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I spend my life exfoliating - or at least, it sometimes feels that way. I’ve used salt scrubs, loofahs and cactus-fibre bristle brushes but for some reason up until last Christmas I’d never tried exfoliating gloves. I had seen them in Boots quite often (usually they’re hanging up by the body washes or the self tanning products) and at £2.50 they didn’t seem like a bad price - thanks to the VAT rise, they’re actually £2.66 now but the Boots website does state that you should get 8 Advantage card points too - but I like “scrubby” exfoliators and I didn’t really think these looked like they would have that effect.
My particular gloves are a more-purple-than-blue shade of lilac - I believe “Santa” probably chose them because I’m well known for my love of all things lilac - but I’ve also seen these in lime green, white and sometimes a deep rose pink with gold bits in them and the ones on the Boots website are seaside blue so I suppose, if you were assembling a present for someone and theming it around a particular colour you might find a pair of these gloves that would match.
Although I haven’t tried to apply body scrub using these (largely because my current salt scrub is dense and solid and works better if applied directly with my hand rather than anything else) I think they’re probably better suited to being used with shower gel. They haven’t exactly got a woven texture but the material they’re made from reminds me of the silver scourers you can get for cleaning pans and other kitchen things, and they’re reasonably stretchy so they don’t feel as though they’re too tight for my hands when I put them on. (They did when I first bought them but I think a combination of use and being regularly submerged in water has made them easier to get on. My hands are relatively small so I’m not sure how easy anyone with bigger hands would manage with these - they might be a bit of a tight fit.) I would say, overall, that they have stretched just slightly but in fairness I’ve probably used them at least twice a week for anywhere up to five minutes at a time so they’re quite resilient - I don’t expect them to last forever but I wouldn’t be surprised if they last until at least this Christmas.
The dry gloves feel just slightly scratchy but when wet they seem a little softer and I do think they make my skin feel cleansed when I use them - the material isn’t as coarse as a pan scourer (probably a good thing, otherwise my skin would be red raw) but it does make me feel like I’ve done something “extra” that I couldn’t do with a normal sponge. I haven’t found that these have scratched my skin at all, and in fact I think a large element of how exfoliating these are is down to how much pressure you apply with your hands and fingers when working the gloves across your skin. Most importantly, I think the gloves definitely have a gentle but effective exfoliating action. I don’t really have dry or flaky skin but using these does leave my skin feeling smoother and I think they are gentle enough to use before or after shaving (or using a body scrub) - I’m not sure how proactive they are at getting ingrowing hairs out but I don’t think they’re making mine any worse either.
The only major disadvantage of these is that they don’t really have the right texture to enable shower gels or body washes to build up any massive amounts of lather - at the moment I’m using Naked shower gels which but then I suppose if you wanted a bubblier wash a body polisher or a more traditional honeycomb sponge would be more suited and I don’t think a spongier texture would be much use as an exfoliating glove. I certainly don’t think my gloves would have lasted this long if they were made of sponge . . . they’d probably have long since disintegrated. The gloves do seem to “hold” the shower gel or body wash for quite a bit after I squeeze some on and they enable whatever I’m washing with to produce a little bit of bubbly lather, but equally it’s really easy to rinse them out - I usually just dip my hands in the bath and then hang them on the bath taps to dry. (Usually overnight is more than long enough to dry them and I've never noticed any mould or mildew starting to build up.)
Another slight problem I had was that, once I put the gloves on, I then realised that I couldn’t squeeze my body wash out of its bottle but again this really depends on what kind of bottle or container your shower gel or body wash comes in and a normal bar of soap is one way to get round that tiny issue so it’s not a huge disadvantage.
Overall I’d say they were a pretty useful addition to anybody’s day-to-day bath or shower time and I can only imagine that they’d cause a problem on incredibly dry or irritated skin. Considering they’re only £2.66 I’d say they were great value for money and wouldn’t break the bank if I lost my current pair and had to replace them.
As a small update, as of July 2011 (seven months after I got the gloves) they are looking a bit stretched but are still in reasonably good shape but the elastic in the cuffs has started to perish so they aren't as tight-fitting any more and have become a little loose for my small wrists, but they still stay on in the shower and I still don't think they need replacing desperately just yet.