In accordance with the cult status of this product, you will not be able to read this review unless you know the secret handshake, can display the secret tattoo, can say the secret password three times backwards, or have otherwise proven yourselves worthy (which is to say, you have a credit or debit card).
Oh! Looks like we’re all here then.
I feel like I should speak the name of this product in hushed, reverent tones. From the amount of buzz it generates, you would think it was made up of shreds of the Shroud of Turin, the blood of Alexander the Great, and essences extracted from materials that the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and the Archbishop of Canterbury had all personally blessed and prayed over. It should glow. Choirs of angels should appear and sing every time the container is opened.
Sadly, none of that happens. But it is a pretty darn good product.
Exfolikate is, as you might have guessed, an exfoliant. It has some small gritty granules in it, but the primary exfoliating ingredient is fruit enzymes. I used to be terribly sensitive to fruit enzymes — there was a pumpkin papaya mask that came out several years ago that made my face burn for hours after I used it — so I was really leery of this. But, you know, blood of Alexander the Great and everything. So it came up on HauteLook and I decided to buy it (for a price that was considerably lower than the retail price I’ll be quoting at the end of the post).
To my distinct relief, Exfolikate treats my skin much more nicely than that other product. It does have fruit enzymes (papaya fruit extract and bromelain, which comes from pineapples and which is what makes your tongue hurt if you eat too much of it, as my friend Sarah found out to her great discomfort) as well as lactic acid, a gentle but effective exfoliant. Other ingredients include aloe, salicylic acid, and essential oils of bergamot, lavender, rosewood, orange, and cassia.
The product is dark green in color and has a noticeable herbal/grassy/wet-leaves scent. You are supposed to apply it in an even layer to clean, wet skin and DO NOT RUB. The directions say to leave it on only for 20 to 30 seconds and then rinse, but the label warns that redness may occur and persist for up to 20 minutes later due to increased circulation. The small polyethylene granules are not, I suspect, meant to function as a real mechanical exfoliant, but rather to help you know when you’ve completely rinsed the product off your face, as otherwise it might be hard to tell and you definitely don’t want to leave that stuff on there.
I’m pleased that I haven’t suffered any irritation from this. It is a little difficult to get the product on in an even layer, as it tends to glob up (especially on wet fingers), but overall it’s worked fine.
The big question is whether or not it’s worth the price tag, which is hefty. You need very little, so even the smaller-sized container will last for months. I will probably still not be finished with this tube by the time I’m ready for Social Security, if Social Security even exists then. I like that it’s effective and gentle. I’m not wild about the scent. I love that you only need to leave it on for 30 seconds. This makes it really easy to include in your everyday skincare regimen (not that you would use this every day, but I mean you don’t have to set aside a whole evening for a special facial treatment).
So if you want to splurge on something as a well-deserved reward, or if you come across it at a greatly reduced price, it’s worth picking up. Otherwise I can’t really justify the price tag.
Kate Somerville Exfolikate: $85 for 2 oz., $175 for 5 oz.
Provenance: Purchased. (ON SALE. ON A BIG SALE.)
Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): After a lot of flip-flopping, I have to go with Fair. It’s egregiously expensive, but it will last a long time.
Purchase again? God forbid I ever need to.
(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)