IDENTITY

I'd Smell Like Sulfur Forever if I Feel Like This

Here's my confession: I kind of like gross smells.

Not all of them. And nothing over the edge — the smell of wet, hot trash in New York City does not appeal to me — but sometimes, a strange sour smell will reach me and I find myself oddly intrigued.


So maybe "gross," isn't the word, but "complex."

In the film American Hustle, there's a running bit that Jennifer Lawrence's character loves the scent of her European nail polish. At a charming dinner scene, she forces everyone to sniff her nails. She marvels at how sweet they smell, but also like "something rotten," that touch of sour that makes you love it. She's like that too, she says, a tad rotten.

That's how I feel about the smell of sulfur.

When I first happened upon Soft Services Clearing Clay, I was eager to try it specifically due to the sulfur. I've tried many skin products in my day, running the gamut from face products to body scrubs and more. Frankly, most body masks leave me disappointed.

Soft Services Clearing Clay Soft Services

Firstly, most of them are more trouble than they're worth. I'd end up messy and uncomfortable, waiting for a clay mask to dry so I could move my arms, and for minimal results.

Soft Services Clay, in contrast, is a squeezable, body-ready formula. That was already a compelling enough reason to try it out. But once I noticed sulfur in the ingredient list, I was even more eager.

Being as plugged into various skin care communities as I am, I know that people travel far and wide to submerge their bodies in volcanic, sulfuric baths — miraculous geographic sites touting smoother, softer skin.

Obviously, I dream of this. I've envisioned immersing myself in these sulfur pools. I've even spent hours looking at tickets to St Lucia as if that would manifest the fantasy. It didn't.

Here's my issue — the one thing you can't glean from photos or skincare blog threads: sulfur smells really strong, and really bad. Yelp reviews have warned me about this, celebrating the pools' transformative effects but with the caveat that I could stink of sulfur for days afterwards.

I firmly believed I could take it. But this assumption was based on a compelling cocktail of wishful thinking and hubris. Assuming that facial products on the market would be too drying for my skin type, I had no experience with sulfur. So I was left in the lurch — until now.

Turns out, Soft Services Clearing Clay Multi-Use Breakout Treatment is precisely the effective treatment I'd been longing for.

Soft Services Clearing Clay uses sulfur for its antifungal, antibacterial, and skin-softening properties—powerful in maintaining clear skin. Sulfur's clearing properties help retain healthy microbiomes, particularly on breakout-prone body parts like the chest, and back.

To maximize the benefits of the sulfuric base, the Clearing Clay contains additional clays such as kaolin and bentonite, which help to detoxify and reduce oils. All of these combine to form a potent, soft paste that's suitable for treating acne. You can easily incorporate this versatile mixture into your beauty routine as a daily wash, a deeper-penetrating mask, or targeted spot remedy.

For more effective acne fighting, AHAs and BHAs — salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and phytic acid — target breakouts and even anticipate potential breakouts. It also includes aloe, zinc, and glycerin — calming ingredients so your skin doesn't dehydrate as it detoxes. The addition of natural, floral ingredients, and tea tree oil mask the sulfuric smell.

While an earthy scent remains, it's nothing odiously offensive. What a surprise! So, like Jennifer Lawrence in the American Hustle scene, I spent the day after my first mask asking my friends to smell me. I was worried I'd gone nose-blind! But, as they confirmed, there wasn't the faintest trace of sulfur.

Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle IMDb

But, honestly, I'd go around smelling like sulfur for days in order to feel like this!

After just one wash, I noticed a difference in my skin. The Clearing Clay promises clearer, more purified skin immediately. And, in the long term, a gradual brightening of discoloration and scars. I am a fiend for it. I use it as a mask, wash, and spot treatment — depending on the state of my skin and the time I can spare for self care.

I was already a devotee of their earlier products, The Smoothing Set, so the acne-targeting mask seamlessly made its way into my morning routine. I attribute my glowing skin to Soft Services a self-care company that's quickly become one of Instagram's favorite brands.

Unlike other Instagram sensations, it's not just hype. Soft Services is about so much more than mere aesthetics — although Soft Services looks great in the shower. Their medically tested products actually work. And each new product proves it.

More from Trueself