his is a series in which, in an attempt to work my way through my sample overload, I spend the weekend trying out samples, then inflict capsule reviews upon the internet.
The Unbearable Cuteness of WordPlay aside, this product is pretty much exfoliation salad. It has it all: alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acid, papain, Retinol--everything you need to slough off dead skin cells--except perhaps a box of 80 grit sandpaper.
When I tried this product, I followed the directions precisely.
You're supposed to rub the product on your face for 30 seconds, then let
it sit there for two minutes. Because I was also trying out a hair mask
and am a flighty creature at best, I brought my iPhone into the
bathroom so I could use the timer. Precision for the win!
The little single-use packet contained about a teaspoon of product--if that. It was the color of Palak Paneer
and smelled like curry. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I
like curry. But I thought to myself, as I lightly massaged the slightly
gritty, curry-smelling stuff onto my face, "Perhaps it contains cumin or
turmeric or some other food, like kale, that has taken the Healthy
Living Community by storm!" But no. A tube of ExfoliKate may be the
world's last kale-free zone.
Let's have a look at the ingredient list:
Mind you, I have dry, but not particularly sensitive skin. My face gets mad at me when I apply sunblock too close to my eyes, but otherwise, it knows who's boss. It was only slightly red when I emerged from the shower. On the other hand, my neck and decolletage, which I don't tend to experiment upon nearly as much, were quite red and stayed that way for about 15 minutes.
Now let's talk results. I'll admit it; after I used ExfoliKate, my skin did feel smoother. But then, it would have to. ExfoliKate has every active ingredient I've ever heard of (as well as some, like lacto bacillus pumpkin ferment, which, although new to me, fail at sounding pleasantly exciting.)
The thing is, I suspect that mixing all these exfoliators together might lessen each ingredient's effectiveness. First of all, AHAs need the right pH to work. Also, all of these ingredients are only on your face for for two and a half minutes. How much can the AHAs, BHAs, papain, and fermented pumpkin accomplish in that amount of time?
As it turns out, it doesn't really matter whether the active ingredients are all that active.
If you look at the ingredients again, you'll find that after water and lactic acid, the next ingredient is polyethylene, a/k/a microbeads.
These tiny plastic beads are superb mechanical exfoliators, which is why they're found in lots of products, from toothpaste to body scrub. Unfortunately, microbeads don't biodegrade, and are believed to be bad for aquatic life. President Obama just signed a bill outlawing them. I don't know how long it will take before products containing microbeads disappear from store shelves, but I think it's safe to say that the current formula for ExfoliKate is doomed.
Oh, and on top of being malodorous and bad for the environment, this stuff is crazy expensive: $85 for a two-ounce tube.
TLDR: ExfoliKate may be a cult product (and it is) but I don't recommend it.