To momentarily take the burden of bad habits off of our bodies, we undergo a “detox.”

The sugar, the countless cups of caffeine and, of course, the booze. We omit things from our diets all the time, but have you ever considered going on a skincare detox?

Unless you are a die-hard clean beauty advocate (like Germaine!), I’m guessing there are still plenty of chemicals in the products you use every day. It smells like a rotten ham sandwich and burns your skin? Must be doing something!

I admit to sitting on both sides of the proverbial fence. I imagine myself as an informed, modern beauty product consumer/blogger, who would rather not slather a byproduct of petroleum or hormone disruptors on my face, thank you very much.

On the other hand, there’s science and those alluring medical-grade products that you want regardless of the questionable ingredient lists, if studies show that they appear to work.

clean beauty

Lounging with my exfoliating mask and coffee, of course.

The idea of a dedicated skincare detox occurred to me twice this year. I gave up all chemical skincare for five days in both February and September while undergoing a super woo-woo, doctor certified nutritional detox.

Sakara Level II Detox is a plant-based mail-order meal program, essentially a luxury detox. I committed to that first one pre-coronavirus (slap dab in the middle of Mardi Gras!) and then repeated the same program in the fall, in a last-ditch effort to feel human again in the midst of the ever-lingering, quarantine-15, wine-guzzling, freaking global pandemic.

Before we talk skincare, lemme tell you that giving up alcohol for five days is the absolute easiest part. Steady, brain-foggish headaches in the absence of caffeine, dairy, gluten and sugar, however, are another story.

I sailed through the first Sakara detox with added support of a fellow-detoxing friend (key), but the second one? Whew! Horrible headaches. It was like having the couch-ridden detox flu (dare I say virus) for at least four days. It was rough.

Taking the Sakara plant-based plunge is both a commitment and an investment. It’s hardcore, including  supplements, a dry brushing routine and little drops to add to your water for hydration and detoxification that taste pretty much like salt and seaweed. Yet so delightful?

Detox = Skin Glow
With the philosophy that plant food is medicine, the nutritional meal program itself touts glowing skin as a detox side effect! So why then allow topical chemicals into your bloodstream with your own skincare while making such an arduous effort to heal your gut and flush out six months of bad habits?

So I went all in, embarking also on my own full-blown DIY skincare detox each time. Multi-step skincare regimens for five days but all clean. For me, that meant no SkinCeuticals or other medispa brands and only transparent-ingredient skincare from Whole Foods, Sephora and other independent clean beauty brands.

I still teeter back and forth on that fence, but have steadily incorporated more and more natural skincare into my daily habits—and culled a list of my favorite clean beauty buys.

Meanwhile, I’ll be keeping my caffeine and sipping my sulfites until the next detox.


Kora Organics Turmeric Brightening Exfoliating Mask

My desert island skincare pick, hands down. It’s a deep cleaning exfoliating mask that polishes while also fighting pigmentation with the natural power of turmeric. I’m obsessed and use it at least once a week.
Sephora or buy direct from Kora Organics.

Youth to the People Kale + Green Tea Spinach Superfood Cleanser

I love the idea of antioxidants in a gentle cleanser. It’s like washing your face with an organic green salad! I pump a little on my Make-Up Eraser cloth to do a double-cleansing duty.
Sephora or

clean beauty


So many Vitamin Cs!

No way can I pick just one Vitamin C, but my go-tos for clean beauty:
Mad Hippie Vitamin C, always in my makeup bag or medicine cabinet.
Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum takes me on a vacay!
Beautycounter Counter + All Brite C Serum gets bonus points for brightening turmeric.

clean beauty


Ghost Democracy Floodgate Hyaluronic Acid Serum

I discovered Ghost Democracy while looking for a more gentle, reasonably-priced Vitamin C and fell for this guy in the indie clean skincare line. Can’t say I was always religious about using a pre-moisturizer booster to help hydrate, but I am now! It’s more of a pleasure than a burden adding that extra-step. Use after vit C serum and before your moisturizer.

Weleda Skin Food Body Butter

Is crepey skin actually happening now?! After exfoliating, your skin is thirsty! I’m quenching mine daily with Weleda Skin Food Body Butter, an intensely moisturizing whipped creme that melts into your skin.
Whole Foods or Amazon
clean beauty

EltaMD UV Physical Tinted Face Sunscreen

Buy beware: other Elta sunscreens are chemical and contain the scary stuff, but this tinted moisturizer is a physical sunblock with zinc oxide. It may not be the cleanest sunscreen on the market, but this is my grab-and-go when sun exposure is inevitable.
Blackledge Face Center or Amazon.