Exfoliation is perhaps the most entertaining part of any skincare routine, and part of being a beauty editor is experimentation, so I get to try some truly out-of-the-box (literally, metaphorically) scrubs and peels. Some aren't so hot, but others are pretty darn exciting and even, dare I say...fun. I've discovered my share of weird but wonderful gems, so I wanted to share a few of the most enjoyably strange exfoliants with you. Give these a try—your skin will thank you, and the part of you that loved elementary-school science projects will feel infinitely more fulfilled:
Most Fun Physical Exfoliant: Konjac Sponges
A konjac sponge is the exfoliation equivalent of French kissing. The first time you see it, you're like “Ewwww, that looks wet and slobbery and and why would someone do that?!” But then you try it and instantly understand (unless it's a bad kiss or low-quality sponge, I guess).
Konjac is a daily exfoliator for sensitive skin. You won't notice much of a difference immediately, but if you're going to use something that often, it should be super gentle, right? It looks like the love child of a Beauty Blender and a pumice stone, but it's actually a root that's biodegradable, sustainable, and vegan. The ones I like also have bamboo charcoal, which makes them antimicrobial. I don't use a cleanser with it—just lightly buff in circles over my face for a couple minutes after I've been in the shower.
Most Fun Foot Exfoliant: The Baby Foot Peel
Be warned: Baby Foot is a commitment. The “kit' is basically just a pair of plastic baggies full of acid that you put on for an hour, squish around in, then rinse.
Initially, it'll seem like Baby Foot didn't work at all. That is at least until around day four, when the entire bottom of your foot skin will fall off in a big, slough-y sheet. After the initial de-skinnification, they'll keep shedding for weeks. It's gross! You won't want to show anyone your feet at all! Excelsior! But then? Baby feet. Literally skin so silky you'll be re-moisturizing them twice a day and buying sandals just so people know how superior your toes look.
Most Fun Exfoliating Mask: Éminence Citrus + Kale Potent C + E
This stuff is green and gloopy and really fun to peel off (it's also available online June 1). It kinda looks like creamed spinach, but I love creamed spinach, so it's a win-win for me. And isn't my personal happiness what's most important here?
The AHAs from the citrus acids definitely eat off a layer of skin, but it's not as harsh as your average glycolic or salicylic acid peel, so you can use it a couple times a week without wrecking your face. Plus, as someone who continuously forgets to set a timer and then ends up leaving stuff on too long, I enjoy that this thing just dries on its own and won't burn my face off if I'm too busy watching True Detective to properly remove it right away.
Most Fun Exfoliating Liquid: Pixi Glow Tonic
I was going to bring this into the office to photograph, but I realized I'd actually used the whole bottle and then cut the top open to get the last drops. I'm not a toner person, but Pixi Glow is completely different. It's not drying at all—in fact, it leaves my skin feeling distinctly softer—and it's a great brightener. For texture and clarity, I really think it's one of the best things I've ever tried, and it's so easy. I have pale, thin, easily-inflamed skin that's basically like a Litmus test for irritants, and I can still use it every day without ending up a red, irritated mess. It kinda is magic—just make sure you aren't using another exfoliant before or after, and put on sunscreen, since the acids in it make your skin UV-sensitized.
Photos by Lacey Gattis.