Body Grooming Tips

Exfoliation – How to Exfoliate Body & Face

Men, be honest – how often do you exfoliate? Exfoliating your body and face is one of those incredibly satisfying procedures where you get to scrub, scour and promptly swipe away layers upon layers of city grime and dirt from your skin. So why are most gents skipping the scrub?

For those of you thinking: here we go again, yet another article trying to sway me towards the treacherous pursuit of unattainable beauty – hold your horses. Exfoliation has been around since the ancient Egyptian civilisation where pumice stones and scrubs made from alabaster particles, sand, honey and aloe vera were commonly used to appease the vanity of pharaohs and servants alike.

So, hear us out, exfoliating your face and body might sound new to you but truth is, this is an ancient practice that has unfortunately – up until now – been completely lost on most men. So, without further ado, let’s scrub up our knowledge on how to exfoliate and bring this ancient tradition back into our routine.

Exfoliation: Why Should We Bother?

How often should we exfoliate and is it even necessary? For all the sceptics out there, let’s get down to the benefits straight away.

Scrub those Dead Skin Cells Goodbye

Ever wondered why your skin looks dull, dry and flaky? That’s because you’re carrying around an extra suit of dead skin cells. Talk about some heavyweight off your shoulders! But don’t worry, scrubbing away those extra skin cells is by no means a Sisyphean task.
It’s as easy as grabbing a good exfoliating body brush or an exfoliating shower scrub and firmly massaging those stubborn dead skin cells right off you. Done and dusted!

Nobody’s Got Time for Spots

A splash of soapy warm water and a quick spritz of the good ol’ aftershave sometimes just won’t cut it. What you need is a deeper clean with an exfoliating scrub that penetrates deep into your tissues and lifts that trapped dirt back out. And we’re not just talking about scrubbing your face.

Men are more prone to getting spots and blackheads on their backs. Using a gentle body scrub once or twice a week can help clear the pores and improve the appearance of your skin.

How and When to Exfoliate

Close up of man using body scrub to exfoliate body in shower | Gillette UK

Now that we know the benefits of exfoliating, let’s move on to the all-important exfoliation technique. That’s right, as much as we’d like to just slap on the scrub and haphazardly scour the dirt away, there is a right and a wrong way to do it:

An Invigorating Mid-Shower Scrub

Let’s get this straight: we’re going to be buffing our skin – not scraping it! The temptation to remove the outer layer of our skin might, in some cases, be extreme. But no matter if you’ve been rolling in the rugby pitch or soldier-crawling your way through the muddy English countryside – exfoliating should never feel sore or make your skin bright red.

Our tip is to scrub halfway through your shower. All you need to do is gently but firmly scrub your body using sweeping circular motions. The best way to exfoliate your legs or back is to use an exfoliating body brush which will help you reach the back of your legs or behind your shoulder blades with ease.

How to Exfoliate After Shower

Exfoliate your face during or after you shower so you’re sure all superficial dirt has already been cleansed away. To exfoliate your face gently buffer using a mild face scrub. The trick here is to not overdo it.

Exfoliate once a week to begin with and always use a gentle scrub designed for face use. Massage the product in circular motions for around 30 seconds avoiding the eye area and rinse it off with lukewarm – never hot – water.

Now pat your face dry and either proceed to your daily face shave or moisturising routine. Exfoliating before shaving helps you achieve a close shave and by releasing trapped hair from the skin to ensure clean shaving strokes.

Plus, by removing the layer of dead skin cells, you’ll be getting more out of your aftershave – letting products like Gillette’s Intense Cooling Aftershave Balm penetrate the skin more easily.

How Often Should You Exfoliate?

Overdo it, and you’ll end up looking like a Pollock painting. Underdo it, and you might end up walking around with flaky skin resembling a eucalyptus tree. By then, neither art nor nature will come to the rescue! But fret not, for good skin is all down to nailing that exfoliation routine:

Exfoliating your body?

If you’re using an exfoliating brush start by exfoliating once a week and build it up to twice a week if you don’t have sensitive skin.

If you’re using an exfoliating body bar or scrub then use it two to three times a week, making sure you take breaks between scrubs to see how your skin is responding.

Exfoliating your face?

If you’re opting for a natural chemical exfoliant you can use them daily alongside or even mixed in with your regular face wash.

Using a facial scrub? Then make sure to use a scrub designed for face use only. We recommend a gentle scrub that can be used every two or three days.

Exfoliation After-Care

Now that your skin is primed and ready, the final step is to moisturise, protect and hydrate it. By buffering away the outer dead cells on your skin you’ve also stimulated the production of new ones by increasing the blood circulation to the area.

This all sounds great. But new skin can be prone to damage from pollution and other environmental factors. Here’s how you can protect your post-exfoliation skin best:

Moisturise that Baby-Smooth Skin

After a good healthy face scrub, you will have increased the blood circulation in the area. This is when we want to lock in all that good moisture helping our skin look plump and fresh. Apply Gillette’s Sensitive Skin SPF15 Moisturiser for instant post-scrub skin hydration.

Protect your Exfoliated Skin from UV Rays

After exfoliating your body it’s important to make sure we protect it from harmful sun rays. Your skin has just been buffered and may now be more sensitive to environmental factors. As a rule, we always advise applying sunscreen with SPF 30 or above, but we especially recommend it after a good scrub.

From Exfoliation Novice to Exfoliation Pro

Finally unearthed from the tombs of ancient Egypt, the benefits of exfoliation can now be enjoyed by men all over the world. Now that you’ve learnt how to exfoliate your face and body properly, remember to start off slow and scrub your way up to plump, soft and healthy-looking skin.

What’s your exfoliation routine looking like?



Can men with sensitive skin exfoliate?

Men with sensitive skin should use scrubs designed for sensitive skin and start off by using the scrub once a week before building up more frequent use. These scrubs use softer grains and use gentler chemicals to ensure your sensitive skin doesn’t get irritated.

What is the best exfoliation tool for men?

Your hands are a great exfoliating tool. But if you’re looking to up your scrub game, opt for body brushes, scrubbing gloves, pumice stones or loofah sponges. If you’re exfoliating your face, use brushes designed for face wash.

Can I exfoliate before tanning?

Exfoliating before going on a beach holiday or sunny back-garden staycation can help to smooth out dry, rough areas helping you achieve a better and more even tan. Scrub gently up to three weeks before your sun session to get optimal results.



Writer and expert