My Keratosis Pilaris Is No Match for Soft Services Buffing Bar

As time passes and “It Girl” products of the beauty world evolve, it’s inevitable that certain types of products rise to the top while others fade into near (or total) obscurity. In an industry once dominated by matte foundations and theater-grade contour kits, sheer skin tints and finger-painterly balms are makeup’s soup du jour. The body care department is no different; you’d be hard-pressed to find a “bestsellers” section on any beauty brand’s website with a bar of soap still at the top — at least, that is, for now. 

Because all it takes to resurrect a bygone beauty moment is some vision, some follow-through, and, in this particular case, faith that handheld units of soap — or buffing bars (their exfloating alter egos) — deserve the spotlight again. And who better to bring them back to the forefront than two Glossier alums that spotted a gap in the market? A couple of body acne– and keratosis pilaris-busting formulations later, and the Soft Services Buffing Bar (yes, a not-so-humble bar of soap) has its first-ever Allure Best of Beauty Award. Soap, welcome back to the VIP section.

Soft Services Buffing Bar

According to the brand’s website, the Buffing Bar is a microcrystal exfoliant bar that provides moderate-to-intense physical exfoliation. Unlike chemical exfoliants, physical exfoliants (think body scrubs) use motion and friction to manually lift away buildup and dead skin cells. To avoid irritation, you should use the bar on rough areas that can handle more intense exfoliation, like heels, elbows, and knees. The Buffing Bar can also help fight buildup that leads to ingrown hairs and lessen the appearance of keratosis pilaris (KP) bumps on arms and legs. Since this bar really means business, the brand does not recommend it for sensitive, sunburned, or irritated skin — or on active breakouts.

The dermatologists I spoke to seconded this advisory. “In general, anything that has a physical exfoliant property should be avoided in those who have sensitive skin, acne, rosacea, eczema, or any other inflammatory skin condition that may result in a compromised barrier,” writes Dr. Mona Gohara, a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut and Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Morgan Rabach, an NYC-based board-certified dermatologist agreed, and also warned against using the bar on allergy-prone skin or your face.