In the beauty industry, there are always new trends popping up. Some are outright absurd – who remembers 2018’s halo eyebrows? While others are game-changing – I’m grateful for multi masking and highlighting every day. Enter: #TrendAndTested, a monthly edit where we trial both the weird and wonderful to see what’s going to be the next big thing. First up in the hot seat is skin fasting…
What is skin fasting?
Skin fasting, despite being the skincare trend of the moment isn’t entirely new, or that difficult. It’s a popular concept in Japan and in short, involves going cold turkey on your skincare (so detoxing). Yes, it’s that easy; all you need to do is give up everything bar your cleanser.
What are the benefits of skin fasting?
As a self-confessed skincare addict, this question was a top priority for me; I wasn’t giving up my holy-grail serum (scroll for a spoiler) for just anything! So I’ve called upon the expertise of Consultant Dermatologist, Dr. Justine Hextall. Here’s what she said…
“As with most regimes, there are different definitions of skin fasting. The idea is that by leaving skin treatments particularly moisturiser off the skin, the skin produces more of its own oil, natural moisturising factors (NMF). If we over cleanse, the skin can remove natural oils and ceramides which are integral to a healthy skin barrier. The concept is to use a very gentle cleanser that preserves natural skin oils and to stay away from moisturisers that can make the skin ‘lazy’ (and stop it producing its own moisture/oil). I am not sure if there significant evidence for this theory but I do believe that over-cleansing the skin such that it feels dry and tight, and then compensating with a heavy, oily moisturiser can be comedogenic, so if this practice stops that cycle then I would see it as worthwhile. Some say to ‘fast’ for a week, others to ‘fast’ 1 day a week… Try to use skin fasting as a method to pare back a skin care routine to the most simple yet effective steps.”
Who should avoid skin fasting?
“If an individual is swimming a lot or working in an air-conditioned office that is drying skin, or it is a time of particularly harsh weather conditions, I would suggest waiting or doing a partial ‘fast’ that allows the use of a hydrating serum for example. If an individual is using active treatment on their skin, e.g. a retinoid or benzoyl peroxide for acne, then it would be difficult to be without a compensating moisturiser. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend skin fasting if there is active eczema or skin reaction. The skin should ideally be at its calmest and not undergoing active treatments such as chemical peels for laser that needs a specific post-procedure regimen.’’
Is there anything to consider before skin fasting?
“Make sure the cleanser being used is as gentle as possible, definitely avoid soap or facial wipes and always cleanse the skin after a shower to remove any drying soap suds. I like the Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser by La Roche Posay. Avoid excessive alcohol and avoid an over-heated or air-conditioned bedroom. If skin becomes particularly dry, itchy or irritated, consider adding a hydrating serum or stopping the ‘fast’
My skin & usual skincare routine…
Skin Type: Combination (with areas of Eczema)
Makeup Remover: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Cleanser: Darphin Purifying Foam Gel
Serum: Vichy Mineral 89 Serum
Moisturiser: La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Cream
Lip Balm: Nuxe Reve de Miel Honey Lip Balm
Exfoliator (3 times a week): Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator
Face Mask (once a week): Shiseido WASO Purifying Peel Off Mask
What I learnt after skin fasting for 7 days…
Day 1 was the hardest; I thoroughly enjoy my skincare routine; as much as it’s about taking care of my complexion it also really de-stresses me. Other than missing the me-time, I saw no changes to my skin on days 1 and 2. That all changed from day 3 though, my skin started to look and feel dehydrated. I’m not the biggest water drinker, and hydration (in the form of hyaluronic acid serums) are a big part of my routine, so my skin was showing the withdrawal effects. Another thing I noticed is that my skin didn’t look as radiant as it usually does, which I put down to again the lack of hydration, but also not exfoliating; there’s nothing I love more than a grainy scrub, which I tend to use around 3 times a week.
Skin fasting didn’t have a shocking effect on my skin like I was scared it would; it didn’t cause me to break out or cause any adverse reactions at all. But much like Justine Hextall said it would, skin fasting highlighted the products that really work for my skin, so below I’ve shared the 3 that I never want to be without ever again…
#1 The Serum
Hydration was the main thing that I realised my complexion craves after skin fasting. Even though my skin didn’t become extremely dry or begin to flake, it felt tighter and didn’t look as plump and healthy as it usually does. The product I typically rely on for these benefits is Vichy Mineral 89, a serum enriched with 15 minerals, hyaluronic acid and Vichy Thermal Mineralizing Water – I once remember a friend claiming it’s like a big drink of water for the skin, which it is!
Mineral 89 is one of those products that doesn’t change your skin overnight but instead helps improve its quality over time. For me, it’s the daily boost my skin needs to keep it on track towards my goal of glowing skin. Once applied it sinks straight in to make a great makeup base, which is something I can say with complete confidence after being without it. I recommend adding this to your routine if your skin is craving moisture or if it just needs a little TLC.
#2 The Exfoliator
As I mentioned above, glowing skin is my skincare ambition. One of the main ways complexions can begin to look dull is when dead skin cells build on the surface. Exfoliating stops this, which is why it’s a top priority for me. That being said, also love the way scrubs feel; I don’t have sensitive skin so always opt for very grainy textures that leave skin feeling completely fresh and revitalised afterwards.
An exfoliator I’ve had in my collection for years is the Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator; it’s definitely my most repurchased. A great all-rounder, not only does it have purifying benefits thanks to natural origin corn beads (it unclogs pores and gets rid of those pesky dead skin cells I mentioned), but it also moisturises and refreshes with menthol extract and grape pulp. I’d recommend this to anyone with tired-looking skin, or that doesn’t have an exfoliator in their routine yet.