For years, I avoided what I considered to be complicated skin care, assuming exfoliants and active (or unfamiliar) ingredients would break me out or irritate my sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin. I now realize this was a nonsensical presumption, as I’ve since learned how beneficial exfoliating can be for complexions like mine. Enter: my long overdue aha-moment, where I learned my skepticism was getting in the way of allowing certain ingredients to help combat my biggest skin concerns. Now, I’m a proud exfoliant enthusiast, and my complexion is eternally grateful.
A handful of skin care staples inspired this belated enlightenment, including a chemical exfoliant toner I’ve enthusiastically praised in the past. But a facial polish really did the trick, which truly shocked me since I had previously thought of physical exfoliants as my mortal enemy. That product? Natureofthings’ Clarifying Facial Polish, which is formulated with a combination of manual, chemical, and enzymatic exfoliants, making it the perfect hybrid of a gentle scrub and refreshing cleanser. It’s completely revived my once dull complexion. Read on for why it’s my glow-boosting savior.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
First Up: The Basics
The Clarifying Facial Polish comes from natureofthings, a beauty and wellness brand that prides itself on being for all genders and ages and producing sustainable products exclusively formulated with ingredients that are backed by science and/or derived from nature (its site has an ingredients glossary, BTW). The polish encapsulates this ethos to a tee: Its invigorating formula is comprised of a long list of naturally sourced ingredients that address multiple skin concerns at once.
First, the volcanic ash, Kisameet glacial clay, and diatomaceous earth (a mineral-heavy sand sourced from algae and plankton) work to gently scrub and penetrate the skin, drawing out impurities and unclogging pores. The salicylic acid, lactic acid, papaya enzyme, and bromelain exfoliate, promote cellular turnover, and rid the skin’s surface of buildup. This reduces dullness and uneven texture, resulting in a radiantly gorgeous glow. And while this may sound like a lot going on for one polish, the colloidal oatmeal and olive oil in the formula ensure your skin stays hydrated and calm, while niacinamide works to protect the skin’s barrier — so it’s got all your bases (or shall we say barriers) covered.
The product comes in the form of a powder, meaning the polish is activated when combined with water. Simply mix half a teaspoon (or a dime-sized amount) into your hand, and add drops of water until you achieve your desired consistency, which will range from that of a creamy paste (with more water) to a more traditional exfoliating scrub (with less). The amount I use depends on my skin’s mood — sometimes I just want a gentle cleanse, while others I’m in need of serious exfoliation — and how often you use it depends on your complexion. I personally use it twice a week while in the shower, maybe once more if my skin is craving it. If you’re brand new to exfoliants, however, experts encourage using anything that promotes cellular turnover just once a week at first, gradually increasing the amount from there (if at all).
Why I’m Obsessed
I didn’t do exfoliants until I tried this polish, and it’s singlehandedly changed my mind about exfoliating scrubs (though it’s the only one I ever want to use again). Its vastly versatile range of ingredients do everything it promises and so much more, and they work so well together that they offset any potential irritation other exfoliants sometimes cause. What’s more, it smells and feels amazing on the skin and provides a calming sensation when I use it.
As for how it’s affected my skin: I noticed dramatic results immediately. My skin’s texture feels and looks brand new; I’ve even noticed that my foundation sits better on my face and lasts longer than usual (though I also wear less makeup now that my skin is so clear). If I do need to wear a full face of makeup for an event, I intentionally use the polish the night before, as it helps prep and smooth my complexion. Honestly, it makes my face look and feel like an ice skating rink: perfectly smooth, glowing, and clear, with no more rough patches in sight. This polish has completely eradicated the dullness that plagued my complexion in the past. Even my skin tone has changed: I look luminescent.
To reiterate: Despite all of its amazing benefits, it hasn’t caused any irritation on my super sensitive skin, even when I use it with minimal water and as a scrub. It really feels like a miracle polish, and I’m so grateful to have discovered it.
Quite like Shania Twain, most things “don’t impress me much” — but this polish is an exception. I first tried it with zero expectations but was blown away by the results and how pleasant it was to use. Scrubs have always felt so harsh and ultimately left my face red. My skin is smoother and more radiant than it’s ever been. In other words: This product is the utmost example of something that deserves a 10/10 recommendation.