Welcome to your first day of skincare school! In this series, we’ll be going over the key steps in a basic, healthy skincare routine. What steps there are, what order to do them in, and how to choose products for each step.
First up, lesson one: Cleansing
Cleansing your face properly is, we’d argue, the single most important step you can take to achieve healthier-looking skin. Cleansing provides a clean, prepped base for the next steps of your routine. Cleansing thoroughly is also the first step in combatting acne. In the cleanser category, we’re including bar soaps, gels, foams, milks, lotions, creams, powders, balms, oils and scrubs meant for daily use.
A good cleanser should:
Dissolve oils and sweat
Dissolve makeup and sunscreen
And in some cases, help remove dead skin cells at the surface
A cleanser should not:
Leave face feeling tight or dry
Leave a noticeable residue or film
Tug or pull at skin; it should glide over skin
Have plastic microbeads
How do you cleanse?
Watch this video. The key point here is that you are being gentle with the pressure and thorough with the number of strokes and time spent cleansing. We’ve tried her thermal water pre-saturation technique and actually like it quite a bit.
How often do you cleanse?
Everyone can make their own decisions as to what works best for their skin. That said, if you ask us, you should be cleansing before you apply any products to your face. For us that means cleansing in the morning and cleansing in the evening. Sometimes (maybe once a week?) we go without a morning cleanse if it’s a product-free day, but we never, ever skip cleansing before going to bed. If your face has been subjected to a lot of sweat (post-workout or maybe in hot weather) or chlorine (pool) or tears (oh no! feel better soon!), it’s also a good time to cleanse. You don’t want salt or chlorine staying on your face; they’re drying.
You have so many options when it comes to gadgets, cloths, sponges, mitts, etc. to use as you wash your face. This is getting into exfoliating territory, which we will cover in another lesson, so here we’ll stick to the very basics. Unless you have very sensitive skin or are cleansing in the morning (with no makeup or sunscreen to wash off), you could probably benefit from using a muslin or washcloth to – very gently! – remove your cleanser, as a last step, *especially* if you are acne or clog prone. This could be all you need as a daily exfoliation step.
Which kind of cleanser should I use?
A universal recommendation is Kahina Facial Cleanser. It is non-drying, dissolves oil and other substances, and has willow bark and blue tansy (both great for calming skin!). The milky texture allows you to do the “swimming” strokes mentioned in the above video and thoroughly work the cleanser around your face for enough time to actually dissolve impurities and cleanse. Kahina’s Facial Cleanser works for all skin types.
Any advice for those of us who prefer a different kind of cleanser?
The number one rule of skincare is: use what works for you. Seems pretty easy, right? For normal skin types, totally. For problematic skin types, it’s a guessing game as to which skin care products will truly get you the results you want. If you’re having problems getting clear skin, try some of the cleansing techniques above, and also heed the advice below:
If you are using cleansers in the form of balms or oils, please be very attentive to whether they are fully rinsing off. A lot of times oils and balms have a hard time emulsifying and therefore don’t rinse off completely. This could cause an uptick in breakouts.
Another popular form of cleanser in the green beauty world is clay or powder, to which you might need to add water or honey. It depends on the formula, but without surfactants to dissolve oils/sunscreen/makeup, these cleansers don’t really “cleanse”, they just exfoliate, and are possibly irritating. Again, keep an eye on your skin’s condition if you go this route with a cleanser. A dry cleanser might be fine to use a couple times of week in the morning, but may not be appropriate for some skin types for daily (morning and evening) cleanses.
Hope this primer on cleansing was helpful. We’ll be covering other topics soon, from exfoliating to choosing the right moisturizer & treatment products, so stay tuned!