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People tend to romanticize New York City in the summer, but while there are plenty of rooftop pools and happy hours to enjoy, we can't overlook the inevitable and intense smells imbuing the fetid air, or the inferno-like conditions of its underground subway platforms. Throw in a heatwave or two, and you have the perfect recipe for absolutely terrible skin. Breakouts, blackheads, dullness, and gross overall texture plague us season-long.
These less-than-sublime conditions mean that the first thing I do when I get back to my apartment after stepping outside for more than 10 minutes is wash my face to remove the layers of sweat, pollution, and city grime. And what's the one product that I use to get the job done on especially gross days? The magical Resurface Scrub from cult-favorite, clean, unisex beauty brand Noto Botanics.
This natural wonder-scrub uses both physical exfoliants as well as acid exfoliants. Walnut shell powder (if you're wary of the ingredient following people calling out Kylie Jenner for including it in her facial scrub, more on that below) sloughs away dirt and other gross buildup while a number of AHAs, such as glycolic, malic, and tartaric acids, dissolve dead skin cells in a flash. Being that it's so intense, oils such as organic jojoba and rosehip seed oil are also involved, which work to restore moisture, repair skin, and pump the skin up with vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. (A full list of ingredients, and their functions, are listed on the product page on Noto Botanics' website.)
The result of all this? A bright, glowing, and smooth-as-baby complexion. Honestly, it's left my skin feeling the cleanest, softest, and healthiest it has ever felt. It's basically like getting a brand-new face. The real treat, however, is that this scrub also contains peppermint oil, which leaves behind the most refreshing, heat wave-relieving tingling, cooling sensation ever. Ahhhh.
Now, let's back up a bit here. As mentioned earlier, walnut shell powder has been an up-for-debate ingredient. Noto Botanics founder Gloria Noto explains that, with any physical exfoliant scrub, to avoid skin micro-tears, you want to make sure ingredients are micro-size or powdered. "Our walnut is almost like a fine dust—it is extremely micro and powdered. This fear behind walnut dates back to the St. Ives Walnut Scrub lawsuit, when the particle used was more or less chunks of walnut shell, so it's important to understand the controversy in the first place. We are super cautious of this, but find that our form of use is extremely effective and gentle."
Regardless, keep in mind that, while very fine, this scrub is still pretty intense, so be sure to mix it with a bit of water and lightly massage in a circular motion, rather than rub too harshly onto your face, and don't use it more than a few times a week. If you have sensitive skin, as with all new products, make sure to test on a small part of skin before applying to a full face.
You can use the Resurface Scrub all over the body, too, and I can personally vouch that it's worked wonders on the occasional keratosis pilaris (a condition that causes rough, bumpy skin) that crops up on my upper arms, especially during summer months. But, do remember that AHAs can cause extra sensitivity to the sun, which makes SPF application post-use even more important.
Look, it's only August 1. We have at least another month or two to go of this crappy heat. May I suggest you do your face a solid, and give this life-changing exfoliator a go? Thank me later.
You can nab a 2oz jar of Resurface Scrub for $30.75 at NotoBotanics.com.