As you may know from my guides to exfoliation, I’m obsessed with helping my skin desquamate. Unlike a lot of other skincare addicts, I don’t have a favourite type of exfoliation – I’ve found that my skin responds best when I have all three of the major exfoliation types (physical, chemical and enzyme) in my routine. That’s why I’ve been really excited about the appearance of more combination exfoliation products on the market, and today I’m reviewing three of them: Pixi Beauty Peel & Polish, Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, and Ultraceuticals Ultra Dual Microfoliant.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of combination exfoliants?
There are a few benefits to having all the different types of exfoliation in the one product:
Firstly, it’s a massive time saver, especially since the individual products tend to be formulated for use at different stages of your routine: scrubs and enzymes are usually wash-off products that you use after cleanser, while chemical exfoliants are usually leave-on products that you use under moisturisers. These combo products are all rinse-off.
If you have sensitive skin, it means you only have to find one product that your skin can handle.
It’s also good for when you’re trying to play catch-up with your exfoliation and you want to blast your skin with everything at once without crossing over into the frustrating realm of overexfoliation. Having an all-in-one product means you don’t have to try to remember how much of each exfoliant your skin can handle when paired with other products. This is always a doozy because the number of combos you can make increases exponentially with more products. If you have 3 products it gives you 7 possible combinations, if you have 4 products you have 15 combinations… if you have 7 products (which sounds like a lot, but isn’t all that unusual if you count things like washcloths and sponges) it gives you a headache-inducing 127 combinations. And that doesn’t include other considerations like application order, other skincare treatments you might use them with, and the state of your skin before treatment.
The biggest downside to having a combination product is that it limits your ability to customise your skincare routine. For example, you can’t choose to use enzymes without using the acid at the same time, and you can’t choose to leave the acid on for longer (excluding the scrub isn’t usually an issue since you can just move the product around less).
It also makes it harder to work out which type of exfoliation your skin likes the most (though chances are it’s the whole package).
Onto the reviews:
Pixi Peel & Polish
- 6% lactic acid (chemical – AHA)
- polylactic acid (physical – microbeads)
- beraclay light red (physical – clay)
- papaya extract (enzyme – papain)
- sugar cane extract (??? I though this would be glycolic acid, but the packaging suggests that it’s physical)