I read somewhere that the Romans would exfoliate by scraping their skin with broken pieces of pottery. I can’t find anything on the internet to substantiate it, but the idea is still incredibly appealing to me. They did however use the strigil: a small, curved, metal tool used by both the Greeks and the Romans to scrape off dirt and dead skin. A perfumed oil was applied first and then scraped away, taking with it the dirt and grime of Roman life.
In a world where soap had yet to be invented, that’s actually a very effective way of cleaning oneself. The great thing about soap is that it’s amphiphilic, meaning parts of it are hydrophilic (water-loving and thus repelled by oil) while other parts of it are lipophilic (fat-loving and great at dissolving oil). This allows the lipophilic parts to do their thing breaking up grease and grime, while the hydrophilic qualities allow for it to be rinsed away by water.
The Romans didn’t have any of that.
But by coating themselves with oil, and then scraping it off, they were chemically breaking up any greasy grime that wasn’t water soluble and then physically removing it with the strigil. Those dudes really knew how to get clean.
Anyway. Even with soap being widely available, I’m still pretty obsessed with the idea of scraping dead skin off of my body. I use multiple exfoliation implements including those scrubby gloves and the Baiden Mitten (thanks, Alison!) but there was a strigil-sized hole in my heart and my exfoliation routine.
ENTER LE EDGE. A strigil for the modern lady about town. Dudes can use it, too, I guess, but my husband is terrified of it. He’s actually a big ol’ baby about any type of physical exfoliation; the Clairisonic is to Sean as the vacuum cleaner is to the dog.
So I’m the only member of the household that gets to reap the benefits of the Le Edge.
Le Edge is described as “the first precision based all-over body exfoliating tool designed to hygienically remove dead skin from the surface of your body.” I’m going to stop you right there; it's not the first. Did you not hear that whole spiel about the Romans just now? Pay attention.
“Le Edge removes dulling surface debris such as toxins, oil, dirt, pollutants and dead skin cells.”
Oh, yeah, those dulling surface toxins. Le Edge, if we’re going to get along -- and I hope we will -- I’m going to need you to cut the crap. You’re a stainless steel blade affixed to an ergonomic handle. The blade isn’t sharp or anything, but it does a bang up job at removing dead skin and greasy build up. But you do not, by any stretch of the imagination, remove toxins.
Now that we have all of that cleared up, we can talk about usage.
Let’s move this party to the bath tub.
Like I said, I’m a pretty consistent Baiden Mitten user, and that thing does well. The first time I used it was a revelation.
But I don’t like using it on my face as I can get a little enthusiastic, and I like to have a number of exfoliation tools at my disposal; I feel like my body constantly adapts to the whatever I throw at it, so I need to keep it guessing.
To Use Le Edge:
1. Run a hot bath; get it nice and steamy to loosen everything up. I didn’t add anything to the water because I figured I would just end up scraping it off anyway. You could also use it in the shower, after you're done cleaning yourself, but I prefer a good soak.
2. Soak for at least fifteen minutes, the longer the better. Read a book or have a beer to pass the time.
3. Stand up and let the excess water drip off. You want your skin damp but not dripping -- otherwise Le Edge acts like a squeegee.
4. Drag Le Edge across your skin with medium pressure. Don’t worry about cutting yourself; it’s impossible.
5. Examine all the gunk Le Edge has removed from your body.
6. Repeat on a new area.
7. Continue until you are sufficiently grossed out by all of the skin residue.
It does a fantastic job on my face. The corners of the blade are perfect for getting all the stuff that accumulates around my nose and in the ridge of my chin. I've noticed visible changes in my pore size as well, and reducing my pore size is one of my major life goals.
Le Edge is also super easy to keep clean. Just wash with hot soap and you're done. I always worry about the Baiden Mitten retaining moisture and growing mildew, though that hasn’t happened yet.
Another plus point is price. I was able to find it on Overstock and Amazon for around seven dollars; that's much cheaper than the mitten.
The Baiden Mitten is a little more effective for exfoliating a large area (like my ass) and it seems to remove a little more dead skin than Le Edge, so I will be using both in my quest for fresh-looking, glowy skin.
With the consistent use of these two exfoliating devices, my usually very oily skin has not only been clearer, but I’ve actually had to moisturize it. Overall, I'm feeling cleaner and clearer and more under control. If you're looking for away to remove a ton of dead skin and oily debris, Le Edge is a cheap and effective route to take.
If nothing else, you will feel very "Roman bath house."