New Year, New Skin

Our resolution recommendation: pledge to shed with one of these tested exfoliators

Your New Year’s promises may include some form of inner detoxing from overindulging your sweet tooth or even your taxed liver. Me? I’m resolving to add a skin brightening exfoliator to my beauty routine to help my skin recover the glow it lost from a holiday season’s worth of primer, foundation, loose powder, blush, and highlighter.

Exfoliating has been around since ancient Egypt, when the resplendent Cleopatra routinely dipped herself in sour donkey milk to reap the gentle sloughing of lactic acid for fresher complexion. Beauty nerd or not, you should know that every skin type—even gentle, sensitive ones—benefits from some exfoliating, which smooths and hydrates skin while cleaning out debris-clogged pores. Regular scrubbing (or even peeling) makes your skin more receptive to serums and creams, getting you the results you want faster.

The trick is making sure you are shedding your old skin cells and not the top, sensitive layer of your skin. To that end, forget those old school drugstore scrubs made with finely pulverized apricot and walnut shells, which leave you with some micro-tears in your skin.

Today’s best exfoliators are made with gentler yet effective ingredients and come in a variety of textures. If you’re afraid of getting that reddened flare-up after using a sandpapery type of treatment or don’t think you have the time to do this weekly, fret not. I tested a variety of treatments for their smoothness. Click through the slideshow to see my favorite creamy scrubs, gentle peels, and even one treatment made just for your delicate eye area—all of which should take you anywhere from 3-10 minutes to resurface the skin.

A native Angeleno, Navdeep Mundi is a Leo, hates cilantro, and has studied beauty products for more than 18 years. She spends her days directing media and strategy and her nights sniffing out slightly quirky yet impeccably pretty things along with her German Shepherd, Le Tigre.