My Favourite Chemical Exfoliants | Nip and Fab, Pixi, Alpha H, Paula’s Choice

I am a big advocate for the benefits of using chemical exfoliants. In fact, as you may have seen in my Current Skincare Routine post I use them every single day and night! I used to have quite bad, spotty skin, and I still think I would if I didn’t control it to some extent with the help of these products. They essentially help your skin cells to turnover therefore hopefully lessening the chances of pores getting blocked and forming spots. I still have far from perfect skin, but it is much, much better than it was before I introduced products such as these into my routine. I am generally much happier being seen minus makeup and when I am wearing makeup it looks so much better because of fewer lumps and bumps.

And just in case you don’t have a clue where these would fit in your routine, they should be used straight after cleansing and before any moisturisers, serums or oils.


I love and recommend all of the products pictured but I thought I’d try to break them down to help you see which one might be best suited to your needs! Most of these are AHA (glycolic acid) products but there are a couple which contain BHA (salicylic acid).

If you’re on a budget…

The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads (£12.99) and Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme (£14.95) are absolutely amazing if you’d prefer to keep costs down. The prices in brackets are just the RRP but I’ve never paid full price for these as they are nearly always on some sort of offer at either Superdrug or Boots. I got this pot of the original pads for £5 from Superdrug last month – absolute bargain! I love these pads and they were the first chemical exfoliant product I tried and they completely changed my skin for the better with daily use. The extreme version contains both AHAs and BHAs so if you have particularly problem skin they could potentially be a good choice.

If you have sensitive skin...

I was surprised how gentle Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) was when I first tried it! The formulation is quite natural based and refined and it is an alcohol free formula which is great in terms of not drying out or irritating your skin. However, the ingredients list does include fragrance which surprised me as it doesn’t really smell of anything at all – maybe that’s the idea. Overall though I think this a brilliant option if you have a more sensitive skin type thanks to its gentle formula containing soothing ingredients.

If you’ve used glycolic products before and want something more extreme with noticeable results…

If you’re looking to brighten your complexion and even out your skin tone all whilst effectively resurfacing your skin to help prevent blockages, then Alpha H Liquid Gold (£33.50) may be a worthwhile investment. Again, shop around and look out for discount codes and offers and you can save yourself £££s off the hefty price tag. I do really think it’s worth a splurge though – this is my second bottles of it, which I got in a supersize! I generally use this as an intensive treatment overnight whereby I cleanse and then apply this to my skin and leave it overnight without applying any subsequent products. I find I wake up with my skin looking much brighter with less redness which is amazing.

If you’ve got oily and/or problematic, spotty skin and/or you don’t get on with glycolic acid…

This is my one recommendation that is a solely BHA product containing 2% salicylic acid. It is from Paula’s Choice and is called the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (£25). This is excellent at getting into pores and controlling spots thanks to the salicylic acid. It feels almost velvety on the skin when you apply it which I found surprising – it does not feel harsh at all. However, whereas with all the other products I have mentioned which I would use every day and night, with this product and the fact salicylic is stronger and more drying than glycolic, I would only suggest using this one a maximum of once a day either morning or evening. I found when I used it both morning and evening my skin began to dry out and look a bit flakey which would look awful when I applied makeup. So I reckon once a day or once every other day would be the ideal, depending on how much your skin can take! If you’re particularly oily maybe you could cope with it twice a day, but that definitely wasn’t the case for me as someone with normal/dehydrated skin.

I hope you found this somewhat helpful and that I’ve intrigued you enough to make you try one of these great products. I couldn’t imagine my skin care routine without a chemical exfoliant now!

Love Nicole xxxx

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