When Less is More: What’s a “skincare detox” and is it right for you?

When Less is More: What’s a “skincare detox” and is it right for you?

Are you doing too much?

With a new cutting-edge skincare ingredient on the market every day, it’s no wonder many of us find our vanities cluttered with more products than we can use in a lifetime. And what’s worse, some of us are trying to use them all at once. 

A dab of this and a bit of that, and before you know it, you’ve got a twelve-step skincare routine! And believe you me, skincare manufacturers would love nothing more than for you to be all-in on this “more is more” approach. 

Now, if it's working for you, I won’t tell you to quit. But you should also know that, like a sponge, our skin can only absorb so much stuff. So if you’re going overboard with the product layering, you’re likely just wasting money, time, and effort. 

And maybe worse than all that waste is the possibility you’re causing dryness, irritation, breakouts, or exacerbating conditions like rosacea or eczema--despite your best intentions.

Finding balance

You see, no matter how wonderful the latest beauty potion is, healthy skin is all about moderation. There’s a delicate balance required for a beautiful complexion, and there’s absolutely such a thing as “too much of a good thing.”

At the very worst, you’re overdoing it and causing skin issues you wouldn’t otherwise have (redness, dryness, sensitivity, reactivity, inflammation, acne). And if nothing else, you’re flushing money down the toilet on products you don’t need.   

This is where the idea of a “skincare detox” or “skin fast” comes from. Depending on who you follow on social media, suggestions for this trend can range from using nothing but water on your skin to paring back to just a couple plain, mild products. 

As a skincare professional, I can say there's some real wisdom to this idea of paring back. I see clients all the time who use too many or too harsh of products, and it can absolutely cause many self-inflicted issues. 

And often, they just buy more products to try and treat the problems the last products created. When the simplest solution is to call it quits. 

Just think about it. You may be trying to fix issues that only exist because of that fancy serum you’ve been slathering on (and shelling out for).

Taking a time out

While I don’t advocate skipping all products, I do advise following the most gentle and basic approach possible for a couple of weeks. Especially if your skin is acting out. 

It may feel counterintuitive to do less, but a bare minimum approach will allow the skin to return to baseline, so you can determine what it actually needs to be healthy. 

Often my clients find out the simple route is all they need to maintain a happy, healthy, glowy countenance. (But if and when any concerns surface, we can target them appropriately, without worrying we created them in the first place. )

My less is more recommendation

If you suspect your skin might benefit from a reset, I recommend sticking with nothing but a gentle cleanser and a lightweight moisturizer for about two weeks. (Niawen Self Ceremony Starter Kit is the perfect choice for keeping things simple.)  

If your skin tends to be on the drier side, you can also layer a skincare oil over your moisturizer in the evening. (Try Niawen Native Serum, for skin-balancing nourishment and barrier protection that's never heavy or greasy.) 

If your skin woes seem to improve over the two weeks, it’s safe to say you were using the wrong products for your skin type. Or just too much of what otherwise might be a good thing. 

After a skincare reset, you can add new products one at a time, keeping an eye on how your skin reacts. But don’t rule out the possibility that the simplest regimen might be just right for putting your best face forward. 

Often less really is more! (And you can save the leftover cash for something else—like a few professional skincare treatments or a vacation!)