Even if you diligently slather on your favorite creams and serums every day, there may come a point where your complexion stops glowing like it used to.
It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem with the products—it just means it may be time to temporarily shelve your arsenal and go on a beauty detox.
“There’s a big myth that your skin and hair need all of that stuff, but they don’t,” says Adina Grigore, founder of S.W. Basics and author of Skin Cleanse. “[Beauty products] are meant to be treats, not crutches— which is how most people use them.”
“People no longer recognize how bombarded and overtaxed their skin is by everything they’re doing to it”
Research shows the average woman uses 12 personal care items every day, but Grigore suspects the number is probably a lot higher than that. (Guilty as charged.) Think you’re exempt because you’ve cleaned up your makeup bag? Think again—as Grigore explains, “People no longer recognize how bombarded and overtaxed their skin is by everything they’re doing to it, even if [their products] are all natural.”
Ideally, the expert recommends taking a weekend off from your usual routine to start—and she promises the results will be profound, not just for your skin and nails, but for your bank account. “The ultimate result is that you’re going, ‘Wow, I do a lot—and not all of it is necessary.’ It’s a chance to reevaluate your beauty regimen and figure out if each product is right for you.”
Besides, whose medicine cabinet couldn’t use the Marie Kondo treatment?
Keep reading to find out if a beauty product detox is right for you—plus, how to get started.
You might need a beauty detox if…
So how do you know if a hiatus from your product mix is in order?
For some women, the signs are obvious. “If your skin is chronically problematic—itchy, red, peeling, flaky, or breakout-prone—you might want to consider a detox,” suggests Grigore.
But she warns the symptoms of trouble are often way more subtle. “Even if your skin seems fine, you may be taxing your system and not even realizing it. Your hair might be slightly dry. Your nails might be yellowed, but you can’t see it because they’re always covered in polish.”
In other words, just about anyone can benefit from taking 10 from her beauty routine, even if she’s using the highest-quality natural products.
Gimme a break
As with other detoxes—food, clutter—the new year is ideal for taking a beauty breather. (After all, you likely spent the past month with a face full of holiday party makeup.) “There’s never a bad time to press pause on using lots of personal care products, but now is a great time for a reset,” attests Grigore.
Apprehensive? Start small.
“Two days is plenty to give your skin and hair time to reset themselves,” Grigore says. If the thought of putting nothing on your face for a weekend sounds like the plot of a horror movie, this expert recommends starting with a hair detox (that means no shampoo, conditioner, or styling products). Then, you can work your way up to ditching your makeup for a few days or editing your skin-care routine to a simple cleanser and moisturizer.
If you’re brave, try cutting out everything.
“You can make your detox as hardcore as you want,” Grigore says. “The best scenario is that you’re only using water for a couple of days. But if you can take a weekend where you’re only using castile soap on your hair, body, and face, that’s a really easy way to get started.”
For nails, Grigore suggests you go polish-free for at least a week.
“We always have nail polish on,” she says. “But you’re covering a part of your body with something that doesn’t allow any nutrients to get in whatsoever. Plus, a polish detox is also great for your cuticles, which may be hurting or feel dry from getting beaten up at the nail salon.” Instead of your usual mani, she recommends soaking your cuticles in olive oil and lemon juice.
And if temptation to cheat on your cleanse arises, stay strong. “At first, people can have trouble not reaching for a product,” says Grigore. “But that’s probably more emotional than anything else.”
The beauty detox: better than a spa trip?
When it comes to your skin, hair, and nails, don’t underestimate the power of doing nothing.
“Overnight—and I’m not exaggerating—you’ll wake up after using zero products and you will notice that your skin is less red and irritated,” says Grigore. “Breakouts will go down, rashes will be improved, your scalp will be less itchy. Your hair will be way curlier or straighter than it usually is. This is just a result of letting your body do its own thing.”
The longer your detox, the greater the payoff will be, she promises: “If you’ve spent ample time not using a product, you’ll be able to see what that product actually does to your skin or hair once you go back to it.”
Grigore says you can return to your full regimen right away after a weekend off—just pay special attention to how your skin and hair react to each product. You just might find that you only need half of the potions you thought you couldn’t live without, saving you time, money, and a ton of headaches. Now that’s a beautiful thing.
Looking for quality products to include in your post-detox regimen? These are 13 new, natural beauty products that will save your skin this winter. And be sure to check out the best clean beauty launches of 2016, as chosen by Well+Good editors.