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Deep clean and detox your skin with a mask with activated charcoal, aloe and coconut milk

Margaret Davis

After a night out this past Friday, my skin really needed some detoxing. I had two great liquids in the fridge that would be perfect to use in a face mask --fresh aloe leaf and a can of coconut milk, so I decided to take 30 minutes to get my skin deep cleaned, fresh and glowing. Cut to the chase...this mask really did the job! In fact, I was so pleased with how my skin looked after combining the Deep Clean Charcoal Mask with aloe and coconut milk, that I had to write a post about it to share with you! 

First, a little about aloe and coconut milk...
Aloe plant is water-rich, soothing, and hydrating to the skin. Aloe vera is great to apply to sunburned skin to help ease the inflammation.

Coconut milk: Coconut milk has high levels of vitamin C, copper, and lauric acid and is a powerful antioxidant. Coconut milk is great for the skin and can be useful in treating lots of issues like dark spots, acne, and wrinkles. It helps even skin tone, promotes collagen production--the copper in coconut being an important co-factor for the production of healthy collagen. 

Deep Clean Charcoal Mask powder: This mask is full of wonderful, skin-beneficial ingredients that help purge impurities from your skin.  Ingredients include Bentonite Clay, Activated Charcoal, skin-soothing Allantoin and Zinc, nutrient-rich organic Kelp, and Turmeric.  This mask is especially fantastic for stressed skin. You can customize the mask with by choosing liquids that help give you what your skin needs at the moment. This mask can be used 1-3 times a week. I recommend doing this mask at least 2 times a month, with 4 times being even better.

Putting this all together

To mix this mask up, you'll need:

Washcloth - Masks with activated charcoal that ares removed with a washcloth and water will get stained, so keep that in mind when choosing your washcloth. Amazon sells packs of 2 dozen cotton washcloths for a reasonable price.

Non-metal small treatment bowl - I love using my handmade bowl from a local Portland artisan.

Mask brush (optional) - Eco Tools sells a good mask brush.

Wooden or reusable plastic spoon - Avoid using metal utensils or bowls when mixing or apply this mask as Bentonite Clay will lose its effectiveness when it comes in contact with metal. 

Deep Clean Charcoal Mask - You will use enough for just one mask application.

Aloe vera juice - I am using the freshly blended juice from the gooey inside of an aloe leaf. You can also use the gel from the natural food store. To make fresh, cut the leaf of the aloe in half, lengthwise and cut or scrape out the gelatinous pulp found inside the leaf, place in a blender and process until smooth. I store the aloe I don't use right away in the fridge for a couple of days. You can apply it to your skin, or to smoothies. 

Coconut milk - Use the full fat version of coconut milk, as we use the fat part for the mask. Take a chunk of the fat and microwave for just 6-10 seconds. Don't do it longer or you'll have a mess to clean up (I speak from personal experience).

Make and apply the mask
Scoop or tap out about 2 teaspoons of the Deep Clean Charcoal Mask powder into your small treatment bowl. 

Add 1 teaspoon aloe vera juice and 1 teaspoon coconut milk (the fat that gathers at the top of the can is best)

Mix with your wooden or plastic spoon or stirring stick until you get a nice, spreadable paste, not to thick, not too watery.

Add more liquid and stir until you get the right consistency. If you made the mask to thin, add a bit more mask powder. See the photo above to get an idea of the consistency you are looking for.

Apply the mask to your face, neck and upper chest area with your mask brush, or your fingers. Avoid eye area. If you are using a mask brush to apply, make ure  you keep the mask off the metal part of the mask brush.

It is always good to do a patch test first, to see how your skin reacts. If your skin is red, give it 30 minutes to calm down. About 10 percent of people who use this mask do have redness afterward, and it always goes away within 30 minutes.

Leave on for about 10 minutes and remove thoroughly with your damp washcloth.

ALWAYS remove clay based masks before they are completely dry! Do NOT wait until it is cracked, thinking that is better. It is not.

After removing the mask remove the remaining charcoal that stays behind...and there is always some that stays behind--using toner, micellar water or your face cleanser. Do not skip this very important step.

When I did this mask yesterday my skin was soft, clean and radiant. After using Hydro Boost Toning Mist to remove any remaining mask, I followed with Paxi's new Vitamin B Serum, then Azure Facial Serum and finally Hydro Firming Eye Serum

What are your favorite liquids to add to the Deep Clean Charcoal Mask?

Pumpkin - a superfood for your face

Margaret Davis


Here in the Northwest, you can always tell when Fall arrives - leaves start changing color, the rain returns, and pumpkins are everywhere! You'll find pumpkin lattes at specialty coffee shops, in crackers, pancake mix, pastas and more at Trader Joes (thank you TJs for the gluten-free pumpkin offerings!), and on doorways and porches all over the neighborhood - both decoratively carved or left in their beautifully natural state.

Put some pumpkin on your plate

Not tried pumpkin beyond the traditional pie or spiced latte? Well, you are in luck! There are lots of recipes out there that help you get the most out of the many nutritional benefits of pumpkin, especially the skin benefits you can get from eating pumpkin (and its kin, winter squashes). Look for recipes that have low or no sugar, like this thai-style, vegan pumpkin soup recipe.

