If I’ve learned anything from quarantining with two small children for the past five months it’s that my family has way too much stuff: too many food storage containers, too many canvas tote bags, and definitely too many toys. Our clutter problem extended even to the shower, where we had accumulated three grimy loofahs, a scrub brush, and an ever-growing pile of soggy washcloths (my 4-year-old demands a fresh one every night). So when my friend Grace Atwood raved about the many uses of an exfoliating mesh cloth called the Luv Scrub, I ordered one immediately. Founder Caroline Owusu-Ansah says the Luv Scrub is based on a bathing staple in her native Ghana. “I’ve been using these types of soft scrub cloths since I was 5 years old,” she says. “Everyone in my family had their own color. When I’d go to friends’ houses for sleepovers, I never understood why they had so many bath accessories.”
The Luv Scrub is a washcloth, loofah, and dry brush all in one. It gently exfoliates, lathers like nothing I’ve ever used, perfectly preps skin for spray tans, and is extremely effective at uprooting ingrown hairs. (If, like me, you’ve recently started waxing at home, you need this thing.) Customer reviews also say it works wonders on keratosis pilaris and bacne. According to Owusu-Ansah, “Bacne is not a thing in Ghana because everyone bathes with this cloth.” Unlike loofahs, which are notorious breeding grounds for bacteria, the Luv Scrub is easy to rinse clean and is always bone dry the next time I reach for it. And with a shelf life of 18 months — compared to loofahs, which are supposed to be replaced every 30 days — it’s a bargain at $18.
Without question, my skin has never felt smoother than it has since I started using the Luv Scrub. My 4-year-old likes it too. She no longer requests a washcloth every night, and now she also has something fun to wear around the house as a cape.
A few more Strategist-approved washcloth alternatives
Strategist contributor Kurt Soller says this towel is “infused with the charcoal of Japanese oak, or binchotan, which is known for its purifying, detoxifying, and antibacterial properties.” It’s 40 inches long and nine inches wide, which, he says, “makes it useful for reaching your back and elegant enough to hang from a hook when not in use.” And just as important: “It’s also machine washable, for moments when you decide that the cloth deserves to be cleansed of you.”
If you’re a fan of Korean spas, Strategist contributor Alison Freer recommends these scrubby mittens. “I’ve managed to slough off an impressive amount of dead skin and blackheads with them over the years,” she says. Freer recommends letting your skin soften for five minutes in the shower before using the mittens. Then, “fit them tightly over your hand (they shrink in the water), and use long strokes in a single direction — not circles — to tackle areas that need exfoliating.”
After visiting Istanbul, a friend sent Strategist contributor Rachel Raczka a care package that included this Hammam Mitt, which the friend described as a staple at Turkish bathhouses. It immediately became Raczka’s new shower essential. When wet, “the glove was gentle enough to remove delicate layers of a shedding sunburn while still providing a vigorous exfoliation to the rest of my body,” she says.
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