- Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment has been a cult classic in the beauty world for more than a decade with a following that includes celebrities, makeup artists, and beauty editors — myself included.
- Key ingredients in the green facial scrub include papaya and pumpkin enzymes, pineapple, cinnamon, and lactic and salicylic acids.
- It’s been called the "Hollywood 2-minute facial," and it’s totally deserving of the title. In just 120 seconds, it dissolves dead skin cells and also stimulates blood circulation, leaving you with fresh, baby-soft skin.
Throughout my years as a beauty editor, I’ve scrubbed my face with hundreds of exfoliating treatments — both physical (which use tiny granules to get rid of dead skin) and chemical (which use acids).
Some worked, others didn’t. A few left my sensitive skin red and irritated, but most failed to leave any impression whatsoever.
Well, one afternoon more than a decade ago, I was invited to Kate Somerville’s spa in Los Angeles where I was introduced to the skin-care guru herself, as well as one of her trademark products that would change my facial regimen forever — the ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment.
In case you don’t understand the importance of exfoliating, Nazanin Saedi, MD, a board certified dermatologist and director of the Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Center, explains that it’s a crucial step in helping the skin rid itself of the dead cell debris, which allows for skin renewal and regrowth.
This tube of green, pumpkin-scented scrub was — and still is — the best exfoliating treatment I have ever used. In works in just two minutes to transform my rough and dry skin to baby soft without any irritation — and without visiting the LA spa.
What it is
Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment is a dual-action exfoliator, so it works physically and chemically. It has natural enzymes as well as physical granules to remove dead skin, clean out clogged pores, and give skin a more fresh-faced appearance.
Somerville created the product back in 2006 for her celebrity clients because they weren’t able to get into the spa for regular facials — like when they were on extended trips for work — and this concoction basically served as a facial in a bottle. In 2007, she started selling the product at her spa and on QVC, where it sold out in just six minutes. It’s still currently her best-selling product with reportedly double-digit growth every year.
The exfoliator is free of all parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin enzymes naturally smooth skin without overdrying, while lactic acid offers the "chemical" component as a natural alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates. The combination of rosewood and cinnamon extracts work to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and aloe vera, honey, and vitamin E smooth and soften skin.
How to use it
The brand recommends using the product once or twice a week, either in the morning or at night.
The treatment is really easy to use. All you have to do is apply a thin layer to clean, wet skin, and then gently massage it into your skin for about 30 seconds. You might feel a slight tingling on your face, which means the product is starting to work its magic. Leave it on for one minute if you have sensitive skin, or up to two for other skin types. Your skin will continue to tingle slightly as you wait. Once you’re ready, rinse off the product and pat dry — and that’s it.
My favorite part of the process is feeling the results. After more than a decade of use, the product never fails to impress. My skin always feels like it just spend an hour in the hands of a facialist — soft, smooth, and silky.
But I’m not the only one who loves it — it has a 4.4-star rating on Sephora, 4.6-star on Nordstrom, and a 4.8-star on Ulta. This is even more impressive considering a $85 for 2-ounce tube, or $175 for the larger 5-oz, but for me, you get what you pay for in results.
My experience is that one tube lasts a long time — six months to a year — but obviously that depends on how often you use it and how much each time. If you aren’t willing to invest in a full-size tube (understandably so), you can try out the 0.5 ounce travel-size tube for just $24.
Even though you might become totally obsessed with this product and its instant results, make sure not to overuse it.
"I think the biggest issue with exfoliation is that people like to do it too often," Dr. Saedi explains. "If you over-exfoliate, you’re stripping natural oils from your skin and that can lead to overproduction of oil." She recommends just using it two to three times a week.
If your skin damage is next level, board certified plastic surgeon Jason Bloom, MD suggests looking into something a little more powerful, like a chemical peel or lasers. Treatments such as PicoSure can penetrate deeper within your skin in order to kickstart collagen growth, helping to alleviate dark spots, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and even fine lines and wrinkles. Obviously these sort of treatments are going to cost a whole lot more than a tube of ExfoliKate, so you want might want to try this product first — and definitely consult with your dermatologist.
And if you’re currently using retinol products, or are getting laser or any other resurfacing treatments, you might want to speak with your dermatologist or esthetician before using any sort of exfoliating products too. I’ve made this mistake, and my skin ended up red and irritated.
The bottom line
Without a doubt, this is the best facial exfoliator that I have ever used.
While the price is steep — $85 for 2 oz or $175 for 5 oz — you get what you pay for in results. My experience is that a tube lasts a long time — six months to a year — but obviously that depends on how often you use it. If you aren’t willing to invest in a full-size tube, you can try out the 0.5 ounce travel-size for just $24.
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