leaving to fresh and ready to paint. Or just ready for moisturizer—your skin will soak it up.

It's pricier than your run-of-the-mill facial exfoliator—$85 for 2 oz.—but those 2 oz., used two to three times a week, lasted me an entire year. I hurt myself trying to squeeze the last little bit from the tube. Worth it.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Photos by Kim Johnson.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Rachel Medlock

    Sounds like a great product. Any product you finish, as opposed to letting it die a slow death in a bathroom cabinet, is worth the money.



  • Katie Francis

    Don't hurt yourself squeezing the last dregs of something from a tube, I always cut the top off my favourite products so I can scrape every little bit from the inside.

  • Laura Mitchell

    Do any of ya'll ever get facials and microdermabrasion?

    • Jess

      Would love a post on this too!!

  • Liz

    I got a sample of this stuff with my last Sephora purchase....sigh. It was amazing. It's on my list. You're right about perfect makeup application - I have dry skin that sometimes gets flaky, but this stuff made my face ridiculously, perfectly smooth!

  • fancies&beauty

    I will have to try this. I've tried Kate Somerville moisturizer before and really liked that.

  • thunderlegz

    Did we say (from the thread about Liv Tyler) that baking soda was good/bad in the end for a face?

  • Asianginger

    I do like Kate's but it's a bit stinging for my sensitive skin. I like Grand Central Beauty Skin Perfecting Polisher- it is an exfoliating fruit peel.

  • Thu

    Your writing is inspirational Annie!

  • ITG Annie

    So microbeads is just a general descriptor, it doesn't necessarily mean that the product contains the bad stuff. But, I just did a little digging to figure this out... so Polyethylene and polypropylene are the ingredients to look out for that signal the soon-to-be-banned microbeads. This product DOES contain the first. :/ BUT! Luckily brands know that these will soon be banned, and are reformulating or discontinuing certain products. We'll have to look out to see how the brand reformulates!

    • Mademoiselle nature

      super, looking foward to see the reformulated one :-).x

    • dana

      Thank you so much Annie for looking into this and posting a response!! My love for ITG grows....

    • Grace

      For the products with microbeads, consider wiping it off with cotton pads instead of rinsing, beads go in the bin, skin gets the benefits, keeps the fishies happy!

  • Violet

    Paula's choice gave this exfoliator a "poor" grade. I've tried it and it has left me red and my face feeling icy which I've heard is a bad thing.

    • Amanda

      Yeah, it's definitely not the best. If you only leave it on for the time it says (2 minutes) it's not long enough for the lactic acid to actually exfoliate. Not sure about the enzymes but I'm skeptical about those. On top of that, half the ingredient list is fragrant essential oils. So really you're left with an $85 scrub.

      BUT, I think if you don't have sensitive skin and you like scrub-y products, this is okay to use once in a while.

  • Jennifer Monforton

    The smiley face and the green colour (didn't know about either of these details) are making this extra tempting for me! May have to grab a sample next time I'm at Sephora :)

  • Amanda

    I really like this exfoliator and when I use it I actually leave it on for longer than the 2 minutes it says to. Livin' life in the fast lane!

    I don't use it as my primary exfoliation because I prefer leave-on products (and cheaper ones) that are better for my rosacea. But if I have a special event and I want my skin to look extra flawless, I use this the night before and also as I'm getting ready and boom magic.

  • felineloulou

    this might be a really dumb question but should i exfoliate even if i use a clarisonic when i was my face?

    • ITG Annie

      For me, a Clarisonic in conjunction with an exfoliator would be too much. I've had to train myself to not over-exfoliate, because at the time it feels like you're really doing something. But after giving my skin a break from exfoliating, I get less zits and stuff.

      • Sara Ashtaryeh

        How do you know if you are over exfoliating? I may be addicted to my Clarisonic...

  • Aubrey

    Annie, super random question: but do you have any tattoos? and if you do of what?

    • ITG Annie

      Yes, I got a green horseshoe on my bikini line when I was 16 with a fake ID, by a guy named Bubba. It was actually from a pretty reputable shop in Dallas, I'm amazed it worked!

  • charmystique

    I love Ole Henriksen's Lemon Strip Flash Peel for exfoliation! Might sting a little bit on sensitive skin, but your skin gradually builds a tolerance for it.

  • Katie

    OOoh looks nice. Love a good exfoliation! Thinking about splurging....

  • Inkygrl

    I love this product but found a less pricey scrub that's similar: Vasanti Brighten Up Enzymatic Facial Rejuvenator. I got a sample in my Birchbox one month and then sprung for the full size. It's around $40.

  • Duff

    Soooooo good. And the smell? Clovey, cinnamony goodness. Divine.

  • Kelly G

    Sounds like an amazing products! I'll have to check it out! xo Kelly

  • sophie

    Polish by Osmosis is a really great similar kinda exfoliator (fruit enzymes, lactic acid etc). And just bought one called Facial Glow by Elemental Herbology that I'm looking forward to trying...

  • lemonpie

    My favorite (body) scrub is diy: oil (coconut, olive..) and (coarse) sugar. It's amazing.

  • ITG Annie

    Right, Kate Somerville has made no mention (to us at least) of a reformulation. But just with some knowledge of where brands are having to move towards with their ingredients and the new laws, etc., it's my best guess that they'd probably want to reformulate one of their most popular products.

  • cpgreenwood

    I like this series.

  • Chel

    I've been using it for 3 years or longer now and haven't had a need to change things up. Also I think her oil free moisturizer is my favorite for when I just want a plain light weight moisturizer that smells like nothing.

  • Erin Whitlock Brown

    I cannot get enough of this product. I love to slather it on in the shower. The steam + tingling sensation are like a mini spa session.

  • Jamis

    Sorry gals, as soon as I read lactic acid and didn't see AHA or BHA mentioned I knew this was going to be problematic, but don't take my word for it:
    Beautypedia Review: Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment is billed as the next best thing to seeing Kate Somerville for an appointment. Well, we don’t think so, not even remotely so. Packaged in an opaque tube, this ordinary topical scrub contains plastic beads as the scrub particles, plus lactic acid. You’re supposed to apply it to your skin, massage for 30 seconds, then leave it on for up to 2 minutes, then rinse. That’s not much time for the lactic acid to work, but the pH of this scrub is too high for exfoliation to occur regardless of how long you leave it on your skin. Actually, leaving this on your skin for even 1 second is a mistake: it’s fraught with irritants, including geranium, rosewood, cinnamon, orange, and patchouli oils. No wonder the company states that redness (flushing) may appear several minutes after removing this from skin; it’s not “increased circulation” in a healthy sense—it’s increased circulation as a direct response to intense irritation, and that’s bad for skin.


Kate Somerville
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment