Spring has sprung, and as the expression goes, it’s just the right time of year for “spring cleaning,” a focus on deep cleaning your home or personal space. But we also think it’s a great time to focus on the importance of effective cleansing for your skin, especially after a season of skin challenges. While it’s often leave-on products that get all the attention, the first step of your skincare routine, cleansing, can sometimes make or break your entire regimen! Read on to learn why -- we'll tell you about two different cleansing methods, how to choose the best cleanser for your skin, and the value of occasional deep cleansing for your skin’s health and radiance.
All cleansers are not created equally, so as the first step in your skincare routine, a well-chosen, quality cleanser can put you on the right track, while the wrong cleanser can cause an imbalance. Of course, a cleanser that’s not active enough will leave your skin with residual debris, and less than ideally prepped to benefit from topical anti-aging products. But, a more common mistake is to choose a cleanser that’s too strong, which can strip skin of its natural moisture, throw off its proper pH, and may cause irritation. All of those scenarios cause skin to put up its defenses, preventing it from optimizing the effects of potentially wonderful leave-on treatments. Serums and moisturizers are usually an investment, so it’s essential that we cleanse properly so they can do their best anti-aging and reparative work.
5 Signs Your Cleanser Is Too Strong For Your Skin:
- Your skin feels tight or dry after cleansing prior to applying your skincare
- Your skin becomes rough, or wrinkles become more pronounced after several uses
- Your skin becomes oilier or drier than usual throughout the day
- Your makeup doesn’t apply smoothly, or you experience flakiness
- You experience itchy skin or tingling/burning than doesn’t subside quickly
So how do you choose a cleanser? Start by identifying your skin type. Very dry and sensitive skin types should usually stick to cleansers that feature nourishing oils that hydrate while cleansing. Normal, combination, and oily skin types can benefit from these oils as well, but may like a more active, clarifying cleanser that provides some foaming action. That being said, very soapy conventional cleansers can be problematic for any skin type because they tend to be too alkaline. They can destroy the skin’s natural layer of defense against bacteria and moisture loss, and prevent the skin from transporting nutrients effectively.
4 Signs Your Cleanser Is A Good Fit For Your Skin:
- After cleansing, your skin feels clean and comfortable, not tight or “squeaky clean”
- Skin’s hydration stays fairly balanced throughout the day
- There’s not much residue to remove with a toner
- Paired with the right topicals, skin is clear, calm, and glowing
Oil Cleansers vs. Water-Based Cleansers
Most cleansers, especially those that avoid unnecessary chemicals, are either water-based or oil-based. “Water” may take the form of water, aqueous extracts, juice, or plant distillates. “Oil” may take the form of any number of plant oils or butters (avoid mineral oil, petroleum, or other synthetic oils). Each type of cleanser has its benefits, and many of us can use both.
Oil cleansers, like our Nutritive Oil Cleanser and Makeup Remover, will bond to other oil-based substances, like sebum and makeup, to effortlessly melt them away from the skin. Oils are especially helpful for thoroughly removing foundation and stubborn eye makeup. Massaging an oil cleanser on to the skin also gives you the perfect opportunity to take an extra minute to give your face a mini massage. This will relax tense facial muscles, which can contribute to the development of lines, and it can also stimulate the skin and improve circulation for a firmer, more glowing complexion. Oil cleansers should be rinsed off with very warm water, using a soft washcloth or sponge to thoroughly remove the oil. You’ll notice that your skin is calm and comfortable, clean, but not tight or dry.
Water-based cleansers are usually much lighter than oil cleansers and will often provide foaming action to break up and lift away dirt and debris. But very little of that soapy foaming action is really needed. Too much will disrupt the pH of the skin and leave it vulnerable to breakouts and accelerated aging. Our Salicylic Cleanser delivers a subtle foaming action (derived naturally from coconut oil, not sulfates) plus just the right amount of salicylic acid to clarify skin, diminish fine lines, and restore a healthy glow by dissolving dead skin cells.
Even after using a foaming, water-based cleanser, your skin should feel comfortable, and you shouldn’t feel rushed to put on your serums and moisturizer. If you do feel the telltale tightening feeling after cleansing, it's an indicator that your cleanser is probably too strong for daily use. This can also be confusing for combination and oily skin types. Often when the skin has been over-cleansed, excess oily shine can appear by late morning, giving the impression that your cleanser isn’t strong enough, when, in fact, a gentler cleanser would actually keep skin from over-producing oil by midday. And yet, other skin types may experience increased dryness and flaky skin during the day. The best measure is how your skin feels after cleansing. It should feel so balanced that it’s almost as if you could skip leave-on treatments all together.
The benefits of a two-phase cleansing process have begun to catch on as a way to level up the health and glowing beauty of your complexion. We may not always have time for it, and the driest and most sensitive skin types may want to stick with a single cleansing step, but if and when possible, cleansing first with an oil cleanser and then following with a gentle water-based cleanser can yield a noticeable boost in the results of your skincare routine, especially if you’re removing makeup or sunscreen. So nighttime is an ideal opportunity to double cleanse.
The idea is that because each type of cleanser works via a different action and delivers different ingredients to the skin, taking advantage of both methods will deliver the cleanest, most optimized complexion without the sensitivity that can be caused by a single cleansing step that is too strong. This method of deep cleansing respects the pH of the skin (provided that both your cleanser choices do) and provides skin with both oil-soluble and water-soluble nutrients during cleansing. After double cleansing with the right products, you’ll find your skin is especially radiant and stimulated, deeply clean yet calm, and perhaps even appears firmer and plumper after the extra TLC. The Nutritive Oil Cleanser and Makeup Remover followed by the Salicylic Cleanser are a perfect team for those of us who like to double cleanse.
If only a deep spring cleaning of our homes was as effortless as it can be with our skin! Every day that we choose to nourish our skin with optimal cleansing in just a few minutes of self-care, our complexion will thank us with its most gorgeous glow.
Need more personalized advice about cleansing, or your skincare regimen in general? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to chat about your skin!