My sister and I bought this Tabibijin Tea Peeling Gel sort on a whim after trying it at Oedo Onsen back in December.
Growing up in the land of facial scrubs, the common peeling gels in Asia are unfamiliar to me, which makes the purchase of this Tea Peeling Gel even more of an impulse buy ringing in at 2,100yen (about $25) a bottle. But my sister and I both tried it at the onsen and it was interesting, and plus there was a 3-pack for 4,200yen, which is like getting bottle for free. So we bought it, me one, her one, and one for our mum ^.^
Good thing this 3-pack is also available Tabibijin website (in Japanese), because I started using this peeling gel weekly about 2 months ago and am now considering buy backups. In short, I like it. A lot.
Peeling gel is actually a somewhat misleading name, especially for me. A peeling gel I would get at home is one where I need to slather on, wait for it to dry, and then proceed to peel off a whole layer of film plus whatever dead skin cells or gunk that happened to get stuck on it. A peeling gel in Asia is totally different. It needs to be massaged on a clean and dry face, and in the process it will ball up with dead skin cell or whatever gunk it "peeled" off of my facial skin, so to speak.
But this is not my first experience with an Asian peeling gel. The first was the ever popular Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Peeling Gel three years ago. But even then, after some consistent use for a few months I became less thrilled with the Laneige Peeling Gel because the combination of the exfoliating beads and the peeling was simply too much for my dry skin. My regiment is that I either exfoliate or peel, which is exfoliating! Back at home, it was a facial scrub (I really like Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub, I don't care if it was made for men) or just my daily cleanser with a face brush (my trusty Shiseido The Skincare Cleansing Massage Brush) twice a week. Now that I'm here in Japan and my last ho-hum facial scrub (ahem - The Body Shop Aloe Gentle Exfoliator) had ran out long ago, I switched to daily light exfoliating with a cotton pad and toners (loved the Aveda All Sensitive Toner, but it's no longer available, The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner was excellent, but my supply ran out, and most recently Rosette Soys Lotion, which is so far so good). Then I started using this Tea Peeling Gel, just once on the weekends (2 pumps), skipping toners afterwards. I wouldn't use more than exfoliating method at once.
Why do I like this peeling gel so much? First off, it smells heavenly, and I mean heaven. People love the scent of tea for various reasons, and while I like tea fragrances, I don't love love them. But this tea fragrance is something else. It smells like a combination of matcha (the powdered green tea used in Japanese tea ceremony) and fresh tea leaves, not too strong, and with a touch of sweet floral. It's a very invigorating scent and mild at the same time, leaving you wanting more instead of having had enough of ^.^ It's probably the best and most addicting tea fragrance I've ever smelled in a skincare product!
Secondly I found the gel fun to use. It's a slightly translucent gel, and going on it still feels like I'm massaging a gel onto my face. And then -poof!- it turns into water and starts dripping off while the rest of my face balls up. The Laneige Peeling Gel certainly didn't turn into water like this, and since this is my only second peeling gel, I wouldn't know if other peeling gels also work like this. If they are, then I can see why they're so popular in Asia. Hell, I think I might jump on this bandwagon myself! Well, hello there, land of peeling gels! Hmm...what should I try next among the hundreds of choices at the drug store?
Lastly, this Tea Peeling Gel seems to do a pretty good job! After use, my skin reflects a sheen as if I had just gotten a facial at a fancy spa somewhere. And amazingly it doesn't feel stripped or dry either! Here's slightly graphic detail - there was a few times when I had a blackhead or two, I was able to feel them on the surface of my skin afterwards! They were just laying there, halfway embedded in my pore still with the other half poking out, all because whatever dead skin cells that were covering them were gone! So what did I do but sort of flick them out gently with my nail (a big no-no otherwise...) without leaving any marks on my newly peeled skin. Crazy, right? Yeah, I think I might sign myself up for another 3-pack of this peeling gel. Luuurv.