‘Skin fasting’: Why culling half your skin care products could lead to better skin

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Fasting has been a very buzzy term this year; from intermittent to alternate day, different fasting methods have proven super successful in the wellness arena. But now the concept is breaking out of the health realm and setting up shop in skin care, with ‘skin fasting’ emerging as the latest trend on the beauty block. 

But while the idea of fasting in the food space is generally about when you’re reducing your intake, skin fasting is more about what you’re reducing your intake of.

In fact, it’s all about cutting your routine down to the bare minimum, because while we love a sheet mask-eye cream-face mist combo as much as the next skin care junkie, sometimes your face just needs a chance to chill.

We chatted to Lucy Kuper, Dermal Specialist and Managing Director for skin care brand Biologi to find out how if swapping 10 products for three really could see better results, and what she deems as ‘skip-able’.

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What is ‘skin fasting’?

Skin fasting is essentially streamlining your skin care routine so it only includes the products your skin actually needs. “Whilst many of us may have been led to believe that we need complicated skin care routines, the truth is you really only need a couple of products to get results,” says Lucy. “Skin fasting is the opposite of 10-step and layering routines – it’s getting rid of the unnecessary steps that may not be doing all that much, or may actually be a detriment to your skin,” she explains.

The benefits of ‘skin fasting’ and using less products in your routine

Aside from spending less time in the bathroom and less money on products, the benefits of skin fasting are seen in a couple of different ways. “Firstly, you avoid a common skin care mistake, which is layering ingredients that don’t actually ‘like’ each other,” says Lucy.

“A great example of this is when someone layers vitamin C with AHAs or BHAs, which then destabilises the vitamin C and renders it useless. Or worse, when someone layers ingredients that can cause harsh reactions like glycolic acid with salicylic acid, which can cause major reactions to the skin by stripping the epidermis,” Lucy tells us.

“Then secondly, skin fasting is beneficial because it allows your skin a chance to start working naturally because you’re not constantly applying products that it has to fight, or ‘over cleansing’, which strips your skin of its natural oils. What many people don’t realise is that our skin is naturally quite powerful and has the ability to regenerate on its own,” she says.

So rather than slathering on solutions, ‘skin fasting’ allows your complexion to fix many problems on its own.

“There’s always going to be those people out there that love having a more complicated routine, but it’s important to just strip this back every now and then.” 

Which steps should stay and which can we skip?

If you’d like to simplify your skin care routine and give ‘skin fasting’ a go, Lucy recommends keeping these four steps:

  • Cleanse
  • Exfoliate
  • Hydrate
  • Sunscreen

“Cleansing and exfoliating are absolutely essential, but don’t fall into the trap of doing it too much. Instead cleanse lightly in the morning, cleanse thoroughly at night to remove any makeup and exfoliate once a week with an enzymatic exfoliant,” she explains. “[The other essential step is] hydration which you can get through a great multi-tasking serum like Biologi Bd Luminosity Face Serum and then of course a sunscreen,” says Lucy.

As for the products that are pretty ‘unnecessary’, the list could go on, but Lucy says it’s a-ok to skip:

  • Sheet masks
  • Eye masks
  • Day creams
  • Toners

“As long as you have a serum for hydration that includes a potent amount of actives, then you should be getting all the moisture you need. If you absolutely feel like you need another hit of moisture, apply a great natural oil on top of your serum.”

How long should a ‘skin fast’ last?

While a simplified routine may not be for everyone, some people find such great success with ‘skin fasting’ that they never stop.

“Work out what your skin responds well to and do that,” recommends Lucy. “Try skin fasting for a week or two and if your skin responds well, it could be worth exploring further.”

“As long as you’re still cleansing and exfoliating, getting a hit of hydration and applying sunscreen daily, then that’s all you really need in your routine.”


Main image credit: @ellabalinska
How many skin care products do you use daily? Are there any products you’d struggle to skip if you tried ‘skin fasting’?

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Comments 23

  1. I tend to alternate minimal routines on some nights, sometimes only using 1-2 products in total to leave the remaining product on undiluted by further products for more intensity. I used to do this with Alpha-H Liquid Gold 1-2 a week with good results. Now I like to use NIOD CAIL 23% after cleansing and that is all. As much as I would hate to admit, I can skip sheet masks (and this is coming from a total sheet mask fiend) but I also have really great results from consistent use of sheet masks. It is a fine balance between the two approaches of minimalism and consistent use of what would otherwise be categorised as “unnecessary” to a routine. I have never had more supple healthy skin than when I sheet mask 1-2 times a day every day and typically using the same brand of sheet mask every time.

  2. I’ve been doing skin fasting during our 15 week lockdown and my skin has really benefited from not being overloaded with products. I think this might also be a good daytime routine during the warmer months.

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