19 Ways to Detox That Don't Involve Dieting
It's naive to think that reversing bad habits doesn't take some time and effort. But is it really so terrible to think that detoxing shouldn't have to be, well, terrible? Call us optimists, but we're thinking that maybe cleansing doesn't have to be so painful.
For starters, stop thinking about detoxing as a purely dietary pursuit. Just like there are plenty of other areas of our lifestyles that fall subject to excess and indulgence, there are countless ways to reboot your body and mind. Your skin, for example, is a big one. Wouldn't it be nice to uncover a glowing complexion just by making a few tweaks and swapping out a few products?
With this spirit in mind, we asked some of the healthiest and happiest influencers we know for their advice on detoxing without restricting your meal plan—or really, restricting yourself at all. Sure, you might have to practice some tough love, but you'll never have to look at a green juice or feel lightheaded. Of our 19 methods for cleansing your skin, hair, and body, we're rooting for you if you adopt just one. In other words, no pressure—but by all means, go for it!
1. Give your whole product regimen an overhaul. Your goal is to start reading product labels like you would nutrition labels: Look for ingredients you recognise, and try to keep synthetics to a bare minimum. "You never know which ingredients in products are going to react with your skin or negatively interact with each other, and this puts you at greater risk for irritation, allergic reactions, or breakouts," says Suzanne LeRoux, founder of One Love Organics. "A simple routine helps to boost your skin's natural healing properties and to recover its natural defense barriers and pH balance for optimum health and beautiful skin."
2. In fact, try going product-free for a few days. Give your complexion a chance to reestablish its own natural processes without any outside interference. "You're also eliminating potential toxin intake," adds Adina Grigore, founder of S.W. Basics and author of Skin Cleanse ($24). If you're feeling particularly dry or in need of a wash, opt for completely natural, very basic solutions like S.W. Basics' DIY Essentials line, or dig around in your pantry. "For example, use diluted apple cider vinegar as a pH-balancing, acne-fighting toner or the organic plant oil of your choice (avocado, sweet almond, olive, jojoba) as a light moisturiser," Grigore suggests. "Other favourite products include honey as a bacteria-fighting mask, cleanser, or moisturiser, and almond or oat flour as an exfoliant."
3. Rub-a-dub-dub. Customize a soak in the bath depending on your needs, whether it's citrus-infused salts to boost immunity, clay powder to draw out toxins and soften your skin, or a respite from your amped-up fitness routine. "I love a bath with a cup of magnesium, cup of Epsom salt, cup of sea salt, cup of baking soda, and cup of peroxide," says January Olds, the skincare guru behind January Labs. "It is an incredible detox and helps sore, weak muscles."
4. Make over your makeup bag. Start by cleaning out the clutter: Toss anything past its expiration date, as well as those items that you keep promising yourself you'll use but never do. (Shirley Pinkson, co-founder of W3LL People, has a rule of thumb: If you haven't worn it in six months, ditch it. No exceptions.) And this really applies to anything in your bathroom or vanity, not just makeup.
5. Clean those makeup brushes. You should be washing them on the regular in order to avoid the spread of bacteria and even mould, but here's yet another reminder.
6. Clay is your cure-all. It's a magnet for toxins and dirt, from unwanted gunk in your pores to metals and free radicals trapped in your system. Mix clay powder with a bit of water to form an acne-blasting paste, or pour it directly into a bath to get a full-body refresh (and super-soft skin).
7. Eat better for better skin. We're sure you know this already, but we can't emphasise enough how much of an impact your diet has on your complexion. Don't make yourself nuts, but consider cutting back on things like dairy and sugar, which can both really wreak havoc on your system (which then manifests as a breakout). Which brings us to our next section…
Your Skin Detox Shopping List
8. Love your gut. Or what's inside it, rather. All science points to bacteria as the future of dieting, since the microscopic ecosystems within us have a very large impact on the way we absorb nutrients, digest food, and in turn put on and lose weight. It'll be some time until experts can pinpoint what this means on a person-by-person basis, but in the meantime, help your gut bacteria flourish with a daily probiotic or foods like sauerkraut or kimchi. "Natural fermented probiotics also help your skin glow," says Olds. See? It's all connected.
9. Try coffee alternatives. Caffeine is your lifeblood, we get it. (Ours too.) So rather than go cold turkey, consider trying healthier (and more digestion-friendly) sources like matcha, which is also full of antioxidants.
10. Or wean yourself off caffeine entirely, if possible. We try to do a caffeine detox a few times a year, usually when we're starting to hit five cups a day. Aim for a week, but avoid headaches, the shakes, and general crankiness with a caffeine-free boost, like Mucuna pruriens—it's an herb nicknamed the "dopamine bean" for its almost alarming ability to increase focus, energy, and mood in just a matter of minutes. (Team Byrdie likes to keep it around at the office to help combat Mondays.)
11. Take your vitamins. Bonus points if you get your nutrient levels tested first, to ensure that there are no holes or problem areas in your diet. Your doc will have the best insight for you, but a multivitamin is usually a good idea, as well as vitamin D (particularly if you're a city-dweller). Olds also recommends a prenatal supplement for fast-growing skin and nails.
12. Drink up. H2O, to be clear. "It's a great way to flush out toxins, and it will make your skin look better too," says Grigore. Hydrophobes, take note: Olds likes infusing hers with fruit in order to encourage the habit. "It literally makes you drink three times the amount of water," she says. Add cucumber to help de-bloat, or citrus for detoxification and energy.
13. Brush up on your dry brushing. It's a simple morning ritual that has a variety of internal and external benefits, from stimulating blood and lymph flow to fighting cellulite (yes, really) to boosting skin cell turnover.
Your Body Detox Shopping List
14. Swap out your shampoo. "It's super easy to focus on skin, but shampoo and conditioner are often a terrible source of synthetic ingredients and irritants like fragrance," says Grigore. "And, by the way, that stuff most certainly gets all over your face and your skin." Opt for a DIY solution, like baking soda, or switch to a silicon-free cleansing cream that won't strip your strands and scalp like shampoo does. If nothing else, limit your shampooing to twice a week.
15. Swap in natural products. Once you feel that your hair is on the mend, ease your way back into the world of products by using a natural brand, like Rahua. (Who knows—you might even decide to stick with it for the long haul.)
16. Clarify with ACV. Don't let the intense smell scare you away—apple cider vinegar blasts away product buildup, increases your hair's propensity to absorb moisture, and conditions strands, leaving your mane looking healthy and luminous.
17. Make a mask. Because while there are a lot of great ones available to buy, you probably only have to rummage around in your pantry to find a great hydrating treatment. Olive oil, honey, and coconut oil all work. Whatever you're using, massage it in from scalp to ends, leave it in for as long as possible, and rinse thoroughly.
18. Lose the heat tools. For a short time, anyway. If you've been using a flatiron, curling iron, or even a blow-dryer on a regular basis, chances are your strands could use a breather. With a few weeks of air-styling and adopting the other steps above, your mane will be back in fighting shape in no time.
Your Hair Detox Shopping List
What are your favourite ways to clean up your routine and get back to basics? Tell us your ideas in the comments below!