The soap we’re most familiar with today – that bar of sudsy goodness that graces most bathrooms – is an excellent way to suds up and get clean every day. But when you want to draw out impurities and give your skin a really deep clean, you might want to get a little dirty first.
Soap’s murky history
The soap we’re used to has its benefits – namely that it gets you clean, but your typical bar of soap only offers a surface clean. It makes insoluble particles soluble in water, which works to tackle any oil or dirt that lies on the surface of your skin, and is easily washed away when you rinse. However, frequent use can strip your skin of its natural oils and sometimes cause an imbalance. When you want to get deep down into your pores and get clean, getting dirty first is a must.
Soap is nothing new, but it has changed over time. The first recorded soap formula consisted of just water, alkali and an oil. And for centuries, people have been hopping into mud baths and using clays to get a really good deep down clean. The natural minerals and absorbent properties of muds, clays and charcoal were, and still are, relied on to offer a good clean without the suds. In fact, even the antioxidant properties of coffee grounds are becoming known for helping skin to look and feel its best.
Until recently, charcoal might have made you reminisce about backyard barbecues or those unlucky enough to make it onto Santa’s naughty list. For many, however, activated charcoal is a vital part of an everyday beauty regime.
Charcoal is just charcoal until it’s activated, which means it has been heated to make it more porous, making it irresistible to toxins. Thanks to its ability to draw out impurities, charcoal has long been used in air and water filters, and by doctors for treating poisoning in patients. It might seem like an odd thing to use to clean your face, but activated charcoal is a virtual magnet for dirt and oil, pulling toxins to the skin’s surface and sticking with them until they’re rinsed away.
Muds and clays
Today, mud baths and cleansing with clay are still popular at many spas. Mud is naturally full of beneficial minerals and elements that are good for nearly all skin types. Letting a mud mask sit for several minutes to dry allows all of those minerals to get deep into the pores to absorb dirt and oil, soothe irritated skin and leave it feeling softer and smoother.
Clay works a bit like mud in that, once dry, it will pull away any dirt or oil deep down in your pores. However, clay works thanks to its negative electrical charge, and when it absorbs liquid, it actually expands and acts like a sponge. Toxins and impurities typically have a positive charge, so they're instantly drawn to clay and bind with it. When you rinse, they’re then washed away down the drain.
You might reach for a cup of java to jump start your day, but coffee is also great for perking up your skin. Loaded with antioxidants and caffeine, a coffee-based cleanser can help reduce swelling and inflammation on the skin, while those scrubby grounds offer gentle exfoliation to remove dry skin, leaving it smooth, clean and ready to take on the day. And don’t worry, even though your morning cup might stain your white shirt, a coffee cleanser won’t add or change your skin’s natural pigmentation.
When you’re looking for a deep-down clean, getting dirty can be an effective part of your skincare routine. Think about how you want your skin to feel and try out a new method of cleansing. Once you find the right cleanser, you’ll want to get dirty as often as you can!