The secret to looking radiant? Go bare... only on the face, silly.
With fans including Beyoncé, Ben Affleck, and Benedict Cumberbatch, the 5:2 diet has been making headlines around the world, but not just for its celebrity following. Experts insist that fasting for two days a week (eating no more than 500 calories a day for women and 600 for men) and then eating normally for the other five days is a quick but effective way to lose weight and kick-start a healthier lifestyle.
Medically, it makes a lot of sense to take in fewer calories and rest our digestive system twice a week. So could the same principles be applied to other aspects of our life – for example, our skin? Could we reap the benefits of a beauty 5:2 diet?
Dr Noor Almaani, dermatologist at The Private Clinic of Harley Street in London, believes so. ‘I think it’s best to give the skin regular breaks’, she explains. ‘With the accumulation of all the make-up in our pores, no matter how rigorously we clean the skin, there will always be some left behind. Taking breaks from wearing make-up for just a few days every week will enable our skin to recover.’
There’s no need to run shrieking to the salon begging for a lash dye and fake tan – make-up free doesn’t have to mean looking less than our best. It’s not an easy sell though.
According to a recent study by online beauty store Escentual.com, two-thirds of British women admit to wearing make-up every day of the week. And 71 per cent of those say they suffer from frequent breakouts, but would rather use products to cover the blemishes than allow their skin to breathe. Perhaps most interestingly, more than half the women surveyed said they had noticed an improvement in their skin when they had gone a few days without make-up in the past, saying their complexion had become clearer.
According to the experts, it isn’t just clearer skin we can expect from the 5:2 beauty diet – we could also look younger after taking a break. Dermatologist Dr Esho, founder of Le Beau Ideal Aesthetics Clinic in London, explains: ‘Overuse of make-up without appropriate breaks can accelerate the ageing process by damaging elastin and collagen, resulting in fine lines too.
‘Going make-up free two days a week helps promote skin cell turnover, which means the faster formation of new cells. Allowing healthy skin cells to regenerate gives rise to a more youthful, glowing complexion and reduces the risk of fine lines forming.’
So not only will going make-up free help our skin to recover, but it could also protect it from further damage. It sounds like a simple solution to skin perfection, so why aren’t we all turning our backs on make-up?
‘For the modern working woman, going make-up free may not always be a feasible option and grooming regimes have to be realistic to fit into women’s lifestyles,’ Dr Esho says. ‘But for the most part, making an effort to go two days make-up free is an achievable step to take that will give visible positive benefits to the skin in just a few weeks.’ So are you joining the 5:2 Skin Diet? Go on – dare to bare…
DETOX (2 DAYS A WEEK)
This skincare diet relies on two days with a clean, make-up free face. Just like the food diet, those two days can be consecutive or non-consecutive, giving you the option to pick days on which you won’t venture further than your desk or spend the whole weekend letting your skin detox at home.
So with make-up banished, what skincare products should we use on those two days?
Dr Terry Loong, who owns the Dr Terry Practice in London’s Mayfair, recommends limiting it to the bare essentials. She explains, ‘Skin fasting is about stripping back and only using minimal skincare products in order to boost your skin’s natural healing and hydrating properties. It does this by reprogramming itself to adapt and self-heal.’
On those two days a week when you allow your skin to go bare, therefore, stick to a moisturiser, eye product, serum, mask, and lip product – and choose wisely to maximise the benefits to your skin.
Moisturiser is essential for keeping your skin supple and hydrated – and it can have the added benefit of enhancing your natural beauty too. In fact, choosing a skin-illuminating moisturiser can work as a replacement for foundation or base on make-up free days, lighting up your skin, balancing skin tone, and helping to hide imperfections. The Body Shop Vitamin C
Glow Boosting Moisturiser Dh125, promises just that, with a refreshing gel formula that melts into the skin and leaves it clarified, energised, and visibly more radiant.
Founder of Rodial Skincare, Maria Hatzistefanis, says: ‘Using an oxygenboosting serum on the two detox days can help to neutralise harmful effects of environmental aggression (such as pollution, UV rays, ozone and stress). The oxygen action converts free radicals into healthy oxygen, which enhances the energy consumption of skin cells so they can renew faster for a brighter and clearer complexion.’
