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Skin-Tool Dos and Don'ts

A little intel about these sink-side staples will help you maximize their effectiveness -- and minimize their risks.

1. Textured Puff

Deploy only to your roughest spots (think elbows), and follow up with a moisturizer.
Gentle facial sponge, by Buf-Puf, $5.50, drugstore.com.

2. Oscillating Brush

This feels sooo good, it might encourage you to wash your face more faithfully, but pair it with a gentle cleanser and prevent overuse by following product guidelines.
Mia Sonic skin-cleansing system, $119 per set, clarisonic.com.

3. Cotton Washcloth

Martha's classic choice is ideal for most skin types -- so long as you opt for super-soft cotton and wash with a fresh, clean cloth every day.
Quick Dry washcloth, by Martha Stewart Collection, $8, macys.com.

4. Cellulose Sponge

While marketed for faces, this is too abrasive for all but the sturdiest skin. Your heels are tough, though, so try it with a scrub and go crazy on soles.
Cellulose facial sponge, by EcoTools, $3 for 3, target.com.

5. Cleansing Wipes

"These are a major convenience, but be sure to choose a noncomedogenic type to avoid risking skin flare-ups," suggests Amy Wechsler, a New York City dermatologist.
Clean & Mild makeup remover cloths, $5 for 20, olay.com.

6. Mesh Mitt

It's sold as a facial product, but Wechsler urges a strict neckdown limit to its usage. This sort of textured rubber or plastic implement and a creamy wash make for a winning combo.
Facial sponge, by Spacell, $28 for 3, blissworld.com.

7. Soft Brush

"This model is a great option for faces because its bristles are incredibly soft. It won't irritate skin or exacerbate acne," says Wechsler.
Cleansing massage brush, $25, shiseido.com.