Similar to tackling a massive to-do list on the Monday morning after your week-long vacation, your skin also has the tendency to get slightly overwhelmed. If you tend to pile on the makeup during the day, and your skin-care arsenal is rapidly expanding without resulting in anything but a breakout or irritation, your complexion is probably in need of a detox.
"The number one culprit is when you're bombarding your skin with too much," says Adina Grigore, who literally wrote the book on the subject in Skin Cleanse ($25; harpercollins.com), and is the founder of Brooklyn-based skin-care line S.W. Basics. "When your beauty routine has reached a point where you're not really swapping or cutting anything out, but keep adding things to try and solve a problem, you need to detox."
Unlike juice cleanses or raw food programs, a skin cleanse doesn't require you to buy any additional products---you can use whatever you have in your medicine cabinet or kitchen. Another reason it's easier than a juice fast? Aside from being able to eat solid foods, even just one day on a skin detox can be effective, and you can extend the time period depending on how your complexion reacts.
Grigore advises starting with a minimalist view of your current product lineup. "Just for that brief time, cut out as much as you possibly can and stick to the essentials, like a face wash and makeup remover, or a moisturizer. Spend a couple of days just focusing on those items," she says. "If you already have a simple routine, start thinking about what is in the products you use, and take it to another level by ditching your lotion for something that has one single ingredient, like a coconut, avocado, or olive oil."
Because moisturizers contain a variety of elements, this can help you pinpoint exactly which ones are working, the ones that aren't, and which ones are responsible for any inflammation. After you feel your complexion has been completely detoxed, slowly work your way back to your regular routine, but keep the "less is more" mantra in mind. You can repeat the cleanse as often as you like, though seasonally is a good starting point.
"A skin detox can sound really intimidating and it feels very all-or-nothing, but this is more of an idea for your lifestyle to take a good look at your routine once in a while, figure out what is and isn't working, and give your skin a break," Grigore says. "If you're thinking of eating cleaner and adjusting your diet, you should be thinking about your products, too." Amen, sister!
Get more info on embarking on a complexion detox as well as natural DIY recipes guaranteed to get you glowing in Grigore's book Skin Cleanse ($25), available now at harpercollins.com.