Small Step No. 09

For all the areas of my life I claim minimalism (or, at least, a graceful version of the sort), my beauty drawer cannot accurately be included. What began as a teenager’s dopp kit carrying little more than waterproof mascara and acne concealer has, over the years, morphed into a full-blown arsenal for any skin “need” whatsoever. Tired skin? Perky blush. Dry lips? Exfoliant, moisturizer, triple action balm. Sleepless night? Tinted moisturizer, brightening stick, highlighter.

And while I will forever love the experimentation and creativity of make-up, it’s undeniable that even the most natural of beauty brands contain ingredients my skin could do without.

The lovely Adina Grigore (from S.W. Basics fame, and also an IIN alum!) boasts a surprisingly wise solution in her book, Skin Cleanse:

Go product-free for three days.

Ditch the makeup for a bit. Replace your everyday beauty stockpile – cleansers, lotions, toners – with water and coconut oil while your skin begins to restore itself to its natural, lovely state. There are the obvious health benefits (all of which you can currently learn at Adina’s Alma Mater here!), but I’d be remiss to skip over the more underlying, deeply-rooted benefits; the vulnerability of such.

This girl went make-up free for 40 days to release a bit of self-perceived control. To lay down the suit of armor offered to strangers. To cozy up to the person she was, not the one she presented.

I imagine the benefits existed far beyond glowy skin and tighter pores. I imagine she learned quite a bit about herself, about her skin, about herself in her skin, about the many ways she can learn to love it all.

Here’s to the learning.
(And the loving.)


p.s. Today’s Small Step is brought to you by Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a genius alternative to an expensive 4-year degree. Enjoy 25% off your enrollment by emailing [email protected] with subject line “DFM DISCOUNT.”  Or, check out a few more Small Steps like how to read more, and how to drink more water (finally).

  • I’ve been going mostly make-up free for the last two months in prep for a summer of no makeup. I still wear it when I’m doing presentations or have pulled an all nighter (coconut oil isn’t concealer!). But I’m learning to love the skin I’m in and embody it fully.

  • Oh gosh! This definitely works. We had our sixth baby and I just couldn’t wear make up anymore. I don’t have time for it, or won’t make time for it. My skin is better than its ever been. Now I just throw on some moisturizer and mascara and I look so much younger.

  • Okay, I confess, I gave up all but lip balm and a dusting of powder a long time ago, then in Costa Rica last year I gave up the powder. Now I use makeup for a special night out or a dance performance and don’t miss it the rest of the time…mostly. But still, odd skin issues pop up anyway.

    I say enjoy your arsenal but yeah, give yourself and your skin a break – maybe for a weekend to start? I’m hardly the one to ask! = )

  • I’ve been using coconut oil as my moisturizer for 3 years and my skin looks and feels great! It makes me sad that so much self worth is tied up in the idea that we look better with make up, that we “need” an arsenal of products in order to be presentable, and that women’s products (all these things we “need”) are so expensive. And yet we continue to buy it all. I’m not exempt from these ideas even though I own/wear very little make up…I only wear it (on average) about once a week. I enjoy it for special occasions or for date night and even sometimes “just because”. I admit that I enjoy having it on when I do wear it but I also try to embrace my 54 year old face and its imperfections when I’m not wearing it. I try to remember that it looks more special and dressy on those special occasions if I don’t wear it all the time, and I am not as self conscious when I don’t wear it because I don’t wear it more often than I do. Even with the attitude I have about it, I still struggle to accept my changing face without make up. My wish, though, is that we weren’t sold the malarkey that we can’t live without the stuff!

  • So, oops, I have been make-up-free for euhm, about my whole life :-). Maybe as a teenager I experimented a bit, but after that, well, I have a little make-up, I only wear on Christmas and on weddings. Something like that. When I do wear make-up, I think I should do it more often, because just a little makes me look so much better (i have rosacea, so that’s not always pretty); but well, I don’t do it, I just can’t bother. In my head I look good ;-)

  • I used to do this once a month for a weekend, until I realized the hard hard ER kind of way that I am allergic to all things coconut. A sad day for sure. Literally every area of my skin care, beauty and hygiene day to day had a coconut based product. So far no one has able to offer me an alternative to coconut oil that would have the same or similar benefits. You know a lot more people than me, so you know, if you happen to hear of one ….

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