With spring’s arrival, it’s time to shed winter-ravaged skin and unveil a fresh, radiant complexion for the new season. Lucky then that Sydney Beauticater, Willa Zheng has roadtested a variety of facial exfoliants that promise to cleanse, de-flake, and invigorate tired, sluggish skins - so you don't have to.

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For environmental reasons, she declared it a microbead-free zone (microbeads have been found to enter waterways and endanger sea life) and worked her way through a variety of hardworking skin sloughers. Below are her pick of the physical and acid exfoliants that are worthy of top shelf real estate in any girl’s bathroom.

For pore congestion – Cosmedix purity detox scrub

“This easy-to-dispense powder emulsifies immediately upon contact with water, turning into a creamy, comfortable, poppy and date seed scrub with salicylic acid added to cleanse deeply into the pores.  Whilst this scrub felt gentle on my skin, it powerfully cleansed from my face all traces of makeup and visibly flushed the blackheads from my pores.  My skin was left soft, clean and smooth.  Note to self: you must resist eating the poppy seeds. Designed for use daily or every other day.”

The at home salon-treatment – DrJart+ Pore Medic Derma @home Peeling kit

“If you want to go hard with the acid peels and have visibly smoother, brighter, and more refined skin, you can’t go wrong with this peeling kit from DrJart+.  It’s a two-step product and unscented, so it’s a bit more ‘work’ than the other products mentioned here but it’s so worth it!  At home in just 3 minutes, it allows you to regularly achieve that ‘just stepped out of the clinic’ effect.  DrJart+ uses thermal bi-carb crystals and a combination of lactic and salicylic acids to dissolve dead skin cells that clog up our pores.  It lifted and loosened my surface blackheads to such a degree that I followed this treatment with manual pore extraction. The result was incredibly smooth, clear and baby soft skin.  Use weekly, or twice a week if you have oily skin.  Just promise us that you’ll be extra diligent at applying sunscreen in the days after this treatment.”

For flaky or delicate skins – Aspect Fruit enzyme mask

“To call this enzyme gel a ‘mask’ is actually a misnomer.  It’s really a peeling gel that you spread on your dry skin and rub vigorously.  As you rub, the gel picks up the surface dead skin and flakes off like rubber shavings.  It’s ideally suited for those whose skin is a bit delicate to handle abrasive scrubs and for those who just want to get rid of bits of flaking skin. Peeling gel exfoliants lift dead skin like nobody’s business and are hugely popular in Asia.  Aspect’s is packed with powerful active ingredients like vitamin C, green tea, pomegranate and acai berry, and is dispensed in a hygienic, product-stable, airless pump.  My face felt very smooth and visibly brighter. It even stopped a pimple in its track.  For extra thrill, try using this gel on the elbows, knees and ankles. You’ll be amazed (and grossed out) by the amount of dead skin that comes off!”

For the lazy or the travel bag – Go-To exfoliating swipeys

“If you’re not sensitive to citrus essential oils, consider a tub of this in your lazy toiletry bag. Smelling like summer lemonade, these lactic acid soaked pads exfoliate and cleanse your skin in one go. One side of the pad is covered in thin, crystal-like flakes, to give a bit of physical exfoliation where it’s needed.  Compared with other AHA pads on the market, Go-To’s exfoliating swipeys are non-drying and gentle enough for everyday use under your regular evening moisturisers and serums. No water or rinsing is required. Just swipe and forget. ”

“This is a daily face scrub for the fans of Cetaphil. Like the cult cleanser, it’s a jumbo-sized no-nonsense, unfragranced, non-foaming and non-drying face wash that gently buffs, as opposed to giving your skin a vigorous workout.  The scrub particles (made from diatomaceous earth) are very fine and thin (think fine table salt), so are designed to refine the texture of your skin slowly over time.  Just be careful when massaging it around the eye area because unlike Cetaphil, this scrub will sting a bit if you get it in your eyes.”

Story by Willa Zheng.

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