Does Your Skin Actually Need A Makeup Detox?

Sable Yong


We are fans of natural beauty as much as the next girl, but you cannot deny the fabulous and gorgeous look of an all-out dramatic makeup look. Our contouring, our brow-definers, and our lipstick chameleon ways are probably to blame for this! It’s one of the most fun parts of being a girl. Have you ever thought about ditching all of that in favor of healthy skin though? For anyone who dares to never leave the house without a swipe of mascara and lipstick on, this may not be your utmost concern, but those hiding irritated or broken-out skin underneath layers of complexion makeup, you’re not going to like it, but it may be for your own good. It’s a cyclical pattern that makeup has the ability to irritate our skin but also beautify it. Do you need to just chuck it all though? Don’t burn that foundation yet—before you get puritanical about your cosmetic use (unless you want to, of course), consider your own skin’s needs before woefully eschewing all makeup.

MORE: 7 Reason to  Take A Break From Makeup

Your Skin Is Stronger Than You Might Think. Lots of camps like to spout theories to scare you about the fact that your body absorbs some arbitrary percentage of cosmetics into your bloodstream a year. They could very well be underestimating your skin. The way your skin works is that it’s a natural barrier to the outside world, containing several different layers, all of which contain cells that make it very difficult for chemicals to get past them. But those aside, your skin is strangely both oil and water loving/hating at different levels. The outermost level repels water (which is why we don’t absorb water when we get caught out in the rain) but it does absorb oil. And then, inner layers contain more water, making it difficult for oil to penetrate deeper, since oil and water never mix. So there’s already a natural balance of keeping things out of your body from topical application, not to mention all your skin cells whose duty it is to protect you and oust any foreign and potentially harmful substances.

All bits accounted for? Not that we are blaming mascara–which we love–because it’s not necessarily mascara’s fault, or any other cosmetic’s fault for that matter. But sometimes application can be the damaging factor, not the thing you’re applying. For instance, improper use of tools like an eyelash curler can eventually render you lashless. Sad. Or caking on your mascara and not washing it off at night is very stressful for your delicate lash follicles, causing them to drop off like flies. When wielded incorrectly or when used past its welcome, makeup can be something you’re using despite yourself. As long as you use everything in its intended manner and purpose, you lessen the chance that they’ll betray you. This also goes for keeping all your makeup and makeup tools clean. Do clean brushes regularly because bacteria finds a way to live in them. Disinfecting your makeup itself may be a good idea, especially if you’ve used it while sick or you tend to share your makeup.

Skin Doesn’t Breathe. In James Bond’s Goldfinger, one of his love interests is supposedly murdered with “epidermal suffocation” in which her entire body is painted gold—a rather glamorous way to die. At the time the movie was filmed (1964) it was widely believed that epidermal suffocation was a real thing—the film crew painted the actress’s body, leaving one small square of bare skin and there was even a doctor on set in case she felt ill. Nowadays it’s been proven that skin doesn’t perform any respiratory actions so painting a body isn’t an effective murder strategy. Nor does your skin “suffocate” with frequent foundation wear. Foundation can obviously clog your pores (probably feeling like another form of suffocation), which is why you should make sure to find the right one for you. The fact is that makeup is also a protector of your skin—foundation being a pretty good one. As long as you find one that’s compatible, you’re really not harming your skin, you’re just adding another layer of protection from the outside elements (dirt, germs, UV rays).

How Often and How Much? If you’re a daily BB cream/tinted moisturizer kind of person and your skin experiences no irritation or reaction to them, you’re pretty much fine. There’s no “what if I’m holding back my skin from looking its best?” about that. In truth, your skin’s health has much, if not more, to do with your diet and genetics as it does with what you put on it. That said, if you wear full coverage foundation daily and your skin feels dull or broken out, there’s a chance that foundation has a hand in that. Lots of cosmetics contain minor irritants that may not bother you enough to sacrifice the desired effect, but over time can cause your skin to suffer.

Choose wisely. If you’re a beauty junkie who’s always scouring the beauty aisle of drugstores or picking up the latest new products, well, join the club. If your skin however is so unpredictable and misbehaving, your beauty habit may be at fault. It could be that your skin is constantly acclimating to new products with potentially irritating ingredients, or that one product you’re consistently using contains an ingredient (or several) that doesn’t agree with your skin. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and your skin is still throwing a tantrum, go easy on it. Stop using any new products you picked up in the past month and go back to basics. Try and eliminate what products illicit a bad reaction and then study the ingredient list—there may be a common culprit.

MORE: Need To Know Makeup Tips For Acne Prone Skin