Cleansing can make or break your skin care routine.
It’s often the step in our routine thatcan be the problem as well as the solution to a number of skin issues. Nailing your cleansing step is the secret to strong, smooth glowing skin.
Cleansing with a product that’s too mild is risky - potentially leaving some traces of makeup, sunscreen or grime from the day on your face overnight. On the other hand, a harsh cleanser that strips everything away including your precious lipid barrier is an equally bad (if not worse) idea.
There’s a lot of us walking around with compromised or dehydrated skin - even the oily skinned among us are not immune to dehydration. This can be due to a number of reasons linked to our modern lifestyles: air conditioning, pollution, smoking, mediocre diet, stress and ill-suited skincare products. All these factors take a toll on our precious moisture barrier - this means things can come in (like bacteria) and also get out (like H20 which we neeeeed).
Simply put: you must use a cleanser that respects your skin’s barrier. After all, it’s part of our immune system and is working hard to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out! Cleansing too often, not enough, or with the wrong type of cleansing agents in a formula can destabilise the rest of your routine. We know how fun it is to curate your serums, treatments and masks but it’s a complete waste of time if you’re setting yourself up for failure in that important first step.
Why is this so important for the smooth glowy skin we all want?
The outermost layer of the skin is called the ‘stratum corneum’ and it’s sole task is to defend what’s underneath it: the rest of us. When it’s compromised, the cells that make up this layer all clump together instead of shedding off normally. This leads to rough, flakey, dull and textured skin. That means more enlarged pores, acne, fine lines and uneven tone.
The cleansing process itself can disrupt the important enzymes in the outer layer and can strip the skin of its protective oils. It’s the surfactant ingredients in cleansers that do this - they help water grab a hold of oil/grease and break it up and wash it away.
Do we need the makeup grime to be removed?
Yes please, but these ingredients can also take away the important skin conditioning components of that barrier like ceramides, fatty acids and lipids.
So forget about that squeaky clean feeling and all the foam and all the lather and all those little scrubby bits. If you’re feeling that tight feeling after drying your face you’ve achieved one or more (probably more) of these things: your skin has been stripped of its moisturising oils, your cleanser is harsh enough to have disrupted the barrier and there’s a mass exodus of moisture leaving your face, or some of the surfactant has been left on your skin and is irritating it.
What do we do?
We look for low-surfactant or no-surfactant cleansers. Everyone needs one of these in their regular skincare lineup. They make great morning cleansers and second cleansers in the evening after you’ve removed your makeup. You’ll be needing one of these if you’re sunburnt, have started a new retinol or acid, have sensitive skin or just feeling emotional. Look for a pH level that’s similar to human skin (around 5.5) as this is less disrupting to that barrier. A formula that also contains some of these skin loving components like fatty acids, lipids, ceramides etc. gets extra points.
There’s no need to have fancy active ingredients in this step. Anti aging claims have no place in your cleanser, so look for a supportive formula that will help your skin tolerate those actives later on in your routine when you’re applying your serums and treatments.
Don’t worry, we have found these cleansing gems for you and they tick all our formula boxes!
The Formula x
La Roche Posay Dermo Cleanser || Avene Tolerance Extreme Cleansing Lotion || The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser || Holifrog Tashmoo Nourishing Milky Wash || Asarai Come Clean Cleanser || Allies of Skin Molecular Silk Amino Hydrating Cleanser