Beauty Detox: 20 Purifying Skincare Products for Cleaner Pores and More

Generation Clay Urban Defense Purifying Pink Clay Mask ($39)


Kakadu plum

formulated with vitamin A

clay (purifying)

rose oil


Detoxifying Skincare

Now that I understand the importance of pollution-protective skincare, I am curious about the detoxifying skincare products on the market. Irritants, toxins, and skin stressors are named as top skin-agers responsible for 85% of the visible signs we loathe — hence why detoxing our skin is of utmost importance. Nothing replaces the fabulousness of regular facials — especially when they're of the pore-purifying sort like Hydra-facials (I used to get them monthly at OC Skin Technology in Costa Mesa, CA) — but using clean, toxin-free beauty products that are loaded with antioxidants helps.

Even when you clean up your regimen, we are all still exposed to environmental toxins and irritants from both outdoor and indoor sources, from car exhaust and wildfires, to stovetop cooking. To detox your skin, purifying skincare products — containing ingredients like activated charcoal, various clays, algae, and skin superfoods like chlorophyll — are one answer. 

Hello Activated Charcoal Toothpaste ($5) + The Seaweed Bath Co Purifying Detox Facial Bar ($6)

I am currently testing the purifying bentonite clay mask above (the pink one), which boasts an "urban defense" function. Masks containing toxin-absorbent ingredients like activated charcoals and various clays (i.e. white, green, pink, kaolin, bentonite, and more) deeply cleanse the pores, tightening against your face as they dry, pulling impurities up through the surface of your skin like a magnet. This mask takes only takes 10 minutes to work its magic, drying cleanly on the face and coming off more easily than some other masks. I've actually even worn it while walking my dogs in the morning.

I love that the rose-hued mask, which dries to a pasty white shade, contains added retinol, or vitamin A. The mask is a great for incorporating the exfoliating, resurfacing, anti-aging ingredient into your regimen even when you aren't using a retinol serum. However, this also means you should avoid using other vitamin A-rich products simultaneously. And only use the mask a couple times per week because it will dry out your skin like crazy otherwise. Hint: If you have oily skin, try their Activated Charcoal ($39) mask and if you'd like to fade dark spots grab their Ultraviolet Mask ($39).

 (Photo via Generation Clay)

While clay masks are generally drying, this one contains vitamin C-rich Kakadu plum oil, one of the most hydrating oils ever, to mitigate its moisture-stripping effects. It also includes the soothing skin quenches, aloe vera — but my face is dry right now. Whatever you do, do not over-exfoliate! Maintaining the integrity of your precious lipid barrier is imperative.

Anyway, Bentonite clay, which is made up of volcanic ash, powers the detox. Since I regularly use kaolin clay in my go-to LOLI Beauty Matcha Coconut Paste ($48) mask, bentonite clay makes for a nice alternative.

I have heard from reviews that the multi-tasking mask brightens, stimulates collagen, and boasts anti-bacterial benefits, all while extracting pollutants from the pores. But beware — with detoxification comes purging. Before your glow comes on, toxins from deep within the dermis will begin to emerge, waiting to be flushed out. Chugging water like it's your job might help, but purging typically means that surface eruptions occur. (Basically, you might get spotty temporarily but it really does mean the mask is working.)

It's working, all right — I am recovering from skin purge-a-tory after my first week using the mask.

 (Photo via Generation Clay)

Since the skin is your body's largest organ, detoxing and cleanses often show up on your skin. Even my regular detox shakes can result in a breakout, particularly when I run out of my supplement that strengthens the lining of the intestine. (When your intestines are compromised, they become more permeable, causing nutrients and toxins alike to leak into your blood stream, causing symptoms including breakouts.)

To deal with the skin purge-a-tory that came with my facial detox, I booked a Triple Crown Facial from my favorite celebrity esthetician, Sora Connor. She works at the Joanna Vargas Spa in Sunset Towers and has saved my face on many occasions. She introduced me to another ace purifier, activated charcoal, which extracts the nasty ass pollutants and gunk from your pores like a magnet without drying the skin in the above bar.

