This Is the #1 Exfoliator in Japan

Faith Xue

We discover some of our best beauty tips from overaseas. Our sisters across the pond know their stuff, and our eyelashes are forever pert and curly because of them—and don’t even get us started on our skincare routine. Thus, we knew we had stumbled onto something special when we clicked into a little-known exfoliator on Amazon with more than 1000 positive reviews, claiming to be the “No. 1 exfoliator in Japan,” with one bottle sold every 12 seconds and—most importantly—an under-$30 price tag. Needless to say, we immediately had to know everything. And thus, we did our research (and yes, ordered one for ourselves—review coming later). Keep scrolling to see what we found!

The product, Cure Natural Aqua Gel ($28), promises to be a gentle formula that works on even the most sensitive of skin—no small feat for an exfoliator. The bottle is unassuming—clear and plastic, with a pump on top (points for ease of application). We got really intrigued when we read the directions, though. Supposedly, you apply this product to dry skin after you’ve toweled off, post-cleansing. You apply the gel to your face, leave it on for a few seconds, and then gently slough it off. According to the instructions, “The gel will turn into a milky white color, and beads of dead skin cells can be seen as they are lifted off the skin.” (Which sounds both disgusting and like everything we’ve ever wanted in our lives.) Then you just rinse again and follow with your normal skincare regimen.

This exfoliator sounds a lot like the gommage peels from Korea, except for the whole turning-into-a-milky-white-color part. Users—men and women alike—rave about its magical abilities, claiming that it does everything from brightening skin to fighting acne. User Andrew Barker says it feels like he’s “massaging rice into my face,” leaving his skin “clear, vibrant, soft, and squeaky clean.” Though most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, there are some doubters. User PebbleBeacher says that the little balls that slough off when you massage the gel in your face are not all dead skin cells, as some might believe; he claims it’s simply a mixture of the ingredients in the exfoliator. He also points out a slightly sketchy ingredient called steartrimonium bromide, which has been dubbed a hazardous ingredient by the Cosmetic Database and is only considered safe for dermal exposure up to concentrations of 2%. Meanwhile, other users call it a lifesaving product for sensitive, dry skin and even use it on other body parts like elbows and hands.

Curious? Luckily, you don't have to travel to Japan to snatch up a bottle— just buy Cure Natural Aqua Gel ($28) on Amazon.

What do you think—would you give this Japanese exfoliator a go? Have you ever tried a gommage peel? Sound off below!

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