Did you know that every night you don’t wash your face, you age up to 11 days? Yep, 11 days. A few nights here, a few nights there, and low and behold you’re getting discounts at your local cinema. We do love a bargain, but it’s fair to say cleansing is a very important starting step in any skincare regime. I’m sure you thought you had this cleansing thing down pat, and we don’t blame you, it seems like there’s not a lot that could go wrong, right? Wrong! There’s actually a whole lot that can go wrong. So, we've put together our 7 soapy secrets to get your skin more than just clean - pristine!
1. Know your skin type
Do you have perfectly balanced skin? Us neither. But do you know what your exact skin type is? Are you dry? Oily? Dehydrated? (yes, there’s a difference!) or some evil cocktail of two. Whatever your qualm may be, your cleansing needs will be different based on your skin type.
Are you dry all over? Does your make-up fall off throughout the day? Do you have pronounced fine lines and wrinkles? If the answer is YES ALL OF THEM, you have dry skin! Do you get oily all over your skin (not just your t-zone)? Are you consistently shiny throughout the day? Do you struggle with breakouts and blackheads? If the answer is YES, congratulations you have oily skin (you will age very well!). And lastly, do you get oily, but only in the t-zone? Do you still have dry patches on your cheeks? Well then, you are the lucky owner of dehydrated skin – a hybrid!
Knowing your skin type is not just about knowing which products to use, although it’s quite helpful for that. For example, if you know you have dry skin, only washing your face once a day makes sense. If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, lightly cleansing in the morning and deep cleaning in the evening could be the way to go. It’s also about knowing how your skin behaves, listening to what it needs and figuring out what causes it to have a meltdown, obviously so those things can be avoided. Cleansing is often underestimated and underrated, but mess things up here and your skin won’t have a chance at being its best self with that main character energy. So, let’s clean up the cleanse!
2. Know what ingredients make skin worse
There are some cleansers out there that are so harmful to your skin that you would be better off using Olive Oil. Yikes. The ‘Sinful Seven’ are riddled throughout most commercial cleansers, even some clinical-looking ones targeted specifically at people with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Here’s the ‘Sinful Seven’, things to look out for in your skincare products, in a nutshell:
- Preservatives like Phenoxyethanol or Parabens that have been linked to health issues including endocrine disruption, and skin irritation (natural preservatives are far superior).
- Sulphates like SLS and SLES.remove too much and break down the skin's protective barrier, often causing tightness, redness and dry, itchy skin (natural cleansers any day of the week).
- Petroleum Jelly commonly clogs pores and promotes the growth of blackheads (we think anything derived from petroleum shouldn’t end up on your skin. Next!).
- Fragrances can upset sensitive skin and the pH balance of your skin (that’s why we only use a proprietary blend of non-irritating fragrances to give our products smell nice and stay gentle).
- Benzoyl Peroxide, which can cause dry skin, irritation, and premature aging (no chance of ever finding this ingredient in any of our formulas. Blemish-prone skin deserves better).
- Essential oils, as delicious as they smell, are a common culprit for allergic reactions (while we think they’re great, they’re often not tolerated by sensitive skin, so we skip on these too).
- Alcohol harms and strips your skin's protective surface and depletes it of vital substances and moisture (it can even make oily skin worse by kicking it into oil production overdrive – eek!).
There are more things that we avoid when making our products; we could bang on all day about it. But this list covers the main crappy culprits to avoid in your cleanser (and any product for that matter).
3. Wash your hands you little grub!
Did you know that our hands, on average, carry 10 million bacteria at any given moment? Might have to give this keyboard a clean come to think of it... While some bacteria on your skin is normal and healthy (think healthy microbiome like your gut), the hands are heavy on dirt and bacteria since we use them to touch everything around us. As much as we try not to, we end up touching our face every now and then, which is fine, but for blemish-prone skin it’s best to keep your hands to yourself. To make sure what’s hanging around on your hands doesn’t make a move to your face, wash your hands regularly, which shouldn’t be a problem if you’re drinking enough water on the daily and you don’t skip the bathroom hand wash. For an extra layer of precaution, right before you wash your face, give your hands a quick pre-wash to ditch the bacterial hitchhikers or those 10 million new friends will set up camp and kick their feet up on your freshly ‘clean’ face.
