I Went 7 Days Without Skincare Products and Here's What Happened

Recently, I read the book Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore, founder of the natural skincare line S.W. Basics. In the book, Grigore recommends going three days or more without commercial skincare to see how your skin reacts to certain products – so for an entire week, that’s exactly what I did. Here’s exactly what happened when I stopped using skincare products and swapped them for natural alternatives!

Day One

Products:

  • Olive oil to remove makeup

  • Baking soda and water cleanser

  • Yogurt, honey and coffee mask

  • ACV acne treatment

  • Olive oil and green tea moisturizer

  • EOS sweet mint lip balm

Day One of my skin cleanse was...messy, to say the least. I’m not used to having to do so much rummaging through my kitchen cabinets (or dirtying so many dishes) when I want to wash my face at night; however, I have to admit, my skin is already looking a lot brighter and a lot calmer than it was when I woke up this morning.

I was incredibly impressed with the olive oil as a makeup remover. Compared to literally every commercial makeup remover I’ve ever used, olive oil works the best on my skin. The only thing I might change about today’s skincare routine is the baking soda and water cleanser, which was a little grainy and harsh for my dry winter cheeks. So, I’m already in search of a gentler face wash I can use for Day Two of my skincare cleanse.

Day Two

My skin on Day Two, looking not-too-shabby if I do say so myself!

Products:

  • Baking soda and water cleanser

  • Rice water cleanser

  • Olive oil moisturizer

  • ACV acne treatment

  • EOS sweet mint lip balm

When I woke up on Day Two of my skin cleanse, I was actually pleasantly surprised with the results. My skin may not be perfectly clear, but it’s happy, healthy and a lot brighter than it has been in a long time. I also struggle with redness in my cheeks and nose, which as you can see, went down a lot by Day Two of my skincare challenge.

In the morning, I washed my face with baking soda and water again and followed up with a light layer of olive oil; however, I think I used too much oil because 30 minutes later, my skin already felt as greasy as it did when I first woke up. Normally, my skin is more combination than oily, so it was surprising to feel greasy all over. I followed up with a gentle rice water cleanser I’d made overnight using a recipe from Free People just to get off some of the excess oils and grime. It might not have done much, but at the very least, I felt a lot better after wiping my skin down a second time.

Day Three

Products:

  • Baking soda and water cleanser

  • ACV acne treatment

  • EOS sweet mint lip balm

On Day Three, sh*t hit the fan. I woke up to the worst breakout I’ve had probably since I was thirteen. I don't know if this is just my looming twenties knocking early, hormonal acne from my IUD, or if I’m not cleansing well enough with my baking soda mixture, but I know I’m in for hell’s wrath later tonight when I put on a full face of makeup for my Dance Theatre Group dress rehearsal. So, I’m trying to pare down my routine to literally just the bare essentials until it’s time to cake on the stage makeup, so my panicked skin can breathe for at least a few hours before I suffocate it half to death.

Day Four

Products:

  • Baking soda and water cleanser

  • Olive oil makeup remover

  • EOS sweet mint lip balm

Today was the polar opposite of Day Three. I woke up with much clearer skin than the day before, but my cheeks and forehead felt tight and dry. I haven’t been moisturizing well during my skin cleanse, mainly because I’ve pinpointed the olive oil moisturizer as the culprit behind my breakout. But I can definitely feel the skin cleanse working, since my face literally freaked out as soon as I put on face makeup for DTG’s Origins performance. I’ve never had a bad reaction to my foundation before, but I could feel my skin burning beneath it the night of the show. I have never been so relieved to wipe off my makeup before in my life.

Day Five

Day Five and thriving – I can’t believe I made it more than halfway without quitting!

Products:

  • Baking soda and water cleanser

  • Olive oil makeup remover

  • EOS sweet mint lip balm

Day Five is the first day I’m starting to feel like this challenge might be working – but then again, I’m literally having stress dreams about it. I woke up today thinking I quit the challenge because I had a dream about washing my face. What more can I possibly say?

Day Six

Products:

  • Baking soda and water cleanser

Good morning, oily T-zone! This challenge has confirmed what I already knew, which is that I suffer from combination oily-dry skin. My cheeks and eyebrows feel tight and flaky, but literally everywhere else is greasy AF. That being said, I’m actually pretty pleased with my complexion when I look in the mirror. The redness on my face has evened out and my breakout is finally going away.

On the other hand...I really just want to wash my face. Much as I love it, I’m not sure natural beauty is worth your skin feeling like you just ate an entire Domino’s pizza every day.

Day Seven

Products:

  • Baking soda and water cleanser

HALLELUJAH, I MADE IT!

Interestingly enough, I’ve noticed that over the course of this challenge I’ve become increasingly minimalistic about the products I choose to put on my face. Honestly, I equate this more to laziness than to the wonders of going on a “skin cleanse,” but if it makes my pores look good, what difference does it make anyway?

And, speaking of that signature baking soda cleanser I’ve been SO enjoying over these past few days, sitting in French class this morning I discovered baking soda dried on the side of my cheek. It felt like I’d just stuck my wet face into a sandbox – so on the one hand, at least my skin is baby smooth now. On the other...MY FACE FEELS LIKE I STUCK IT IN A SANDBOX.

Literally having daydreams about washing my face tonight on my way back from physical therapy. TBH, I’m kind of scared that my skin will react badly to reintroducing my skincare products into my routine – “Adina Gregoire, you were right all along!” – but at this point, what’s a couple pimples to me? I just want that greasy Domino’s pizza feeling on my forehead to go away and never, EVER come back…

Results: My skin after seven days without skincare products...

So, after seven days of shunning commercial skincare products and cleaning my face with nothing but baking soda and water...what exactly did I learn?

TBH, I’m not sure this challenge “changed my life” as the book promised it would – but it definitely made me a bit more conscious of taking care of my skin, that’s for sure. The most interesting effect of my skincare challenge was that towards the end of the challenge, my breakouts had started to fade – but as soon as I reintroduced commercial products into my routine, my skin got worse (like, WAY WORSE) than it had ever been on the cleanse. I looked into this, and found out that this is a common “detox symptom” as your skin gets used to your products again. However, if the symptoms don’t go away after a week or so, it might just be the products you’re using causing an allergic reaction.

At the very least, I’ve certainly become skeptical of the ingredients in my skincare products. Since the end of my challenge, I’ve been following a new, simplified skincare routine. The Shea Moisture charcoal and coconut oil soap bar has been my favorite product as of late for cleansing my skin without stripping it of important oils and nutrients. I’ve also incorporated pure hyaluronic acid because greasy as my skin has been, it dawned on me recently that I’m almost in my 20s and need to start anti-aging as soon as possible. #thriving

All in all, I would definitely recommend this challenge to anyone who follows a 10-step Korean skincare routine and wants to shake things up – or, alternatively, isn’t that into skincare to begin with and wants to go au naturale for a week or so. But, just be forewarned that if you have temperamental, hormonal skin like mine, you probably won’t be looking your best for the next few days as your skin detoxes from all those chemicals.

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About The Author

College beauty & wellness blogger at Haley Marie Blog (www.haleymarieblog.com). Former Associate City News Editor for the Daily Free Press. Mass Communications major with a minor in Political Science.

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