In the wake of the whirlwind brought by the party and holiday season, our skin often reflects the merriment in less than flattering ways (think blemishes, lacklustre skin, dark circles, and severe dehydration). Late nights, overindulgence, and sugar and alcohol consumption can leave us in need of a skin detox.
Akin to pressing the reset button for your complexion, a skin detox is designed to cleanse away the traces of late nights and one too many glasses of Champagne. As the confetti settles, the quest for glowing, healthy, and hydrated skin takes centre stage, and who better to ask than Los Angeles’ go-to skin guru and aesthetician, Shani Darden?
Initially by appointment only, Darden's eponymous studio in Beverly Hills is a hotspot for Hollywood's finest (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jessica Alba, and Chrissy Teigen are among her client list). She's known for her magic touch to achieve perfect red carpet skin and her award-winning skincare line that actually transforms skin. We've tapped into her wisdom to find out how to detox your skin in the New Year for a fresh, healthy glow.
'Throughout the festive season, those late nights combined with travel, refined carbs and that extra glass of wine or handful of chocolate can make your skin look more dull and dehydrated,' Darden explains. 'It also impacts your natural cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which causes your body to overproduce oils, leading to breakouts and inflammation.'
So, here are her five rules for the ultimate skin detox to restore a healthy glow.
1. Give yourself an at-home facial
After the festivities and New Year's Eve, come January, those late nights are probably showing in your complexion. 'Try this brightening, rejuvenating and hydrating six-step facial at home – your skin will thank you for it,' says Darden. Start with a gentle cleanser to remove all traces of makeup dirt and oils. Try Shani Darden's Cleansing Serum, a super hydrating that helps calm any irritation or redness, or the Dr Jart+ Cicapair Foaming Face Wash, which is great for drier or sensitive skin types.
Next, a facial tool like Shani Darden's Facial Sculpting Wand can help tighten, tone, and lift the face. 'It's a vibration therapy device that helps to boost your skin's oxygen uptake to give you an amazing glow and prepare your skin for the next steps, says Darden.' Follow with a gentle peel: 'my Triple Acid Signature Peel is a two-step peel powered by lactic, glycolic, and mandelic acids to resurface and brighten, followed by a neutralising mask to refine pores and cleanse further.' For a quick fix, Elemis' Dynamic Resurfacing Pads use a unique probiotic and enzyme complex to gently exfoliate.
Hydration is critical after exfoliation. The Shani Darden Signature Nourishing Facial Mask soothes the skin with barrier-protecting squalane and colloidal oatmeal to calm any redness, and kaolin and bentonite clay to decongest. 'I love LED light masks, and using them just 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference,' say Darden. 'Do a session on clean skin, and pair it with a quick meditation for extra calming benefits.'
Finally, finish your pamper with a hydrating serum and non-comedogenic moisturiser. The Kiehl's Ultra Pure High-Potency Serum 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid uses just seven ingredients, the hero being hyaluronic acid, to hydrate and plump the skin. 'My Hydration Peptide Cream is a rich, oil-free moisturiser that won't clog your pores but intensely hydrates, leaving you with supple skin,' says Darden.
2. Use a humidifier while you sleep
Using a humidifier during winter is essential to keeping your skin hydrated. 'Your skin is already at risk for transepidermal water loss overnight while it's in repair mode, and this is exacerbated when the air is drier and the heating is on,' explains Darden. 'A humidifier will help to offset that and add moisture back into the air to keep skin comfortable and hydrated. Turn it on while you sleep and always try to get a full eight-hour snooze to help your skin repair.’
3. Retinol is your skin's best friend
'Retinol is the one thing I recommend to all my clients – the long-term and immediate benefits are unparalleled,' says Darden. 'It boosts healthy elasticity and provides a smoother, brighter, more youthful-looking complexion. My Retinol Reform uses encapsulated retinol, which delivers a consistent slow release of retinol, combined with lactic acid to exfoliate gently.'
4. Stay hydrated and focus on whole, unprocessed foods
What you eat will show up on your skin. The festive period is filled with alcohol, sugar, salty snacks, and rich, indulgent foods. 'Reset your diet with whole, unprocessed foods and up your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables,' says Darden. 'Though drinking water doesn't directly impact your skin's hydration, it's important to stay hydrated to keep your body functioning properly and help flush out toxins.’
5. Stay active
While your holiday calendar was no doubt filled with countless festivities and family gatherings, finding time for the gym was probably the last thing on your to-do list. So, ensure you stay active in the New Year. 'Exercise promotes better circulation, increases blood flow, oxygenates skin cells and flushes out toxins, leaving your skin with a healthy glow and clearer complexion,' notes Darden.
Shop your skin detox essentials
Shani Darden The Complete Collection
All the skincare essentials you need to reset your skin for a 'new year, new me' glow. Choose normal to dry or normal to oily, depending on your skin type.
Déesse Pro Mask
An LED light mask clinically proven to stimulate a cellular response to clear acne, reduce pigmentation, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Shani Darden Facial Sculpting Wand
A vibration therapy device that uses high-performance sound wave technology to target wrinkles on a deeper level, boost circulation, reduce puffiness, and optimise oxygen intake.
Canopy Bedside Humidifier
Helps your skin retain moisture to keep it hydrated and glowing. This one has a small size but significant power.
Stanley Quencher H2.0 Flowstate Tumbler
An aesthetically pleasing tumbler that holds 1.2 litres of water to help you reach your hydration goals.
APL Techloom Dream
The most comfortable and supportive workout shoe for running, nature walks, grocery shopping, and everything in between.
Imagine breezing into one of the world's most exclusive spas for a complimentary treatment. Or sitting down for a consultation with industry-leading practitioners and experts. You'll feel your best inside and out with a Quintessentially membership – find out more here.