Do you ever have those days when you’re skin just goes crazy – dry flakes, oily areas, large pores, blackheads, and crazy congestion? For me, that always seems to happen after I’ve been a bit lazy with my skincare routine – either I used makeup wipes too many evenings in a row, or I wasn’t able to keep up with exfoliating and/or hydrating often enough. (If you have combo skin like me, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about!) Whenever that time comes and my skin is completely rebelling, I’ll take a good 30-60 minutes some evening and follow my favorite deep detox skincare routine, which goes like this:
Step 1: Charcoal Cleansing
The first step is a quick cleanse using charcoal soap and warm water. The activated charcoal helps jump-start the cleansing process by drawing out dirt, oil, and impurities from out pores. When all that pore congestion comes in contact with the carbon in the charcoal, they bind to it and then get washed away when you rinse!
Lately, I’ve been using LATHER’s charcoal & tea tree cleansing bar which my combo skin has been reacting well to. The formula is a lot more balancing than other charcoal bars I’ve tried in the past, thanks to the tea tree, shea butter, and organic palm, coconut and olive oils.
Step 2: Facial Brush Cleansing
For the second cleanse, I’ll use the same charcoal bar, only this time, with a cleansing brush. Cleansing brushes provide a deep cleanse by removing a lot of the makeup, oil, dirt, and other gunk that our fingers/scrubs often leave behind. They also help stimulate the skin and remove dead skin and flakes.
My current go-to is Remington’s facial cleansing brush, which I find to be gentle yet very effective at removing dry skin. What I’ll do is run it along my LATHER soap bar to pick of some product, and then do a quick 1-minute cleanse, concentrating on my T-zone.
Step 3: Clay & Charcoal Detox Mask
Now that the skin is cleansed and exfoliated, and pores are all opened up, it’s time to hit them with the most intense treatment – a super detoxifying mask! My favorite is called ‘Cackle Spackle‘. This mask has everything you need for a deep cleanse – charcoal powder, kaolin and bentonite clay, and volcanic ash – and is one of my absolute favorites from a brand called Perfectly Posh (they’re actually more of a pampering product company, but their skincare is surprisingly effective!). This mask can be a bit intense and even sting a bit, though the added glycerin, aloe leaf juice, and natural oils help to balance out the mask’s more drying ingredients.
Step 4: Oxygenating Detox Mask
Now it’s time for a different sort of detoxing mask – one that uses oxygenation to clear out the pores. These foaming/bubble-like masks comes in both sheet form and in a bottle. My all-time favorite is Malin + Goetz’s Detox Face Mask – which works especially great after a more intensive clay/charcoal mask as its moisturizing ingredients help re-hydrate the skin. It uses oxygenating cleansing agents, which help open the pores, pull out impurities, and bring them to the surface to be washed away. This mask is actually used during Malin + Goetz’s spa facials to open the pores for blackhead extractions, which brings me to my next step…
Step 5: Remove Blackheads
Since the pores should be completely opened up at this point, it’s time to grab a blackhead tool and try to work out some of those more deeply embedded blackheads. Using the flatter side of a blackhead tool, I’ll gently but firmly press down on one side of a blackhead and try to push out some of the sebum/congestion.
Toning & Hydrating
Step 6: Toner
Now that the deep cleansing is complete, it’s time to close those pores with either a splash of cold water, or a toner. Lately I’ve been using an organic toner from Botanics – it’s amazingly gently and also smells like roses! I’ll do a few quick spritzes of this cooling mist all over my face, followed by a quick swipe with a cotton pad.
Step 7: Moisturizer
After all this work, the last thing I want to put on my skin is anything toxic. So just to be safe, I’ll hydrate my skin with an all-natural moisturizer and let it soak up all of its nourishing ingredients. One of my favorites (for a few years now) is an all-natural, organic, plant and farm-based moisturizer from Colorado Aromatics. It’s rich and intensive, yet lightweight and super fast absorbing for a matte finish (perfect for combo/oily skin!).
So that’s my little ’emergency’ skincare routine! My face will sometimes look a little pink afterwards, plus I like to let it ‘breathe’ and avoid makeup for a few hours, so I’ll always save this routine for evenings. The next morning, my pores will look smaller, and my skin will look smoother, clearer, and more even-toned!
While I love the results, this routine can be a bit intense for my skin, so I’ll limit it to every 3-4 weeks. For quick, ‘mini detoxes’ in between, I’ll typically do an herbal facial steam followed by either the Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask, or one of my favorite natural face masks.
What steps do you take when your skin is looking congested? Have any favorite skincare products or routines that help clear and re-balance your skin?