Cure Natural Aqua Gel is the number one selling exfoliator in Japan and is one of Amazon’s best-sellers. Its a cult-favorite among those suffering with acne because of its gentle, yet effective exfoliating abilities.
Basically, to use this product, take a dime sized amount of the gel, apply it to dry but cleansed skin, and let it sit on your face for 3-4 minutes. Little white balls of “dead skin” will emerge and should be massaged off.
Afterwards, your skin is left amazingly smooth and soft. The exfoliation helps manage acne by sloughing off dead skin cells. It should only be used 2-3 times per week.
This has been one of my favorite products for years now (yes, YEARS!) and I’ve used it to help manage summertime acne and oiliness, and to slough off flakiness and keep my skin glowing and fresh in the wintertime.
The only thing is, no one seems to know how or why it works.
Take a look at the ingredient list:
Water (activated hydrogen water), glycerin, acrylates/C10-30, alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, dicocodimonium, chloride, steartrimonium bromide, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, gingko biloba extract, rosmarinus officinalis/rosemary leaf extract, butylene glycol.
Here’s the CosDNA analysis for those of you interested. It turns up pretty clean. There isn’t that much in here, especially for a product that is/appears to be so effective.
Cure Natural Aqua Gel’s claim to fame is its “activated hydrogen water” which, um, is a great improvement over, er just regular H2O?
So it seems pretty clear that this “water” is either not actually water (shudders…what is it then?), or is just the usual filler. All the other ingredients, including the plant extracts, are basically conditioners.
Generally, exfolitation happens mechanically (with beads, grains, etc to physically dislodge and remove dead skin cells) or chemically (with enzymes and acids which break down the bonds holding onto the dead skin cells). Not one of the ingredients listed in Cure Natural Aqua Gel falls into either category. Not even remotely close.
Which brings us to mystery #1: How does this product even work?
Countless people, myself included, swear by this product and have seen (and felt!) the results with our own two eyes. The product goes on, the white things appear, and once rinsed off, skin is amazingly soft and smooth. Overtime, decreased pore size, acne flair-up, and overall skin texture have improved.
But this products ingredient list is more like one for a hair conditioner or very strange body lotion (which btw, try this stuff on your calluses, feet, elbows, and knees-they will look brand new!) Yet it seems to be so effective at “exfoliating” (or whatever it is that its doing).
And here’s mystery #2-if it actually exfoliates, how is it so gentle? It feels like a essence or something…
Cure Natural Aqua Gel’s hallmark is the tiny white balls of what is supposedly dead skin. They begin to emerge the second the product hits the skin and multiply the more the product sits and is massaged into the skin.
As this product is not a chemical (or physical) exfoliator, these “dead skin balls” can’t actually be dead skin can they?
Some more-science-y people than me believe that it is the acrylates polymer coming out of the solution as the water evaporates. The little “balls” may or may not provide exfoliation and probably nothing close to products whose formulations are custom designed to the task if Cure Natural Aqua Gel does, indeed, exfoliate. However, other “studies” on fellow beauty blogs and websites have run tests of their own, revealing that oil/sebum must be present on a surface for the balls to form. Firsthand, I know that skin can not be even remotely damp when applying this product. I also know, firsthand, that if this product is used regularly, or even a second time the same day, much less “balling up” occurs. So it seems to actually be somewhat related to skin given this occurrence.
BUT if it is actually all dead skin, then this product works scarily well, probably too well for comfort. Even though this product doesn’t exfoliate the same each use (ie if there is less dead skin, then there will be less beading), if you try this product for the first time, you’ll probably wonder how it doesn’t just take your entire face off with regular use. Spoiler: it doesn’t (at least, doesn’t seem to). But it is a little unnerving if your skin is in bad shape and within 30 seconds your face is a field of little white balls of “dead skin.”
Mystery #3-what are the white balls? Is that really my skin?
The world may never know.
I wish I could do a waxing poetic review of this product, but since I don’t actually know why this product seems to work and work so well, I hesitate to do a review/rave about it. With other products, its like: “this ingredient is giving me x result and these two over here are what causes y to happen and happen so well/badly.” As for Cure, its just something that I put on my face and watch as whatever voodoo/black magic/miracle that happens with this product happen, and feel my newly reborn skin with a mixture of awe and skepticism no other product has ever given me.
Or you can play it safe and not put the product-that-shouldn’t-work-yet-works-eerily-well on your precious face.
Its up to you. Let me know what you decide in the comments below 🙂