Exfoliate Like The French: The Art Of Gommage

French beauty routines often leave us non-continental hoomans envious, with their meticulous yet effortless air. Although our nerdie routines tend to be more active than many of the cosmetic and luxury brands we see revered in French beauty, there is definitely something for us to glean when it comes to beauty modalities.

Meet Gommage, the elegant and non-damaging sister to the scrub. “Gommage” translates as “to erase” or “to rub” which makes perfect sense as with this technique, you are quite literally rubbing dead skin cells off the surface of your skin. The technique involves applying a liquid or paste to the skin which you allow to sit for a while and then remove by gently rubbing it from your skin. The product will pill, taking the dead skin cells on the very top of your skin with it.

How does Gommage work

Gommage is what happens when mild chemical exfoliation meets mild mechanical exfoliation. Your gommage product will usually contain ingredients that help to break down the “glue” that keeps dead skin cells on the skin, meaning that when you go to mechanically remove the paste, they have already said their goodbyes.

Unlike other forms of mechanical exfoliation, there are no beads or grit which may cause microtears on the surface of the skin, especially if overused.

What makes Gommage such an interesting form of exfoliation

To be un-nerdie for a moment, it’s the fun factor that makes Gommage different. We adore chemical exfoliation in Nerd HQ but Gommage brings all the excitement of a peel-off mask along with genuine skin benefits, and without the possibility of pulling out important sebaceous filaments which protect the skin from becoming dehydrated.  

So, when you remove the Gommage, is it pure dead skin cells that you’re seeing roll off? No, as individual skin cells are not visible to the human eye. Interestingly, though, you will notice that the Gommage will take on different colours depending on the debris on the surface of your skin. Those who may not cleanse as thoroughly as they should will see that it will be closer to the shade of their foundation, those who live in urban areas may notice their peelings will appear more grey. It’s a good way to check up on how well you’re cleansing, in this respect!

Yon-Ka Gommage Yon-Ka

Formerly known as Yon-Ka Gommage 305, Gommage Yon-Ka (€37.60 for the month of January) contains hydrating glycerin, brown algae, which has emollient, softening effects, and soothing white nettle extract. These ingredients make it suitable for all skin types and the perfect exfoliant for someone with very sensitive skin. Those who are sensitive to essential oils should patch test before use, just in case, as it additionally contains lime oil.  

Apply a thick layer of Gommage Yon-Ka to a cleansed and spritzed face (use Lotion Yon-Ka to replicate the spa technique). Leave for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mask has become slightly stickier and then gently roll your fingers outwards from your nose to beginning removing the Gommage. Continue across the entire face and remove any traces by pressing a damp Cleanse Off Mitt onto your face gently.

One of the best things about Gommage is that you can do a second application directly after due to the gentleness of the formulation. Simply repeat the process. This is particularly helpful for those who would experience a lot of congestion, especially blackheads and plugs of sebum, and is great for minimising your usual textural issues.  

Because it is so quick, it is ideal as a step prior to makeup application for when you want a truly flawless finish!

For the month of January, Gommage Yon-Ka is 20% off on The Skin Nerd store too so you can experience the joie de vivre of the French style of exfoliation.