We’re not just talking about the body because, when we say a head-to-toe exfoliation routine, we literally mean head-to-toe: scalp, face, and all over the body.
Read on, because we share our “baby skin” head-to-toe exfoliation routine, our best tips on exfoliation, and even reveal the exact face scrub K-pop idol Somi uses in her morning skincare ritual!
What is exfoliation?
What exfoliation does for the skin – you already know this, is it gently sloughs away dead skin cells to make way for fresh skin and a healthy glow.
Each day our skin cells renew, so dead cells accumulate at the surface layer as our new cells take their place. Left there, they can cause the skin to look dull and clog pores; that’s pesky pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads that lend to an uneven skin texture.
What we also know is that the scalp is skin too. When dead cells gather, along with sweat, natural oils, and residual products, they trap the hair follicles and cause a multitude of problems. Think along the lines of itchiness, unsightly build-up, scalp acne, and even hair loss in the long run.
How to exfoliate head-to-toe?
If a head-to-toe exfoliation routine is what’s missing from your shower routine, it might be a good time to start. You’ll reap the benefits of visibly smoother skin and clearer pores – not forgetting, a healthier, shinier mane too.
Our head-to-toe exfoliation ritual, in particular, gives you the softest “baby skin”. That’s right, we’re letting you in on our secrets.
Physical exfoliation for peak pampering
There are two types of products for exfoliation, whether on the scalp, body, or face: chemical and physical exfoliators.
Chemical exfoliators use ingredients like glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acid to clear clogged pores. Physical exfoliators rely on granules like salt and sugar to manually buff away the skin’s impurities.
If we’re talking about a pampering ritual for baby-soft skin, physical exfoliators are our pick, just because they provide the tactile sensation of grains rubbing softly against our skin.
Of course, you have to know what’s good for your skin; those with sensitive skin will benefit more from using mild chemical exfoliators or skipping exfoliation altogether.
How to exfoliate the scalp?
We’ve got our shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, and hair serums – where exactly does a scalp scrub come in? The answer is: right at the start.
- Before shampooing, apply the scrub directly to your damp scalp. Keep it close to the roots and avoid the lengths of your hair.
- Gently massage your scalp in circular motions. Avoid using your fingernails to do so as they can scratch at and injure your scalp.
- Reach every inch of your scalp, massaging the front, sides, and underside so that your entire scalp is properly exfoliated.
- Rinse away the scalp scrub with water.
- Continue with shampoo and conditioner.
Remember to wring your hair dry first
Did you know that applying a scalp scrub to dry or squeezed-dried hair, rather than soaking wet hair, avoids diluting the scrubbing action?
The sugar or salt granules in the scrub can easily pick up dead skin cells and dirt as they rub softly against the scalp, instead of melting in contact with water. This way, you’ll enjoy a clear, clog-free scalp when you step out of the shower.
Scrub, but do it sparingly
Even though exfoliation is important, overdoing it can cause more harm than good for your scalp.
So, scrub – but do it sparingly, which means about once per seven to 10 washes. If you have dandruff, oiliness, or build-up, or are always sweating it out at the gym, you can also bump up the frequency to twice a week.
While over-exfoliating can cause the skin to tear and result in irritation or sensitivity, just the right amount of exfoliation will pave the way for a healthier, fresher scalp.
Pick a nourishing scalp scrub
Since exfoliation works to strip away dead skin and impurities, choosing a scrub that’s also nourishing to the scalp and hair can help to keep them feeling their best after.
For a nourishing pick-me-up, we choose the SABON Green Rose Ultimate Scalp Scrub which is enriched with three botanical oils – Marula, Abyssinian, and Camellia – to hydrate, strengthen, and add shine to our strands.
It’s also packed with mineral-rich Dead Sea salts, which provide nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and calcium to the hair follicles, even as the salts ever-so-gently buff at the skin.
We love that it provides gentle exfoliating action, unlike some other scrubs we’ve tried that feel hard and harsh on our scalp.
The cherry on top? SABON Green Rose Ultimate Scalp Scrub has a green rose fragrance that effortlessly elevates an in-shower routine; it’s fresh, light, and quickly soothing to the senses.
Menthol in the scalp scrub creates a cooling sensation on the scalp when it’s applied, making our scalps feel fresher after just one wash.
SABON Green Rose Ultimate Scalp Scrub retails for S$69 online and at SABON counters in Singapore.
Let your conditioner sit
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Before we get into body exfoliation, here’s a tip to save time in the shower:
After you’re done with scrubbing your scalp and washing your hair with shampoo, apply your conditioner, hair treatment, or hair mask and let it sit on your strands while you exfoliate your body.
Doing this will allow the conditioning hair product to properly coat and nourish your strands before you rinse it off alongside your body scrub.
How to exfoliate the body?
Prepping your skin well will help tons in letting your body scrub work its magic. How? Let your skin soak in warm water either in the shower or bath to soften your pores and make it easier for the scrub to lift your skin’s impurities.
You also want your skin to be clean when you’re exfoliating, which is why a body scrub should be used only after you’ve washed with a shower gel. Here’s how a body exfoliation ritual should go:
- Soak your skin in warm water to soften your pores.
- After using a body wash, apply the body scrub to your damp skin in circular motions. Start from the top and work your way down so that the scrub has time to set.
- Remember to pay attention to the rough areas of your skin like your elbows, bum, knees, and even your feet. The bathroom’s a slippery place, so be extra careful when you’re scrubbing your soles.
- Rinse the body scrub away and follow up with body lotion to seal in your skin’s moisture.
