Here's The Surprising Way To Use Greens That Has Nothing To Do With Eating

by Emily Arata

There is no hell on earth quite like New York City in the summer. I spend nine months out of the year pining for those long nights and rooftop parties, but when the blazing temperatures arrive, I panic. Suddenly, my commute involves an hour and a half of questionably-oily bodies (Does anyone shower regularly in this city?) smushed together on the subway, and the garbage cans on every corner reek of eau de hot trash.

It's no coincidence this time of year often leads me to clogged pores. Plus, my trouble spots expand across my entire face. It's not exactly the goddess glow I'm trying for, you know?

Luckily, the beauty industry is finally starting to hear my cries of desperation. There's a new wave of skincare, and it's essentially a juice cleanse for your pores. Brands are beginning to produce cleansers and masks made with powerful ingredients like kale and spinach. The vitamin and antioxidant-heavy ingredients represent a big departure from the over-drying, oil-free face washes I used to pick up at the drugstore during my desperate, acne-ridden youth.

Whether you're suffering from 90-degree weather's curse or just ready to switch up your routine, pay attention. I'm about to drop some knowledge on you.

Before making any purchases, you should know what you're buying into. Many of the newest generation of skincare products love to throw around splashy buzzwords like “phytonutrient” and “environmental stress.” In reality, pollution and oil buildup can lead to dullness and acne breakouts. Depending on your skin concern, look for a greens-based product with particular vitamins and ingredients that will help you.

California-based skin basics brand Youth To The People, for example, exclusively sells an Age Prevention cleanser that boasts green tea, spinach and kale in its ingredients list. Spinach is packed with Vitamin C, which reduces damage from the sun's UV rays — something that's a major concern for us sunbathing goddesses. And let's not forget Vitamin A, which fights acne by toning down your skin's sebum production.

It's not just niche brands hopping on the leafy greens train, either. Beauty favorite brand Origins just released By All Greens, a combination mask and cleanser formulated with both spirulina (a blue-green algae) and spinach. Leave the foaming product on your face for just a minute to experience a deep clean, thanks in part to the Kaolin clay. If you're looking draw impurities out of your pores and reduce excess sebum, white clay is your new BFF.

And instead of finishing up a light lunch with green tea, mix the cure-all into your cleanser. I've been using Boscia's Green Tea Oil Control mask, a godsend for those of us who suffer from sweaty girl syndrome. While the product's clay base works to suck out all the grime building up in your pores, the tea's antioxidants mean you're also getting the added benefit of anti-aging. According to the brand, eight weeks of use were proven to cut oil production and acne in half.

Added bonus: The mask peels off, which means you can do that whole Buffalo Bill, wearing-someone-else's-face routine on Snapchat and freak out all your friends.