Earlier, I introduced my post-cleansing steps here. Today, I'm going to go back and introduce the necessary steps in my cleansing routine. For my morning routine, I perform step 1 only. For my nighttime routine, I perform all 3 steps in the order below religiously.
My cleansing routine is inspired by the Korean cleansing routine and consists of 3 steps in this order: oil cleanse, exfoliate, and foam cleanse. Prior to my discovery of Korean skincare products, I would clean my face with a Clarisonic and the Neutrogena grapefruit wash. That was my cleaning and exfoliating all in one step. After awhile, I learned that the Clarisonic is actually terrible at cleaning and is filled with bacteria that builds over time, which repeats every time you replace the brush (my little brother works at a dermatology office - can't believe he one-upped on me). After doing a little bit of my own research online, I realized that he could be right, and I stopped using my Clarisonic. The bristles were also too harsh on my skin. At first use, the Clarisonic seemed to do wonders, but after some time, I saw that it really didn't do much for me. The Neutrogena face wash that I used was actually hurting my skin. Not only was it ineffective on my acne - at the time - I would get more acne problems. In the beginning, I thought that maybe the acne came from other factors such as my hormones, food, pillow, etc, but after I swapped it out, I never really had to worry about acne again.
So, I currently stand by my routine 100%. I don't use any tools, only my hands. The cleansers that I use clean so well that I actually sometimes jump into the shower without using any cleansing wipes prior to showering. Also, the cleansers that I have are gentle, but very effective. Let's begin.
1. Step One: Oil Cleanse
I believe that this step is necessary for ALL skin types. People will dry and normal skin types generally do not have very many issues with oil cleansers as oil does not scare them as much as those with oily or combination skin. If you have oily/combination skin and you are scared that this will give you more oil problems, I want to at least explain to you why that may not be the case. Like dissolves like, and nothing is better at clinging onto your BAD oil than oil. For an oily/combination skin type, cleaning is absolutely crucial as your pores are more likely to be blocked and the dead skin layer on your face is much thicker than all of the other skin types. I believe that soap suds are definitely effective at removing oil from your face, but it also strips away moisture that oily skin needs so much (why else would your skin work so hard to moisturize itself by producing more oil). The oil cleansing products in the Korean beauty market are made to clean and so the formulas are more watery, are non-greasy, and are not oily and thick like essential oils that you can buy from Whole Foods. Moreover, steps 2 and 3 will continue to strip moisture from your face (depending on the formula you choose), so this first step moisturizes and pulls out the BAD oil before steps 2 and 3. If you have oily/combination skin and you still have reservations about this step, you can also skip it and use a primary foam cleanser if you wish, but I urge you to try it for at least 2 weeks because this step is very effective with removing your makeup, excess oil that your oil glands have produced, and toxins that your pores have collected throughout the day for all skin types.
I use NATURE REPUBLIC's Forest Garden Chamomile Cleaning Oil, which is ideal for those with dry and sensitive skin (me!). The formula is made with chamomile water, which calms the face of any stressors. This product is made without parabens, artificial coloring, alcohol, silicone, phenoxyethanol, and benzophenone. In the slideshow below, I have included photos of the product on my left hand. After you add water to the formula, the cleanser foams up a little.
2. Step Two: Exfoliate
A super important step in the cleaning process, exfoliation is never a step that you can leave out. We have to remove dead skin cells in order to reveal the new skin cells that keep our skin looking its best. However, many people view exfoliation as a harsh process and they rub their skin fiercely with their products. That can actually further damage your skin, so it is better to be very gentle and kind when exfoliating. It also helps to focus on the butterfly area where more oil glands populate the face. The butterfly area is the center of your face, which includes your T-zone and cheeks.
I use SKIN FOOD's Black Sugar Wash-Off Mask, which acts as an exfoliator and a face mask that moisturizes your skin. I use this in the shower, but I can't stand waiting 10-15 minutes before washing it off, so I only use it as an exfoliator. Black sugar contains glycolic acid and vitamins that help to remove stubbornly aged cuticles on your face. It helps with removing dead skin cells and does not leave your face dry. The black sugar eventually melts away and creates a thin coating on your face that you can leave on as a wash-off mask. When using this product, lightly rubbing the product in circular motions with your ring and middle fingers is ideal as heavy rubbing may irritate your skin. In the slideshow below, I have included photos of the product on my left hand. After you add water to the formula and keep rubbing the product in, the sugar melts and the consistency transforms from a paste to a liquid.
3. Step Three: Foam Cleanse
The final step in cleansing is a way for me to make sure that my face is clean. A foam cleanser is a more mild cleanser than an oil cleanser, and so I use it last. It cleans away dirt and oil, and depending on the product that you choose, you may have other benefits in your foam cleanser. For dry skin types, a mild foam cleanser is best but be aware that leaving a foam cleanser on your face for too long will strip away moisture. For oily/combination skin types, a foam cleanser will work wonders.
I use INNISFREE's Green Tea Cleansing Foam, which has a green tea scent that smells so fresh, so clean, and so relaxing. It's a scent that I definitely want made into a candle. INNISFREE is big on getting its ingredients from Jeju Island, which is an island close to South Korea that is a world heritage site with UNESCO. The island has some pretty great natural ingredients that do really great things for your skin, and their tangerines smell so heavenly. This particular product contains green tea and kaolin that clean your skin and your tiny little facial hairs (I'm talking about the ones that look invisible and are all over your body) that no one can really see. It is also free from parabens, artificial coloring, mineral oil, and raw animal ingredients. You never really have to worry about harmful ingredients with INNISFREE. In the slideshow below, I have included photos of the product on my left hand. After you add water to the formula and keep washing the product on your face in circles, the cleanser foams up quickly and is very, very soft on your skin. You will definitely feel the softness.
Is this 3-step cleansing overwhelming? I take no more than 3 minutes with each step, and it is very gratifying, especially when I see that my BB cream spreads on my face evenly and my face products absorb quickly into my skin. Cleaning is so important, and I completely stand by this 3-step process. It's gentle and feels great. Let me know what you think!
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