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Cure Natural Aqua Gel – look at the label

I have to admit this best selling product on Amazon.com baffles me.

It’s allegedly the top selling exfoliator in Japan. Exfoliators, as you probably know, work typically work in one of two ways: by chemically loosening dead skin cells with an alpha hydroxy acid or similar chemical. Or by mechanically removing dead skin cells with an abrasive particle like a walnut shell or a polyethylene bead.

This product contains neither type of ingredient. It does, however, contain “Activated Hydrogen Water.” I don’t know what it’s activated with but I’m certainly happy to see that they’re not one of those nasty non-hydrogen based waters.

In addition it contains glycerin, a couple of polymers, and some quaternary ammonium compounds. Based on the ingredient list I’d expect this to be a better hair conditioner then it is a skin exfoliator.

Cure Natural Aqua Gel Ingredients

Water (activated hydrogen water, non-acidic and purified), 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.

Claims:

  • Best selling exfoliator in Japan
  • Free from preservatives, fragrance, artificial coloring or alcohol
  • Contains 90% revitalized hydrogen water
  • Contains natural plant extracts from aloe vera, gingko, and rosemary
  • Must-have basic skin-care product to prevent enlarged pores, blackheads, pimples, blemishes and dull skin tone.

I’m not sure why you’d want to but you can buy Cure Natural Aqua Gel 250ml – Best selling exfoliator in Japan! using the link below and you’ll be helping to support the Beauty Brains. In fact, you can buy ANYTHING with our link and it will still help. Thanks!

{ 37 comments… add one }

  • Rae February 15, 2014, 10:06 am

    I tried this and it balls up. Maybe the exfoliation happens after the product balls up and you continue to massage it.

    • Randy Schueller February 15, 2014, 10:22 am

      Rae: The balls are formed as the water evaporates and the acrylates polymer comes out of solution. (Some products like this claim that the “balls” are actually the dead skin cells but that’s not true.) I suppose the balls could give some degree of exfoliation but I wonder if they’d work as well as particles specifically sized for that task.

      • Rae February 16, 2014, 6:00 pm

        @Randy, some people think that, but I’d be scared if that much skin is coming off. Well, it does claim to be gentle, and is advised to be used everyday as opposed to 2 to 3x a week with other exfoliators.

        I probably won’t buy this after I finish the sample though. It just doesn’t fit my needs as an acne-prone person.

      • Charlie February 10, 2015, 11:34 am

        It is balled up skin. If I apply the product on my cheeks where there is less oil and dead skin, no balling occurs. If I apply on my nose or forehead where I have more oil and dead skin, balling occurs. Balling also occurs when I apply on my neck where I have a lot of ingrown hairs. The hairs are then freed when the layer of skin on top of the hair is dissolved. (Very effective for a pre-shave) I tried applying to a callous on my foot, and it pretty much completely dissolved the callous with little rubbing. Those layers of dead skin didn’t just disappear; they balled up as they were shed off. This product is so effective that it actually concerns me. I found this page while researching whether or not this was even safe to use. So, I wouldn’t recommend using more than once a week. And be sure to use it correctly for best results. 1. rinse off excess oil and dirt. 2. PAT DRY 3. Apply gel with gentle rubbing.

        • Rae February 24, 2015, 6:25 pm

          I don’t think it is skin. It seems like it’s a reaction with oil. I remember labmuffin.com doing an experiment on this. She put oil in leather and the ‘polymer’ in it balls up. No oil, no balling up.

  • Eileen February 15, 2014, 10:47 am

    I got such a laugh out of “one of those nasty non-hydrogen based waters.” We certainly don’t have to worry about any nastiness with this product, though, as it is the real deal–it’s “hydrogen water”! LOL

    Apropos those little polyethylene beads used as exfoliators, I’m sure you guys are well aware of the legislation being proposed in New York and California that would ban the manufacture and sale of all products containing those non-biodegradable little beads. Since products are frequently reformulated, it shouldn’t be too difficult coming up with environmentally friendly alternatives. I think of it as job security for you chemists 😉

    • Randy Schueller February 15, 2014, 11:27 am

      @Eileen: It’ll be interesting to see how the plastic micro-bead issue plays out. They gained popularity because they are less abrasive than walnut shells and other similar exfoliators. Now they’re losing popularity become of their environmental impact. But rest assured some enterprising chemists will come to the rescue!

  • rozy February 15, 2014, 3:14 pm

    I don’t know why no preservatives is considered a good thing.

    • Randy Schueller February 15, 2014, 7:39 pm

      @Rozy: It’s called “Irrational Chemophobia.”

    • vanessa February 16, 2014, 10:25 pm

      Gah. Me too. I’d choose preservatives over bacteria/ fungi any day.

