Oh, the ongoing struggle of pore-cleaning! Truly, a few minutes of care a day is all you really need to keep your face clear, clean, and happy. Here are 8 simple tips + tricks:
1. Wash your face twice a day. Our skin is constantly attracting dirt, excreting waste, and shedding dead skin cells, so it’s important to keep up with it by cleansing twice a day, especially if you wear makeup. I use my DIY all-natural face wash. This mild cleanser contains no harsh surfactants, so it doesn’t strip away my skin’s natural oils. Instead, the jojoba oil and castile soap work together to gently remove dirt without drying out my face.
2. Always remove makeup. If you don’t wash your makeup off in the evening, it will clog your pores and result in acne. Not pretty. Looking for a natural makeup remover? Try coconut oil! Massage a little bit into your skin in circular motions to remove makeup, then use a warm, wet washcloth to gently wipe off excess coconut oil. The oil (and makeup) should come off easily without needing to tug on your skin. Splash your face with warm water. Coconut oil is even safe + effective for removing eye makeup.
3. Use a toner after your face wash. In addition to balancing your skin's pH level and tightening pores, toners remove excess oil as well as any dirt left behind by your cleanser (no cleanser is perfect!). Try my super-gentle, hydrating Rose + Tea Facial Toner.
4. Exfoliate once a week. Between shedding dry skin cells and perspiring, our skin excretes over a pound of waste per day (YUCK), so we’ve got to help it out by exfoliating at least once a week. Exfoliating — either in the shower with a body scrub, or by dry brushing — removes dead skin buildup, improves blood flow, and firms skin. Use a scrub with an oil base so that you’re restoring oil as you exfoliate. Be sure to use a sugar or salt scrub with fine grains (I recommend my Rose Himalayan Salt Scrub or any of my sugar scrubs). Large grains of salt, sugar, or any other type of abrasive will be too harsh on your face.
5. Deep clean with a mask weekly. After cleansing and exfoliating, I use a mask at least once a week, and I switch up the mask based on my skin's needs. If it's too oily or I'm seeing a lot of blackheads, I use my Charcoal Mask to really get in there to clean + detoxify my pores. If my skin is in need of hydration, I use the Chocolate Mask. If it needs a little exfoliating and brightening, I go with my Rose Clay Mask.
6. Try a natural acid facial peel. The natural alpha hydroxy acids and salicylic acid in lemon, papaya, pineapple, pumpkin, and strawberries make all of these ingredients fantastic non-abrasive exfoliants. Use the fresh juices or pulp to make 1-ingredient face masks. Read more about this (+ get recipes!) in my eBook, The Poor & Pretty Guide to Natural Beauty on a Budget.
7. Stop touching your face! This is a biggie for me, too. Think about all the things you touch in a day, picking up dirt and oils with your fingers. Now, think about rubbing all of those things on your face. That's pretty much what you're doing every time you touch your face —you're increasing the amount of bacteria on your face, which leads to breakouts. Stop touching and especially stop picking!
8. Clean pillowcases weekly. If you're getting enough sleep, you spend between 7-9 hours a night with your face on a pillowcase, sweating and shedding dead skin. (I know, gross, right?) You gotta wash those things frequently! Toss 'em in with your regular laundry, or have backups so you can switch them out every week.