Quietly making waves in the skincare realm, Cure Natural Aqua Gel is a gentle liquid exfoliator that effectively removes dead skin cells. Made in Japan, its water-based formula is so popular that a bottle is sold every 20 seconds (!). With very little advertising or marketing and mostly word-of-mouth testimonies, it is a wonder that Cure has been one of the best-selling skincare products in its country of origin for almost 10 years. No mean feat, considering that Japan’s dynamic beauty industry is constantly innovating and developing new products.
A product of Toyo Life, Cure was created because its maker found himself with an excess of purified water after a non beauty-related venture. With a desire to put the water to good use, he eventually developed Cure Natural Aqua Gel with a friend in the beauty industry.
Despite its simple packaging, this scent-free exfoliant, coined a ‘facial in a bottle’, also appeared in the 2009 Oscar swag bag for Academy Award nominees.
Cure exfoliates without using harsh chemicals like AHA or BHA (skincare ingredients that can sometimes impart redness and irritate sensitive skin). This non-abrasive exfoliating gel works somewhat like a chemical peel but without the attendant effects, thanks to its gentle formulation. It apparently removes dead skin cells by reacting to skin proteins and taking away extra amino acids. In the process, it improves the texture of skin.
With continued usage, Cure promises to:
- Reveal brighter and smoother skin
I’ve found this to be true. My skin also feels softer and looks more even-toned after use. In addition, Cure works wonderfully to remove roughness and dullness from other parts of the body too – I’ve used it on the neck, armpits, elbows and knees and was delighted to see my skin clearer and smoother, post-use.
Cure works almost instantaneously on my skin to deliver a glowy, radiant appearance.
- Prevent blackheads
I don’t have many blackheads but I understand the logic behind this claim. By increasing the skin’s cell-turnover rate, it is difficult for sebum to be trapped, thus impeding blackhead-formation.
- Allow serums, lotions and creams to permeate skin more efficiently
Cure preps the skin by clearing and softening it; helping it to more readily absorb the goodness of moisturisers and other nutritive skincare products.
- Allow makeup to go on more smoothly
The ready absorption of my moisturiser/sunscreen, together with the smoothness that reduces flaking, allows base makeup to glide easily over my face.
Do remember that this product is very gentle in nature. If you find that it isn’t exfoliating as much as you’d like it to, perhaps you need something stronger. Although I am happy with its efficacy, I still use exfoliating beads and a glycolic or salicylic scrub – the latter for oily days – when my skin feels exceptionally rough or has an uncomfortably high amount of cell build-up.
- Cruelty-free and has not been tested on animals
- Made of natural ingredients (rosemary, gingko biloba, aloe vera)
- Mostly water with an active ingredient of 91% revitalized hydrogen water
- Free of alcohol, artificial colouring and fragrance
- Suitable for all skin types and can be used on sensitive skin
Here are the ingredients of Cure Natural Aqua Gel: water (activated hydrogen water, non-acidic and purified), glycerin (a moisturiser), acrylates/C10-30, alkyl acrylate crosspolymer (a thickener), dicocodimonium (a conditioner), chloride, steartrimonium bromide, aloe barbadensis leaf extract (moisturises, protects rough skin), gingko biloba extract (moisturises, prevents skin-mottling and freckles), rosmarinus officinalis/rosemary leaf extract (possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties), butylene glycol.
Although the company says it is preservative-free, I believe they are referring to preservatives from the paraben family; butylene glycol is most likely the ingredient that keeps it fresh, as well as stable (it stabilises the contents by keeping everything in a gel form).
1. Remove all makeup, wash your face and towel-dry.
2. Pump a small amount of Cure onto your skin or fingertips.
3. In a circular motion, massage the gel onto your face or other areas of concern.
The fun bit about using Cure is seeing how the dead skin cells are removed by the gel. With a little massaging action, the formula reacts with the skin’s surface to produce debris similar to that of eraser rubbings!
4. Once the dead skin cells have come off, rinse with water and continue with your regular skin care routine.
From experience, I’ve learnt that:
- Cure works best on clean and dry skin.
Even though it works on damp skin, I found it to be more effective on dry skin – the dryness helps with the friction for exfoliation and the pilling is more noticeable.
- Massaging the gel onto the skin works better than rubbing it forcefully around the face.
Rubbing the gel hard will only result in the gel being rubbed away or into the skin, whereas a gentle massaging action will aid in loosening the dead skin cells.
- The gel will liquefy upon use.
As such, be careful when applying it around the eyes.
This video in Japanese explains it all visually!
Exclusively available at Watsons and Nishino Pharmacy in Singapore, the 250 ml bottle costs S$42. When my husband bought me a bottle from Watsons last year, it was still at the promotional price of S$38. However, it has since reverted to its original price of S$42.
Look at its adorable stand – modelled after the shape of the bottle with cut-outs for displaying the product (how clever!), the cute little crown on top adds a fun touch to the set-up.
I’m not sure how old this ad is but the cleanser used to be known as Cure Natural Aqua Jel…thanks to Japglish, I suppose! ;)
Toyo Life also produces Cure Water Treatment Skin Cream, a light moisturiser specially created for its staff’s exclusive use (props to Toyo Life for its staff welfare!).
There are plans to make this commercially-available but I’m not sure when we’ll see it in the market.
I was given a tube by Japalang and am using it now as I type! ;) I like its lightweight quality and water-based formulation which makes it suitable for our tropical weather and these humid nights we’ve been having.