Have you ever been on the New York City subway? No? OK, try to keep it that way. Should you never have the chance to ride that majestic urban chariot, let me tell you what it does to your skin. First of all, the air down there is hot and muggy. So expect a nice slick coat of sweat and an immediate chin breakout. It smells like garbage — perhaps because it is frequently filled with garbage — and you can’t help the feeling that whatever is lingering in the air is seeping into your pores. If you commute during rush hour, expect strangers to be up in your business and breathing on your face (germs!). Once you emerge from the depths of the city, you have a whole new list of problems: exhaust from cars and cabs, that cloud of cigarette smoke you just accidentally walked through, and just general city grime. By the time you get to where you’re going, it kind of feels like your skin has aged a decade.
Scrubbing away the layer of pollution at the end of the day is huge. And as an editor at Allure, I’ve tried a lot of different cleansers. Honestly? I have a drugstore brand that works just fine for my finicky, sensitive skin. But the Julep Love Your Bare Face Detoxifying Cleansing Stick has me seriously reconsidering my skin care. Firstly, whoa. A twist-up stick is way easier and less fussy than a big bottle with a pump. I was able to throw it in my gym bag without worrying about a soapy mess in my sneakers. So this is perfect for low-maintenance (or lazy) people like me. The balm goes on clear but a bit sticky, so it takes a bit of elbow grease to cover your face. But once I added water, the waxy balm positively melted into a super soothing lather (I'm giving it bonus points because I used it with my Foreo face brush and it really, really foamed up). Plus it has a delicious and refreshing citrus scent, courtesy of the grapefruit-peel oil in the formula.
The pomegranate extract enzymes aren’t really noticeable, so if the formula was exfoliating, I didn’t feel it. But that didn’t seem to matter. It took off all of my makeup and, from what I could tell, cleared out my pores, thanks to the camellia-seed and rice-bran oils. Once I rinsed my face, it felt like my skin was finally breathing fresh air for the first time. My skin tends to feel tight after cleansing, which is why I usually follow up with a good toner, but there was honestly no need with this cleansing stick. My complexion looked brighter and felt soft and healthy and hydrated (I actually couldn’t stop touching it — which is probably a reason to wash it again). So while I sadly cannot stop riding the subway and I doubt my editors would let me lock myself in my apartment and never leave (the dream, though — right?), it’s nice to know I have a hardy cleanser to wash New York City off of my face.