Free Shipping Over $45 - Shipping in 24 hours - Rated 5 stars - Free returns

Should You Cleanse or Exfoliate First?

By now you likely have heard about all of the importance of exfoliation and how it removes impurities from your pores. The way it leaves the skin cleaner, brighter, and healthier overall. The one thing you may still be wondering is, do you exfoliate or cleanse first? While we pick cleansing first in the order of things, this skincare question has been debated by many.

The good news is that there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. You can try a cleanser first, then an exfoliating face scrub. Or, you can exfoliate then cleanse the skin. The best thing to do is what works best for your skin. There are benefits to both. Ultimately, to understand the order of skincare, you must first know why exfoliation matters in the first place and what exfoliating does to your skin. You can click here for more on that.

Benefits of Using Cleanser First

Cleaning the face before exfoliating allows you to start with a fresh slate. Exfoliation dives into the pores, more so than a mild cleanser. It’s important to remove your makeup and clean your face on a daily basis. It’s not always necessary to exfoliate with the same frequency. We recommend to not exfoliate your skin more than twice a week. 

The process we recommend is to apply a thin layer of the Volcanic Exfoliant in the morning or evening, once or twice a week. Massage it into the face for 30 seconds and leave on the skin for up to ten minutes to allow the skin to fully absorb the facial scrub’s healthy ingredients. Then, rinse and pat the face dry before moving on to toner and moisturizer.

Our exfoliant contains pumice, fruit enzymes and bromelain as part of its effective formula. Their role is to improve the look of the skin’s texture by helping to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. Keep with the recommended use and you’ll see how this exfoliating treatment helps to improve your skin week by week.


Benefits of Using an Exfoliant First

Generally speaking, fewer people choose to exfoliate then cleanse, although there are some benefits to reversing the steps. The action of sloughing away dead skin cells, excess oil, and other impurities can take care of cleansing simultaneously. When approached in this way, mechanical exfoliation is the better choice. By using specific “tools” to remove the top layer of the skin, it promotes a smoother texture and a brighter appearance.

Use a damp washcloth or exfoliating brush to gently wipe the face by using small, circular motions. This will stimulate the skin as you brush away the top layer of the skin. Keep in mind, however, that not all cleansers are made to exfoliate the skin and vice-versa. Be careful about the type of tool you use as some are more abrasive than others and can irritate or tear the skin. 

Chemical vs Physical Exfoliation

A final option for those determining whether to exfoliate before or after cleansing is to use both mechanical and chemical exfoliation. After you’ve wiped away your makeup, the next step is mechanical exfoliation. Slough away the surface layer of the skin with your exfoliant tool of choice. Next use a gentle cleanser to nourish the skin and give your face a smooth foundation to follow up with a chemical exfoliant.

Chemical exfoliation relies on chemicals or enzymes to dissolve or break down clogged pores. It offers a more intensive way to tackle the stubborn impurities that cause the skin to have breakouts, appear dull, or lose its supple quality. One of the many benefits of the Volcanic Exfoliant is that it has ingredients that work both as a “chemical” and “physical” agent. Essentially, it takes care of both types of exfoliation in one. Adding this into your routine with your other skincare steps will help maximize its benefits. 

Get More from Your Skincare

Although our esthetician tips would suggest cleansing first before exfoliating, try it both ways and see what works best for your skin. Every skin type needs its own special care and your skin may react more positively to one technique over the other. The one thing we can all be in agreement on is the importance of them both. Step-by-step, you can create a healthier, brighter complexion by adding exfoliation to the mix.

Each step, tool, and skin product has its own role as part of a complete skincare regimen. Exfoliation elevates your daily regimen to give your skin a more radiant glow, while cleansing is a necessary step to remove daily impurities from the skin. The few minutes you focus on your skincare will make a huge impact on the condition of your skin long-term. Enjoy how much better your face looks and feels after you’ve cleansed and exfoliated your skin. It’ll be easy to keep it as part of your regular routine once you’ve seen its benefits.


To receive some more of our valuable tips, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow our Instagram account to stay updated on keeping that beautiful skin of yours clean and glowy!

With Love, 


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published