Monday, 21 March 2016

Cleansing 101 - Dos and Don'ts.

Anyone who knows me will know that I love skincare. I've spent the last 18 months researching skin care, collecting advice from specialists, researching ingredients, and most importantly, trying products on my skin. I have found a very good routine now, that works well for me. I considered writing about my skincare routine, and I think I will do, but I'd like to compile a few posts first, detailing what I've learned, as different things work for different people. As cleansing is the first step in any skincare routine, I figured I'd start there.

So many people find cleansing confusing, and understandably so. There are so many products on the market that promise to be everything you need, but don't measure up. After using many of them myself I feel it can be disheartening, and after being basically lied to by some companies, can leave you not knowing who or what to trust. Here I'm going to write you a quick guide to cleansing, and you can get all the tips you need.

What is cleansing?
Cleansing is the act if washing your face. Cleaning, cleansing. You should do this every day, twice a day. I know I know, if you're not used to it, it seems like a lot.

When should I cleanse?
You should cleanse in the morning when you get up, and at night before you go to bed. If you have been wearing makeup or sun block during the day, then you need to double-cleanse at night.

What is a double-cleanse?
A double-cleanse is exactly what it sounds like, you do it twice, BUT

- For your first cleanse, you should use a specific makeup remover. You should remove your makeup or sun block first before washing your face, it makes sense really, otherwise you'd just be smushing makeup around your face. This is what micellar waters are for, they are not suitable for your second cleanse. This is also what cleansing oils and balms are for.
N.B Cleansing oils are great, if you have dry skin, but most people's skin isn't dry allover, or dry all year.

For your second cleanse, you can use your facial wash, but not just any facial wash will do, read on for more details.

Morning - one cleanse with facial wash.

Evening (if wearing makeup or sun block) - one cleanse with makeup remover, another cleanse with facial wash.


For your morning cleanse/second part of double cleanse (face wash)

DON'T - Use foaming facial soap. By this I mean the special ones for acne (what a joke) but also, any soap that creates bubbles. The foam is created by an ingredient called 'sodium chloride'. Those of us who know anything at all about chemistry know that sodium is salt. Why would anyone put salt on their face? It's so drying. You know what it feels like to get salt in a cut? Or how your skin feels when you've been swimming? Not good. And if you have oily skin and think it drying out is good, you'd be wrong. Making your skin dryer may cause it to produce even more oil, which we don't want. Also, foams leave the surface of your face alkaline, when it should be slightly acidic. Alkali surfaces attract bacteria, and bacteria = spots.

DO - Use a non-foaming facial wash. If you're not sure what these are then I will list some great ones below in the product recommendations. These usually feel like a milk or oil and they get all the dirt off your face without doing any damage.

DON'T - Wet your face before you apply your face wash. You can wet it after to help spread the face wash around. All that would happen is the water would stop the face wash from cleansing your skin properly, it acts like a barrier.

DON'T - Use hot water. The water should be warm, but if it's too hot it'll scald your face. Remember that the skin on your face is sensitive! You have lots of nerve endings in your fingers so run them under the water and if it's uncomfortable, then the water is too hot for your face.

DO - Use a face cloth. There's so much advice out there that says not to, but honestly, how can you exfoliate your face with just your hands? Okay so they're a 'breeding ground' for bacteria, well it's simple. Buy 8 face cloths, (they're cheap if you know where to look) one for each day of the week and one for wash day. Use them for one day, wash them once a week, and you have clean face cloths every day.

DON'T - Use fabric softener when you wash your face cloths.

For the first part of your second cleanse (makeup removers etc)

DO - Use something that breaks down makeup. Something specific like micellar waters, cleansing oils, cleansing balms, cleansing milks, etc.

DON'T - Use baby wipes. They're incredibly drying for your skin. Just no. Put the baby wipes down. I know that they're 'quick and easy' but so is putting a balm on your face, rubbing it around, and rinsing it off. In fact, the balms are quicker because they actually get the makeup off, you don't have to keep rubbing at your face, and they don't leave your eyes raw from trying to wipe off waterproof eye makeup with a slightly moist piece of fabric, made from the same materials as dryer sheets. The only thing that makes proper cleansing more difficult than using baby wipes, is you have to be at the sink.

Product Recommendations

For your morning cleanse/second part of double cleanse (face wash)

- Clinique 'Facial Soap Extra Mild' - £16.50 for 200ml
Not mild, extra mild. The mild is foaming and has salt in it, gross on your face. One tip I will give you though - don't get it in your eyes. Or mouth. The consistency is like a milk. There is barely a smell with this product, which I love because strong scents on the face are unpleasant, the little scent it does have smells sort of, anti-bacterial ish. I like it, it feels super clean. It also leaves the skin feeling really hydrated. This is my #1 choice.

About it, Paula's Choice/Beautypedia says;
"A true lotion cleanser, it does not contain any detergent cleansing agents, and so is actually a smart choice for someone with sensitive or easily irritated skin (and infinitely better for skin than any of Clinique’s bar soaps)." and gives it 5 stars.

- Soap and Glory 'The Ultimelt' - £10 for 100ml
This is a cream formula, much thicker than the clinique, with quite a strong scent. It's not too unpleasant but if you don't like that sort of thing then this won't be for you. It's got a lot of essential oils in it, more for benefits than scent but if you've got sensitive skin I'd stay away. It very hydrating, and a very good product otherwise.

- Lush 'Ultrabland' - £11.95 for 100g
This is the thickest of the three. It's gentle and kind to sensitive skin however, it takes a couple of rinses with warm water to get all of the product off your face. As it is very thick I wouldn't recommend this for anyone with oily skin, but for drier skins this works great. It can also be used as a first cleanse to remove makeup.

For the first part of your double cleanse (makeup removers etc)

- Garnier 'Micellar Cleansing Water' - £4.99 for 400ml
This is honestly the best micellar water I have used. It's not greasy, and it's not too drying, so long as you don't wait hours after you've used it to do your second cleanse. I've heard that the formulation of this is the most similar to the Bioderma product. Bioderma are a french brand, and you can get the products here as of a year or so ago, but they're about £9-£11 per bottle. Garner is £4.99, and most of the time it's on offer in Boots at 1/3 off.

- Clinique 'Take the Day off Cleansing Oil' - £22 for 200ml
This 'Oil' is named so for it's consistency, but it doesn't actually contain any oil. It has all the benefits of oil cleansing, which include easily breaking down makeup, without making your face too greasy. N.B This also comes in milk and balm form, all three are great, it just depends on what you like working with. Milks for oily skins, heavier balms for drier skins. Also, as balms are thicker they're more likely to cause breakouts if you're prone.

I hope that you found this post informative, and I hope it all makes sense, there is a lot of information, I know. Let me know in the comments if you've tried/loved/hated any of the products or advice :)

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