What Is Skin Gritting, and Does It Actually Work? We Investigate

Reddit is a treasure trove of intel when it comes to skin care. From your everyday shelfies (that is, a photo of the products on your medicine cabinet shelves) to extremely specific questions and answers to your most personal beauty issues, there is something for everyone. And it’s exactly where we found out about skin gritting.

What exactly is skin gritting, you ask? It’s a method that involves washing your face with an oil cleanser, followed by a clay mask and a final round of oil cleansing to bring blackheads (and other gunk that’s trapped underneath) to the surface of your skin. The ensuing debris is gritty in texture; hence, the name. (Hope you weren’t having breakfast just now.)

The results are supposed to bring you Dr. Pimple Popper levels of satisfaction. One Redditor said they are "slightly horrified and awed by what comes out of [their] face" and they "do a happy grits dance every night."

I, too, wanted to do a happy grits dance, so I tried the method last night and, well, I was...underwhelmed. I slathered on an oil cleanser to remove my makeup as usual. Then, I smoothed on a clay mask. Next came the rinse, followed by a final round of oil cleansing using a light pressured massage to coax out those little grits. 

The results? I saw a few tiny black specks on my hands, but I suspect they’re residual bits of clay—or, at best, balled up dead skin (which is satisfying in its own right, but not blackheads). A bit disappointed, I went back to Reddit and saw that there were a good number of folks whose grit yield was also lacking.

I also noticed that some Redditors recommended mineral oil, while others swore by sunflower or argan oil. Some used a clay mask, while others used a BHA treatment. In short, it takes a lot of trial-and-error because everyone’s skin is different. (A worthy reminder to all of us when trying any viral skin-care product or trend: One size does not fit all.)

Alas, I think I’m going to skip gritting and stick to OCM (Reddit-speak for “oil cleansing method”). But for those of you who decide to grit and find success, please DM me your results.

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...