The se­cret to look­ing ra­di­ant? Go bare... only on the face, silly.

Friday - - Contents - By Louise Emma Clarke

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 Es­cen­, 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…


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 ( 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.


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 (, 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, 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

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