I remember my first experience with exfoliating: I was in middle school and St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub was the beauty product to have. I rubbed that sweet, sandy mixture into my face nearly every day of the week, leaving clumps of dried orange sand all over the shower floor and probably making my burgeoning acne issue worse. But, hey–I felt fresh, clean, and cool.
We now know that harsh, skin-sloughing exfoliation is not the answer to clear skin, especially not on the daily. The skin on our faces is the most sensitive on our bodies and needs to be handled gently–but that doesn’t mean exfoliating is out altogether.
So far I’ve only found one product that’s an effective exfoliator and is gentle enough to use everyday, even on irritated skin. And it’s really not a product at all: it’s a sponge.
Yup, a fresh-out-of-the-ocean sponge (I guess I have a thing for ocean products?). I got turned onto the idea from a vendor at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in LA. Hypnotized by their weirdly beautiful sponge display and the smell of their natural goat’s milk soaps, I let the (very fabulous) saleslady talk me into dropping $30 on a Yellow Sea Sponge with these key points:
1. Sponges are nature’s exfoliators, 100% natural and biodegradable
2. Once wet, sponges are butter-soft and gentle enough to use on the face everyday
3. One sponge can last for years with proper care
With the exception of the lasts-for-years thing (I’ve lost four while traveling, but that’s just me), everything she said about sponges proved true.
To use, soften up your sponge under warm water for 30 seconds or so and give it a few squeezes. Then, rub over damp skin in a circular motion (you can do this all over your body, too!). Once you’re done, rinse your skin with warm water. That’s it! No need for soap or cleanser–the sponge does it all, leaving your face feeling clean, not raw.