Our Rating: 3 stars

Before I begin my review of the Arcona Golden Grain Gommage ($44), here is a bit about my skin and typical skincare routine. I am in my 20s and my primary concerns are dry skin and prevalent acne scarring. I regularly use a moisturizing soap-free cleanser, alcohol-free toner, hydrating/brightening eye cream and a rich lotion or facial oil. Additionally, I had been using a Clarisonic brush nightly to exfoliate and deep clean and the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel ($39) one to two times a week s to even out my skin tone. During my trial of the Golden Grain Gommage, I stopped use of both my skincare brush and peel to avoid over-exfoliating. 

Arcona describes this Gommage as an “enzymatic exfoliant that cleanses, tones and refines your skin, leaving it fresher, younger-looking and more vibrant.” Further, the purpose is to strengthen the natural skin barrier, purify pores and brighten skin tone. Recommended skin types are normal and sensitive; and the product is to be mixed with water to reach desired consistency and used two to four times a week. Essentially, this is an amped-up triple-duty version of your basic scrub, with exfoliating grains provided by corn meal and colloidal oatmeal; and chemical exfoliation from retinol and glycolic acid, and the less intense fruit and plant enzymes. The few other ingredients seem to perform soothing (such as aloe barbadensis leaf juice) or brightening (lemon oil) functions, with no nasties I could discern. 

I used the Golden Grain Gommae three to four times a week on my face, neck, and décolletage, and found it to perform well as an exfoliant with no added sensitivity. I preferred to use the product as is, rather than mixing with water for a thinner texture. I am definitely someone who prefers to actually feel my exfoliators. The eponymous “grains” can be found in a variety of sizes here, but the contributions of the other exfoliating ingredients are evident in the uniformly smooth texture of the skin when dry. I did find the smell of the product to be a detracting feature – I’m not sure what is causing it, but it has a very sour scent. If I were to purchase this product, this would be enough to convince me to try either the Cranberry Gommage or Brightening Gommage instead.

My experience with the Golden Grain Gommage is that it exfoliates adequately but it didn’t wow me. After use my skin felt smoother, but I don’t feel like my pores were any clearer or smaller, and any brightening effects were barely noticeable. To experiment with increasing the brightening advantages of the retinol and glycolic acid, I once tried leaving the scrub on my face like a mask but after about a minute it began to noticeably sting, so I do not recommend that. It did impress me when I was able to use it on a recently sunburned area on my forehead and the back of my neck – it was gentle enough to not be a painful process but effectively removed peeling skin and seemed to speed up the healing process with every-other-day application. I probably won’t purchase this product, as I had better results with brightening and evening my skin tone with the Juice Beauty peel and felt the exfoliation provided by my skincare brush was comparable. This product would be well suited for someone looking to add a gentle, effective scrub to her routine but has other products to provide results beyond thorough exfoliation. 

Ingredients for Arcona Golden Grain Gommage: Aqua (Water), Zea Mays (Yellow Corn) Kernel Meal, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Meal, Stearic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Polysorbate 60, Tocopheryl Acetate (D-alpha), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Retinol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Allantoin, Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, Lecithin, Albumen, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol

* Denotes Organically Sourced

Ingredients for Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel: Organic juices of pyrus malus (organic apple juice)*, citrus medica limonum (organic lemon juice)*, aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice)*, glycolic acid, vegetable glycerin, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, sodium hydroxide, capryl hydroxamic acid, xanthan & sclerotium gum, caprylyl glycol, vitis vinifera (grape seed extract), tetrasodium glutamate diacetate, magnesium aspartate, zinc gluconate, copper gluconate.

* = Certified organic ingredient