The beauty world is riddled with gimmicks, tricks and DIY solves for a myriad of skin concerns. So naturally when a dermatologist and soda-making company teamed up and suggested that I wash my face with seltzer water, I was all kinds of skeptical.
Yet in the name of beauty, I decided to give the beauty hack the benefit of the doubt. To my surprise, it led me to believe that washing with regular water is officially basic AF.
Naturally, I had so many questions about cleansing with carbonated water at the start. Do I really need fancy bubbles to get a better clean? What about all that waste of stocking up on bottled seltzer only to end up pouring it down the drain? Does it work if the water is warm? Will you have an explosion of bubbles if you use it with a cleanser? The questions are endless, but I decided to put it all to the test.
Credit: Getty Images
For starters, a little background. The “Fizzi Face Cleanse” originated in Japan, but became popular by the skin gods over in Korea who picked up on the trend. Carbonated water actually dilates blood vessels on its own without being heated.
Whereas, you have to raise the temperature of regular flat to get the same effect. What this does is better your skin’s circulation, which ultimately helps skin and cell turnover happen faster. The bubbles also work like little pods to trap, lift and carry away dirt and oil from the skin. The more fizz, the more grime clearing you’ll get.
There’s no need to stock up on tons of bottles of seltzer. I got myself a Soda Stream, which if you’re not familiar, is a pretty genius device that turns regular water into seltzer. It comes with a large bottle that holds more than enough water for at least two face washings. It also seals tight to keep each batch from going flat before your second or third cleansing.
The process isn’t any different from your normal face washing routine except that you’re replacing tap water with a bowl full of seltzer water. Start by wetting your face a bit with the bubbly, slather on a cleanser and then rinse with more of the sparkling water.
I was hesitant about the type of cleanser that I used because I wasn’t sure if I was going to end up with some crazy fizzy science experiment in my bathroom, but thankfully that didn’t happen. With both the mild cleanser and the exfoliating one, the bubbles didn’t get out of control once water was added to it.
I decided to try three different methods over the span of a few days. I started with a mild cream cleanser, then switched to an exfoliating formula with tiny beads in it, and lastly I rinsed with just the sparkling water itself. It didn’t matter which cleansing aid I chose, the sensation was the same. If you’ve ever used a K-beauty bubble mask that fizzes on your face, then you’ll know the feeling.
It tingles, and you can literally feel the tiny bubbles bursting against your skin. You get a tingly, but not burning, effect that feels like it’s opening up your pores to pull out any set-in grime. When paired with the exfoliating cleanser, my skin did feel a bit more sensitive with a slight stinging particularly on the drier areas of my face—but nothing that felt uncomfortable. Also, the water temperature didn’t affect the fizz at all. So if you prefer a steamy splash, bubble up your batch using warm water. Or, like I did on my second wash, try it cool as an energizing morning rinse.
Credit: Getty Images
So the verdict? My skin felt really, really clean and invigorated—even when I washed without any product. I only used the seltzer sans cleanser when I didn’t have to remove makeup, and even then there wasn’t a trace of anything left on my skin, and it didn’t feel dry or tight.
Yes, the sensorial experience of cleansing with seltzer water is a nice switch-up from the norm, but according to Dr. Dendy Engleman, who first introduced the idea to me, you’re not only getting a deeper clean, but carbonated water has a pH that’s closer to the level of our skin, so it’s a safe way for all skin types to get a more thorough cleansing without it being too harsh.
You might even end up using less of those cleansing products that may strip skin of needed and natural oils. Bottom line, you don’t have to compromise on the level of squeaky clean that you may prefer, and your skin has the potential to look and definitely feel better.