For the softest, baby-smooth skin, use a body scrub about once to twice a week!
Be gentle, no pressure
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The salt or sugar granules in a body scrub can feel rough on your skin, especially if you’re using it for the first time, so practice self-care while you’re at it: be gentle as you massage the body scrub in circular motions over your skin!
You just need to apply the lightest pressure to allow the scrub’s grains to buff away dead skin cells and leave you with fresh, clean skin.
Rinse in circles too
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When it comes to scrubbing, think: circles, circles, and more circles. Even when you’re rinsing away the body scrub, gently massage your skin in circular motions to sweep the salt grains from your skin.
Besides ensuring that your skin is thoroughly exfoliated, a soothing self-massage can help to boost positive emotions and relieve your tensions in the shower.
Shave after, not before exfoliation
Oh yes, the best time to reach for your trusty shaver or epilator is right after you’ve scrubbed yourself down with a body scrub!
The scrub helps to loosen the hairs that are trapped under the skin and slough off the layer of dead skin cells so that the blade can press close against the skin’s surface for a clean shave.
Or, in the case of an epilator, discs can grab the shorter hairs more easily.
Choose this salt-in-oil body scrub
What are we looking for in a body scrub? One that nourishes the skin even as it exfoliates.
The SABON White Tea Body Scrub boasts a unique salt-in-oil texture – literally, the scrub is made of mineral-rich Dead Sea salts in nourishing botanical oils.
The almond, jojoba, and borage are packed with vitamins, fatty acids, and proteins to nourish; they also work to condition, hydrate, and soften the skin, so you step out of the shower with skin that’s unbelievably supple.
Since Dead Sea salt is also known for its healing properties, the reasons for using the SABON White Tea Body Scrub don’t stop at baby-smooth skin. You’ll also notice that your stretch marks are less obvious, and your skin more radiant.
When we use the SABON White Tea Body Scrub, the refreshing scent of white tea blended with powdery jasmine and citrusy lemon elevates our shower experience just like that.
After mixing the salts and oils evenly, we scoop a generous dollop to slather onto our skin. When we wash it away, our skin is left feeling so smooth and, yes, nourished.
Just be careful when you’re opening the lid because the scrub’s oils spill easily – we almost spilt ours the first time, and you don’t want any of this body scrub goodness going to waste!
SABON White Tea Body Scrub retails for S$59 online and at SABON counters in Singapore.
How to exfoliate the face?
This one’s a strict rule that we don’t break: leave washing your face to the last step of your shower routine so that your hair products don’t wash over and clog up your already-clean pores! When it comes to face exfoliation? We’ll be leaving that to the final, final step.
Similar to a body scrub, a face scrub (or face polish) should be applied after you’ve washed your face with a cleanser. This way, your skin will be soft, clean, and ready to be treated to some gentle exfoliating action!
- Rinse your face with lukewarm water to soften your pores without irritating your skin.
- Wash your face with a facial cleanser.
- Apply your face scrub gently in small circular motions over your face, concentrating on areas that are prone to blackheads or whiteheads, like the nose and chin.
- Rinse your face with lukewarm (not hot!) water so as not to irritate your skin.
- After your shower, follow up with a moisturiser to seal in your skin’s moisture as exfoliation can be a little drying on the skin.
Know when to exfoliate
Physical exfoliation isn’t for everyone, especially because overdoing it (exfoliating too frequently or scrubbing too hard) can cause your skin barrier to break down and result in irritation or sensitivity.
Those with sensitive skin should skip exfoliation altogether or use a gentle exfoliant once a week at most. On the hand, those with normal, combination, and oily skin can benefit from exfoliating twice to four times a week.
Never use a body scrub
The delicate skin on your face deserves gentler treatment, which is why it’s never a good idea to use a body scrub to exfoliate your face.
Instead, choose a face scrub specially designed for this task – it’ll gently clear your pores, remove blackheads and whiteheads, and leave you with smoother, radiant skin.
In a Vogue Beauty Secrets video, Somi revealed that she uses the SABON Mint 2 in 1 Face Polisher! We personally pick this same face polisher for our head-to-toe exfoliation routine, only, we choose one with a richer, more soothing fragrance: Relaxing Lavender.
The SABON Relaxing Lavender 2 in 1 Face Polisher is a creamy exfoliant that’s peppered with smooth jojoba grains to gently lift dead skin cells and clear clogged pores without being overly harsh on the face.
With a unique creamy texture, it melts over the skin to nourish and moisturise. You’ve got the hydrating Rose of Jericho and mineral-rich Dead Sea water ingredients to thank for this!
Since the SABON Relaxing Lavender 2 in 1 Face Polisher comes at the last step of the routine, we just love that the rich, enveloping lavender scent soothes our senses and gets us ready for bedtime.
SABON Relaxing Lavender 2 in 1 Face Polisher retails for S$69 online and at SABON counters in Singapore.
How to exfoliate as self-care?
More than exfoliate to reap results, exfoliate as an act of self-care. Take the time to enjoy the soothing sensation of salt grains buffing against your skin, the delightful scents of lavender, rose, tangerine, and – of course, the softest baby-smooth skin after!
Only from now to 30 April, enjoy 10% off when you purchase any two of SABON’s Body Scrub, Ultimate Scalp Scrub, or 2-in-1 Face Polisher! Snag this deal only when you shop in-store at SABON’s Takashimaya and Marina Bay Sands counters.
Featured image credit: Vogue/YouTube, @natalia.be.be/TikTok
This article is brought to you by SABON.