It reminds me of when washcloths were all the rage during bath time.
This year’s Met Gala theme — Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons — got us thinking: There’s such great Japanese-made stuff worth knowing about (much of it that we’ve even written about before), so why not take the occasion to go really big on Japan? From the meticulously crafted to the intuitively designed to the wonderfully weird, welcome to Made in Japan Week on the Strategist.
Have you ever looked down at that neon poof thing in your shower and wondered if you should be rubbing plastic all over your body on the regular? This didn’t really cross my mind, either, until my boyfriend ordered a Binchotan Charcoal Body Scrub Towel on a lark from Amazon. Now it’s the only thing that we use.
This particular towel came to America (and, uh, Amazon) via Ippinka, a company that travels to Japan and other countries looking for sustainable products to import. It’s infused with the charcoal of Japanese oak, or binchotan, which is known for its purifying, detoxifying, and antibacterial properties. Technically, that means you could use it without soap and still become clean, though I don’t recommend that, because it turns out that the cotton-polyester blend is the perfect fabric for creating a not-too-bubbly lather with your regular bodywash (I use Dove Men + Care).
I’d be lying if I said my real love for this thing relies on its hygienic potential. For me, its appeal has more to do with nostalgia, especially if you were the kind of kid who remembers a life before loofahs, when washcloths were all the rage during bath time. It turns out that small towels are actually a more pleasant, calming vehicle for cleansing oneself; I had forgotten until this one came into my life. All the better if those towels have a gentle side and a coarse side — like this one does — for practical adult exfoliation. At 40 inches long and 9 inches wide, it’s longer and narrower than your typical washcloth, which makes it useful for reaching your back and elegant enough to hang from a hook when not in use. It’s also machine-washable, for moments when you decide that the cloth deserves to be cleansed of you.
Binchotan Charcoal Body Scrub Towel
More Towels We Like
Superior 900 Gram Towel Set
$38 for two
One of the most highly rated towels on Amazon, this hotel-style towel had one reviewer saying, “honest to God, these are right up there with a luxury auto or prestige Champagne.”
Kassatex 100-Percent Combed Extra Long Staple Turkish Cotton Set
Another one with rapturous Amazon reviews: This Turkish-cotton towel, according to one reviewer named Valerie, feels “like touching an angel’s tongue. Or a baby Angora rabbit. Or the world’s largest square of Charmin.”
Chloe Bath Towel
at Bed, Bath & Beyond
These polka-dotted towels are good, if you’re looking to be delighted every time you shower.
The towels are sold out, but this kate spade option is equally cheerful.
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