A good cleansing routine leaves your skin clean and healthy, and that’s the secret to young and healthy looking skin. Genes, the environment, and your lifestyle play a part, but if you don’t cleanse properly then everything else you put on top won’t work as effectively. I used to have clients that would buy expensive moisturizers and not cleanse properly. Once they did, then everything worked so much better. Cleansing should be quick and simple; the best cleansers contain some oils in them that attract the dirt and sebum (like a magnet) and are gentle on the skin. There are two parts to cleansing—removing any make-up, then washing the face. Here is the low down on how effective the cleansing methods are.
This does lead to the question of what products to use, which are better and safer? The most expensive aren’t always better, organic and natural products aren’t always as effective, and organic products can lead to allergies and can go off much faster. It’s personal preference, and also depends on budget and lifestyle, but always cleanse at least twice a day— that will help avoid a build up of dead skin cells which slows down skin renewal, which is essential for healthy glowing skin.
Depending on how much make-up you are wearing these should be oil based formulas to dissolve the foundation (which has oils) and all the other layers. It may require a couple of applications, then follow up with washing the face.
One step/all in one cleansers
These are more of a convenience and were created for a market where women wanted products that saved time and were multi-functional. Most will contain some moisturizing ingredient too, but these are not deep cleansers and are fine for light make-up removal. If you consider that you have to apply using a cotton pad, it can get expensive in the long run, and you should still follow with washing your face and a toner. Many may say you don’t need to, but I found those who followed this advice ended up with a residue build up as the skin wasn’t properly cleansed.
Efficiency rating: 2/5
A modern day convenience with so many choices: exfoliating, age defying, sensitive, and acne wipes are available. They are great for make-up artists, travelers, models, actors, and those on the go, but you can’t flush them so consider how green are you being? Some baby wipes are better value and much softer than some wipes that are available, but they are useful, but don’t cleanse thoroughly, but are more for make-up removal. Use them if you are going away for a weekend, or keep some by your bed if you get in late and don’t have the energy to wash your face. Long term it is expensive and you still need to rinse your face with hot water afterwards to remove any excess residue, and use a rehydrating lotion.
Efficiency rating: 3/5
The latest fad is from France; micellar water is a cleanser with micellar bubbles that attract dirt and lift them out of the skin. It’s a clear cleansing lotion and if you use it to remove make-up, you may need several applications. The attraction is that it looks nice and feels fresh, but by using cotton wool, again it can be expensive and also cotton wool contains some wood chips that can scratch the skin. Most claim that you don’t need a toner afterwards, but depending on your skin type, you may need to. Don’t forget these products are advertised to save you time— it doesn’t mean it is better for your skin in the long term.
Efficiency rating: 2/5 (No different from the one step cleanser, except for the use of micellar technology. A cleanser doesn’t stay on the skin, so effects and benefits do not last.)
Cleansing milks/ lotions/creams
The traditional creams and lotions can be applied with the fingertips or on a cotton pad, and then are rinsed or tissued off. It’s an economical and also a safe way to remove make-up. This method is less convenient than the facial wipes, but creams can dissolve away heavier make-up, leading to a deeper cleanse.
Efficiency rating: 3.5/5
In recent years more companies have produced cleansing oils, because they gently cleanse without too much effort. The oil attracts the sebum in the skin and dissolves it once it comes into contact with warm water. The only downside is that it can be a little messy and you must use warm water to rinse the oil away. It’s not that convenient for traveling, but for dehydrated skin, or those who wear a lot of make-up this is a good choice. I personally have never liked the feel of oil on my skin, and that is another obstacle; the psychological barrier of putting oil on the face. Once you try this, you will find the skin is softer and cleanses quickly.
Efficiency rating: 3.75/5 (A great way to cleanse, but isn’t good for traveling or if there is no hot water available.)
Facial cleansing bars
Moisturizing and cleansing bars avoid the word ‘soap’ because it conjures up images of dryness. These days, bars are more advanced and are economical and efficient. You can use this to remove light make-up too, but make sure you use warm/hot water to create a good lather.
Efficiency rating: 3.5/5
Foaming or rinse off cleansers gels/mousses
These can be used to remove make-up and to wash the face, but often you will need more than one application. These are the most efficient cleansers as they dissolve make-up and also dirt and sebum.
Efficiency rating: 4/5
Your cleansing routine should be adapted to your lifestyle and also the seasons. Listen to your skin and if something doesn’t feel right then change it. You can use a product for years and then something changes; either the company changes the formula, or if you have been on medication it can change your skin type. If you think a product is causing a reaction, try a patch test on the neck area and see how the skin reacts during the day. Also consider if you have food allergies or intolerances—natural products with these ingredients (or extracts) may cause a reaction too.
Beauty Super Spy Tips
- If you are trying a new cleanser, use it at night and see if there are any reactions. It allows you to discover whether it is right or not.
- Invest in a muslin facial cloth or a face flannel from The Body Shop. They are gentler on the skin and will save money on tissues and cotton wool.
- Warm up any cleanser in the palm of the hand first so you don’t have to pull at the skin.
- Rinse until there are no traces of make-up left. Your toner is not to remove the last traces of make-up.