I'll back up. The Baiden Mitten is an exfoliation device made from tree fiber and woven in the same textile design used in hammams and bath houses as far back as the Ottoman Empire. I've visited a hammam a few times before — the kind of steamy, no-frills spa where you lie down on a wet table and let a professional scrub the dead skin off you with a rough glove and her own mighty arm strength. During these visits, I was both fascinated and horrified to see the dead skin literally roll off my body under the force of this scrubbing. It was so gross and so amazing. I'd spend the next week ogling my skin in the mirror and urging people to touch me: "Can you believe how soft and glowing I am?!" They couldn't.
I've often tried to replicate the hammam effect at home with a professional gommage glove. But, no dice. I'd rub the rough glove over myself until I turned crab-shell red, but I never saw that yucky-awesome dead-skin peeling like I had on the table. So, when I first heard of the Baiden Mitten, I was skeptical.
First of all, it costs almost $50. I'll drop that much on a serum or a bikini wax, but somehow it seemed a little bananas to pay $48.97 on an exfoliation glove when I could just, like, go to the beach and roll around in the sand or something. (That's a thing people do, right?) Second of all, it's not available in stores. Up until recently, you could only purchase it on the Baiden Mitten website, which honestly looks more like my eighth-grade GeoCities site than a professional, high-end beauty vendor. The site is run by Victoria Winnard, the Baiden Mitten's designer and proprietor, who claims her grandmother passed down the glove's design secrets. I'm not sure if that made it feel more or less like a scam.
Still, when I googled the glove, myriad results turned up. It seemed that no one who'd purchased the Baiden Mitten had come away disappointed. Google Images is chock-full of absolutely disgusting-cool shots of dead-skin rolls, not to mention some knockout before-and-afters. Some users even applied the Baiden Mitten to their faces, and though that seemed a little extreme, I have to say they looked uh-mazing.
I bit the bullet a few weeks ago when I discovered the glove was now available on Amazon. I came home from work on a Friday to find it on my doorstep, and I went to sleep with a night-before-Christmas feeling in my stomach. This time, I knew what would be waiting for me under the tree — dead skin! "Do you want to get brunch?" my boyfriend asked the next morning. "No, BYE!" and I ran into the bathroom.
The Baiden Mitten comes with both mandatory instructions and helpful tips. The bath is mandatory. You need to soak for at least 15 minutes in a hot bath (a hot shower is okay, too, but a bath is ideal) — no soap, no oils, nothing but water in the tub. After that, put on the glove, and use an up-and-down motion over your limbs, pressing down firmly. (With a little practice, you'll find the right pressure for your skin.) Once you see the dead skin start to roll off, do NOT rinse. The magic of this glove creates a snowball effect, and eventually you'll end up with an arm full of flakes and rolls. All together now: EWWW. Then, you rinse. And, then? Ahhhh.
The Baiden Mitten really shines on those areas that don't get much regular exfoliation. If you use a loofah or exfoliating body wash regularly, then your arms and legs probably won't peel off as much skin. But, the rest of you? Yeah, it's gonna get intense. My upper thighs, my back, and, um, my butt? The Baiden Mitten absolutely transformed them. I went to a cocktail party that night and had to restrain myself from asking friends if they wanted to touch my butt. Even the parts of my body that didn't peel like crazy felt buttery soft and glow-y. It was like I'd spent a day getting power-washed at the spa, but it only took 20 minutes in my bathtub.
I did try the mitten on my face, but I was too chicken to use any real pressure. However, given the results on the rest of my bod, I think this might be worth a shot if you don't have terribly sensitive skin. Truthfully, I have sensitive, abrasion-prone skin, and the Baiden Mitten felt a lot better on it than a gommage glove or a body brush. And, the fact that I react badly to a lot of chemical exfoliating products makes this manual, soap-free exfoliation process even more thrilling.
Bottom line: You've gotta try this. Yes, $50 isn't chump change, but the Baiden Mitten is guaranteed to last for two years, and it simply works better than any scrub or device I've encountered in my many, many years of hunting for the exfoliation holy grail. I don't know what kind of voodoo Victoria Winnard's grandmother was channeling when she created this glove, but I bet she looked amazing doing it.
Baiden Mitten Face & Body Microdermabrasion, $48.97, available at Amazon.
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