This Is the #1 Exfoliator in Japan, and It's Under $40

Woman with clear skin

Imaxtree / Matteo Valle

We discover some of our best beauty tips from overseas. Our sisters across the pond know their stuff—our eyelashes are forever pert and curly because of them, and don’t even get us started on our skincare routine. Because of this, we knew we had stumbled onto something special when we stumbled upon a little-known exfoliator on Amazon with more than 1000 positive reviews, claiming to be the “number one exfoliator in Japan,” with one bottle sold every 12 seconds and—most importantly—an under-$40 price tag. Needless to say, we immediately had to know everything about the Cure Natural Aqua Gel. Keep scrolling to see what we found.


  • Promises to deeply exfoliate and brighten skin
  • Multipurpose use
  • Energizes with activated hydrogen water


  • Some with sensitive skin say it's too harsh
  • Requires moisturizer post-application

Bottom Line

The Cure Natural Aqua Gel is an effective formula that's ideal for those looking to deeply exfoliate their skin.

  • Best for: Deep exfoliation, anti-aging, brightening
  • Clean?: No, contains steartrimonium bromide
  • Price: $39
  • About the brand: Cure is a Japanese skincare company founded in 2003 with a focus on recovery products.
Cure Natural Aqua Gel
Cure Natural Aqua Gel $39.00

The Results: Clear, smooth skin

The bottle is unassuming—clear and plastic, with a pump on top (points for ease of application). What intrigued us the most was what we found out after we read the directions. Supposedly, you apply this product to dry skin after you’ve toweled off, post-cleansing. 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.) That said, it's also a mix of the product that beads off along with it for that satisfying effect. Then you just rinse again and follow with your normal skincare regimen. As with most exfoliators, those with dry skin may find applying a moisturizer post-application necessary.

Similar Products: You have options

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Exfoliating Peel Gel: Though pricier than the Natural Aqua Gel, this peeling gel is similar in that it rids skin of dullness by sloughing away dead skin cells.

Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel: Ideal for those with normal to oily skin types, this lightweight peel promises to lift and roll debris using pomegranate enzymes and multi-fruit AHAs.

Our Verdict: Worth it

This exfoliator sounds a lot like the gommage peels from Korea, except for the milky transformation part. Users—men and women alike—rave about its magical abilities, claiming that it does everything from brightening skin to fighting acne. We love that it can be used on other areas of the body that need a little extra TLC (think: elbows, hands, and feet).

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