Exfoliation is one of the most natural things in the world. Trees do it. Snakes do it. Lizards do it. And we humans do it too! Your skin turns over on a regular basis — usually around every 28 to 30 days — but sometimes, it could use a little help speeding up the process. If your skin is looking dull or you’re noticing flakiness or a rougher texture than normal, it could be a sign that it’s time to exfoliate. Exfoliation helps you renew your skin and helps your serums and moisturizers absorb better, giving you a beautiful, radiant glow.
The number one thing you should know about exfoliation before you start scrubbing at your face? Be gentle and listen to your skin! Helga Hefner, Aveda’s manager of Professional Spa Education, is a wealth of skin care knowledge — she travels around the country educating spa teams and aspiring estheticians and has some seriously glowing, gorgeous skin herself.
“The importance of exfoliation in your regimen is to help remove the excess buildup of dead, dull surface cells that accumulates on skin and allow the skin to renew itself more evenly,” she says. “If you have congested pores, for example, that’s a buildup. For a lot of skin challenges, buildup is at the root. That’s why it’s important to exfoliate.”
First, begin your daily exfoliation with the Tulasāra Radiant Facial Dry Brush. Helga actually helped create this innovative, super-soft facial brush. “We created ours because many on the market are way too aggressive on the face,” she explains. “Your face is more sensitive and vulnerable to the environment.” The brush was created in an oval shape with undulating bristles to contour to the curves and crevices of your face. For best results, Helga recommends using it on dry skin every morning or evening and sweeping in upward, circular motions for maximum exfoliation.
One of Helga’s favorite products for gentle, daily exfoliation is the Botanical Kinetics liquid Exfoliant, a biochemical exfoliant for gentle turnover. (Biochemical exfoliants use CHEMICALS to exfoliate the skin.) “It contains salicylic acid as the primary exfoliating ingredient – it’s formulated to be gentle yet powerful,” Helga says. The surface cells of your skin, called the stratum corneum, have bonds that keep them held together. They’ll naturally break due to natural daily friction, but exfoliants like the liquid Exfoliant helps dissolve them more quickly. Apply it in the evening with a cotton ball after cleansing but before you tone either once or twice daily, depending on your skin.
Once or twice a week, give your skin some extra exfoliation with a mechanical exfoliant like Botanical Kinetics Radiant Skin Refiner. (Mechanical exfoliants are things like scrubs and microdermabrasion treatments that use MOVEMENT to exfoliate the skin.) “It’s more aggressive exfoliation,” says Helga. “The key to using our Refiner is not to use a lot of pressure on the skin. Let the granules (bamboo extract particles) do the work. Applying more pressure creates unnecessary stimulation to the skin and can cause irritation and undue stress to the skin – be gentle!”
If you’re in need of a spa day — and who isn’t, honestly? — you’ll be happy to know that we offer three different professional treatments for exfoliation. Aveda spa treatments are priced by time increment, not service, so you can really tailor your 60 minutes to what your skin needs, and your esthetician will work with you to create the ideal regimen. “No two treatments are the same,” Helga says. “Our approach is to pick a focus – whatever will bring the biggest change in the skin – and exfoliation is usually at the top. It’s not the only thing we do, but it will give you the most visible, immediate results.”
However, Helga stresses being gentle and thoughtful with your skin. “Exfoliation is one of the most powerful methods of skin transformation, but it can also be the most damaging depending on what you’re using. Be gentle! Too much exfoliation can prematurely age the skin,” Helga says. “You don’t need to exfoliate something that isn’t ready to come off.” She notes that Aveda’s lineup of high performance skin care products and treatments are effective and safe to maintain integrity of the skin if used as directed. “When you exfoliate, you’re disputing the skin barrier, don’t be too aggressive!”
Post-exfoliation, help your skin recover with hydration! Helga loves the lightweight Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Treatment Lotion, a liquid lotion to help skin absorb more moisture and stay plump and fresh. Make sure your skin is fully saturated with the product — apply it to hands, press it into the skin and apply it again until your skin isn’t absorbing any more product. After you’re done, reach for your favorite Tulasāra Concentrate or serum and apply moisturizer as usual. You’ll be ready to glow and show off healthy-looking, radiant skin in no time at all, thanks to the beauty of plants and science!