Achieving clear, beautiful and healthy skin is really a journey and I think it’s safe to say it’s one that never really ends. If you’re blessed with clear skin and do not even have the slightest inkling what breakouts are, cheers (I’m lowkey envious). However, for those of us on the other side of the coin who have to work really hard for clear skin, it’s a daunting task. Over the next few weeks I’ll be publishing a series of articles tagged #Grandfemmebasicskincareseries. Basically, the series will be exploring in detail the basic steps to take in skincare. I’ll be discussing the right ways to approach all the steps in your skincare routine, why they’re important, the things you’re probably doing the wrong way and the little tips that have worked for me over the years. First up in the series is facial cleansing.
You’ll agree with me that this is the most basic step in your skincare routine. During the day, our faces get exposed to a lot of impurities, dirt, makeup and a lot of gunk. Also, during the night your face is likely to come in contact with the bacteria from your saliva, your hair products and because your skin does repair itself when you sleep, dead skin cells. Cleansing your face properly gets rid of all the bad stuff and sets the right foundation for the rest of your skincare routine.
Choosing the Right Type of Product for your Facial Cleansing Routine
When choosing a facial cleanser, you want to go for one that cleanses gently without overdrying your skin. One that will get rid of excess oil, makeup and dirt without disrupting your skin’s natural oils Also you want to go through the list of ingredients to ensure that they help maintain moisture and are sulphate free. In order to get the most out of your facial cleansing ritual, you get to choose from three main types of face washes.
Foam Facial Cleansers: these are haven for normal and combination skin. They cleanse your face gently while leaving it moisturised so you don’t have to worry about your skin drying out.
Creams: For dry skin or mature skin, the watch word should be hydration and cream based facial washes are formulated to do just that. They typically moisturize and cleanse your skin at the same time.
Gels: if you have oily skin, this is your holy grail. Gel based facial washes help to remove dirt and impurities without stripping your face of its natural oils. With oily skin, you want to get rid of excess oil but you don’t want to go overboard on this.
Facial Cleansing Brushes
Facial brushes are usually peddled as a must have if you want for topnotch skincare game. The secret to getting the most out of them for your facial cleansing is to use them properly and not to abuse them, YES you heard right. You can abuse your facial cleansing brushes if you use them everyday.
These brushes have the sole responsibility of helping to exfoliate your skin while providing you with a deep and thorough cleanse. Using them too often can leave your skin inflamed, tight and dried out. Also, before using them you want to get all of your makeup off your face either by using makeup wipes or micellar water.
Ideally, you should only use your brush a few times weekly, this way, your skin will be getting all of the goodness these brushes have to offer.
Over the years, oil cleansing has gained a lot of traction and for good reason too. As can be inferred from the name, it’s basically cleansing your face with oil. Many skincare brands have oil based cleansers specially for this purpose but depending on your skin type, you can go on and use other oils for this purpose.
The idea behind oil cleansing is that oil dissolves oil. Your face produces sebum which attracts environmental factors such as dirt and pollutants to your face which in turn can cause blemishes. Facial cleansing with oil dissolves excess sebum while removing impurities from your skin without stripping your face of the oil it needs to stay moisturised and healthy.
It is imperative that you approach oil cleansing the proper way so it doesn’t have a counter effect on your skin. You want to gently massage your face with warm washcloth when oil cleansing so as not to over-exfoliate.
Take special care not to leave excess oil behind after oil cleansing cause it can attract dirt and clog your pores. After oil cleansing, you should use a mild cleanser to remove excess oil and prep your face for the rest of your skincare routine.
Rules to follow while facial cleansing
Below, are rules I swear by that are guaranteed to elevate your facial cleansing game.
Clean hands are a must
I really cannot overemphasize the need to start your facial cleansing with clean hands. Doing otherwise will only have you transferring the bacteria and whatnot from your hands to your face, scientists don’t say shaking hands is the filthiest thing for no reason.
So yeah, femmes, go ahead and wash those hands before putting them on your face
Washing your face twice daily is ideal but also apply common sense
Doing your facial cleansing twice daily is the ideal.
