For three days in a row, I didn’t wear a stitch of makeup or apply any face products—including soap and moisturizer. Going sans makeup isn’t terribly unusual for me, especially over the weekend, but usually, I go through a fun little skincare routine that involves cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, and sunscreen/moisturizer. I honestly cannot remember the last time I washed my face with just water or went without some kind of lotion. I was a little nervous about how my skin would react.
But let’s back up. You’re probably wondering, where on earth did she get this nutty no products idea? While reading Adina Grigore’s Skin Cleanse (the book that inspired my food journaling), I decided to do, well, a skin cleanse. The decision to do this was also inspired by some shifts I’ve been noticing in my complexion.
Around this time last year, I was living in a different climate and trying to combat dry, dull skin. Most foundations looked like dried (and flaking) paint on my skin. Flash forward to the present, and I’m living in a warmer, quite humid climate. As I write this on a February morning, the humidity is 100%. I kid you not.
The crazy thing is that I don’t mind. I’m actually grateful for a little more humidity. My skin is no longer painfully tight, it’s looking far more supple, and, by some hormonal miracle, it’s staying fairly clear. That being said, not everything is perfect. For the past month or so, my face had been oily. Makeup often looked like wet (and running) paint. On top of that, my skin was rather sensitive. A kiss from my stubbly-faced fiancé would hurt my face. So not romantic.
Something told me that this wasn’t entirely the fault of my new climate. I’d been getting a little crazy with oil-fighting products, and my skin was in overcompensation mode.
So I followed Grigore’s advice and took a break from everything to let my skin recalibrate. In the spirit of an elimination diet, a skin cleanse helps you figure out which products may be irritating your skin. By gradually adding products back into your routine, it becomes pretty obvious which ones serve you and which ones work against you—or at least which products can be applied in small amounts. (For me, this turned out to be a nightly anti-acne/anti-aging serum that’s pretty intense! Instead of applying this everyday, I can apply a very light layer every other day, and there’s a good chance my skin will be a less sensitive.)
The first few times I washed my face with water, my skin felt very tight afterwards (eek! I hate that feeling!), and I was concerned that my skin would take that as a cue to really overcompensate with the oil, but that didn’t happen.
To my immense surprise, my skin was less inflamed, and until about 3 in the afternoon, not oily at all. As the weekend passed, my skin seemed to relax and find a more natural balance. The process taught me a few things:
– I can be more comfortable in my skin without makeup. And just as important, my skin is not actually crazy or unresponsive to my TLC. I’m still in the process of internalizing the fact that my skin can be beautiful without clouds of powder and Instagram filters.
– I don’t need as much makeup as I think I do when I’m staring myself down in the mirror every morning. A very thin layer of foundation around my nose, chin, and forehead is sufficient for disguising any shadows and hyperpigmentation. A moderate amount of makeup will, for me, look at better at the end of a long day. (Less meltage!)
– I don’t need fancy products for beautiful skin. (Doesn’t this sounds like a great mantra?) My guess is that you don’t need fancy products, either!
– I have a better sense of the products that agree with my skin.
Products my skin appreciates: Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum, organic argan oil, Foreo Luna facial-cleansing brush and anti-aging device.
What do you say? Want to try a skin cleanse?
More I Tried It: Micro Needling (Derma Roller) for Acne Scars
Vaginal Steaming (And Why You Should Too)
Finding Lightness with Aerial Yoga
Photos: Rigamorale via Flickr, Mary Hood