Surface Level: The 11 Best Exfoliators To Suit Every Skin Type & Budget

At Refinery29 Australia, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but we may earn commission or other compensation from the links on this page.

One lovely thing about the rise of skincare junkies and beauty lovers on social media is that it has turned us all into mini scientists in our bathrooms. Salicylic acid, azelaic acid and polyglutamic acid aren't ingredients found only in a lab, but on your beauty shelf. I wouldn't be surprised if 'niacinamide' turns up on spelling bees in the coming years.

Exfoliators can either be physcial or chemical, and depending on your skin type and areas of concern, it's worth switching up your exfoliator of choice.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid and lactic acid work to exfoliate the surface of the skin, minimising skin staining left behind by spots and preventing further breakouts with consistent use. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid penetrate pores deeply, turfing out sebum, dead cells and keratin, which can all cause skin issues. Most experts recommend using an acid exfoliator in the evening after cleansing, and because of their ability to make skin sensitive to UV, it's important to wear sunscreen each day.
Whether you're seeking glowier skin, or targeting acne or hyperpigmentation, exfoliators are the weekly (ish) addition to your skincare routine. Here we round up the best of the best, specific to your skin needs.
Want more? Get Refinery29 Australia’s best stories delivered to your inbox each week. Sign up here!

More from Skin Care