Stef Mitchell for Urban Outfitters
Ready for a reboot as we surge into spring? Us, too—which is why during March, we're pledging to declutter our lives from every angle. We've recruited some of the savviest experts in the biz to lead us in challenges to detox and refresh our diets, our makeup bags, and more. And since there are strength and solidarity in numbers, we're inviting you to join us! Keep us posted on your progress in the comments section and on Snapchat (@ByrdieBeauty).
Giving your complexion a periodic detox is highly underrated. Not only does it allow you to reset, reboot, and reveal the natural glow you never knew you had, but it also allows you to take stock of every ingredient you're putting on your skin on a daily basis. Our skin absorbs a sizable percentage of the chemicals it's exposed to—up to five pounds a year from cosmetics alone, scientists have found. A regular clean-out would definitely do us all good, and now is as good a time as any.
Cleansing your complexion is a holistic endeavor, as in many ways, what we put on our body and what we put in it is one in the same. So to help us get started, we though it only made sense to recruit two of the savviest (and most radiant) natural beauty gurus we know: Kerrilynn Pamer and Cindy DiPrima, founders and co-owners of CAP Beauty.
"There are so many factors that influence our skin, from what we put on it to the environmental stressors that surround us to the foods we eat and drink. It's no surprise that our skin can easily become overwhelmed," the pair says. "It is, after all, a detox organ. Its job is to help eliminate irritants and toxins, and so the more of these we encounter, the more our skin has to work to eliminate them. And these toxins are often the root cause of inflammation and breakouts."
Below, DiPrima and Pamer take us through a manageable plan to clean our complexions from the inside out.
This list is your master guide of what products you'll want to ditch and embrace over the course of your skin cleanse. (DiPrima and Pamer advise aiming for three weeks, before slowly beginning to phase back to a more regular routine.) And yes, there are some surprises on there: essential oils, for one thing. "Essential oils can be intense for those with more sensitive skin, and if they are triggering an allergic reaction, it's important to try and isolate that," the pair says. "You can do a simple oil cleanse with a single-ingredient oil like In Fiore's Calendula ($175). Multipurpose oils like argan oil and coconut oil work too.
Basically, you're just aiming to use minimal, ideally natural ingredients while phasing out everything else—even makeup, whenever possible. FWIW, W3LL People's Expressionist Mascara ($24) and RMS Beauty's "Un" Cover-Up ($36) are amazing all-natural options (cleanse or not) on days when you feel like you need a little something. In general, natural and organic products are fair game during the detox period, though it's never a bad idea to give your skin a breather from products in general.
Especially since we have a tendency to overdo it, even on the stuff we think is good for us. "We tend to believe that when it comes to healthier habits, more is more," say Pamer and DiPrima. "For example, if exfoliating is good for our skin, we might believe that we should up the ante, using stronger products more frequently. Chemical peels and other over-the-top skin-stripping treatments can be overdone, robbing the skin of its natural defenses and destroying the microbiome."
But you might have noticed that the list of things you get to add in outnumbers the stuff you're phasing out. Adopt this as your mind-set, and think about everything you're gaining. Incorporate ingredients, products, and practices that aid with the detoxing process: "Oil cleansing; facial massages; dry brushing; and salt, clay, or mustard baths all help to move the lymph and pull impurities from the body," advise DiPrima and Pamer. "Some of our favorite baths are Dr. Singha's Mustard Bath ($14) and the luxurious soaks from Pursoma. Manuka honey also makes for an amazing cleanse and mask."
And then there's your diet, which is just about as key to finding your natural glow as the products you use. "We see a huge connection between diet and skin health," the duo says. "Foods that are nutrient dense and anti-inflammatory create healthy, radiant skin. On the other hand, allergens and inflammatory or acid-forming foods cause reactions in the skin that lead to breakouts and premature aging. During the detox phase, it's a good idea to try an elimination diet, avoiding common allergens."
This means avoiding sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, or any other foods that don't tend to agree with you as much as possible. Consider replacing your daily cup(s) of coffee with matcha instead. Get your fill of raw fruits and veggies, as well as healthy foods and fermented foods—there's a known connection between probiotics and great skin, and it's rapidly shaping up to be the future of skincare. DiPrima and Pamer recommend The Beauty Chef's cult-loved Glow Powder ($70) to get your daily dose in one go. And for more clean, radiance-boosting eating ideas, make sure you check out the diet edition of our spring-cleaning challenge.
Thinking about trying out our skin detox challenge? Hit us with any questions, comments, or progress updates in the comments below!