The Japanese Exfoliator That Made Me An AHA Convert

I traded in my apricot scrub for an alpha-hydroxy acid formula I found in a Chinatown beauty boutique, and I'm never turning back.
Publish date:
April 15, 2014
exfoliation, cleansers, face scrubs, japanese, bha, Meishoku, AHAs, peels

My makeup-artist friend Laramie recently told me about a New York City beauty destination that I had never ever heard of: oo35mm. It's a Chinatown beauty boutique that specializes in imported Asian and niche beauty products.

When I entered I was greeted by a big rack of Dolly Wink False Eyelashes, which was a strong indicator that this would be a super-legit place to shop for rare beauty items.

I was there while in the midst of a pre-vacay shopping spree, trying to tick as many boxes off my list before shipping off to Jamaica. I was pleasantly surprised by their stock of traveler's needs as well as general beauty needs, and the perks just piled up at this lovely place. They stock testers for almost every single item, have a discounted loyalty program, and even a free reusable shopping bag with your first purchase!

The icing on the adorable cake: all products were also available for purchase online with full English descriptions.

One of the main boxes on my aforementioned list: an AHA exfoliant. See, I've been oil cleansing and using African black soap being my main cleansers, but I came to the realization that my routine was a little lax on the exfoliator side of things. Phasing out my apricot scrub wasn't necessarily intentional, but I ended up with some good reasons not to repurchase, namely the sometimes-harsh effects of physical exfoliants to facial skin, like scratching.

Recently, I went for a facial at the legendary Christine Chin Spa and was scolded about my "dry skin" and plug buildup. Dry skin isn't always visibly flaky, I learned from my aesthetician, and after a thorough chemical exfoliating sesh and a brutal amount of extractions, I intended to keep the glowing results for as long as possible. I know that my use of honey as a mask has been plumping up my dehydrated winter face and turning it into a supple spring flower, but I needed to take the leap into at-home chemical exfoliators if I wanted my skincare routine to remain well-rounded and my skin clear and moisturized.

Enter Meishoku, one of Japan’s oldest skincare brands.

When I passed the little cubby that held all of the alpha-hydroxy acid products, I knew I was going to leave with something, but what? I asked the very friendly shopgirl to help me choose, and she pointed me towards the Detclear line by Meishoku. I went with the Detclear Fruits Peeling Scrub Facial Wash.

I don't really like paying more than $15 for any single item unless it is SWORN BY, so at $11.99, this fits the "impulse buy" price limit for me. And I am happy I did buy it!

There's a special feeling you get on your skin after using it, which I am all about. This slippery, smooth, baby-soft cheek skin and reduced flakiness on any existing zits makes me so excited! It's like I get to have a taste of the post-facial effects at home! I never felt this way with other "fruit" scrubs.

This stuff is supposedly safe for everyday use, but I have a routine that I already follow, so I have been using it two to three times a week to boost the success I have already been achieving.


• Fragrance is not too overpowering--big deal for me

• Face feels super-smooth after use

• Haven't experienced any sensitivity or irritation

• Has a bit of plant-derived beta-hydroxy acid for extra acne-fighting power

• Formula foams but doesn't run, ideal for leaving on the face for 60 seconds or so


• Niche product with limited availability, but worth seeking out

• Ingredients, instructions in Japanese, though translation is available online

• With BHA, you must be careful of photosensitivity, so I use this mainly at night

All in all, I am really happy with this purchase, it has very finely ground peach pit particles for a little manual help, but my face never feels raw or over-cleansed after use. I also find that after toning, my serum and moisturizer seem to settle into my face more quickly.

I had never really used chemical exfoliators at home, and I am definitely never turning back. I have seen the light, and it is coming from my glowing face!

Photos by Darnell Scott.