Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.

The results may surprise you. 

We all know Kleenex as the brand that’s been helping us through cold and flu season (and sad movies) for decades—since 1924, actually. Recently, Kleenex decided it would get in on the beauty side of skin care, and released a line of “cleansing fabrics.” Kleenex’s Facial Cleansing line includes facial cleansing wipes, daily cleansing cushions, eye makeup removers, cotton soft pads, and exfoliating cushions. I tried Kleenex Exfoliating Cushions to see if the tissue brand’s transition into the beauty world is worth it.

First of all, it’s hard to ignore how budget-friendly Kleenex brand skin care is compared to more luxury brands. A package of 12 exfoliating cushions is $9.99, and nothing in the entire facial cleansing line is more expensive than that. That price includes the cushions’ packaging, and after you buy one box, you only need to buy cushion refills. But a great price can only go so far if the product doesn’t perform. Luckily for Kleenex and my wallet, it did.

Presentation. Like I said, the Kleenex Exfoliating Cushions come in a package that you save (reduce, reuse, recycle!), but it also looks nice on your counter if you’re out of drawer or cabinet space in the bathroom. So from the start, this product looks nicer than a drugstore buy. Upon opening the box, the exfoliating pads had a nice–but not overwhelming–smell. The product’s scent wasn’t too strong or flowery, which is a positive thing in my opinion. I’d say the scent is neutral and fresh.

How-To. The exfoliating pads are two-sided, one blue and one white, and both sides are textured. The instructions say to add water to the blue side and rub the cushion between your fingers to get a good lather going. There was enough soap on the pad to cleanse my whole face, but I didn't feel like I was drowning in it. The instructions didn’t say to use on wet or damp skin, so I was unsure about putting the wet pad on my completely dry face. I’m glad I followed the instructions though, because that was one of the things I liked most about this product. When I use my routine face wash over the sink, it sometimes turns into a how-did-water-get-all-over-the-place situation. With these pads, the soap and water from the cushion was enough to wet my face, but water wasn’t dripping all over the counter while I scrubbed.

Purpose. I tried the exfoliating pads for makeup removal and to exfoliate a makeup-free face. The instructions said to cleanse your cheeks, nose, and chin, so I didn’t attempt to take off eye makeup with it. Although I think the lather has a gentle, non-irritating formula, I wouldn’t advise putting any kind of exfoliating, textured product on your eyes anyway. So if you’re in the market for a two-in-one product, this one takes off your face makeup and exfoliates, but keep an eye-makeup remover around. Remember, you never want to over-exfoliate, which can irritate or dry out your skin, so this product isn't intended for daily use anyway.

Result. Kleenex claims that “beautiful, healthy glowing skin is just one Kleenex Exfoliating Cushion away.” While I don’t consider my skin beautiful or glowing (ever), I think the product did its job to “deep clean dull and dead skin” and “smooth and polish.” Some people want an exfoliator to make them feel as if they’ve just scrubbed off an entire layer of skin. While I, nor I’m guessing any dermatologists out there, recommend or want that for anyone, a good scrub feels great every few days. These exfoliating pads are not harsh or extreme, so if you’re looking to feel like you’ve been rubbed with sandpaper, this is not the product for you. If you want a light exfoliator that leaves your skin feeling smooth but not irritated, this is the product for you. Although I don’t have sensitive skin, I can see this product being ideal for someone who does. It exfoliates without feeling rough, and you can add more pressure while cleansing if you want a more intense scrub. Per the instructions, you’re supposed to use the blue side first and the white side for a final polish. With the dual-sided pad, I felt like I got a better cleanse, and switching between sides wasn’t messy. The final verdict?

WATCH: Four DIY Beauty Scrubs

After drying off my face, my skin felt extremely soft and smooth, which is the intended effect of any exfoliator. The difference with this one was that my skin didn’t feel dry. With harsher exfoliators, your skin might feel smooth after scrubbing away dead skin, but there’s a good chance it will be dry, too. Even with skin-drying cold weather outside, my face wasn’t dry after using this exfoliator.

Approval? I’m a bargain-hunter for just about everything, but with skincare, I usually splurge a bit (our skin is a pretty big investment). At first, I was unsure about using a skin care product made by a tissue brand, but Kleenex proved me wrong. These budget-friendly cleansing pads are great for light exfoliation that won’t leave you irritated, and they get my vote.