The constant changing of seasons in New York City can be brutal if you like to be outdoors like me. After washing my face in the morning, I could feel my pores get clogged throughout the day from the impurities in summer air and the sweat that is often impossible to avoid. In the winter, the wind slowly dries out my skin and if it wasn’t for cream, I’d look like I fell in a box of powdered donuts. My cleanser was no help.

My basic facial cleanser was something out of a drugstore aisle, Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub. Upon hearing "grapefruit," I thought that it might be something natural but was very wrong. The more I used the cleanser, the more I began to see my face dry out and look bland. One look at the back of said cleanser would explain why.

Active Ingredients:
Salicylic Acid 2%
Inactive Ingredients:
Water, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polyethylene, Acrylates Copolymer, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), C12 15 Alkyl Lactate, Disodium EDTA, Cocamidopropyl PG Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Polyquaternium 7, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Extract, Polysorbate 20, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Benzalkonium Chloride Solution, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate, Sodium C14 16 Olefin Sulfonate, Agar, Alumina, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Hydroxide, Red 30 Lake, Red 40, Violet 2, Fragrance

The most notable issues are Polyethylene, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Benzalkonium Chloride Solution (found in household cleaners), Sodium C14 16 Olefin Sulfonate, and Sodium Hydroxide which is an irritant. Not to mention that I was constantly washing my face with Salicylic Acid.

I didn’t understand anything that I was seeing on the label with the exception of water, glycerin, and fruit extract. The fact of the matter was that it was good for keeping breakouts at bay and exfoliating but terrible at keeping my skin feeling natural and not dried out. When you really think about it, you’re washing your face with acid from some of these brands. In order to preserve whatever youth I had left and repair my skin, I had to change cleansers.

So I went on the hunt for another cleanser, with an ingredient list that I could read. I eventually settled on a small company called “Angel Face Botanicals” and their Super Detox cleanser. Their main selling point was the activated charcoal that was meant to “unclog pores, remove deeper impurities and dead skin cells, resulting in smooth, supple skin.” Charcoal shouldn't come as a surprise as an ingredient, Marta noted how effective her Basic Black cleanser was which uses charcoal and many companies manufacture charcoal soap bars.

I decided to give it a try, being that I was content with the ingredient list.  85% of the ingredients were organic and the very last one was “lots of love.”

The packaging for the most part was simple, a small bottle with a flip top lid. No fancy graphics, it looked borderline homemade which was oddly comforting. They also sent some sample lotions and serums for free which was nice of them.

The first thing I realized upon use was how watery the cleanser was compared to my former, which was almost like a gel. It was literally like water and clay. Secondly, you’ll notice that there are no beads or exfoliating anything’s and on top of that, it doesn’t really foam up to a rich lather. It’s a cream cleanser for the most part and you’ll get a thin lather from using it. You can’t be lazy, you really have to use your fingers to get this cleanser in all the right areas. You’ll also get a very soft floral scent, I had initially thought it would smell like a bag of charcoal briquettes when I first saw it but was very pleasantly surprised.

After a many uses and testing it out in several seasons my face is finally happy. My pores remain clean and right after use - my skin isn’t dried out.  In summer I don’t feel as clogged and oily and in winter, I don’t dry out nearly as much with the cold/wind. Super Detox is marketed as being able to fight breakouts and it did just that. Unlike the previous cleanser which was at times too abrasive for everyday use, Super Detox can be used daily and unclogs pores to fight breakouts. You aren’t just scrubbing the surface of your skin than pouring acid in it, the ingredients in this cleanser actually work together to prevent breakouts while keeping your skin looking and feeling healthy. At $20.00 for a 4.3oz container, it is noticeably more expensive than drug store brands but since it isn't full of beads and it isn't made with the consistency of hair gel, it lasts a while and can be seen as a solid investment.

Ingredients in Super Detox

85% Organic Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Aspalathus linearis (Organic Rooibos Tea) Extract, Olea europaea (Organic Olive) Oil, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, Emulsifying Wax NF, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Simmondsia chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Oil, Decyl Glucoside, Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), Camellia sinesis (Organic Green Tea) Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Hyaluronate, Activated Charcoal, Camellia sinesis (Organic White Tea) Extract, Usnea (Organic Lichen) Extract, Salix nigra (Organic Black Willowbark) Extract, Organic Pelargronium graveolens oil, Citrus aurantium amara (Organic orange) flower oil, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, Citrus medica limonum (Organic lemon) peel oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Organic Lime) Oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (Organic rosemary) essential oil, Panthenol (Vitamin B Complex), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), Polysaccharide gum (Xanthan Gum) & lots of love!!