The brand’s Glamoxy Snake Serum Dh895 (available at Bloomingdale’s and Harvey Nichols) does exactly that, with liposomes in the formula that work in synergy
‘OVERUSE of make-up without appropriate BREAKS can accelerate the AGEING process, resulting in FINE LINES. Allow healthy skin cells to REGENERATE for a more youthful, GLOWING complexion’
with a groundbreaking oxygen carrier to restore moisture and radiance for healthier, younger-looking skin.
Not being able to use concealer under eyes is daunting – but there are plenty of eye products that can visibly reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles to make you appear more awake when make-up is banned. Using these products on your fast days feels like cheating as they will make a visible difference, but packed with skincare ingredients that help your skin to detox and renew, this is definitely no cheat. Elemis
Absolute Eye Serum Dh217 (www.elemis.ae) is a great choice, with herbal actives of rosewood, osmanthus, comfrey, lavender and chamomile to gently preserve, lift and refine the eye tissue. You can expect minimised dark circles, along with skin that appears lifted and smoothed.
When it comes to a mask, a product designed to detox the skin is the ideal way to draw out impurities on the days you are giving your skin a break. Packed with pink clay to clean, tighten, and refine pores Clarins
Pure and Radiant Mask Dh155, is perfect for fast days. It has a non-drying formula, so while your skin will appear matte, it won’t feel dry or tight after application.
Finally, a slick of lip balm will keep your lips feeling supple and hydrated when you aren’t using lipstick or glosses. Lush Lip
Service Dh63, is packed with natural moisturisers including shea butter, beeswax, extra virgin olive oil, and tangerine oil for the ultimate pout hydration. It will also give your lips a natural sheen, boosting confidence levels if you are used to stepping out with a painted lip.
MAKE-UP (5 DAYS A WEEK)
Just as gorging on greasy food five days of the week won’t help you to lose weight or feel healthier, applying thick, abrasive cosmetics on the days you aren’t ‘fasting’ won’t help to improve your skin.
On the five days that you wear make-up, use products that work in harmony with your skin. Match products to your skin type and always remove make-up at night with a decent cleanser.
Mineral make-up adheres to the natural oils in our skin and doesn’t seep into the pores. This means that it protects our skin from free radicals, such as the sun’s rays, but it still allows skin to breathe.
Wearing mineral formulas on those five make-up days, such as Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder Dh209 (www.basharacare.com), is therefore a great decision for our skin. The product will cover imperfections for a flawless finish, but is suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.
If you prefer a liquid formulation for base, BB Creams are your best bet. The creams will even out complexion like a tinted moisturiser, cover minor imperfections and redness like a concealer, hydrate skin like a day cream, brighten and perk up a dull complexion, and usually also protect with SPF. Some even promise healing, soothing and anti-ageing properties – they are essentially skincare in make-up form. Try Nature Republic BB
Cream Dh40, or be brave in pursuit of the perfect finish, with Secret Key Snail Repairing BB Cream Dh56, which is infused with skin-repairing snail mucous (you’ll need to trust us on this one).
Finally, thorough cleansing at the end of every day is vital, as leaving traces of makeup on your skin will undo the good work of your make-up-free days. Dermatological micellar water Bioderma Sensibio H20 from Dh35, is ideal, as it removes every trace of cosmetics without irritating the skin. Simply soak a cotton pad and swipe over skin to remove make-up and dirt.
Simplifying your skincare routine means you are more likely to do it too, even on the latest nights and earliest mornings – and that has to be great news for your skin.
Just as GORGING on greasy food five days of the week won’t help you to feel HEALTHIER, using thick, ABRASIVE COSMETICS on the days you aren’t ‘fasting’ won’t help IMPROVE your SKIN
❶ The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser Dh125 ❷ Glamoxy Snake Serum Dh895, Bloomingdale’s and Harvey Nichols
❶ Clarins Pure and Radiant Mask Dh155 ❷ Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder Dh209 ❸ Elemis Absolute Eye Serum Dh217, elemis.ae ❹ Nature Republic BB Cream Dh40 ❺ Lush Lip Service Dh63 ❻ Secret Key Snail Repairing BB Cream Dh56 ❼ Bioderma Sensibio H20 from Dh35