The Beauty World’s Favorite Exfoliating Formula Now Comes in Moisturizer Form, and It Will Cut Your Routine in Half

Photo: Getty Images/ Maria Korneeva
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There are certain skin-care products that are widely understood to be the best of all time—like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, and EltaMD Facial Sunscreen. And as far as facial exfoliators go, the "GOAT" title belongs to Dr. Dennis Gross's Alpha Beta Peel Pads, which all of our editors (regardless of their skin type) swear by for brightening their complexions. They pack a one-two punch of alpha and beta hydroxy acids that work together to reduce dullness, discoloration, and breakouts. Recently, the brand repurposed this powerful formula into the new Alpha Beta Daily Moisturizer ($68), which offers the same exfoliating prowess as the pads—but this time, it comes with a hydrating twist.

Like the pads, the moisturizer is made with a blend of three superstar alpha-hydroxy acids, which gently melt away the outermost layer of dead skin to reveal the fresh, healthy cells hiding underneath. First, there's glycolic acid, which according to Dr. Dennis Gross himself, "removes dead skin cells by loosening the 'glue' that holds the dead cells to the top layer of skin." Next, there's lactic acid, which speeds up cell renewal and gives your skin a boost of hydration. Finally, there's malic acid, which is derived from apples and is the gentlest exfoliant on the list.

The formula pairs its AHAs with salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid derived from the bark of willow trees. Because BHAs are known to have smaller-sized molecules than their AHA counterparts, they can penetrate deeper into your pores—which is precisely what the salicylic acid in this moisturizer does. It gets way down deep into the surface of your skin to break down the fatty acid compounds that clog pores, making it an A+ pick for stopping pimples in their tracks.

What makes the moisturizer stand apart from Dr. Gross's other fan-favorite exfoliating products is that these skin-sloughing actives work alongside hydrating and anti-inflammatory ingredients. It's got squalane, which derms have called the "big gulp of moisture" thanks to its skin-lubricating properties; ceramides, which strengthens the skin barrier to lock in hydration; bisabolol, which offers antioxidant protection and reduces inflammation; and saccharide isomerate, which acts as a humectant to increases skin's water retention.

Because exfoliants can be irritating on the skin, pairing AHAs and BHAs with these types of skin-nourishing actives can help make them more tolerable on sensitive complexions. The additional ingredients listed above work to neutralize the acids while simultaneously giving skin an extra slurp of hydration, making for an extra-gentle experience. Plus, it'll cut your exfoliating and moisturizing steps down to a single application.

As someone with sensitive skin, I was nervous about adding this moisturizer to my skin-care routine because I already use the Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel Pads ($88) and wasn't sure if the double dose of exfoliants would irritate my skin. But I gave it a shot, and have been pleasantly surprised with how dewy and hydrated my skin feels after using it. I love the way it smells - it's seriously super fresh and makes me feel like I'm a part of 'clean girl' TikTok. The texture feels thick on your fingers, but it becomes super light as you rub it in, and my skin soaks it up pretty quickly. Overall, I've noticed that my complexion is more even, my skin feels super moist, and I haven't had any redness or inflammation.

The Alpha Beta Daily Moisturizer just became available on Sephora, so go get your hands on it. It's only a matter of time before it reaches GOAT status, too.

For more intel on how to properly exfoliate your skin, check out the video below. 

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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