Makeup Monday: Kick Off the New Year With a Skin Detox
Because we could all use a fresh start in 2017.
In Hollywood, "detox" is a term that needs no explanation. From mind to body and even down to the technology we use daily, going on temporary stints of depravation from things that can potentially pollute is a common occurrence among the wellness-minded masses of Los Angeles.
The skin is a specific area that gets more sensitive this time of year. With temperatures fluctuating, heaters blasting and nonstop travel, the New Year seems like an ideal time for a total skin detox.
Adina Grigore knows plenty about the process, having founded Brooklyn-based and celebrity-loved skin-care line S.W. Basics (Gwyneth Paltrow, Lena Dunham and Sophia Bush are fans). Each product is made from minimal ingredients (think: five or less), and was inspired by Grigore’s own sensitive skin.
Here, Grigore, breaks down how to start a non-daunting skin detox, through eliminating certain products and observing what happens when you, gasp, go au natural.
What are some common problems that can occur from congested or overburdened skin?
Excess oil production and inflammation are two of the biggest skin issues I see from overburdened skin. Essentially the skin is giving you warning signs that it’s not doing well — it needs a break — and many of us make the mistake of applying more products in order to “fix” the problem. This then exacerbates any issues and continues a kind of destructive cycle.
Is regular skin detox necessary? Why?
While I’m all about allowing people to decide what works for them, there are tremendous benefits to giving your skin a break from products; it’s something that I call a skin cleanse. Basically, a skin cleanse can be a day, a weekend, a week — as long as you’d like — where you scale back on the amount of products you’re using on your skin.
I recommend doing this because many people who embark on a skin cleanse often realize that issues that they had previously attributed to their “skin type” — redness, dryness, sensitivity, oiliness — were really product-related symptoms from certain ingredients. I recommend scaling back because it’s very hard to identify trigger ingredients when you have a complex skin-care routine; you have no idea if it’s something in your serum or your cleanser that is causing issues.
I also think there is something super-empowering about watching your body — and your skin — take care of itself, all by itself. We tend to think of our skin as this problem child that always needs our help, but really it’s an amazing organ with tremendous self-regulating and detoxing capabilities. The best thing we can do for great skin is to get out of its way and allow it to do its own thing.
What are the basic steps people can take if they want a complexion "reset"?
In terms of a reset, it all begins with a reduction of skin-care and personal-care products — from cleanser to hairspray. A lot of people are very nervous to go totally cold turkey, so I often recommend just picking one thing — usually it’s a moisturizer or soap — and using only that with no other products. Because that can be daunting, too, I suggest subbing in one natural ingredient in lieu of your usual lineup...so, olive oil for a moisturizer, sea salt for a spot treatment, coconut oil as a deodorizer.
It's also helpful to think through your eating habits while you're doing a skin cleanse (though not necessary if you're allergic to being healthy). Lots of water, exercise, sleep, and minimal processed food and alcohol intake. Good skin truly begins from within, so if you’re using zero products but eating fast food, slugging whiskey and sleeping three hours a night you probably won’t see any results.
For how long should someone do this to see effects?
We’re all unique, which is why I’ve always shied away from one-size-fits-all solutions. There will be different results for different people. I will say that most people do see results within one day, and those with incredibly sensitive skin will probably see results sooner, simply because it is an anti-inflammatory regimen. Generally speaking, however, I recommend at least one day, ideally a full weekend in order to see changes.
In your opinion, why are simpler products often better?
I think people equate simplicity with diminished efficacy, but they couldn’t be more incorrect. In terms of skin care, it’s very, very hard to formulate simply; doing so places emphasis on every single ingredient. There’s no room for something that doesn’t pull its weight or deliver.
So, yes, simple products — granted they are formulated with real, 100 percent natural ingredients — are usually gentler and more potent. They are gentler because they contain no filler elements that can ultimately be irritating...stuff like emulsifiers, fragrance, etc. And it’s for the same reason they’re more potent, too; they contain high levels of active ingredients that are undiluted. Always ask yourself: How does this ingredient actually improve my skin?
Lastly, using simple products allows you to identify those ingredients that work for you and those that do not with much greater ease. If you have an ingredient list that is 15 items long versus one that is three items long and your face freaks out, it’s far more difficult to pinpoint what that trigger ingredient was with the complex product.