Winter Skin Detox
In the harshest dead of winter, when the trees begin to bend under the weight of fresh fallen snow, our bodies tend to feel the same. It’s been a long year, full of ups and downs, celebrations and heartaches. Our bodies feel that weight, especially in the midst of the holiday season. We’ve gorged ourselves silly on Halloween candy, stuffed our faces with candied sweet potatoes and stuffing during Thanksgiving, driven ourselves mad trying to finish Christmas shopping and gift wrapping, and probably stayed up a little too late bringing in the New Year. We’re tired. We’re overwhelmed. Our jeans don’t fit like they did in September. We’re wearing a little extra concealer, covering up those pesky dark circles and the stubborn breakout around our jawlines.
In the dead of winter, something amazing happens, though. We get a new start. We get the satisfaction of tearing that last page off our calendar and opening a new, blank, clean one. We make resolutions, hit the gym again, and promise not to creep our ex-boyfriend’s Instagram anymore. But have we ever thought to give our skin a fresh start? The sugar in our pumpkin pie consumption, the stress from our holiday shopping, the lack of sleep on New Years, combined with heaping on beauty product after beauty product, trying to “fix” our breakouts and dullness and dark circles - it begins to take a toll. What if, for one month, we put the products down.
I know it sounds nuts. And I know what you’re thinking. “Thirty whole days without my blessed apricot scrub? Without my life-saving moisturizer? Don’t tell me I have to give up my pore strips!” I honestly feel you. I am an absolute skin care junkie. Every mask you’ve ever heard of I’ve tried. I’ve used every cleanser on the market. Every scrub. Every oil. Every moisturizer. Every toner. I love it all! But just like a good juice cleanse revs up our digestive tract, or how a social media detox helps our minds refocus on what’s really important in life (hint: its not the fact that your last post got over 100 "likes"), a skin detox reminds your skin of its original job.
There are two paths you can take on this detox. There is the "Absolutely None" detox, and there is the "DIY Your Socks Off" detox. I’ll take about both just a little later. But both detoxes take you to the same place. Glowing skin. See, what a lot of people forget is that our skin is an organ. In fact, its the largest organ in the body. It is intricate, complex, self-cleansing, self-healing, and self-moisturizing. Stop here, go back and read that last sentence again. Yes, you saw that right. Your skin is SELF-CLEANSING, SELF-HEALING, and SELF-MOISTURIZING. Just like the rest of our organs, our skin can definitely have its fair share of issues that are treatable (all organically, I might add). But for the most part, our skin was designed to take care of itself. By over-cleansing, we strip our skin of its natural oils. By piling on creams, we block our skin from being able to breathe. By using harsh scrubs we irritate our faces, making them more prone to overproduce oils or dry out.
Are you convinced yet? Hang with me just a little longer. First, let's dive full force into the "Absolutely None" detox.
This is exactly what it sounds like. Absolutely none. No products. No cleansers, no scrubs, no masks, no moisturizers, and, you guessed it - no makeup. I’m not going to lie to you, the first week or two will be rough. Your skin isn’t going to know quite what to do. It will get dry, it will overproduce sebum (the natural oil your skin makes), and it will break out. But try to tough it out. Get out of the mirror. Put the selfie camera down. What you should not do, though, is completely let yourself go, live in your sweatpants, and stop washing you hair. Wear your favorite outfits, curl your hair, go out with your friends, go on dates with your husband or boyfriend. You will notice something really incredible. Nobody actually notices your skin as much as you do. When nobody treats you different in spite of your bare face, you will feel your self confidence rise. Before you know it, the breakouts will fade. The dryness will subside. You will have a natural glow (even without the highlighter). Your skin will feel baby soft and incredibly smooth. For bonus points, cut sugar, dairy, caffeine, or all three and watch how your skin will look like you are on the cover of a magazine.
