How to Detox Your Skin

S.W. Basics founder Adina Grigore shows us the ropes.

Adina Grigore
The idea for Adina Grigore’s skincare line, S.W. Basics, came from a personal need for products that didn’t drive her sensitive skin crazy. After years of trying everything under the sun with no relief—even so-called “natural” products irritated her skin—she turned to making her own remedies right in her kitchen. She created her own formulas using simple ingredients like olive oil and sea salt, perfected the recipes through trial and error and, ultimately, experienced major relief. “At that point, there was nowhere to go but forward with this. Why would I ever go back to my old way of caring for my skin?”
She wanted to share her revelation with others, so she started hosting workshops, teaching people struggling with the same skin sensitivities how to create simple products for themselves. “People loved the workshops, but I realized that, while they loved the idea of making their own products, they wanted to be able to buy something that was just as good for them. At the time, before organic skincare took off, your only options were to either make your own products or go buy something with tons of ingredients that was created in a lab.” Adina got to work perfecting her own formulas, and her line, S.W. Basics, was born.

Adina's next step? Take her message to the masses. She began writing a book, The Skin Cleanse, the primary premise of which is that you first have to detox your skin so that when you introduce natural skincare, you're starting with a completely clean slate. (We had our reservations, so we tasked our copywriter, Tess, with giving Adina's signature Skin Cleanse a try—see her experience, and the detox plan, below.) After completing the cleanse, in which you stop using products altogether, you can begin reintroducing soaps, toners and moisturizers gradually, although, according to Adina, the only ones worth using are those that are completely natural. Not sure where to start or what to use? Her book includes a DIY section that gives all-natural recipes for skincare concoctions you can whip up in your kitchen. In fact, when she first launched S.W. Basics, Adina was making the products in her own kitchen. Today, they’re sold in 500 Target locations around the country. The retail giant approached her to talk about a partnership while she was in the middle of writing her book, but she couldn’t pass up the chance to fulfill a major personal goal—making truly natural skincare available to everyone. “When your dreams come true you have to respond. You can’t just say ‘Oh no, I’m too busy for this right now.’ So we buckled down and did it right—without changing the quality of our formulas. That was my number one priority, because S.W. Basics is built on offering high quality formulas with as few ingredients as possible. If you take that away, you take away the foundation of the brand.” Target gave them the time and resources to do it right, and just last month, named them one of 31 brands in their Made to Matter program. Here, Adina shares the first step to glowing skin—the cleanse. Having seen the results on Tess firsthand, we're happy to vouch: it works!

How to Detox Your Skin

SW Basics Skin Cleanse

1. Keep a journal

Write down every single product you’re putting on your skin. This includes the things you’d expect—skin products, makeup and hair products—and some you wouldn’t—hand soap, dish soap and laundry detergent.

Tess's Experience

"It was eye-opening to see how many different products my skin is subjected to each day. On the first day of journaling, I used 234 ingredients on my skin. 234!"SW Basics Skin Cleanse

2. Get rid of expired products

Most mainstream products have preservatives in them, but even those won’t work forever. Rancid products could be wreaking havoc on your skin without you realizing they’re the culprit.

Tess's Experience

"I had to throw out half my makeup during this step. Buh-bye, two-year-old cream blush. (Yes, I now realize how gross that is.)"SW Basics Skin Cleanse

3. Cleanse and nourish

The “cleanse” part means giving up beauty products. Adina lays out three levels of cleansing, which range in intensity from dip-your-toes (limiting yourself to three products max for one day) to dive-right-in (going cold-turkey for up to a week). The “nourish” part means concocting your own beauty products using recipes from The Skin Cleanse.

Tess's Experience

"I went with level two, which sits right in the middle. The rules? No products at all for one day. I went all in on level two. I didn’t wash my face or wear makeup—I didn’t even shower (I did this on a Sunday so I could avoid going out in public). I mastered level two, except for one thing—I didn’t make my beauty products. I cheated and used the SW Basics moisturizer, which only has three, very nourishing, natural ingredients. Not bad, right?"SW Basics Skin Cleanse

4. Admire your beautiful skin

Look in the mirror and you’ll probably see that your skin is clearer and calmer. You might also notice that, as you reintroduce your usual products, they work better, and that you’re more aware of how your skin reacts to different things.

Tess's Experience

"I had a lot of redness before the cleanse. After the cleanse, it was incredibly calm, as though the redness was my skin begging for a break from all the products, and a day off was just what it needed."


Illustrations from Adina's book Skin Cleanse, by Libby VanderPloeg