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February 05, 2021 Charlotte Cho


I’m in a good place right now. I cook more often than I order seamless, I gym twice a week, matcha latte’s have replaced my usual ice coffee and I have fully embraced naps on the weekend.

When it comes to skin care, I’ve also stepped it up a notch by incorporating more exfoliants into my routine. I've been feeling a bit guilty about it the past few weeks because it truly has become the step I've neglected the most and my skin has lost a bit of its glow.

It’s true what Korean women say—achieving dewy, glowing skin isn’t just all about sheet masks and layering essences and moisturizers. It’s all about buffing or “peeling” away dead skin cells that prevent your skin care products from mingling with your skin.

I wouldn’t let the word “peeling” scare you— it’s an ultra-dramatic take on the word “exfoliator” that Korean cosmetic brands tend to use (just like how they love using the word “whitening” when they really just mean “brightening").

My initial intrigue with 2-step peels became a creepy fascination after using the Neogen Rice Peel and Activator Sake, which you'll hopefully understand after you read this review.


How to use it

After cleansing, I scoop out a nickel sized amount of the rice peel and massage into my damp face. The texture is very granular because it’s made out of real rice powders. Using gentle circular motions, I massage this rice scrub into the skin, avoiding the thin skin around my eyes. That being said, I go to town on my lips because my flaky lips need to be tamed.


Then I’m onto step 2! I sprinkle about 5-7 drops of the sake activator on my fingertips and layer it on top of the rice peel. The sake activates the rice peel and now that they are one, it starts to activate and bubble up ever so slightly, which helps clean out the debris in my pores.

Lastly I rinse off everything with lukewarm to cool water and pat dry.

The results are immediate. I remember after my first go at the peeling set, I ran my fingers along my cheeks, nose and forehead and it was the smoothest, softest feeling I have felt in a long time. My skin also felt tingly fresh and looked bright—all thanks to the sake and rice, and I swear the next day I applied my makeup as I usually do and it looked more natural and less cakey. The effects are enough for me to want to do this 2-step peel again and again.


The granular texture comes from real rice powder, which by the way, is ground into circular-shaped grains so that it won’t lead to micro tears in the skin. I point this out because there are poorly formulated physical exfoliators made out of jagged granules such as walnut shells— which you must avoid like the plague.

Rice is such an underrated skin care ingredient, and I wish was used more frequently - because of it’s all-natural brightening effect it has on skin.

The other hero ingredient is sake, which we’re all obsessed about in the skin care world (think SK-II and their pitera, which is fermented sake) because it too, is a natural brightener and helps clarify the skin.

It's a genius idea to combine these two ingredients together: rice & sake. Such a good skin care duo!

Who is it for

For normal, oily, combination skin types, I would recommend using it about once a week to once every two weeks. If you have extremely sensitive skin (to include eczema and rosacea) I would refrain from using this at all, because you shouldn’t be using a physical exfoliator—period. For you, your goal will always be to hydrate and protect the skin vs. chemically or physically stimulate the skin.

So that's my review for the Neogen Rice Peel & Activator Sake and now I'm officially craving a big bowl of white rice, eggs and kimchi. Guess I like my rice in my belly and in my skin care, too!

What's your favorite exfoliator? Have you tried any "peels" lately that has left your skin tingly fresh and smooth?

—Charlotte Cho

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About Charlotte

Soko Glam co-founder and chief curator. Licensed esthetician sharing the love of all things K-beauty.

About Sokoglam

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