Joanna Vargas Miracle Bar ($22)

Now available at Nordstrom!

In the words of one of the JV girls, "It absorbs like 100X its weight [in toxins.] Like a magnet!" This is my favorite spa for a reason. Love it.

More Skin Detoxifiers to Shop

Sunday Riley Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask ($55)

This sulfur and niacinamide mask decongests pores, detoxifies them, and helps to shrink them, while clearing up breakouts of all kinds. I leave it on overnight when I have a blemish emerging and have even worn it to yoga before (haha)! Sunday Riley's entire line is excellent — one of my favorites — and this mask in particular is great for breakouts of all kinds, including hormonal.

Note: This mask is clean, not green.

Renée Rouleau Rapid Response Detox Mask ($54, orig. $60.50)

A favorite of mine for stopping breakouts in their tracks. It is a gold, gel-like paste that contains salicylic acid — meaning it is unsafe for pregnant or nursing women.

Note: This mask is clean, not green.

One Love Organics Love + Charcoal ($49)

This feels like charcoal mousse and also contains rose clay. Its light, whipped texture is unique for masks of this variety, and it makes it super easy to remove.

It's clean and green!

Amareta Beauty Earth Mother Detoxifying Charcoal Mask ($46)

Clean, green, and safe for pregnant and nursing mommas.

Lush Coalface

You can buy this cleanser in various amounts in the store. Just ask them to cut you off a slab!

Detoxifiers I Own or Want to Try

(But Haven't Yet)

Whamisa by Glow Studio Charcoal Chai Tea Pore Refining Glow Pad ($25)

K-Beauty is incredibly innovative and advanced. Along with Peach & Lily, Glow Recipe is one of my favorite K-Beauty retailers for scoring non-toxic beauty products. I have met and/or interviewed the founders of both companies and LOVE them.

Starskin Sunset Strips 3-Step Advanced Pore Cleansing Expert System ($10)

Starskin is an award-winning line sold at retailers like Revolve and Barney's New York. It is considered a non-toxic, organic K-Beauty line, with some great ingredients, including cellulose face masks made from bio-fermented coconut and brown algae. I am not 100% in love with their ingredients lists due to ingredients like Urea, however, which is found in pee.

Tip: Try their wide variety of face masks or the CocoNuts Nourishing Hot Oil Hair Mask ($10); avoid their foot peel — use Patchology PoshPeel Pedi Cure Foot Treatment ($20) instead.

Angela Caglia Detox Serum ($150)

Chlorophyll is a BIG yes for detoxifying skin and healing. Joanna Vargas herself recommends it.

Blackout Mask Activated Charcoal + Coconut Mask ($15) + Aussie White Clay + Apricot ($16)

Karuna HydraMUD Face Mask Green Mud Sheet Mask ($8)

Starskin SilkMud Green Tea Clay Anti-Aging Liftaway Mud Face Sheet Mask ($10)

 Starskin SilkMud Pink French Clay Purifying Liftaway Mud Face Sheet Mask ($10)

Triumph & Disaster Rock & Roll Face Scrub ($35)

This product has both kaolin clay and green clay.

Leahlani Skincare Mermaid Mask ($38)

Skin Therapy K-Aesthetics Deep Purifying Charcoal 02 Bubble Mask ($12)

Peel-off masks are fun (although they can accidentally wax your eyebrows) but sheet masks are easier.

Earth Therapeutics K Aesthetics Cleansing Facial Towelettes ($20)

Wipes are not a replacement for a regimen, but they definitely help with the skin-perfecting process. These can be used to remove makeup, as well as to cleanse and refresh the face.

Have you tried any detoxifying beauty products? Tell me on Instagram!

I am using affiliate links in this post. Shop them to show me some love :

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Skincare? yes, please.

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