4. Your face does not end at the chin
Your face does not end at your chin; it goes all the way to your chest. Why the long face? So, your skincare routine shouldn’t stop at your chin either. Make sure when you’re cleansing that you wash all the way down to your neck and chest. No matter what cleanser you choose to use, whether it’s of the cream, foam or oil persuasion, as long as it’s free of the aforementioned ‘Sinful Seven’ we recommend massaging your cleanser into the skin to help it make its way into your pores and get at the goop and gunk that’s built up over the course of the day. Focus your efforts on the areas where blackheads and blemishes are most common and put a little more elbow grease into areas like the hairline, eyebrows and the nose to remove any missed makeup. Be extra gentle around the eye area as the skin around there is thin and delicate. Using your hands to wash your face is totally fine, after their pre-wash of course, but there are options out there to help you scrub your skin safely, like with our cutie patootie Silicone Cleansing Pad that massages skin with tiny bristles providing a gentle scrub and exfoliation. If you’re looking to use more than just your hands, make sure whatever you choose is reusable and easy to clean as you don’t want to be using something that takes on odours and harbours bacteria like absorbable materials often can. Just another way for unwanted bacteria to find your face.
5. You don't have to wash your face twice a day
This one’s a bit of a myth, and a great way to try and sell more skincare! Does anyone actually wash their face when they wake up in the morning? Assuming, of course, that a proper cleanse was done the night before and your pillowcases are changed regularly. Unless you fall into the oily skin bin and are not dehydrated or dry (the rarer of the three) then you can skip the morning wash. Gently rinsing your skin with water will suffice and allow the natural oils on your skin to remain and do their job.
The exception to this rule is double cleansing. This is where you wash your face twice in the same go, once with an oil-based cleanser and once with a water-based cleanser, done one after the other. The order in which you do these comes down to personal preference. Some like to use the oil-based cleanser first to remove heavier makeup and SPF products, followed by the water-based cleanser to do the final clean sweep. Others like to let the water-based cleanser do the first pass and finish up with the oil-based cleanser to get even deeper into the pores and leave a sheeny residue on the skin. Haven’t tried double-cleansing yet? It’s so hot right now. We highly recommend doing this at least once a week to give your skin that extra once (or twice) over for the ultimate deep clean.
6. No pressure!
Hmmm, how can we make a nice warm shower stressful? I know! Here’s a wet blanket fact. The water pressure from a standard shower head causes broken capillaries. If you’re pale or prone to redness, then do your best to keep your face out of direct contact under the shower. Those little capillaries will show up and reveal themselves to you throughout the years. Sometimes, if your skin is very sensitive you can even see a ring from the impact of the stream. No pressure, but… no pressure!
This also stands for the elbow grease you put into washing your face. When it comes to your face, the rule of thumb should always be, a little goes a long way. The pressure your pedicurist uses when scrubbing those heels of yours is far too harsh for the face. When using any exfoliant that provides a physical scrub, don’t press too hard as you can cause micro (or sometimes not so micro) scratches on the skin and damage your skin barrier. You can tell if you’ve gone too far if your face starts glowing like Rudolf’s nose on Christmas Eve. Let’s keep it nice and gentle, shall we?
7. Don't skip a day
It doesn’t take long for dirt, grime, and gunk to create a home on your face. Excessive dirt build-up on the surface can cause blockages of the follicle, trapping sebum, sweat and dirt, and dead skin. This is the perfect breeding ground for persistent and irritating pimples and blackheads. Both those pesky blind ones that start deep in the skin, and the very, very visible ones, the kind that seems to only show up before an interview or a date – how rude! Not only that, skipping a day in your cleansing routine can also cause flare-ups in your skin sensitivity, as well as skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. Don’t skip the face wash, skip leg day instead.