I like eating sugary stuff. But putting it on my face seems like a whole new level.
Yet, skincare brands like dear, Klairs have deliberately sweetened up their beauty products, literally speaking. Maybe they’ve decided that sugar-based beauty products will be just the thing to entice people like me. And as you can see from the title of this post, boy, are they right.
Who is dear, Klairs?
It’s an indie Korean beauty brand that focuses on “simple but enough” products for sensitive skin types. This means its products are free of chemicals, alcohol, parabens, artificial colors, and perfumes. After its creation in 2009, Klairs was subsequently acquired by a Korean cosmetic distribution and marketing company called Wishcompany in 2012.
The brand’s name dear, Klairs represents a letter to a fictional girl with sensitive skin who, you’ve guessed it, is named Klair. This unique naming has formed part of the brand’s philosophy and customer engagement efforts.
Klairs’ achievements in the beauty industry
Aside from its unconventional brand name, Klairs is best known for its meticulously crafted skincare products that cater to consumer needs. This has helped cultivate a loyal fanbase for the brand.
If you need evidence of Klairs being a cult favorite, take a look at the no. 1 ranking of Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner on Glowpick, a Korean beauty ranking website. The facial toner had stayed in its top position for weeks on end in 2016, signaling the immense love Klairs consumers felt towards the product.
Another great example lies in Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. Being an active ingredient, vitamin C can be irritating to the skin. But Klairs took this into consideration and created a low-irritation vitamin C serum that even sensitive skin types can safely use. Plus, the serum has sold one million bottles recently. This shows us that all the hype about the Vitamin Drop is not just due to good marketing efforts but also the product’s potency.
With the rising demand for vegan skincare, Klairs is also stepping onto the bandwagon. Recently, the Soft Airy UV Essence, Rich Moist Soothing Tencel Sheet Mask, and Midnight Blue Calming Sheet Mask have been certified vegan. Other Klairs products will also follow suit in the future.
What is the Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish?
Onto the star of this post, the Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish is a physical facial scrub that’s made with black sugar, shea butter, and cranberry seed oil.
The sugar granules in the scrub slough away the buildup of dead skin cells, sebum, dirt, and other skin impurities that are clogging your pores. It may seem counterintuitive to use a physical scrub on sensitive skin. But rest assured that the black sugar particles are combined with the right proportion of moisturizing ingredients (ditto the shea butter and cranberry seed oil) so that the scrub isn’t too harsh on your skin.
Interestingly, black sugar is made from boiled sugarcane juice that’s left to solidify for a few hours. The origins of black sugar can be traced back to Okinawa, Japan.
You may also wonder what’s the difference between black sugar and plain ol’ white sugar. For one thing, black sugar is unprocessed sugar. This means that compared to white sugar, black sugar retains more of the essential minerals necessary for good skin health. Its distinctive smoky, caramel aroma also sets it apart from regular white sugar.
Here’s why I bought the Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish
Being a widely-raved-about brand, Klairs is always on my to-try list when it comes to K-beauty products. A recent #quarantinehaul made this a reality when I added the Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish to my cart.
At that time, I was toying with the idea of using a physical exfoliant again (P.S. I’ve been using either chemical exfoliants and/or clay masks for a while now). But I also didn’t want to risk microscopic tears in my skin from too-harsh abrasives (in which a certain product comes to mind *ahem*).
So, my physical exfoliant has to be super gentle on the skin but still able to degunk my pores.
What does the Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish claim to do?
Here’s what the Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish will do for your skin:
- Exfoliates dead skin cells
- Controls blackheads
- Moisturizes dry patches
It’s also worth noting that black sugar acts as a humectant, i.e. it helps attract water from the surroundings so that your skin stays hydrated.
Another thing to point out is that Klairs’ Facial Polish also uses moisturizing shea butter (a non-comedogenic emollient and occlusive, according to Lab Muffin) and cranberry seed oil that’s rich in antioxidants to soothe sensitive skin.
While all these sound superb on paper, actually using the product is a different story. After all, everyone’s skin is not the same and when it comes to beauty products, YMMV more often than not.
Still, this skin-safe ingredient list did heighten my anticipation for quite a bit as I waited eagerly for my package to arrive.
My experience with it
The first thing that tickled my fancy was the tiny, cute jar that the scrub was housed in. Coupled with the minimalistic label on the front and a plastic spatula, I honestly felt that it was a tub of black sugar-flavored ice cream waiting to be eaten.
