Through my not-so-long life (21 years on this planet so far) I’ve used tons of different cleansers and visited at least three dermatologists, have been through different medications and tried several chemical peelings that did nothing to my face. Though cleansing might not seem so important and not worth investing in, I hope I will help you change your mind and share with you my views on it.
Of course, I’m no dermatologist, I speak for myself and for my experience and research on the topic.
First of all, cleansing has to be the first step of any skincare routine, morning and night. Don’t even think about going to bed without having properly cleansed your skin (from make-up and from all the dirt that is on your face). The same goes for the morning. During the night your skin produces sebum and absorbs all the things you have put on the night before, so in the morning you want to make sure you get rid of all the residue before putting on your make-up. Hence, cleanse your skin twice a day.
No, the shower doesn’t count. The simple fact of having water running on your face, doesn’t make it clean! You need to use a product that has ingredients inside capable of bonding with the dirt and removing it. No excuses 😉
If you do have a shower, cleanse your skin after you come out. After.
This probably goes without saying: don’t go to bed with your make up on. No, face wipes do not count. You need water, a cleanser and a flannel to wash your face (flannel is optimal but optional). Anything else is not a cleanse.
Now…onto what cleanser you ought to use. I can only name some cleansers that have worked well for me (see more here and here). You have to find out which one works well for you, and keep trying new products and experiment with texture. In general my recommendation is: no foaming. Stay away from it. I personally look at the label on the cleanser, if it contains the word “foaming” I leave it on the shelf.
A brief note on this. During the years my acne was most acute, I always used foaming cleansers, recommended by dermatologists and unprepared shopping assistants. Did they improve my skin in any way? No they did not. They give you the feeling of a deep cleanse and non-oily skin, but you’ll see this effect lasts no time at all and it actually stimulates your skin to produce even more sebum than before. Why? Because of the ingredients they contain. What makes the foam? The same one that makes washing-up liquid foam, strong and aggressive ingredients (many of which are in shampoos, too) called surfactants.
I would recommend a milk cleanser, a gel cleanser, a non-foaming or oil cleanser. Balms are great too. Try to see what your skin reacts better to. You are the person who knows your skin best.
How to wash your face
Good cleansers work best if applied to dry skin, so they can better bond with the dirt on the surface. You may need to add a bit of water to emulsify them later, but that depends on the cleanser. I started using flannels a year ago and I think this is the best way of removing the product from your face. You take the piece of cloth, dampen it in warm water and then use it to take off everything that is on your face. It is a great feeling and I find it to be more efficient that just splashing water on my face. If you use this method, please do not use the same flannel more than twice. Buy at least 5 and then you can wash all of them once a week with your laundry.
What to do if you are wearing make-up or SPF
Here comes the explanation of the difference between the first cleanse and second cleanse/AM cleanse. If you follow the beauty community, you might have heard of it.
It all comes from the idea that when you are wearing make-up (or Spf) you need to wash your face twice.
This is when you take off the makeup. You can use your micellar water with cotton pads, face-wipes (if you really have to) or, and this is the best option, a good cleansing balm or oil designed for this purpose. Some examples: Clinique ‘Take the Day Off’ Balm, TheBodyShop Camomile Cleansing Butter.
And no, after this you are not ready to put moisturizer on, nor are you ready for bed.
This is when you really cleanse your skin of all the dirt, going beyond the surface. Here I recommend you use a good cleanser, so that after this step your skin is in the perfect shape to receive all the good stuff you apply afterward (serums, toner, creams, depending on your routine).
So the kind of cleanser that you use for your second cleanse will be the same one you use in the morning. That means a good quality cleanser that probably isn’t designed just to take off make-up, but rather to cleanse skin, make it comfortable and go further than a simple make-up remover would go.
That’s why people often refer to cleansers either as AM cleanse/second cleanse or first cleanse (AKA make-up removal cleanse).
I hope I mentioned everything!
Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below
Have a lovely day!
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