Skincare 101 Step One: Cleansing

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I get asked quite often about my skincare routine, and while I’d love to be able to answer it simply, I really cannot.  So I thought it deserved a dedicated post.  What I choose to use depends on time of day, what I have on my fact to take off, season, whether I am in a hurry, whether I will be putting makeup on afterwards, my mood, etc.  I definitely reach for certain products more than others, and I usually have a handful of samples in the wings because I love trying new products to see if I want them in my arsenal.

You may have heard of “double cleansing” which basically means cleansing twice, the first time to remove makeup, dirt, sunscreen, etc., and the second cleanse to cleanse the skin itself.  Do I ALWAYS double cleanse?  No.  In the mornings when I wake up, I have no makeup or sunscreen on.  I use a skin cleanser only, then continue with the rest of my routine.  At night if I wore makeup or even just sunscreen, or if I exercised or was outside and likely have a layer of dust/dirt on my face, I do a double cleanse.


***First Cleanse***

The first cleanse I use something “oil” based to break down dirt, oil, makeup, and sunscreen.  This can be a liquid cleansing oil such as Shu Uemura Skin Purifier Balancing Cleansing Oil ($65), DHC Deep Cleansing Oil ($30), or Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil ($45)





This can also be a solid oil cleanser such as Tony Moly Peach Punch Sherbet Cleansing Balm ($17), Tony Moly Aquaporin Sherbet Cleanser ($13) or A’pieu Clean Up Herb Source Cleansing Balm ($10)



***Second Cleanse***

For my second cleanse I will use skin soothing or nourishing cleansers, depending on what I feel my skin needs at the time.







Cleansing balms such as The History of Whoo Gongjinhyang Oil Balm Cleanser ($42), Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm ($185), and Su:m 37 Skin Saver Melting Cleansing Balm ($45) are great at breakup up makeup AND great for skin, but at their price points, I tend to save them for skin only and use the cheaper cleansing balms for makeup.   These are emollient cleansers that keep skin baby soft.


For more clarifying or deep cleansing, I sometimes use Shiseido Perfect Whip ($7), a staple in Japanese households, or REN Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser ($25).  Perfect Whip foams up tremendously, which I tend to stay away from since foam tends to be drying for the skin.  I don’t use this one very often, only when I really feel I need a deep clean.  REN is gentle enough to use first thing in the morning and night on a daily basis. It does foam up a wee bit if you emulsify it with water, but it is non-drying.



With most cleansers, including the above-mentioned liquid cleansing oils, emulsifying with warm water and using the splash method to rinse off the face is sufficient.  However, with cleansing balms, the splash method just serves to smear the product around and you are left with a greasy face, likely now stained with makeup.  I started using the washcloth method as per Caroline Hirons for solid oil cleansers, and now I use it solely for all my cleansing products.  It really does feel heavenly.

In a nutshell, I apply my product using circular motions and massage in.  Meanwhile the water is running on hot and a fresh washcloth is getting soaked and warmed up.  I ring out the washcloth and swipe over the face, fold over for a fresh side, swipe again, fold over again and swipe a third time.  If makeup was removed and the washcloth is now stained, I use either some liquid cleansing oil to get the cloth back to white or some hand soap and scrub back to white.

I use a fresh cloth every day.  At night I use the morning’s cloth (since it wasn’t used to remove makeup or sunscreen yet) and do my cleansing.  That cloth hangs up to dry.  The next morning I grab a new fresh cloth.  Yesterday’s cloth gets put in the laundry hamper.  So, yes, I do have dozens and dozens of wash cloths at the ready in my bathroom.  I got them dirt cheap at Ikea.  I see they now have a set even cheaper than what I paid, which was four for $2.50.  This children’s set is super soft, and you get 10 cloths for $4.



For those of you who are curious as to the texture of solid cleansing balms, I would say it’s is a bit like Crisco.  I know that sounds like it would be the opposite of what you should put on your skin, but it is well known among skin gurus and professional makeup artists that cleansing oils actually help your skin balance its sebum production by being non-drying and not stripping the skin of its protective layer like foaming cleansers do.  It doesn’t “starve” the skin by taking its own oils away, which would prompt it to overproduce oil.  Makes a lot of sense.   Also, with the warmth of your skin, cleansing balms just melt so nicely and makes for a nice massage medium.  You don’t need much, just a pea-sized amount.  You want grip, not slip.  So a jar of cleansing balm lasts a long, long time, even used daily.

Anyhoo, here are some pictures.

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Top left:  Tony Moly Peach Punch Sherbet.  Top Right:  Tony Moly Aquaporin Sherbet. Bottom: A’Pieu Clean Up Herb Source Cleansing Balm


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Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm.  You can see the Hungarian clay incorporated into this luxury balm.


Coming next on the blog will be Step Two of Skincare 101: Toners.  Please stay tuned!





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