Our face gets exposed to pollution and dirt during the day that can clog your pores and cause you to break out if your face is not properly washed at night. Basically, washing your face at night time is non-negotiable.
Since night time is probably your best time to go all out with your skincare products, washing your face in the morning is essential to showing your skin some love and care. With this, you remove the products from the night before, all the bacteria and oil your face might have been exposed to, and have yourself a clean canvas for your AM skincare routine.
Asides washing your face in the AM and PM, you want to make sure you wash your face after every workout session and after every time you get all sweaty. Facial cleansers and wipes are a must have in your gym bags, people.
In addition, if you have sensitive or extremely dry skin and find that cleansing your face twice daily leaves your skin feeling tight, dry and irritated, you might only want to use a very mild cleanser in the morning and leave the cleansers with active ingredients like salicylic acid for your night time cleansing. Using just micellar water to get off the products from your PM routine might work for you, also.
Skip the hot and cold water routine, lukewarm water is best
There’s a lot of info online today on how you should open up your pores with hot water before washing your face and how you should close them up with a splash of cold water after you’re done cleansing. Sorry to burst your bubble but your pores do not really open and close. Washing your face with hot water can feel divine but it can also cause breakage of the delicate tissue on your face and can also cause your blood vessels to dilate.
Also worthy of note is, using hot water for your facial cleansing can strip your face of its natural oils and cause your skin to become inflamed, dry and itchy.
Next time you wash your face, do so with lukewarm water. It’s the right temperature for your facial cleansing.
Avoid using facial cleansers that come in bars
Soap bars can be harmful to your skin and leave your skin tight and dehydrated after use. They contain binders that keep them in bar form and these binders are usually too alkaline for your skin causing it to dry out.
However, in recent times, we see a lot of skincare brands try to make their facial bars more gentle on the skin than what used to be the norm. They sometimes contain moisturising ingredients like glycerin but the issue of the binders that keep them in bar form remains.
Scrubbing and over lathering your face are really not acceptable.
When washing your face, you really want to get all the dirt and dead skin cells off your face and so you get the urge to scrub your skin, lather it up rather generously and take your time on the job. According to experts, scrubbing and over lathering your face are damaging rather than beneficial.
Scrubbing your face especially with cleansers that also exfoliate can leave your skin irritated and red. Take advantage of this time to message your face with your fingers in circular motions for about 20 to 30 seconds or until your cleanser lathers up. After doing this, rinse off your face thoroughly as you do not want to leave any soap residue on your face (leaving soap residue on your face could lead to clogged pores and blemishes).
Just your facial cleanser might not be enough
on the days you wear makeup, your facial cleanser will not get the job of cleaning your face done without the aid of makeup wipes. More often than not, makeup contain oil, sunscreen and are waterproof so you might need the help of your makeup removal wipes, micellar water or an oil based makeup remover to get all of the makeup off your face before your proper facial cleansing.
Also worthy of saying, is the fact that makeup wipes contain preservatives that give them a long shelf life and prevent bacteria and fungus from growing on them. So when you use them they leave behind a residue that must be washed off with a facial cleanser. My point here is for you to resist the temptation of using your makeup wipes as your go-to cleanser.
You might want to ditch the face towel
Everytime you use a face towel, more and more bacteria accumulate on it. So either you’re up to the task of washing your face towel after every use or you do not mind using a different towel everyday, you might want to do without a face towel.
Personally, I haven’t used a towel on my face for years. Asides from the fact, washing a towel after every use is not my forte, I like to keep my face damp for the rest of my skincare routine.
Go in with your moisturizer immediately after facial cleansing
Like I already mentioned, I like to keep my face damp after cleansing so that when I apply my moisturizer I get to keep all the moisture sealed into my skin.
Moisturising after a few minutes or after your face is already dry, makes your moisturiser have to work harder. By this time, the surface cells on your skin are already dehydrated and they become hard to moisturise.
However, if you have other steps in between your facial cleansing and moisturising which is usually a toner and a serum, you want to make sure your face is still damp when you apply your moisturiser.
So yeah Femmes, do you think you’re already approaching your facial cleansing routine the right way? If you have any facial cleansing tips you swear by, please share in the comment section.