Exfoli-Rater : Nature Republic Aqua

FACE OFF

OH WOW we haven’t done an Exfoli-Rater in FOREVER! Probably because I’ve been sloooowwwwly working my way through an honestly ridiculously large stash of gritty/peely face gloops and have neither needed nor wanted to acquire more. But I was running low on the one I use the most now (Missha Super Aqua) and so today we’ve got another one for your consideration, huzzah.

WHAT THAT IS

It’s Nature Republic AQUA Super Aqua Max Soft Peeling Gel. More specifically, it’s a gommage peel (aka a pilling gel for those of you unfamiliar with gommage peels). As with others of this type, it’s got polymer stuff in it (in this case cellulose) that binds to oils and stuff on your skin and forms little pills or gobs as you rub it around; the idea is that it takes up loose dead surface skin cells for a gentle exfoliating action. Also as with others of this type, particularly most of the k-beauty ones I’ve tried, it does contain denatured alcohol pretty high up in the ingredients list. My understanding is that this aids the polymerization/peeling process, and I haven’t personally ever had any noticeable “issues” from it, but maybe if you have super sensitive skin and high alcohol contents bother you, might wanna skip it?

Active ingredient Glycerin 3%. Ingredients : Water, PEG-8, Cellulose, Alcohol Denat, Sodium Carbomer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sea Water, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Lactobacillus/Algae Extract Ferment, Chlorella Ferment, Ecklonia cava Extract, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Codium Fragile Extract, Gelidium Cartilagineum Extract, Jania Rubens Extract, Chlorella Minutissima Extract, Laminaria Cloustoni Extract, Algae Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Sargassum Muticum Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Codium Tomentosum Extract, Enteromorpha Compressa Extract, Pikea Robusta Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Porphyra Yezoensis Extract, Hydrolyzed Ulva Lactuca Extract, Dunaliella Salina Extract, Sargassum Fulvellum Extract, Hypnea Musciformis Extract, Ulva Lactuca Extract, Spirulina Platensis Extract, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Agarum Cribosum Extract, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Hizikia Fusiforme Extract, Hydrolyzed Algae Extract, Algae Oligosaccharides, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Protein.

No help here. This actually did also come packaged in a matching cardboard box, but it got kinda battered during shipping so I tossed it. And yes, it did list the ingredients but … in Korean. :\

Most of the ingredients here are pretty much expected : carriers/texture adjusters and thickeners, solvents to keep stuff in solution, preservatives (ethylhexylglycerin, which is fine; phenoxyethanol which is maybe less fine but I’m personally not gonna worry about it). It’s also got a LOAD of botanical extracts from Spirulina to red seaweed to brown algae to … wow there’s a shit ton of different seaweeds and algaes in here. Okay I’m looking all these up and every single one of them is an algae or seaweed. Way to stick with a theme, Nature Republic! Also way to match your seaweed-y green packaging!

WHAT’S IT LIKE THO

In texture and viscosity etc, it’s quite similar to previously covered gommage peels like Missha and It’s Skin : it’s ivory-white, medium-bodied, and you can kinda feel little bits in it, but it doesn’t seem to have the separate teeny scrubby granules like the Missha does. Also of note is that it comes in a pliable squeeze-tube with flip-open cap, rather than a twist-off cap like Missha and SkinFood, so that’s very much appreciated. (I hate those effing separate caps, ugh.)

The fragrance on this one is definitely rather light and not like “WHOA THAT IS CERTAINLY SCENTED,” but it’s also the most … “perfumey” one I’ve used? Where so many of these dudes are lemon/citrus, and the Missha is kind of a light-spa-watery fragrance, this smells more like an actual traditional perfume. It’s not unpleasant to me at all (and we know how damn fussy I am), but if you loathe any and all perfumey scents, be advised. Personally, I really got tired of the citrus/lemon spiel, and this smells (and feels) ~fancy~, so I’m down with it.

DOES IT DO A THING?

It definitely does a thing! Interestingly, the first time I used this, I used about the same amount — or even a little more — as I’d used with Missha/It’s Skin/SkinFood. With those, if I didn’t start to get good pilling action right away, I’d add a bit more product to my hands. With this one, a fairly generous (gumball-sized) blorp didn’t seem to yield much pilling ‘n’ peeling action. Hm, that’s weird and kinda disappointing. The next time I used it, I dispensed LESS than I generally do with other gommage peels, and behold! Success! Wow, so that’s actually great that it does the same type/level of pilling ‘n’ peeling action with less product. Another difference with this one : the texture seems largely the same as previous entrants, but once you start rubbing it into your skin, it feels much, much creamier. And after rinsing, this one actually feels slightly moisturizing. I don’t know whether this is due primarily to the glycerin and castor oil, or to the five trillion algae and seaweed extracts, but you know what? It’s nice. I like it! Actually I like this one a lot.

IN CONCLUSION : This stuff seems to work at about the same level of efficacy as my prior gommage peels (it’s not a hardcore exfoliant, but it definitely removes old flaky surface skin, and my face definitely feels smoother afterwards), but it does so using slightly less product, and it’s kinda moisturizing too — win win win. It’s currently $12.46/5.07oz on Amazon, where my previous-fave Missha is currently $12.50/3.4oz (that one was about ten bucks when I initially bought it, as per the table below), so it also wins on price. I’ve been using this one a few times a week for about a month or so now, and I’ve had no ill effects that I could attribute to it — no breakouts, etc — and overall it’s pretty much just a pleasure to use. Yay!

COMPARISON CHART :

PRODUCT NAME SIZE PRICE TYPE RATING
Nature Republic Aqua 5.07oz $12.46 pilling gel A-
The Face Shop Jeju 5oz $6.96 grainy scrub C-
Missha Super Aqua 3.4oz $9.82 pilling gel A-
Honey + Coffee Grounds puddle free? grainy scrub B-
Honey + Brown Sugar blorp free? grainy scrub B, lol
Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating 3.4oz $26.00 grainy scrub D
Skin Inc Pure Revival Peel 2oz $55.00 pilling gel + B
Juara Radiance Enzyme Scrub 2.5oz $35.00 grainy scrub B-
Skin Food Pineapple Peeling Gel 3.4oz $10.00 pilling gel B-
Dermalogica Microfoliant 2.6oz $45.00 powder, salicylic B
Ren Flash Rinse 2.5oz $48.00 grainy, vit C C
Algenist Triple Action 2oz $58.00 grainy, glycolic C+
Vasanti Brighten Up! 4.2oz $34.00 grainy scrub A
Acure Brightening Facial Scrub 4oz $8.49 grainy scrub B-
It’s Skin Citron Peeling Gel 4oz $10.00 pilling gel A-

Tried this one? Or anything else from Nature Republic? Shaaare! <3