EXFOLI-RATER : Algenist Triple-Action Micro Polish & Peel


This week on THE EXFOLI-RATER : Algenist Triple-Action Micro Polish & Peel ($58/2oz) which has a big name and a slightly less-big impact.


This San Francisco-based company has a patent on some kind of “alguronic acid” woo, which is derived from a particular strain of microalgae, and which they claim is super potent in improving skin’s tone and clarity and its appearance of firmness.

Are there a load of published studies corroborating their claims about this ingredient? There are not. However, I’ve tried quite a few of their products, and have generally been pretty pleased with them. (Their Genius cream is way too heavy for me, the Reveal color-correcting drops were pretty meh, the Repairing Tint & Radiance tinted moisturizer is really nice but too heavy and rich for my oily skin — Finch might love it? — and the Anti-Aging Repairing Oil is legit an HG for me : it feels light, absorbs completely, makes my skin feel velvety rather than oily, is one of the ONLY facial oils I’ve tried and liked that didn’t break me out, and I swear to god it makes any blemishes or icky spots heal way, way faster. If you’re picky about scents, do note that the Genius cream and many of its offshoots plus the tinted moisturizer have a sort of creamy-buttery-vanilla-sweet scent. It’s fairly light, but I do NOT like it on my face.)


It’s actually an “exfoliant” in two different ways : it contains an AHA (9% glycolic acid), and also some microcrystals for physical exfoliation. You apply it to damp skin (I do my usual face wash first), massage it around for a couple minutes to “activate” the stuff (really probably just to utilize the gritty bits), and then leave it on for three to five minutes (presumably to give the glycolic more time to work). It’s also got extracts of lactic acid and pumpkin/pomegranate ferments, jojoba, and willow bark (a source of salicylic acid) and camellia extract.


It does! I like it, but I don’t think it’s BRILLIANT compared to other options, especially for that price. The scrubby grains are quite smooth and feel like tiny spheres rather than rough grits, but they’re fairly sparse, and they’re larger than the type I prefer and find most effective (the tiny aluminum crystals like in the Vasanti BrightenUp! scrub). Also I think if you’re super into exfoliating with glycolic acid, though, you’d probably be better off just buying a pure glycolic serum / peel from MUAC or similar.

This is the actual product; I did not blow my nose onto the back of my hand. Those tiny sparse white specks are the gritty bits.

This stuff is a medium-thick gel-like paste that’s easy to dispense the proper amount (about like a small gumball seems to be plenty) via its squeezy-tube with screw-on cap. It’s easy to spread around your skin, and it doesn’t sting for me even if I leave it on for the full five minutes. (Which…does that mean it’s not strong enough?) Still, it definitely does make my skin look and feel a bit nicer after using, even though it doesn’t seem as hardcore / aggressive as other offerings in this genre. And in the “scrub, rinse, apply usual light serum etc, let dry, dust with powder” test, the little dry flaky area on my chin (a healing breakout — THANKS, PMS) is not gone, but it is significantly diminished. If this stuff were half the price, I’d give it a solid B. But at $58 for 2oz (almost twice the price of the Vasanti for half the amount) … C+. It’s simply too expensive IMO for a scrub that yields just “yeah, okay, pretty nice” results. If you enjoy spending more than necessary on skincare? Then sure, it’s a B/B-.

INGREDIENTS : Water, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Algae Extract, Glucosamine HCL, Galactoarabinan, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Urea, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Isostearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Magnesium Oxide, Fragrance (Parfum), Limonene, Phenoxyethanol.


Algenist Triple Action 2oz $58.00 grainy, glycolic C+
Vasanti Brighten Up! 4.2oz $34.00 grainy scrub A
Acure Brightening Facial Scrub 4oz $8.49 grainy scrub B-
It’s Skin Citron Peeling Gel 4oz $10.00 pilling gel A-

Tried it? Love it or nah? Algenist fan? Discuss!