I recently tested a cleanser that was a product nightmare to say the least, and I had no choice other than to pull out an exfoliant. The scrub I reached for was ExfoliKate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment ($65) by Kate Somerville. A friend of mine with sensitive skin absolutely loves this scrub. I have used the earlier version of ExfoliKate, Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, and while I like it, I decided to try out the gentler version even though I don’t have sensitive skin. My skincare approach has been evolving over the years and I no longer feel the need to assault my skin with the strongest ingredients I can get my hands on. I realize that bringing out the big guns isn’t always necessary to obtain good results.

The scrub is a multi-tasking skin polisher, containing fine microbeads as well as gentle fruit enzymes. I’ve previously mentioned that enzymes are perfect for sensitive skin or if you want to avoid any downtime as they remove only the dead cells, leaving the healthy cells alone. ExfoliKate employs the mild exfoliating properties of papaya and pumpkin enzymes, which is effective at combating blackheads. There is also lactic acid, which hydrates as it exfoliates, and retinyl palmitate for brightening. Moreover, the scrub contains anti-inflammatory ingredients like bromelain (pineapple extract) and aloe vera along with anti-microbial sage oil. However, those with latex allergies should avoid this scrub as it contains ingredients that can cause contact dermatitis.

The instructions recommend usage once or twice a week, but I think exfoliation frequency really varies by person so I would recommend using as needed. Depending on skin sensitivity, the scrub can also be used as an exfoliating mask and left on for up to two minutes. I like that the product instructions include a precaution: “This product increases circulation, which may cause the skin to flush slightly for a short time.” Unfortunately, that warning is followed with a tip on boosting exfoliation by mixing the scrub with any Kate Somerville cleanser. Why bother printing the precaution?

The product is green and creamy with only the slightest feel of grittiness from the microbeads, and has a fresh, mild scent. I generally use the treatment in the shower as I find it works nicely on steamed skin. I skip the Clarisonic when using the scrub and let the microbeads do the work by gently massaging (not rubbing) the product onto my skin and leaving it on for a couple of minutes to let the enzymes work their magic. I find this gentle treatment is ideal for maintenance and in between facials. It always leaves my skin velvety soft.

While the treatment is not an inexpensive price point, it’s important to note that not all scrubs are created equal. I’ve found that good physical exfoliants tend to cost a bit more because the beads are manufactured to be round, rolling along your face to safely lift dead surface cells. Cheaper scrubs, like St. Ives - which should be pulled off the shelves in my view - use walnut, which often has jagged edges and is capable of literally making tiny cuts on your face. Moreover, a little of the ExfoliKate goes a long way so the tube lasts a few months.

Overall, ExfoliKate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment is an ideal skin smoother for all but the most sensitive skin types (although I would avoid any grainy scrubs altogether if you have rosacea). It also serves as an excellent starter scrub if you don’t already exfoliate.

Ingredients: Water, Polyethylene, Lactic Acid, Glycereth-26, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Mel/Honey/Miel, Hydroxylated Lecithin, Papain, Polyacrylamide, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Laureth-7, Caffeine, Chlorphenesin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Phospholipids, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Bromelain, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Disodium EDTA, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex (CI 75810)