Microbeads, the seemingly innocent, face-softening little beads we use for our skin care daily routines, are polluting the Great Lakes and leaving a rather large, not-so-clean mark on our environment. They absorb toxins in the water, posing a threat to the fish that swallow them and, in turn, the entire fish-eating population—bummer. But although they’ve been rightfully banned for all our sake, there are a handful of brightening and smoothing exfoliants that are just as gentle, without those harmful polyethylene beads. Here, are three skin-soothing super-luxe alternatives to help you buff and brighten without the backlash.
Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator
This clear gel formula has tiny jojoba esters suspended generously throughout, giving your skin a legitimate buff without feeling the least bit scratchy. Coupled with the delicate floral scent, it’s almost calming.
Philosophy the Microdelivery Peel
Two products. Three steps. And worth every minute of extra effort. The grainy vitamin C paste (which smells like fresh-squeezed OJ) and lactic and salicylic acid gel may sound aggressive, but this sensitive-skin-approved tag team turns into a warm, white foam when layered on skin (paste first, then gel), and the brightening results are instant.
Algenist Triple-Action Micropolish & Peel
Spiked with the brand’s signature alguronic acid (and also glycolic acid), this grainy scrub helps stimulate fast—five minutes’ kind of fast—cell turnover. Massage over your face, let it sit for five minutes, and voilà—glow-y skin revealed.