Honestly, I wish I didn't love it so much—because now I need to keep buying it.

By Lauren Mazzo
May 18, 2020
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oxygen/Getty Images/ Kate Somerville

I really realllllly want my life to be more minimalistic. My tiny NYC apartment is overcrowded with stuff, and I panic a little when I have a basket of freshly washed laundry because I know I won't be able to close my dresser drawers. Yet, like so many people these days with an Instagram feed full of cute products and Apple Pay making new purchases a literal finger-print away, I can't help but buy some stuff I don't need.

One thing I'm actually pretty good at resisting? Skin-care products. My sole skin concern since puberty has been avoiding breakouts, and as a result, my skin-care routine is pretty basic. I alternate between benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid cleansers (I'm not even loyal to a specific brand of each—though my latest faves have been CeraVe's Foaming Acne Cleanser, Buy It, $15, ulta.com and Renewing SA Cleansers, Buy It, $14, ulta.com). I moisturize with whatever face lotion I have on hand and toss on some mineral sunscreen. Occasionally I'll dabble with a toner, vitamin C product, or serum if one lands on my desk at work. But I kinda prided myself on not being dependant on any luxury skin-care products—because minimalism, sure, but also because I didn't want to be tied to making this splurge-y purchase repeatedly for the indefinite future.

Thennn I got a tube of Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment (Buy It, $84, katesomerville.com). I think it was part of FabFitFun box, actually. Or maybe a coworker gave it to me. Regardless, I'm officially hooked. Ugh.

I gotta tell you, though—it's great. It's a physical and chemical exfoliator, meaning it has little silica beads that scrub your skin and also AHA lactic acid, BHA salicylic acid, and papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin enzymes that all chemically exfoliate your skin to break up and dislodge any gunk hanging out in there. It's a deep green color and smells like...cinnamon? You scrub it on for about 30 seconds, leave it for two minutes, and then rinse off. It leaves your skin a little flushed for a few minutes, but trust, it's worth it. After the initial redness subsides, it leaves my skin glowing like it's the golden hour all the damn time.

There have been occasions when I thought "I don't need it!" (Yes, Spongebob voice. IYKYK.) and pushed it to the back of the medicine cabinet. But after a few weeks, I'd look at my skin in the mirror and think: "Why does it look like someone turned the saturation way down on this Instagram photo?!" My blackheads were suddenly more noticeable. I looked like I'd aged 5 years.

And I realized it was because it'd been a few weeks since I hung out with my friend Kate. Out came the ExfoliKate, and two minutes later, I was a ~new woman~.

I'm not the only one who feels this way; On Sephora's website, ExfoliKate has about 2,500 reviews, and 1,600 of them are 5-star. On Ulta, a whopping 1017 out of 1170 reviews are 5-star. People are gushing about it in their comments: "I've tried every peel, scrub, and treatment out there and this stuff is the best. It's like it zaps the top layer of skin right off to reveal brighter, clearer skin," wrote one reviewer. Another customer totally feels my pain re: getting hooked on a skin-care product: "I'm so mad I fell in love with this product because of how expensive it is... After using this I'll follow up with a good water-based moisturizer and my skin seriously looks like so buttery and smooth like I drink eight gallons of water a day. I truly look forward to using this every week. It's a must-have, just buy it!!!"

You can try it out with a mini version—which costs just $24 for 0.5oz.—or you can get a full size of 2oz for $84 or even 5oz. for $175. I had the 2-oz bottle, and it lasted me, like, eight months before I inevitably went for a restock. So while it's pricey, it's not outrageous when you think about how long it lasts. (I was using it about once a week; the brand recommends using once or twice a week.)

Just a heads up: A few reviewers point out that it can be a bit much on sensitive skin, so you may want to steer clear if that's you. (After all, it is called intensive.)

In case you're stilllll not sold, there's this: Somerville is a super successful esthetician in L.A., and in 2004, she opened the Skin Health Experts Clinic in the heart of Hollywood, where she serves mega celebs like Kate Hudson, Kirsten Dunst, Eva Mendes, Demi Moore, and Meghan Markle who are all fans of her products. And (!) ExfoliKate specifically has been coined as "Hollywood's 2-minute facial" because it gives you a glow almost as good as getting one from a pro herself.

I guess if I have to be hooked to a "nonessential" skin-care product, it may as well be one that simulates a $$$ facial. That logic adds up, right?

Kate Somerville

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