When you open the tub, a woodsy, honey scent will engulf your senses. I personally like the smell but those who aren’t a fan of scented products may find the smoky sugar aroma a little bit too much.
The first dip into a perfectly smooth texture is always so satisfying. Heh.
Once you scoop out a dollop of it, you’ll notice individual specks of sugar granules in the polish.
Here’s a close-up for your visual pleasure. Doesn’t that dark golden hue look absolutely tantalizing? You may be tempted to lick it, but please refrain yourself.
How to use the Facial Polish
According to dear, Klairs, you should mix a few drops of water with the Facial Polish first before applying it to your face. So that’s what I did.
I should also point out that adding that tiny amount of water to the Polish is absolutely crucial. Without the added moisture, the scrub is too dry to spread it across your skin easily. The sugar particles also feel too rough on your skin, increasing the risk of skin abrasion.
Once you’ve added water to the Polish (it will emulsify a little), start spreading the paste on your face. I like to rub the scrub into my skin in slow, circular motions to enhance the exfoliating effect. I actually got carried away while rubbing my skin, causing it to turn slightly red once I’ve washed off the scrub. So please, for the love of your skin, don’t rub it too vigorously or too long.
Unlike some physical scrubs that like to cling on to your skin, the hard sugar dissolves quickly during rinse-off which makes it easy to remove. And despite the moisturizing ingredients in the Facial Polish, it didn’t leave behind a tacky or oily residue so bonus points for that!
After washing off the scrub, I can feel an immediate improvement in my skin texture. My skin felt smooth and soft, typical of an exfoliating job well done. In the mirror, I can see that my blackheads are less visible, though not completely gone. The hydrating properties of this exfoliant also mean that my skin doesn’t feel overly tight, especially my chin and nose areas which are most prone to dryness.
Does the Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish live up to its claims?
Firstly, I have to declare that I have oily, acne-prone skin. This also means that my skincare regime focuses on reducing redness, minimizing acne breakouts, and controlling excess sebum.
So did the Facial Polish accomplish all of that? Frankly speaking, the exfoliant didn’t do much in improving skin clarity nor did it help regulate the shine on my T-zone.
Yet, I should also be fair in pointing out that this exfoliant is made with sensitive skin in mind, even though the brand has said that it’s suitable for all skin types. As such, while the Facial Polish did a fine job of clearing away dead skin cells and minimizing blackheads, this isn’t the exfoliant you should opt for when dealing with hyperpigmentation and sebum issues.
But don’t let what I’ve just said stop you from getting this physical scrub. In fact, the Facial Polish is just the thing you need in your beauty routine if you’re looking for everlasting radiance. Or in this case, a glowing complexion that lasts from right after you’ve washed off the scrub till the very next afternoon (P.S. I used the scrub as part of my evening routine).
This was the part that wowed me so much I had to write a review about it. I mean, I’ve never met an exfoliant with such long-lasting glow power! Here’s a picture of me the next day after using the Polish:
Note: My face is completely bare in this picture, i.e. no makeup, sunscreen, or any other skincare product. No photo filter was used either — I took this shot with an iPhone.
It just goes to show how insanely capable the Facial Polish is when it comes to skin radiance! Talk about a glow-up, eh?
Is the Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish worth it?
So the million-dollar question (or in this case, USD$23 on Wishtrend), is this physical exfoliant worth buying?
It depends on what your skin concerns are. Those with sensitive yet flaky skin may want to give this gentle exfoliant a test drive without worrying that it will irritate your skin. Plus, dull skin types will want to witness the “glow-up” power of the Facial Polish for themselves. Last but not least, if you’re one of the fortunate few with normal skin, this physical scrub is basic enough to keep your pores clean while adding a touch of radiance.
Personally, I’ll use this up but won’t be repurchasing it. That’s because I have oily and acne-prone skin, and this physical scrub isn’t covering all my skin bases. I’ll probably stick to my chemical exfoliant after I’ve finished this jar of Facial Polish. In general, I find chemical exfoliants with a combination of AHAs and BHAs way more effective in getting rid of blemishes and pesky closed comedones.
Overall, this Facial Polish is a nice-to-have for me whenever I want to up my Face Glow game. It’s a pity my skin type and this physical scrub isn’t a perfect match. But I suspect that sensitive and dull skin types will enjoy it immensely.