This 4-Part Cleansing Ritual Offers the Instant Gratification of Softer, Smoother, and Brighter Skin and Doubles As Self Care

Photo: Nerrā / Leire Cavia
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After months of winter weather and days (so many days) spent basking in the warmth of my space heater, my skin has become as dry and dusty as the Sahara. While lotions, potions, and creams work to temporarily breathe new life back into my skin, it’s become clear that lifting residual dullness, reacquainting my skin with the moisture it’s been deprived of, and sloughing off stubborn flakes would entail more than a single product, but a whole lineup to address these issues. So, when I was offered the chance to try out the Nerrā Body Cleansing Ritual ($145), which could potentially serve as an all-in-one solution to my skin, I jumped at the chance.

Experts In This Article

This four-part system for “softer, smoother, brighter skin” draws inspiration from hammams, or bathhouses, which can involve some combination of sweat, oil, and a good scrub-down. Having grown up in Tunisia, Nerrā founder and certified cosmetic scientist Teyma Touati wanted to bring the experience to the bathroom, and subsequently elevate the bathing experience into something of a ritual that offers the physical gratification of a scrub and buff and the mental benefits of luxuriating in a tub.

It also sounded enticing, and I wanted—nay, needed—to know whether it could help my skin shake off the last of its “winter layers.” Suffice it to say, the Body Cleansing Ritual delivered on its promise (despite a few notable tradeoffs). My full review, below.

Nerrā Body Cleansing Ritual
Nerrā, Body Cleansing Ritual — $145.00

Includes a bottle of Pre-Exfoliating Foam, Body Wash, Dry Body Oil, and two pairs of Exfoliating Gloves


  • Includes the brand’s best-sellers
  • Takes the guesswork out of your shower routine
  • Made with powerhouse ingredients in every product
  • Vegan, eco-friendly, and cruelty free


  • Pricey
  • Dermatologists warn the exfoliating body gloves may not be ideal for sensitive skin

How the Nerrā Body Cleansing Ritual works

Using the Body Cleansing Ritual comprises five steps—the first of which involves soaking in a warm bath or under steamy water—followed by the use of the four included products in the kit, starting with the Pre-Exfoliating Foam ($22) and ending with the Dry Body Oil ($65). Each product has a specific purpose (which you’ll find individually reviewed below), but the end goal is the same: to reveal smoother, more radiant skin.

Pre-Exfoliating Foam

Nerrā Pre-Exfoliating Foam
Nerrā, Pre-Exfoliating Foam — $22.00

Key ingredients: Tunisian olive oil, coconut oil


  • Formulated with moisturizing oils
  • Serves as a protective barrier for the skin
  • Made without fragrance


  • Made with coconut oil, a potentially comedogenic ingredient that isn’t often suited for oily or acne-prone skin

After soaking, the next step is to smooth the brand’s Pre-Exfoliating Foam ($22) onto damp skin and wait at least 15 seconds before rinsing it off. The product is meant to prepare the skin fora scrub-down with the exfoliating body glove—and, per the brand, it is to the glove as shaving cream is to a razor. The foam primes the skin for exfoliating and serves as a barrier between your skin and the glove’s abrasive surface—and according to Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, it can work as promised.

“The ingredients, which are primarily oil-based, act as a lubricant,” says Dr. Nazarian, helping to prevent microtears in the skin that can occur when exfoliating. She adds that it “can also help improve the moisture barrier.” Specifically, the formula contains Tunisian olive oil and coconut oil, and their presence in the product is evident. In my experience, the foam doesn’t lather, but slides over my limbs, leaving behind a lightweight but slippery residue with no noticeable fragrance (perhaps because this product doesn't contain it).

While it has a relatively short ingredients list, Dr. Nazarian warns that coconut oil isn’t always ideal for oily or acne-prone skin. (“Coconut oil can be somewhat comedogenic,” she says.) As someone with combination skin, I fortunately haven’t experienced any breakouts with the foam, but you might want to do a patch test to see how your skin reacts. Additionally, the formula contains potassium hydroxide—an ingredient that was new to me. However, Dr. Nazarian explains, “This is a keratolytic, meaning it breaks down keratin and is likely included to somewhat chemically exfoliate the skin before physical exfoliation.”

And, indeed, my skin is noticeably smoother after using the Pre-Exfoliating Foam, whether that’s due to the oils in the formula, the potassium hydroxide, or a combination of both. In any case, I like the result. While its primary purpose is to prepare skin for exfoliation, I’ve actually used it as a substitute for shaving cream. It works as well, but it would be expensive to use it for this sole purpose if you, like me, shave at least once per week.

Exfoliating Body Glove

Nerrā Exfoliating Body Glove
Nerrā, Exfoliating Body Glove — $26.00

Includes two pairs of gloves with varying degrees of roughness.


  • Two gloves
  • Leaves skin soft and smooth immediately after use
  • Made from biodegradable plant materials


  • Gloves are abrasive, which isn’t ideal for most people, particularly with delicate skin

After rinsing off the Pre-Exfoliating Foam, the next step is to scrub your body with one of two pairs of Exfoliating Body Gloves ($26) included in the kit. The gloves come in varying degrees of roughness—the white being the more gentle of the two and the black being more abrasive. After using both options, I’ve found that they offer a similar amount of grit.

On first test, I made sure to follow Nerrā’s instructions, “working in long, firm strokes, up and down, one body part at a time.” The result: dry patches I had disappeared; I couldn’t resist touching my skin, which had gone from smooth to even smoother; and, after a few rounds of exfoliation, I noticed less ingrown hairs (a welcome bonus). The immediate and longer-term results secured the gloves as one of the products I liked most the kit, but it comes with tradeoffs.

