I Tried the $7 Product a Glowing 92-Year-Old Has Sworn By for 40 Years


Welcome to Deep Reviews—your one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. Every month, the Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and review the market's most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations. To put it simply, stick with us, and buyer's remorse will be a thing of the past.


(Image credit: @fitzpatrickerin)

The majority of our Deep Reviews will feature our editors' honest, ultra-hot takes on entire product categories or multiple products from a particular beauty brand, but every so often, we'll sprinkle in a special single-product format called Honestly, I Love It. As the name suggests, these reviews will hone in on one standout beauty formula our editors quite literally can't shut up about. Up Next? The Buf-Puf Facial Sponge ($7). 

A couple of years ago, I wrote a story about a glowing 89-year-old's skincare routine. (By the way, she happens to be the grandmother of Erin and Sara Foster.) Anita Marshall's entire routine includes several different cleansers, toners, eye creams, serums, sunscreens, face oils, and other lotions and potions, but one product she mentioned immediately stuck out to me: the Buf-Puf Facial Sponge ($7). Not only is it an affordable, accessible product available on Amazon, but her never-faltering loyalty to it also genuinely astounded me. 

"I get up in the morning and wash my face with cleanser and a Buf-Puf, which will make most people say, 'Oh my word!'" Marshall told me. "Well, [my daughter Rebecca] was dating a doctor, and he told me this was the thing to use, and I just never stopped. I gently exfoliate with it. I use it religiously and have been for over 40 years." Now that's a skincare love affair I can get behind. For what it's worth, Marshall told me that she's never used Botox or fillers in her life. 

Inspired by Marshall's decades-long dedication to the Buf-Puf, I decided to give it a go and try it out for a month. Read on for my full review. 


(Image credit: Courtesy of Anita Marshall)


(Image credit: Buf-Puf)

For starters, let me explain that there are three different versions of the product. There's the Regular Facial Sponge, the Gentle Facial Sponge, and the Body Sponge—I'm hoping the names are all pretty self-explanatory, but I'll delve more into each of them. 

I have to admit that I'm quite partial to the Gentle Facial Sponge even though the gentleness of the product really depends on your application method. I'd recommend using a very soft hand while applying instead of giving yourself a heavy-handed scrub-down. Simply wet the sponge with warm water, add a couple of drops of a basic cleanser, and apply it to your face with light, slow, circular motions. Then rinse the sponge and allow it to air-dry. Buf-Puf recommends replacing the sponge every four to six weeks. Another important point: You should be using a simple cleanser instead of a scrub or one with AHAs or BHAs since these products will make you more prone to irritation. 

The Buf-Puf sponge is designed to offer mild-to-deep exfoliation, sloughing away dead skin cells and makeup. My verdict? I found that it 100% delivers on this front. From the very first time I used it, I noticed an immediate result—extra-soft skin that was markedly smoother than before. But I will reiterate, because I think it's too important to ignore, that you should use a very gentle hand when using the sponge, even if you don't think your skin is typically sensitive. Trust me on this. 

Buf-Puf markets itself as a line of products that are great for sunless-tanning prep. As a perenially pale Irish gal, I was happy to put this claim to the test. I used our beauty director's favorite self-tanner—+Lux Unfiltered's N°36 Supernatural Tanning Mousse ($48)—on both my body and face after using the corresponding Buf-Puf sponges for each. I first tried this mousse several months ago, so I already had a barometer by which to measure my new tan. I can honestly say that my post-Buf-Puf application was far superior to the first time I used the tanning mousse. Not only did I feel fully exfoliated, but the proof was also in the pudding, as my sunless tanning looked incredibly even. With all my dead skin cells sloughed off, the self-tanner was able to go on flawlessly.

All in all, I'm not committing to using this product for the next 40 years like Anita, but I am certainly going to have it in my beauty arsenal for the foreseeable future. So thank you, Anita, for the fabulous, affordable recommendation! 

Next, This Cult-Loved Vitamin C Serum Now Comes in a Sunscreen, so We Tried It

Associate Director, Fashion News

Erin got her start as a Who What Wear intern over 13 years ago—back when the site only published a single story per day. (Who What Wear has since increased that number twentyfold.) She graduated magna cum laude from USC, which is how she ended up moving to Los Angeles from her hometown of San Diego. In college, she also interned at Refinery29, where she was promoted to editorial assistant and then assistant editor. After nearly three years at R29, she came back to WWW in 2016, where she currently holds the title of Associate Director of Fashion News (as well as the unofficial title of resident royal expert—in case you haven't noticed her numerous Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton stories). She spends her days trying to incorporate her idols, Anna Wintour and Roger Federer, into as many stories as possible. Outside of work, she loves tennis, classic rock, traveling, and smothering her dog with affection.