These days, the road to purifying your pores might look more like a mud run. White charcoal, black soap, clay masks, and skin-saving muds are hotter than ever.
Why are these facial cleansers having a moment? They’re detoxers. “Activated charcoal has been treated with oxygen, which gives it the ability to act like a magnet for toxins and impurities,” explains Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, DC.
And that same serious pulling action is the appeal of coveted skin-perfecting clays, exfoliating black soap, and more. They all deep clean without over-drying, calm both acne and redness, and give you a healthy glow—all in one go.
Here are five hot-and-dirty soaps, cleansers, and masks that will give you cleaner pores. —Melisse Gelula
(Photo: May Lindstrom Skin Instagram @maylindstromskin)
The charcoal craze ignited here, with this cult-fave soap made from Japanese white charcoal called binchotan. (Binchotan comes oak branches, if you want to get skin-care geeky about it.) The idea behind using charcoal powder comes from its ability to purify and detoxify what it comes in contact with, and do it naturally. Its also a time-saver since it exfoliates, moisturizes, and acts as an antibacterial all in one wash.
Here micronized charcoal is suspended in a glam, almost iridescent liquid cleanser that smells herbal, not clinical. “I’m not a bar person when it comes to washing my face,” says Shamanuti’s Beth Hopkins, who’s in awe of charcoal’s ability to “pull out what doesn’t belong there.” It helps decongest skin, calm redness, and heal pimples. “And it does it virtuously—it doesn’t strip it and leave it dry. It’s a chemical attraction that just lets your skin function better,” says Hopkins.
Shamanuti Activated Charcoal Cleanser, $10 (1 oz. travel size), $28 (4 oz.)
Her facial wash and bar soap both work as instant-gratification exfoliants (expect a healthy pink glow) and deep pore cleansers. They’ve even helped customers kick their acne meds, she says. The rose hips cleanser is a bit more hydrating, while the bar can be used all over. (Think: backne and workout-related body breakouts.)