In the world of skin care, exfoliators could be the most confusing element of a routine. From learning how to properly use chemical exfoliants to researching whether physical scrubs are actually bad for your skin, questions abound. But Cure's Natural Aqua Water Gel, Japan's number one exfoliator, may take some of the guesswork out of including this step in your routine.
According to the brand, the Natural Aqua Gel sells every 4.5 seconds, making the product Japan's bestselling exfoliator and one of the top exfoliators globally as well. On Amazon, fans of the product have been vocal about their positive experiences. As of press time, the product has over 3,000 reviews, with over a 4-star rating. Of the ratings, 71% are 5 star. Many customer assessments focus on one thing in particular: how gentle the product is.
Cure Natural Aqua Gel isn't exactly a physical exfoliator and certainly not a deeply penetrating chemical exfoliant (think Drunk Elephant's Sukari Baby Facial). Instead, Japan's bestselling exfoliator strays from high acidity and rough materials and utilizes a blend of surfactants like dicocodimonium chloride and carbomers that help to bind oils together to attract and remove dead skin. Thanks to the way its ingredients work, Cure's Natural Aqua Gel falls under the category of peeling gels.
While peeling gels aren't a new innovation in skin care — they've been popular in Asia since 2016 — Cure's Natural Aqua Gel formula is by far one of the most unique products I've used in terms of how the formula goes about removing your dead skin.
To use the product, you'll need a completely clean and dry face. This isn't a product you should be using to get rid of leftover makeup. Once you dispense the product into your palm, you'll see where its name comes from. It's a clear, fragrance-free gel formula. However, when applied to the face, the gel begins to break down into what's basically water. That's because Cure's formula is a whopping 91% hydrogen water, an ingredient that, while commonly ingested, is said to help reduce signs of aging and inflammation (though the science isn't completely reliable thanks to limited testing, according to Self).
The hydrogen water, however, is the most unique part of using the peeling gel thanks to the sensation of wetting your face without, well, wetting your face. After a moment, however, you'll begin to see the texture shift again, becoming milkier. That's when you start the exfoliation process.
Gently massage the product into your skin, and the carbomers will begin to pick up surface level oil and dead skin, creating little beads on the face (yes, beads of dead skin). Once you've massaged the product completely into the face and no more beads appear, simply rinse your face with water.
Over the past six weeks, I've used Cure Natural Aqua Gel five times a week during my morning skin care routine, and if that frequency seems high, I am accustomed to using chemical exfoliators and have tolerant skin. For me, the biggest difference in my complexion has been its smoothness and tone, not the alleged anti-aging benefits. As someone who wears makeup almost daily, the ability to exfoliate often without irritating my skin has made cosmetic application a breeze. My foundation blends easier and looks much more seamless thanks to the elimination of any superficial dead skin.
While this product certainly works well as a gentle exfoliator, for those with a normal skin type, other products are equally as capable of getting the job done, like Nuria's Defend Gentle Exfoliator, which retails for half the price. However, if your skin is incredibly sensitive and you've had issues arise with peeling gels or physical and chemical exfoliators in the past, Cure's unique hydrogen water formula may work best for you.