Unfortunately, what makes the gloves so effective is precisely what makes it potentially problematic. “Physical scrubbing of the skin is rarely ever recommended because it is aggressive,” says Dr. Nazarian, who also notes that it can be especially harmful for people with sensitive skin or a compromised skin barrier. She reiterates that the Pre-Exfoliating Foam can go some way to “minimize risk,” but it is all too easy to get overzealous with the glove. “There is a massive tendency to apply too much pressure to get skin to slough, even with everything they have in this kit.”

With this in mind, it might be wise to forgo the exfoliating glove, particularly if you have delicate skin—and fortunately, there are other methods that can work to the same effect (see: chemical exfoliants) without the risk of harm. Otherwise, you’ll want to limit use to once to twice every month while trying to avoid scrubbing too hard, says Dr. Nazarian—the latter of which can be difficult for those who are drawn to its instant tactile gratification (myself included).

Body Wash

Nerrā Body Wash
Nerrā, Body Wash — $32.00

Key ingredients: Aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and squalane


  • Made with moisturizing ingredients to mitigate skin dryness
  • Helps to strengthen the skin barrier and improve moisture retention
  • Available in a fragrance-free version


  • Scent of fragranced version isn’t long-lasting

After exfoliating with the gloves, Nerrā’s Body Wash ($32) is a reprieve. It’s gentle, and it has never left my skin feeling tight or itchy after a shower—all good things that most people might want in an everyday body cleanser. The formula contains a bevy of ingredients, including aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and squalane, which, in large part, helps mitigate dryness and irritation, plus “help improve the skin barrier and hydration,” says Dr. Nazarian.

There is also the scent, which has floral notes of jasmine, freesia, and rose, and I would recommend it for the fragrance alone. It smells, to me, mostly like jasmine, which reminds me of home, where sampaguita, a species of jasmine native to Asia, is abundant—my only wish is that the scent would linger a little longer. Of course, not everyone will like this fragrance. Fortunately, the body wash also comes in a fragrance-free version, which might appeal to folks with sensitive noses or skin.

Also found in the formula are ingredients like collagen and probiotics. The inclusion of these ingredients might be a draw for some individuals, but there isn’t enough evidence as to whether they will make a big difference to the skin, says Dr. Nazarian. However, even without these ingredients in the formula, the body wash is well worth a spot in a shower routine. “It already has got enough good things in [the product]” she says, plus the additional ingredients certainly don’t hurt to have in the mix.

Dry Body Oil

Nerrā Dry Body Oil
Nerrā, Dry Body Oil — $65.00

Key ingredients: Argan oil, hibiscus seed oil, rosehip oil

  • Lightweight and non-greasy formula
  • Made with several different moisturizing oils
  • Available in a fragrance-free version


  • It works better in tandem with a body lotion or moisturizer

The Dry Body Oil ($65) is, hands-down, my favorite product in the Body Cleansing Ritual line. It is chock-full of oils—like argan oil, rosehip oil, and sacha inchi oil, to name a few—that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Plus, it has the same scent of the body wash, which as mentioned, is a treat for my nose, but for the scent-averse, it comes in a fragrance-free version, too. As for use, you’ll want to apply it as the final step of the ritual to lock much-needed moisture into the skin.

Suffice it to say, it delivers on its promise: A little goes a long way to quench my skin immediately upon application while leaving behind a dewy sheen that lasts for hours. Despite its long list of oils in the formula, it is far from greasy; it’s lightweight enough to use during the day, and it doesn’t become slippery when I sweat. I was also happy to discover that the fragrance has more lasting power than the body wash, and I love catching subtle whiffs of its jasmine scent throughout the day.

Application is a breeze too, thanks to its spray applicator, which helps to dispense the oil to areas that are often hard for me to reach. If anything, Dr. Nazarian cautions that the oil may aggravate skin that is sensitive or acne-prone, and she recommends doing a patch test to ensure the product is suitable for your skin type. You’ll also want to keep in mind that dermatologists typically recommend using oil in addition to a body moisturizer, as oil alone can’t replenish the skin with moisture, but only seal it in.

Final thoughts

In as little over two months, I’ve scrubbed, lathered, and slathered my body with the Nerrā Body Cleansing Ritual products—and to great results. It’s helped my skin shed the dryness from the winter season, and it remains a part of my weekly routine because I enjoy the immediate gratification it gives me: skin that’s as smooth as a newborn’s bottom. Dr. Nazarian adds that using the kit as intended may incite benefits that are more than skin deep, as it involves “a level of self-care and attention to one’s body” that subsequently brings about positive psychological effects—and I can attest that it’s true. Using the kit has transformed my showers into an opportunity for some me-time during busy workdays, which are often dictated by a to-do list that leaves little room for moments of pause. Plus, the products are luxe, and this factor alone could ignite a renewed sense of vigor for bath time.

However, neither I nor Dr. Nazarian aren’t without our qualms. For one, the body cleansing ritual is pricey, and if you’re someone who finds the process to be frivolous indulgence, it might not be worth it for you. Dr. Nazarian also has mixed feelings about some of the products included in the kit—specifically the exfoliating gloves, which as she previously mentioned, can be too abrasive for most people. Fortunately, you don’t have to purchase the full body-care system to enjoy the products. Nerrā sells the items separately on its website, which offers folks the opportunity to customize their shower ritual to their preferences, an option that also appeals to Dr. Nazarian.

“Maybe people can just use what they can from it, and it’s still teaching them how to care for their skin in a ritualistic manner,” she says. “I think you may not be the perfect person for every single one of these steps, but, maybe, your own little bespoke version will work for you.”

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