  • Olivia February 16, 2014, 3:41 am

    The biggest selling point from this product (from what I hear of people that use it) is that you can see dead skin ball up as you rub the cleanser over your face. I thought this post would explain this idea. I just started trying to educate myself better with product formulations and I have many questions I’m really embarrassed to ask. It’s a subject I’ve never ventured into and it’s a new found interest. I’m tired of spending money on items that leave me dissapointed

    • Randy Schueller February 16, 2014, 9:18 am

      Olivia: As I mentioned in a previous comment, it’s the acrylic polymer coming out of solution that causes the balls to form.

      • Olivia February 16, 2014, 7:30 pm

        ^ I don’t know how I missed that sorry. I got a bad facial at a spa once and never again went back for another. It left me with those pesky things all over my face, tried to say it was my skin. It was very occlusive I broke out

    • Inky Whiskers February 16, 2014, 11:53 am

      If you want to learn more about what cosmetic ingredients do for us & to us as well as how to tell fact from fiction on labels…read It’s OK to have Lead in your Lipstick! Really! I’m not getting paid or anything to say this. It’s a great book for educating cosmetic users!

  • Kaya February 16, 2014, 11:30 am

    “Nasty non-hydrogen based waters” 😀 😀 😀 😀

  • Michelle February 16, 2014, 3:21 pm

    Sorry, I am not ever going to listen to someone telling me it is OK to have lead in lipstick!!! So then add some to your dinner tonight and let us know how that went. Really.

    We are so stringent on the water we drink, and insist on cleaner water, so why would it be ok to have lead in lipstick but not in water???

    I am sticking to clean and healthier brands like LUSH Cosmetics, L’Occitane, and Glam Girl Naturals Cosmetics!!!

    • Randy Schueller February 16, 2014, 3:52 pm

      Hi Michelle. Thanks for your comment but it appears that you’re a little bit misinformed. As you can see by reading the EPA standards provided at this link http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm#one, very low levels of lead ARE permitted in drinking water. The goal is to get to zero but as long as the level of lead is below 0.015 micrograms per liter of water, no action is required.

      The important point to recognize is that THE DOSE MAKES THE POISON. We’re exposed to hazardous materials ALL THE TIME in our lives- some are natural in origin some are man made. But you can’t determine the risk of these materials unless you understand the degree of exposure. And that’s why it’s ok to have (a little) lead in your lipstick.

    • Inky Whiskers February 17, 2014, 12:38 pm

      Gotta love ignorance, it’s so entertaining. LOL

  • Olivia February 16, 2014, 7:34 pm

    Some people are heavily invested in marketing propaganda. I am ashamed to admit I bought into the all-natural paraben nonsense at one point. I’m still alive :)

  • Scarlet February 16, 2014, 8:59 pm

    I heard they did an experiment where they tried to put a small drop of Cure on a surface and rubbed it using a q-tip or something and there were no residue coming out to prove that it’s the dead skin cell and not the product that forms?

    • Cyndy January 5, 2015, 10:45 pm

      Yes, I have used this product. I’m not sure what that water is that they claim, but I can tell you that I used it around my nose and chin a little too liberally, and my skin was rubbed raw. I only rubbed it in with my fingers, but I was excited and used it too many times within a two day period. After that, when my skin healed up, I used it again, but less liberally and frequently. Every time I use it, I can see my skin is smoothed out, and some sun spots on my forehead are gone, after using it a few times. I have oily skin, and my skin is not sensitive. I almost never have a sensitive reaction to any general ingredients in skin care products, so I don’t think that’s what happened. Also, I had chapped lips one day, and used it on my lips. It rolled the flakey skin right off. I would love to know what the real active ingredient is, someday. I use it on my cuticles, too. It’s been effective for me.

  • vanessa February 16, 2014, 10:34 pm

    There are a lot of weird skin care products in the Asian Market. In fact a lot of other Asian brands have “exfoliants” similar to this.

    There is a lot of hype for a lot of weird ingredients as well – snail cream, bee venom, yeast ferment, collagen. Consumers pay a hefty amount for products with these ingredients in them.

  • Anita March 20, 2014, 7:16 pm

    Years ago I made lotions that a lot of people liked, but I stopped making them. I was using a polymer thickener, and it was gross how the product balled up on my skin. Gross!! I am formulating using nice, regular emulsifiers now.

  • Ashley November 1, 2014, 8:03 pm

    I used this today for the first time on DRY skin, and it actually is pretty amazing. Think what you will, but the balls that formed on my skin were globs of dead skin cells. How do I know? Because I tried using it again five minutes later, and no little white balls formed whatsoever! I’ve used a product like this in the past. This is not a gimmick. Don’t knock it til you try it.

  • Kitkat January 2, 2015, 9:08 pm

    I’ve done some experiments on it when I first got it. I didn’t believe about the whole “dead skin cells balling up” crap.

