STYLE

Fancy Flannel Alternatives

29/01/2015 12:55 | Updated 20 May 2015

We're not half demanding on our beauty products. We use it once and want instant results. Who has time to wait for wrinkles and spots to get any worse, right? Unfortunately you normally have to hang around for your skin cells to complete their life cycle before you see results (around a month), but one area you can see a marked difference in minutes is after your humble face washing routine. And we don't just mean how clean your face looks afterwards.

still life of towels in basket and washcloth

Causing a stir around the sink right now is the infux of fancy flannels that buff away grit and grime without any tugging or stretching of the skin. And the best bit is that half of them have the cleansing product included (or don't need one at all) so there's no need for extra bottles or bulk – a total game changer when you're dashing from workout to work.

Another Asian tradition that's being filtered through from east to west – and lets face it, they do skincare like no-one else – the secret lies in the natural fibres these mitts and sponges are made of. Favouring superfine bamboo, cotton, goat hair or specific plant or wood pulps, while they are slightly rougher than muslin cloths, when wet, they soften and quickly work to break down the oils that bond make-up and oil to your skin. And less scrubbing means less scratchy abrasiveness – dreamy if you've got sensitive skin.

"Products like these mitts and our Super Exfoliating Discs use enzymatic exfoliation techniques to soften, remove and release dead surface cells in a gentle but effective fashion so just using them once a week is enough to rejuvenate the look of your skin," explains Rebecca Chantrell, Shiseido's National Training Manager. "They also help to get rid of surface dehydration lines which means a more radiant complexion, and they're mess-free!"

Our top tip? Direct them around your face using your fingertips in soft circular motions, up and down scrubbing isn't good for anyone's skin, even the most robust!

The new facewipe-meets-muslin-cloth mash up, these are our current faves...

make up eraser

The Make Up Eraser, £15.95, Victoria Health

Removing every scrap of make-up, even that waterproof mascara you've layered on, this is a wet, wash and go concept. With no need for product, the double-sided scrubber is made from specially knitted together micro fibres (thinner than human hair). With one side dedicated to make-up removal and the other for buffing, it should last up to 1000 washes. And it's washing machine friendly so you can get rid of those make-up smears then start all over again.

peeling mit

Korean Magic Peeling Mitt, £4, This Is Beauty Mart

Designed for the body (but no-one's saying not to use it on your face), this has terry toweling on one side for your standard in-shower wash while the other is made of rayon – a natural wood pulp that hardens when wet, allowing the texture to lift away dead skin. It's fine to use your normal shower gel when washing but leave the woody fibres alone to work their magic. Mess-free (just pop your hand in and get going), it's great pre fake tan session.

Holistic Silk Cocoons

Holistic Silk Beauty Cocoons, £25, Holistic Silk

The aftermath that silk worms leave behind post hibernation, ladies have been swearing by these fingertip size pods for centuries in China and Japan. Releasing sericin when wet (the natural fibre that binds the silk thread together), not only does the bumpy texture loosen dead skin cells, it's full of amino acids that help boost collagen. It also leaves behind a thin film on the skin that locks in moisture and prevents bacteria seeping into open pores. Reusable for up to about four washes, you get 20 pods per pack.

Shiseido Bio Performance Super Exfoliating Discs

Shiseido Bio Performance Super Exfoliating Discs, £66 for eight, Feel Unique

They're not exactly a budget buy but these pads feel like cashmere on the skin and leave it feeling equally as soft and strokeable! Filled with powdered exfoliating ingredients that dissolve into a rich and foamy cleansing serum when wet, the textured cotton side scrubs while the natural silk side smoothes. Acting just on the surface level which means they're superb for sensitive skin too, you'll see a big change in your skin texture after first use.

Konjac sponge

Konjac Puff Sponge With Bamboo Charcoal, £7.99, Cult Beauty

An Asian plant, Konjac is naturally alkaline so brilliant for maintaining your skin's pH balance – crucial for an even, uncongested complexion. Spongy in texture, run it under the tap then use circular motions to buff and clean away make-up and muck. Available in original or with the addition of circulation-stimulating clays, this charcoal infused version is for you if you're prone to the odd spot or two as it naturally sucks out toxins without drying skin out.

Fed up with dry skin? More beauty saviours below...

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