As cool as it is (and it is cool!) to be able to try fancy-pants skincare items or new drops from cult-favorite brands, I'm still a sucker for cheap-beauty thrills. My latest and greatest? An eight-pack of exfoliating washcloths available on Amazon for under $20. The Korean spa-inspired product was first brought to my attention by an R29 reader who submitted the surprising find as an Amazon Hidden Gem — after which, it rose to most wanted fame as a consistently top-carted buy. Out of all the wildly popular beauty products around (from watermelon-scented moisturizers to nail-strengthening creams), a cheap pack of washcloths had suddenly reached viral status. I was curious, I was confused, I needed to know more, and so I carted them.
As someone who is prone to pesky ingrown leg hairs and who also suffers from keratosis pilaris (aka KP) on my upper arms, I take body exfoliation pretty seriously. My go-to products are body scrubs and exfoliating peel pads that help keep my skin smooth and bump-free. However, I'm always open to a better (read: more wallet-friendly) alternative — and these washcloths were a safe risk-reward addition to my Prime order.
The packaging of the washcloths is written entirely in Korean, a language I am not versed in. Luckily, the product's intended use is fairly straightforward — plus, I perused the review section before ordering to get a better idea of what to expect from all those raving five-star reviewers. While there are a few near-identical product listings on Amazon, I went with a four-pack of washcloths (about the size of a 4x6 photo) crafted from 100% viscose with a textured weave (that feels "abrasive" on the skin) and is intended for manual body exfoliation. The product is not meant to be used on your face: "Manual exfoliation of the body is much more acceptable than of the face, given that the skin on your body tends to be thicker," New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss, MD, tells Refinery29.
I showered as normal and, after using my favorite body wash, I took one of the tiny green washcloths and ran it under the showerhead in order to "activate" the fabric (they're not meant to be used dry). I was not expecting the level of shrinkage that occurred once the cloth was saturated with water — but, although it became significantly smaller, I could still easily run it over my body without much difficulty (this could be due in part to my very smol hands).
I'll admit, even on wet skin, the texture was much rougher than I anticipated — so, I didn't get too intense with my scrubbing and opted for softer circular motions heeding Dr. Idriss' caution: "Although safe, it is important to fight the urge to scrub like crazy, and remember that gentler is better! You don't want to walk out of the shower scratched up and red." It didn't take much for my skin to turn a pinkish hue as a result of the exfoliation session, but it quickly faded away after I toweled off. What was left behind, however, was touchably smoother skin.
I noticed fewer ingrown hairs in the days following the scrub session and even fewer after I tried it again post-shaving. Also, since we're Going There: While I don't personally deal with bacne or buttne, I do get the rare below-the-belt pimple. So, I gave my booty a once-over with a fresh cloth to keep things smooth and soft (highly recommend if you suffer from booty breakouts). Since keratosis pilaris can be one of the trickiest and priciest skin conditions to treat (a KP scrub or lotion regimen can easily run you USD $50), at under $20 these viral washcloths were more than an affordable option for delivering visible results when used correctly. My only gripe? They are not exactly sustainable: Viscose is a semi-synthetic material derived from cellulose — and while these washcloths aren't single-use, I personally didn't love the idea of reusing the same cloth for more than four or five exfoliations. Next time, instead of throwing them in the trash, I am going to attempt a washing-machine cycle in order to see if they hold up for longer-term use.
Ultimately, this cheap-thrills beauty buy lived up to its viral hype. Rarely does any product deliver near-instantaneous results, but this Amazon gem did — and then some: "Another plus with manual exfoliation, just like dry brushing, is that it helps to promote blood circulation and increase lymphatic flow while getting rid of superficial dead skin cells," Dr. Idriss shared. Subscribe & Save order, here I come.
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