Step one: Product clear out
Just like you would clear your closet of unwanted items before you restock it with the latest looks of the season, the first step in a beauty detox should be to clear your cabinet of products that harm your skin and hair.
“If you can’t remember when you bought an item, it’s time to throw it away,” says Holly Sherrard, Education Manager for The International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica Canada. She suggests reading product ingredient labels and ditching any skin care items made with artificial fragrance and colour. “These products cause allergic dermatitis and can lead to increased breakouts and blackheads.”
Detox your hair
When it comes to hair care, Greg May, celeb hairstylist and owner of Greg May Hair Architects, suggests tossing shampoos, conditioners or styling products made with alcohol. “It’s beyond drying. Much talk has also been made of sodium lauryl sulphate, which is basically a detergent that cleanses hair and makes shampoo foam. It essentially strips hair of moisture.”
May also advises clients ditch anything containing paraben, an ingredient which has been linked to breast cancer. “Look for all-natural products when shopping your drugstore’s aisles. You can be relatively sure organic products – or anything in pure oil form – is free of harmful, drying chemicals.”
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Step two: Build better beauty habits
When it comes to putting your best face forward, the most important thing to start doing is to cleanse your skin twice a day (in the morning and at night). Sherrard says this helps clear the epidermis of dirt and debris it’s collected throughout the day. Exfoliation is also a must.
“Removing dead surface cells stimulates a burst of new cells from the lower layers of the epidermis and helps maintain hydration, reduces pigmentation and encourages production of barrier lipids,” says Sherrard. She suggests looking for face products containing rice bran and body scrubs with dates and olive seeds. “These ingredients can be used daily on the skin without fear of irritating its surface.”
Another must? “No matter what skin type a person has, moisturizing is essential.” Sherrard advises people look for ingredients, such as clay, to heal skin. “Niacinnamide and horse chestnut can control oil while allantoin, bisabolol and panthenol nourish, calm and provide barrier protection without oiliness.” Other nourishing ingredients include evening primrose oil, silicones and shea butter.
Lastly, and most importantly, Sherrard says it’s imperative to use a generous amount of daylight sun protection (SPF). “UVA rays penetrate windows, bounce off shiny surfaces and are at full-strength from sunrise to sunset. Whether you’re outside or sitting at your desk, you need to apply sunscreen every two hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.”
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Better hair habits
UV protection is also imperative when it comes to hair care. May advises people try products or treatments loaded with SPF. “The best is a once-a-month, salon-applied soy protein gloss, especially around the spring/summer. It protects and heals hair.”
He also coaches clients on how to maintain a basic hair care regimen, including shampooing with a sulphate-free product. “Depending on your locks, you don’t have to wash every day. What you should do is condition. Get into the habit of doing a weekly deep-conditioning treatment at home.”
And if you’re active, swim or overload on styling products, he suggests using a clarifying shampoo once a week. “Tea tree peppermint shampoo is great to use daily. It’s gentle, very invigorating and can stimulate the scalp, bringing blood to the head. This will feed the hair’s follicle and will give new life to lack-lustre locks.”
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