My research associate/BFF and I have dedicated our precious time and deductive reasoning skills to providing you with the most thorough, bi-coastal review possible on this product. We have spent a week in the trenches, slathering this stuff all over our faces and staring at ourselves in our respective bathroom mirrors. As usual, you’re welcome.

Rachel: I picked up this product after getting a sample at my favorite Asian skincare and cosmetic store in Chinatown, oo35mm. (Shoutout to them– if you’re in NY you should visit them on Mott street.)

Cure Natural Aqua Gel is an immensely popular Japanese skincare product that has just started to gain some traction here in the US. In Japan, however, a bottle is sold every 12 seconds. I really can’t validate that figure with anything other than this description on Amazon, but have at it. I am choosing to believe.

Why all the hype? Because it’s a super-light, non-irritating gel meant to leave your face feeling like a baby’s ass. That’s an awesome thing on it’s own, but the end game here is anti-aging. Most of us who are neurotic/serious about skincare recognize that the removal of dead skin is key to a clear complexion as well as preventing fine lines and wrinkles.

On first glance, I notice that Cure Natural Aqua Gel contains no harsh chemicals, rough exfoliants or added fragrances– in fact, the product is 91% water. The active ingredient is an Acrylate Crosspolymer, an ingredient used in many personal care products like face creams and sunscreen. Polymers are used to thicken water into gel, improving the consistency of many of these products and making them easier to use.

When massaged into the skin, the result is a pilling or balling of product. It might be tempting to think that this residue is dead skin, you know, falling off your face. And while that would be an immensely satisfying thing, it simply isn’t the case. According to its listed ingredients, this product doesn’t actually contain an exfoliant. It’s an emulsifier, meaning that the change in consistency is due to a reaction with the oil (and probably debris) on the surface of your skin.

Rachel: It definitely gives your face that tight, clean feeling that makes you think something good is happening, so the experience is enjoyable. But my feelings became rather lukewarm towards it after I learned the little balls of crap were not actually dead skin, which is how it was sold to me. I don’t think the saleswoman was deliberately lying to me, either– I think most people are fooled into thinking this.

My skin is definitely softer immediately following use, and it has that awesome squeaky-clean feeling. However, I think this Cure’s success is riding on the assumption that it’s actively removing dead skin, when the effects are most likely much gentler.

Rachel: I don’t notice much of a difference in my skin, and I HATE feeling stupid. Kind of fun, but I probably won’t repurchase it. I’ll stick to my usual chemical and mechanical exfoliants instead. 

I’m glad to have this crazy stuff in my already overcrowded bathroom arsenal, but you should know that it’s not a traditional exfoliant, nor is it a chemical peel. If you have sensitive skin that reacts badly to either of these, this could be your jam!

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