The Skin Clearing Cleanse French Women Swear By

Detoxing can be a headache, literally and figuratively. Many are confusing to get your head around, but The Three-Day Grape Cleanse is simple. It’s a mono-diet, where all you eat for three days are red and white organic grapes. It sounds completely mad, but French women swear by this cleanse with many undertaking it once each year.

The results are synonymous with many other detoxes—more energy and a flatter stomach (hello, too tight jeans), but this cleanse has complexion benefits too: think glowing, smooth, plump skin. Mathilde Thomas, founder of beauty brand Caudalie, is one of the detox’s devotees and has dedicated a whole chapter to it in her new book The French Beauty Solution (£18).

Keep reading for how to do The Three-Day Grape Cleanse.



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This type of detox has been carried out by French women for almost a century, with the first French spa (soins thérapeutique) offering a grape cleanse in 1927. In 1990, the Terre Vivante association conducted a controlled study of 500 people—instructing them to live off only grapes. It demonstrated that the grape 'cure' is an effective way to ‘revitalise the body’ with 90 percent of the people involved in the study seeing positive changes in their energy and well-being.

Thomas recommends committing to the grape cleanse for just three days, she has been doing it every year since 1998 (except for when she was pregnant). In that short time-frame of 72 hours she sees improvements in her skin—but is also less fatigued, sleeps more soundly and finds her body is better at eliminating waste (thanks to all the fibre in the fruit).

100g of grapes contains 78-82g water, 16-18g carbohydrates (mostly glucose and fructose) and 0.7g protein. They also contain a combination of vitamins and minerals drawn from the soil including mineral salts that have an alkalising effect on the body and grape-seed oil which is high in Vitamin E. Grapes are also rich in polyphenols (found in the skin and seeds) which help to mop up free radicals in our system.

  • Choose as many different varieties of grapes as you can, but remember the darker grapes have more polyphenols.
  • Make sure to buy enough grapes! You are going to be eating anywhere from four to six pounds of grapes each day.
  • Prepare your body by eating a clean diet for a week before—primarily fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid coffee, alcohol and red meat.
  • Do the cleanse when you’re not too busy—such as a weekend.
  • Be aware that you can expect headaches and a few spots during the cleanse.
  • Exercise throughout—a long walk or gentle stretching is ideal.
  • On an empty stomach drink eight ounces of freshly squeezed grape juice (you can make this by putting whole grapes into a blender).
  • Eat only grapes – including the skin and seeds.
  • Drink water, herbal tea, green tea or Rooibos tea.
  • Eat small ‘meals’ of grapes.
  • Get an early night.

Repeat as Day One. 

Continue drinking eight ounces of grape juice first thing—20-minutes before breakfast.

Ease yourself back into a normal diet routine with foods and drinks that are easy to digest. Avoid processed foods—Thomas recommends homemade ratatouille or sushi as you’ll probably be craving savoury foods.

The Three-Day Grape Cleanse is a chance to reset your cravings and portion sizes. After eating and drinking just grapes, water and tea your cravings for sweet, salty and overly processed foods should have diminished. Oh, and you should find your favourite pair of jeans just that little bit looser.

Before undertaking any kind of new diet or detox be sure to check with your GP first.

Would you try The Three-Day Grape Cleanse? Let us know in the comment box below.