This week, Kylie Jenner announced that she is launching a new skin care line called Kylie Skin. This seems like a pretty natural move considering the wild success of her Kylie Cosmetics brand—you know, the one that made her a billionaire.
But as with all things Kardashian/Jenner, there is a bit of online drama surrounding the May 22 launch. The controversy is focused on the walnut face scrub in the inaugural collection, which also includes a foaming face wash, vanilla milk toner, face moisturizer, vitamin C serum, and eye cream. The scrub, according to a Kylie Skin tweet, includes “fine walnut powder,” which is where the problems arose.
In a video, Jenner says the scrub is “gentle enough to use every day,” though she says she personally uses it two to three times a week. The social media response from the beauty world was swift. “Some walnut face scrubs are kind of harsh on the skin,” she continues. “This isn’t too abrasive and it really leaves my skin feeling super baby soft…My walnut face scrub is my secret to a fresh face.”
So what exactly are the possible problems with this type of face scrub? “Walnut shell powders have long been used in face scrubs but have fallen out of favor because of reports that they cause microscopic tears to the outer skin layer,” New York dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner tells Glamour. “To my knowledge, there is no real data showing that walnut scrubs are any more harmful to your skin than many other forms of manual scrubs.”
“This new scrub contains walnut powder, but it’s unclear whether this includes walnut shell or the walnut itself,” he continues. “Plus, it is unclear how fine the walnut powder has been made and whether it is the same as previously used formulations. The same ingredient may perform very differently, both in terms of effectiveness and safety, depending on how it is formulated.”
The product also drew comparisons to the St. Ives Apricot Scrub which led to a class action lawsuit in 2017. In the suit, one of the key plaintiff claims was that the crushed walnut powder creates microscopic tears in the skin, exposing it to infections and irritation. But it should be noted the lawsuit was ultimately tossed out of court in December 2018, when a judge agreed there wasn’t proof of the alleged claims.
The reaction on social media was swift and, well, harsh. “The LEAPS AND BOUNDS in chemical exfoliants at the cutting edge of skin care and you and your team give us St Ives Apricot 2.0?? The nerve,” one user wrote.
That said, if you do want to try Jenner’s new face scrub, just be careful and be sure to use very gentle motions while using it (which should be the case with any face scrub). “I always caution my patients when trying any new products,” Dr. Zeichner says. “If you develop any skin irritation, redness, burning, or stinging remove the product from your skin immediately.”