DIY Your Socks Off
For people who are like me, and get serenity from their skincare routine and can’t quite give it up completely, this detox is for you. At the bottom of this article, I am going to include some DIY recipes for your cleanser, toner, scrub, and moisturizer. If you have been dying to make a mask you found on Pinterest, this is the perfect time to try it out! All of your products for the month of your detox will be handmade, and with four ingredients or less. Best part is, you can pronounce all four ingredients. And man, is it fun to say “Oh, I make my own skincare products!” when someone asks you what you use on your face!
During your skin detox, don’t forget to feed your skin right, to exercise and sweat out your impurities and negative thoughts, and to spend time in prayer and meditation. Try to avoid processed sugar, excessive amounts of dairy, hard alcohols (especially mixed drinks that are loaded with sugar), known stressors, super late nights, and touching your face.
DREAMY SENSITIVE SKIN CLEANSER
Sweet almond and jojoba oil are the the most gentle on sensitive skin, and lavender essential oil is not only calming to the senses, but is antibacterial - killing would be acne-forming bacteria on the face.
- organic sweet almond oil
- organic jojoba oil
- lavender essential oil
- a dark colored bottle with a pump
- combine equal parts sweet almond and jojoba oil in a bottle with a pump
- add 8-10 drops lavender essential oil
- shake to combine
- pump onto a clean cotton pad and swipe over face!
- use within 3 months
ANTI-ACNE APPLE TONER
Apple cider vinegar is a miracle worker! One of its many blessings to natural beauty is its acne-clearing power. Tea tree oil is also a strong blemish-buster, so these two combined make for quite a potent anti-acne tonic. As a warning - never EVER use either of these two ingredients full-strength on your skin. Always dilute with water or other carrier oils.
- organic apple cider vinegar
- organic tea tree oil
- filtered water
- a small jar with a lid
- fill 1/4 - 1/2 of the jar with apple cider vinegar (depending on how sensitive your skin is - the more sensitive, the less ACV you should use)
- add 8-10 drops of tea tree oil
- fill the rest of the jar with filtered water
- shake to combine. This toner will settle, so be sure to shake before using each time
- dip a cotton ball or cotton pad in the toner and wipe onto a clean face. Allow to dry before adding any products over. Use day and night after cleansing!
- use within 3 months
COCONUT LATTE SCRUB
Coffee grounds are not only a fantastic exfoliant, sloughing off dead skin, but the caffeine perks up the skin and senses. The coconut oil leaves the skin soft and supple. This scrub works best during your warm morning shower. In fact, rub this all over your entire body to stay soft and smell like a cozy coffee shop all day!
- leftover coffee grounds from your last pot / pour-over / French press (stay away from fresh ground beans. They tend to be too coarse on the skin)
- organic brown sugar
- coconut oil
- glass jar with lid
- combine two parts coffee grounds to one part brown sugar. Stir to combine
- add two large spoonfuls of coconut oil - stir to combine all ingredients
- gentle massage over clean skin and rinse with warm water
- keeps for about 30 days
GLOWING SKIN WHIPPED NIGHT CREAM
Shea butter and coconut oil melt together with vitamin E and essential oils to heal skin as you sleep. Frankincense reduces the appearances of blemishes and dark spots, vetiver fights acne and is a strong antioxidant, lavender is antibacterial, and vitamin E is healing and anti-aging. This cream does it all!
- organic shea butter
- organic coconut oil
- frankincense essential oil
- lavender essential oil
- vetiver essential oil
- vitamin E capsules
- combine equal parts shea butter and coconut oil in an electric mixer
- whip for 5-6 minutes on medium until the consistency is similar to whipped butter
- break open and squeeze contents of four vitamin E capsules into butter mixture
- add 5 drops each of essential oils
- mix on low for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until combined
- spoon into glass jar and use nightly
- keeps for about 3 months
Want more information?
For more about the skin detox, check out Adina Grigore’s book Skin Cleanse
For more DIY recipes, check out All Natural Beauty by Karin Berndl and Nici Hofer