Cleansing 101

Cleansing is the foundational step of a skincare routine that can be easily overlooked by the ‘shiny’ serums, masks and oils that follow. It’s all about finding the balance between effectively cleansing your skin and not choosing a cleanser that may be too harsh for you. There are different modes of cleansing that cater to different needs. We’ve created a guide to help you sort out your cleansing needs:

Note: We are big fans of double cleansing, but this is not necessary for all people. We have broken down categories of a first cleanse and a second/primary cleanse to be helpful, but if you are not someone who wears many products throughout the day or has more dry skin - you do not need to double cleanse.

First Cleanse

Oil & Balm Cleansers - Cleansers that are made up primarily or completely of oil are most commonly used as a ‘first cleanse’ to remove any make-up, sunscreen, or other accumulations on your skin throughout the day. These are applied to dry skin so that the oil can melt away any product. To make rinsing off easier these cleansers often contain ingredients that emulsify with water so no residue is left on the skin. If you do find that an oily layer is left, use a second method to ensure a proper cleanse.

Our favorites: Augustinus Bader The Cleansing Balm & Josh Rosebrook Essential Balm Cleanse

Micellar Water - The creation of a micelle structure originated in France in the early 1900s but wasn’t popularized until the 90s when Bioderma created and patented the micellar water - a gentle, no-rinse cleansing liquid that effectively removed makeup and oil on the skin. Micellar water has a water-loving portion and an oil-loving portion that allows it to interact with your skin to break down any product on the surface. This is a great option if you regularly wear makeup and sunscreen, and makes traveling easier with a no-rinse option.

Our favorite: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

Primary Cleanse

Milky & Gel Cleansers - These cleansers are typically more gentle options for sensitive and dry skin. They lather rather than foam up and contain more skin softening and conditioning ingredients that may be ideal for skin that needs a bit more nourishment.

Our favorites: Augustinus Bader The Cream Cleansing Gel & Osea Cleansing Milk

Foaming Cleanser - If you have oilier skin, this may be more appropriate to help reduce the excess oil that can lead to breakouts. The formulations for foaming cleansers have come a long way and will often include modes of delivering hydrating and softening ingredients to be less harsh. 

Our favorite: Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Cleanser 

Treatment Cleansers - With a push to simplify a skincare routine, treatment cleansers have become popular. These are mostly targeted towards acne-prone skin with the inclusion of exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Although these ingredients used in a wash off product will have less of an effect than a leave-on product like a serum or toner, it is a good way to introduce exfoliating ingredients with less risk of adverse reactions or sensitivities.

Our favorites:  Mara Algae Enzyme Cleansing Oil & Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash

Finding a thorough cleansing routine can make a huge difference in how your skin feels and looks. If you have questions or want a personalized recommendation, reach out to us here!