You can improve your skin with a simple weekend detox—and it doesn't involve fasting, purging, or a complete rearrangement of your life. There are some quick and easy methods like massages and facials that flush out waste and toxins. Follow our step-by-step routine and wake up Monday morning with a fresh, radiant complexion.
Clear the clutter. Simply straightening up the junk on your coffee table or doing a load of laundry will prepare you for the inner cleansing to come.
Stock the fridge. During your weekend detox, you want to fill your body with healthy foods such as fresh fruits (cranberries, apples, and grapes) and vegetables (look for broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes)—their antioxidants help repair, and prevent, damage to your skin—and lean protein (chicken, turkey, and tofu). Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and all refined and processed foods.
Purge your products. When your skin acts up, the last thing you want to do is slather on a plethora of potions and serums. The same goes for a detox. To give your skin time to rebalance, put away everything except your cleanser, day lotion, and night cream.
Drink warm tea. Look for blends that include nettle, ginger, or burdock, dandelion, or sarsaparilla root—herbs and flowers known to calm inflammation and improve liver and kidney function. "These teas help eliminate puffiness around the eyes and decongest your skin," says Tierney P. Salter, a medical herbalist. If you need a caffeine hit, try green tea: It has less of the stimulant and lots of antioxidants.
Give yourself a massage. "Encourage the elimination of waste by manually moving lymph through the lymphatic system," says Kristine Kaoverii Weber, author of Healing Self-Massage (Collins & Brown, 2005). Concentrate on massaging the neck, armpits, stomach, groin, and behind the knees—areas where there are a lot of lymph nodes.
Fake a facial at home. Pour hot water into a small bowl and add a few drops of a citrus essential oil. Soak a hand towel in the water, then wring out and drape over your face. Lie down for ten minutes and let the steam open your pores, prepping your skin for the detoxifying mask that follows. Look for masks made with clay, which absorbs excess oil and pulls toxins and impurities out, while adding in necessary minerals.
Scrub your body. Wake up your senses with a sloughing session in the shower. Exfoliate with a product that contains coffee to remove dead, dulling skin cells, boost circulation, and pump toxins from the body.
Sweat it out. Light exercise—a brisk walk, jumping rope, yoga—helps eliminate toxins from your body. "The deep breathing of yoga stimulates the lymphatic system. It also brings cleansing oxygen into the body with each inhale, and expels waste on each exhale," says Weber, who is also a yoga teacher in Asheville, N.C. Try sun salutations, which nurture as well as detoxify, or twisting poses to activate the digestive system.
Apply a mask. At the end of your detox, you'll want to nourish and calm your complexion. Spread a few tablespoons of raw honey over your face. Next, apply cucumber slices on top of the honey then lie down. Cover your face with a warm, damp washcloth to allow the honey, a natural humectant, to seal in moisture. Honey's anti–inflammatory properties also help reduce irritation and redness. Cucumbers, which act as diuretics, will further flush out excess fluid and relieve any remaining puffiness.