I generally don’t like cleansers with physical exfoliants (like those horribly sharp-edged ground apricot kernels) as they just painfully scratch your healthy skin and do a really uneven job (if at all) of actually removing the dead layer. I prefer chemical exfoliants like acids (fruit, salicylic, glycolic, alpha hydroxy) which are less crude and more even in their effects.
But I make an exception for suki face exfoliate foaming cleanser. The sugar crystals dissolve fairly quickly as you add water, so you get the sensation of serious scrubbing without the harsh abrasion. The foaming action makes your skin feel all-American clean but leaves it remarkably soft and moisturized. (Nearly all other facial cleansers fall into a Sophie’s choice of foaming types that strip you dry or milky types that coat you in a lingering film.) The lemongrass scent is refreshing. The list of ingredients is short, sweet, and natural. The simple glass jar packaging is sturdy, modern, and pleasant to hold and to see in your cabinet.
It takes a few tries to get the hang of using it (which means scooping out the right amount of paste and emulsifying it with the right amount of water), but once you do, you’ll be amazed at how well a cleanser can perform (considering the low expectations for one compared to a moisturizer, say). The line isn’t widely distributed, but you can find it in Whole Foods Body stores and online at Birchbox.