Skin benefits of pumpkin, a super, duper food:

  • Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and other carotenoids found in the bright orange pulp of pumpkins help defend your skin cells against oxidative damage and protect cells from free radical damage which leads to skin aging.
  • Vitamin C in pumpkin helps combat free radical derived oxidative damage, helping promote collagen production over time for better tone and appearance.
  • Minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc can be especially beneficial for healthy skin. Zinc is an essential mineral for healthy skin and many people are believed to be deficient in it. Increasing your intake of zinc may help with acne problems.
  • Folate, needed for red blood cell development and healthy circulation, helps improve skin circulation providing the oxygen and nutrients to increase cell growth, turnover and renewal.

Hey, there's some pumpkin on your face

Pumpkin has many skin benefits when you eat it and as a face mask treatment. Yes, pumpkin on your face...on purpose!

I love our Pumpkin Enzyme Mask with glycolic acid because it does a great job treating my skin when it looks dull and congested. The exfoliating enzymes in pumpkin, along with powerful, yet gentle glycolic acid, is excellent for revealing skin that looks smoother, radiant, and revitalized. Remember, while this mask may smell like pumpkin pie, it’s not for eating ‘-)

This mask, while appropriate for most skin types, except highly sensitive types, is an active one, and I recommend you patch test first. You'll feel a tingling sensation, which is normal, and you skin will be flushed afterwards for about 10 -20 minutes.  I usually apply this mask when traveling as it helps improve the look my skin, bringing back some of circulation after sitting for long periods of time on an airplane.

Key benefits to the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask:

  • Pumpkin Fruit Purée – Loaded with skin beneficial nutrients, high in essential fatty acids and Vitamins A, C and E. Works to soften and soothe the skin and boost collagen production.
  • Glycolic Acid – An alpha hydroxyl acid that rejuvenates skin with deep exfoliation, sloughing away old surface skin cells, and helping reduce the appearance of fine lines, irregular pigmentation and age spots and decreasing enlarged pores.
  • Cinnamon, ginger, & nutmeg powder – These spices, frequently used in Ayurvedic medicine, have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and help diminish acne to sun spots. Interestingly, nutmeg is a seed, not a nut!
  • Vegan, nut-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free and gluten-free.

Tip: When my skin is feeling particularly dull and in need of deep cleaning and detoxing, I add Pumpkin Enzyme Mask to our Deep Clean Charcoal Mask and apply to cleansed skin. I remove with a washcloth after about 7-10 minutes, before mask dries completely. Then, I wipe a couple of cotton pads saturated with Paxi’s Hydro-Boost Toning Mist over my face to get any remaining bits of mask off and tone the skin for the next step. I usually apply Azure Facial Serum and finish with Hydro-Firming Eye Serum and Grape Acai Firming Moisturizer.

Happy Fall everyone!

Summer is great, but can be tough on skin. Tips to keep your skin looking its best.

Margaret Davis

Ah, vacation! We work hard all year, looking forward to taking some well-earned time off to enjoy ourselves. I just returned from our family's annual summer vacation and thought I'd share a bit of what I did to keep my skin looking it's best, while enjoying the heck out of my time off. 

How to survive the long plane ride...
Having saved frequent flier miles all year long, we flew to Europe for a couple of weeks. Flying for ten hours is tough on skin. Here's what I did to cope.

Number One: Don't wear makeup. Adding serums, sprays or moisturizers over makeup clogs up pores. 

Number Two: Bring a hydrating toning mist and hyaluronic acid based serum and a facial moisturizer and apply as needed during the flight.

Number Three: Drink lots and lots of water during the flight. 

Number Four: Sleep if you can.

That covers the plane ride. Now on to the fun days of summer vacation. 

Sun, sunscreen, sweat and swimming
This year, we went to London for just one night before heading to Spain. We stopped in Barcelona for three nights (which my husband and I now refer to as "Barf-alone-a" for reasons I won't go into, but that we both have personal experience with. Let's just say you never know when good food goes bad) and Valencia for two nights.

Barcelona and Valencia both are fantastic cities and we did a bike tour in both cities. The days were hot and sunny and I wore a ton of sunscreen. We went swimming at our hotel's rooftop bar and for the most part, had fun. All that fun and sun takes a toll on the skin, so my mid-vacation skincare regime included a deep clean mask.  It only took 10 minutes to mix, apply and let the mask sit before removing with a washcloth, and it helped remove the pollution and sunscreen.

Ah, magnificent Menorca.
Our next stop was the longest part of our time in Europe. Menorca is the lesser-known island in Spain's Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea. We rented a house for the week and had fun cooking paella, drinking Spainish Rioja wine and swimming in the pool or nearby Sea. The island is just gorgeous but my skin was looking rough due to the sun, sea and sunscreen. 

Seeing as the villa we stayed at had some great views and colors, I took advantage of the location to do a photoshoot with my Paxi Skin Care with the help of some talented friends. I found an Aloe Vera plant and grabbed some goat yogurt from the fridge and whipped up a batch of Charcoal Deep Clean Mask to help fix what ailed my skin.

After a fun photoshoot, I applied the mask and left on for about 10 minutes removing while it was still a bit damp. Contrary to what you may have heard, you need to remove a clay-based mask before it is completely dry and flaky.  
What are your favorite tips for keeping your skin looking its best in the summer?