So have I given up the disturbing amount of skincare products in my bathroom for good? Not quite, but my skincare routine has been heavily whittled down. And I now know the true value of going on a cleanse—you get to know yourself and your skin in a whole new way, and there’s a beauty in seeing it so completely bare and exposed, with all the imperfections out there for the world to see. Suffice to say, I’m officially a skin cleanse convert—some might even call me a full-on evangelist.
On the morning of the first day, I decided to be adventurous and try to wash my face with olive oil, which was something Grigore had said she enjoyed and had helped regulate her oily skin. I didn’t mind rubbing the oil on my face—it felt nice, actually, and I’ve used enough oil cleansers to be used to the feeling—but when it came time to wash it off, unlike oil cleansers, the olive oil stayed . It felt like there was a thin layer of oil on my face, and I did not enjoy the feeling at all . I rubbed my face vigorously with my face towel and then put the olive oil back in my kitchen pantry. So—not off to the greatest start. I toned and moisturized with the products from S.W. Basics, finished with a natural SPF (my favorite, Renée Rouleau’s Daily Protection SPF 30, $58), and then bravely faced day one sans makeup.
First, I should probably explain what this skin cleanse consisted of—and to do that, I need to give some background on Grigore’s book. I hopped on the phone with her a few days before I started my cleanse to learn more about her skin philosophy and why she decided to write the book. “I was having such horrific skin reactions in my whole life to everything,” she told me. “I couldn’t use soap. I couldn’t use what was on the market that was marketed as ‘natural.’ The revelation I had that is the entire gist of the book, is when I decided—mainly out of desperation—to start using nothing .” She went on to explain that she had cut out all of her personal care products to figure out what was making her skin freak out. From there, she migrated to the kitchen—and that’s when the paradigm shift happened. “I tried olive oil—I know it sounds gross to put it on your skin, but I was so scared of everything else—and then, turns out my skin loved it!” she said. “Then, it was like, ‘Let me try sea salt or turmeric,’ and it kind of grew from there. I was my own guinea pig.” She started S.W. Basics, an all-natural skincare line with products that contain five ingredients or fewer (Toner is one of my favorites), and then decided to turn her natural-is-better skincare philosophy into a book.
It was, to put it simply, difficult. I’m used to my face being an oil slick by lunchtime, but this time, there was no tinted moisturizer to hide behind or powder to soak up the shine. Every pore felt completely exposed and visible, and my freckles and dark spots were just begging to be stared at. My face felt naked, and I felt extremely uncomfortable—kind of like that dream where you show up in class and realize you only have your underwear on. I came home, emotionally exhausted at my self-consciousness, and grudgingly went about making the Detox Mask. I mashed canned chickpeas, added a pinch of turmeric and a splash of water, and then applied the weird mixture to my face. I should probably also note that, at this point, I had started getting a breakout right in the center of my forehead. It was a strange recurring breakout that had started happening a few months earlier, where tiny little bumps would just emerge in the middle of my forehead for no apparent reason, and no amount of spot treatments or masks I did could make them go away any faster.
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