liz earle gentle face exfoliator review

You know me, I don’t do scrubs. Chemical exfoliants are better in every way. They’re gentler on the skin and they go the extra mile. Salicylic acid, for example, unclogs pores – something no scrub can do. But what if your skin can’t tolerate acids or you just love a good scrub? That’s where Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator comes in. This baby recently landed on my desk courtesy of their PR team and so I decided to put it to the test. Short story: why it didn’t impress me enough to switch from my beloved Salicylic Acid, I see why scrub lovers are so into it. Here’s all you need to know about it to make the best choice for your skin:

Key Ingredients In Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator: What Makes It Work?


What the heck are esters now?! In plain English, good old jojoba oil is hydrogenated to create a hard wax-like texture. You can use it as is, or warm it up and drop it from a height to create small, rounded spheres that are perfect for exfoliation. Unlike apricot shells and other similar natural particles, jojoba beads have smooth edges that don’t scratch or tear the skin. This makes them suitable for most skin types – especially sensitive.

Once you massage them on your face, they gently remove the dead cells that have accumulated on the surface of your skin, leaving it softer and brighter. If you have dry or normal skin and don’t want to use acids, this is a good alternative to consider. Bonus points: jojoba beads are biodegradable and kind to the planet, too.

Related: 4 Reasons Why I Prefer Chemical Exfoliation


Let’s face it: exfoliation is always a bit traumatic for skin. You’re forcing it to let go of dead skin cells it wasn’t ready to say goodbye to yet. Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator makes the process gentler with cocoa seed butter. Super moisturising, this butter creates a protective barrier on the skin, keeping soft and smooth for hours.

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Aqua (water): The main solvent in the product, it helps other ingredients dissolve too. Plus, it’s hydrating.
  • Caprylic/capric triglyceride: Derived from coconuts, it provides the same intense moisturising power without clogging pores.
  • Cetearyl alcohol: A hydrating type of alcohol that makes skin softer and suppler.
  • Cetyl esters: It gives skincare products a velvety feel and a glossy look.
  • Glycerin: A humectant that draws moisture from the air into your skin, thus increasing its moisture level. Result? Skin is softer and plumper for hours.
  • Cera alba (beeswax): Produced by honey bees, it makes skin softer and smoother. It also helps thicken the texture of skincare products.
  • Polysorbate 60: An emulsifier that helps the oily and watery parts of a formula blend together, so they don’t separate into a gooey mess.
  • Sorbitan stearate: Another emulsifier that improves the texture of skincare products by preventing them from separating into layers.
  • Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil: An essential oil that smells divine. Unfortunately, it’s a common allergen and can irritate sensitive skin.
  • Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil: A moisturising oil that makes skin softer and plumper.
  • Phenoxyethanol: A preservative that inhibits bacteria contamination, keeping your exfoliant safer for longer.
  • Panthenol: A humectant that increases skin’s hydration, making it softer and plumper. It also soothes skin.
  • Benzoic acid: It’s a preservative that also helps adjust the pH of skincare products.
  • Dehydroacetic acid: A synthetic preservative that keeps your skincare products safe even when used in super tiny amounts.
  • Limonene: A natural component of citrus fruits and eucalyptus, it makes skincare products smell good. It must be listed separately on the label because it’s a common allergen.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin: A preservative with hydrating properties.
  • Sodium hydroxide: It adjusts the pH of skincare products.


Thick, creamy and loaded with jojoba beads. The beads are very fine and small, – so small that when you first pump the product out you can’t see them at all. They only become visible when you start spreading the cream on your skin.


Technically, it’s fragrance-free. But it has Eucalyptus Essential oil to make it smell refreshing and herbal. It’s lovely really, but essential oils can be irritating, so if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to it, beware.

How To Use It

After cleansing, massage a small amount on clean skin for a couple of minutes. Make sure you don’t apply too much pressure and to give every area the same amount of attention. Rinse off with lukewarm water and pat dry. You can use it either in the morning or night. Just don’t use it more than 2/3 times a week.


Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator comes in 4 formats:

  • 70ml pump
  • 50ml tube
  • 70ml pump x3
  • 15ml tube

I’m partial to the pumps, but they all look pretty and dispense just the right amount of product you need. Take your pick, you can’t go wrong!

Performance & Personal Opinion

Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator is the gentlest scrub I’ve come across. Thank the jojoba beads for that. They remove the dead skin cells on the surface without drying out skin. Aferwards, my skin feels so soft. And the glow!

FYI, this exfoliant is gentle, but not so much you can use it everyday. At least I can’t. The first time I used it, it left my skin soft and bright. So I did it again the next day. This time, my skin felt tight and dry – a sign that I had removed too many dead cells. Ahem… It doesn’t matter what product you use, when it comes to exfoliation, moderation is key. Use it two or three times a week, depending on what your skin can take.

I find that twice a week works best for my combination skin, leaving it in great condition without experiencing any problems whatsoever. If you have sensitive skin though, this exfoliant isn’t suitable for you at all.

How Does Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator Compare To Liz Earle Superskin™ Microdermabrasion Polish?

Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator isn’t the only exfoliant Liz Earle makes. The brand has another option: Liz Earle Superskin™ Microdermabrasion Polish. How does it compare? I’m not a fan of this other exfoliants. It’s loaded with essential oils that Liz Earle claim can exfoliate skin. First of all, even if they could, they don’t do it as well as Glycolic Acid or Salicylic Acid. Plus, they irritate skin. Even Volcanic Pumice, the other exfoliant in here, can be irritating. I appreciate Liz Earle adding a bunch of moisturising oils and butters as well, but this is just a problematic formula that I don’t recommend.

What I Like About Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator

  • Creamy texture
  • Exfoliating beads are gentle on the skin and remove dead cells easily
  • Makes skin softer and brighter
  • Bottle available in several sizes, including a travel-friendly one

What I DON’T Like About Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • Fragrance may be irritating

Who Should Use This?

Normal/dry skin that loves a good scrub.

Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is Key To Spot-Free Skin

Does Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator Live Up To Its Claims?

This gentle yet effective exfoliator buffs away dead skin cells and impurities to reveal smoother, more radiant-looking skin. True.
Perfect for dull, congested or flaky skin. It works for dull and flaky, but not congested, skin. If you want to get rid of pimples and breakouts, you need salicylic acid, not scrubs.

Price & Availability

£18.00-£45.90 at Boots, John Lewis, Look Fantastic, and Sephora.

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

You don’t need it. But if you’re into scrubs or can’t use chemical exfoliants, this is worth a try.

Dupes & Alternatives

  • Pai Virtuous Circle Kukui & Jojoba Exfoliator (£29.00): A gentle exfoliant with a deeply moisturising oil base to make skin softer and brighter. But the fragrance can irritate sensitive skin. Available at Content Beauty & Wellbeing.
  • Paula’s Choice The Unscrub ($35.00): Fragrance-free, it’s the gentlest exfoliant on this list. It exfoliates, hydrates, and has antioxidants to slow down premature aging. Available at Cult Beauty and Paula’s Choice.


Aqua (water), Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Jojoba esters, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl esters, Glycerin, Cera alba (beeswax), Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan stearate, Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Benzoic acid, Dehydroacetic acid, Limonene, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium hydroxide.