    Used a silicone spatula to rub the product on a clean glass surface, no balls. Tried it on myself after scrubbing my face with baking soda (exfoliated my fingers in the process), no balls.

    Tried it on my face the following week (dry skin), and it balled.

    I must say that the ingredient (activated hydrogen water) is BS. However, the product somehow works by softening the skin (with those bunch of emulsifiers), and making it easier to slough off with friction.

    I don’t normally buy it unless it’s heavily discounted. Other than that I’d stick to sugar/baking soda scrubs.

  • Kitkat January 2, 2015, 9:17 pm

    I also burnt those little balls. (I know I’m weird) And it smelled like burning skin (I’m a welder and I know what burnt skin smells like).

    It doesn’t smell exactly like burnt skin (when you smell fresh burns that still has the charred skin or when you burn a piece of dry dead skin), but it smells like it. It’s probably due to the ingredients.

  • Brandon January 12, 2015, 1:42 pm

    What I find hilarious is how you guys are belittling them on something that you know little to nothing about and bashing them for claims that you neither understand nor relay to the other readers here appropriately. I like how you lay down, literally, blanket statements about everything. You act as if all man-made, chemically-laced products shouldn’t be feared and are A-okay while making fun of everything that says “all natural.” You also make no effort whatsoever to understand what the company’s terminology means, nor do you show a single inkling of understanding when it comes to how their exfoliating product works. I guess spouting off your limited knowledge on a site like this makes you feel better somehow? Who knows? Do some research before you bash something. This product is tried and true…you’d know that if you had bothered to check before opening your mouths.

  • Rachel February 12, 2015, 1:05 am

    I used this stuff today on my feet. Maybe the little white balls are polymer, maybe they are dead skin, or maybe they are nano creatures from an alien race. All I know is that my calluses are gone folks. Gone. If you don’t want yours, send it to me.

  • Maria March 4, 2015, 4:00 pm

    Is it possible that the so-called water is not water at all but it contains an exfoliating agent of some description? Acid? Enzyme? Is it a requirement in Japan to provide a full ingredient list?

    Then again, it is possible that a lot of people who buy and use this stuff and experiences exfoliating effects (I don’t mean the balls), are fighting cognitive dissonance because of the hype and the price they paid. I don’t know.

    • Randy Schueller March 4, 2015, 6:20 pm

      If the product contains an acid or an enzyme, that can not be legally listed as just “water.”

  • Lisa March 11, 2015, 1:53 am

    I asked my daughter to bring me a bottle back from Japan. It works! She has keratosis pilaris on her arms. I asked her to try a little on the rash and lo and behold, the dead skin shed (in balls) leaving baby soft skin. Obviously, not a cure for keratosis, but a definite improvement. I used it on my very dry hands, and again, it was a success. Who knows what the mystery water really is. The product works and is not really that expensive. Only use it sparingly and only once a week, because too much exfoliation can be (very) irritating.

  • Ana March 14, 2015, 10:44 am

    My 2 cents. I’m black. The balls are white. They’re not dead skin cells. In fact, the only time I got white balls was when I applied it with oily lotion still on my face. Yes, if you try it again right after you won’t get the white balls because the oil is gone.

    I wil say that it has some type of chemical/astringent property. I don’t know how strictly regulated the beauty products in Japan are, but it might contain something that is not advertised on the label.

    • Randy Schueller March 14, 2015, 10:47 am

      Good logic, Ana, but the pigments that make your skin black are in the deeper layers of your skin. The upper, dead layer (the stratum corneum) is colorless.

  • Allegra April 17, 2015, 6:45 pm

    I’ve been using this product for about a year and half as of today. I use it on my legs before shaving, and all the ingrown hairs become exposed. I am also able to see the dead skin on my chin (there’s like a small spot) and one I use this product it’s no longer there. I don’t know, but I think it does work.

  • Carolynn April 18, 2015, 11:27 pm

    I love Cure. It exfoliates my skin so well. It’s a bit pricey but worth it. Cure leaves my skin fresh like a lactic acid peel but not as drying. I suffer from hyperpigmentation and I love what it does for my skin. I’m on my 3rd bottle of Cure.

  • Sara July 22, 2015, 9:12 am

    I have to say, I bought this when I was in Japan and miss it a lot. I would only use it between once a week/month, however it does ball up quite a lot if I have not used it for a while. It also makes my skin feel very soft – especially on my neck where I do not usually use exfoliators.
    It is expensive however it is a product I love. I cannot overly use it (sensitive skin) however it does work really well.
    I was hesitant as well before I tried it however it does work – and not just to remove the oil. It actually does get rid of dead skin. I don’t know how but it does. Maybe due to different labelling laws they do not put the ‘secret ingredient’ on the label? Maybe slightly scary but I can assure you, it does work very well.

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