Working for Indias largest beauty retailer, Im constantly assailed by makeup and skin experts who say, Wash your face twice a day. Well, I hate following rules, so I decided to go Paleo for a week. After all, cavemen didnt use face washes and scrubs. So would I! A little part of me was terrified my face would turn fifty shades darker thanks to all the dirt and grime than the rest of my scrubbed self, but it was worth a try.
Apparently, Salma Hayek and YouTube vlogger Michelle Phan credit their great skin to not washing their faces in the morning. And then there are skincare experts who warn of the dangers of over cleansing skin. The rule was simple: no cleanser could touch my face for seven days. I was, however, allowed to use topical creams by day and night. And makeup? I could use a cream remover (I used coconut oil) to take off makeup thankfully so I didnt have to come to work looking like a battle-weary Barbie.
My main concern was T-zone oiliness and shine, more so because of Mumbais humidity and heat. Ive battled the occasional breakout through my teens and also worried that going cleanser-free would disrupt my skins oil balance. Plus, the fact that I like wearing makeup had me worried about how those pesky makeup molecules burrowing deep into my pores would wreak their version of skin wars.
For starters I swore off soft drinks and junk. At least I could minimize the effect of a bad diet on my skin. Within hours thoughon Day OneI was at my desk chomping through a bar of Lindt. At least it was dark chocolate I consoled myself, choc-full of antioxidants. That evening I washed my face with warm water and applied my retinol night cream as usual. At least it felt like I was following a regime of sorts.
" I worried that those pesky makeup molecules, burrowing deep into my pores, would wreak their version of skin wars."
For the rest of the week, I forgo my usual liquid foundation and stuck to a mineral formula and a dab of compact. It felt less sticky and at least in my head I felt like I was wearing less makeup. Still rubbing my wet hands over my face felt weird and incomplete. I longed for that squeaky clean after effect of a face wash. On Day Four, I used a concoction of besan and malai as a scrub, and ended up scrubbing too vigorously because my face looked angry and red all evening. One lives and learns
I continued using sunscreen and a daily moisturizer in the a.m. and my retinol formula at night, and on Day Seven got the shock of my life. My skin actually looked clearer than it had the previous week. Surprisingly it also felt more balanced. The dry patches felt less dry and makeup wasnt sliding around my face in uneven rivulets by the end of the day.
Alsodespite slathering on coconut oil to remove my makeupand Mumbais humidity I didnt break out at all. I was also extra careful in the week to keep my hands off my face to ensure no dirt and bacteria transferred on. My skin felt fresher, cleaner and more luminous.
Others who took up the challenge with me said their faces felt rougher and duller at the end of the week and I suspect the retinol formula I used naturally sloughed off surface dullness and boosted cellular turnover. So what did I learn? That Ive probably spent too much money and time on cleansers and toners that were too harsh for my skin. For now, Im sticking with my day and night creams and regular slashings of sunscreen. No more, no less.
SPOT IT. SHOP IT.