Why and How Skincare Series: Cleanser

Posted on February 7, 2012


Skincare is a passion of mine so I’m super excited to share the “Why & How Skincare Series” with you! In this series, I’ll go through each step of my daily skincare, explain the whys and hows, and some tips! It’s a bit long… but I’m hopeful that this post will help you understand the importance of cleansing and encourages you to take good care of your skin!

First step to my skincare routine: Cleanser! ♥

WHY: Cleansing is a super important first step in a skin care routine.

  • Cleansing removes viruses, oil, debris, makeup, sweat, pollutants, bacteria, and so much more.
  • Our skin produces a type of oil called sebum. Sebum travels up the hair follicle and mixes with sweat and dead skin cells to form an armor. This armor protects your skin against the elements. So why remove this awesome armor?
    • By washing our faces, we clear old ineffective armor and allow new armor to make it’s way up to the surface so that it can protect our skin.
    • If you don’t wash off this armor on a daily basis, your skin would continue to produce sebum and cause a backup. This backup will cause pore/follicle blockage, inflammation and inevitable acne, whiteheads, blackheads and cysts.
    • There’s so many (gross) examples I can think of… but I’ll go with the mildest version. Think of your kitchen sink. If you keep filling it with dirty dishes and never clean it out… there will be backup and consequences. Flies, dried on food that’s hard to remove, overflow of dishes to other areas of the kitchen, bad smell, damaged dishes, etc. You could avoid all this by simply doing the dishes every day!
    • Itchiness would also become a problem. You’d probably scratch causing mini tears in the skin, which can then get infected.
  • Cleansing preps the skin for skincare products and helps the product penetrate the skin and do it’s job.
  • Especially important if you wear waterproof/sweatproof sunblock. Certain sunblocks literally block your skin from the sun with a barrier. Without proper removal, this barrier could cause the backup described above causing acne, blemishes, etc.
  • Promotes blood circulation giving your face a nice glow.
  • Prevents/delays premature aging.


Select the right cleanser for your skin type!

Dry Skin:
– Often sensitive so select a product with no/few chemicals, perfumes, and dyes.
– Avoid high pH cleansers like: bar soap or foaming cleansers which can strip the skin.
– Recommend Oil and Cream Cleansers: Ceptaphil Daily Cleanser, Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil, Shu Uemura Cleansing OilBliss Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk

Oily Skin:
-Can tolerate harsh cleansers, but doesn’t mean you should use harsh cleansers. At the same time, an overly gentle product may not be enough to remove sufficient oil and dirt.
-Cleansing too often can strip the skin of too much oil and may stimulate even more oil production! Only morning and night.
-Recommend Gel and Foaming Cleansers:  Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser, Murad Clarifying Cleanser, Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser, Shiseido The Skincare Purifying Cleansing Foam

Combination & Normal Skin:
-Combination and normal skin can choose any type of cleanser depending on the skin’s needs at the time.
– Recommend Gel, Foaming, Oil, Cream Cleansers: Clinique Wash-Away Gel Cleanser, DDF- Non-Drying Gentle Cleanser, Bliss The Youth As We Know It Anti-Aging Cleanser, Neutrogena Cream Cleanser

Now you’ve selected the cleanser for skin type, here’s a step by step on how to cleanse your face:

  1. Wash morning and evening. Every night. Absolutely NO excuses.
  2. Don’t try to clean your hands WHILE cleaning your face. Start with clean hands.
  3. Work the cleanser in your palms and rub/foam up before putting on your face. No tugging and pulling. Work the cleanser in small circular motions around the face and neck.
  4. Rinse well with slightly warm water.
  5. Pat dry with a towel.
  6. Be sure to follow with serum, moisturizer, etc.


  • Whether I’m at home or at a hotel, I keep a separate towel just for my face. Don’t like using hand and body towels which could be full of all sorts of bacteria. (Yes, I’m OCD about my face hygiene)
  • When I shower, I avoid getting shampoo/conditioner/body wash on my face. To minimize contact, I wash my hair by facing away from the shower with my head tilted back.
  • If you use waterproof or any type of smudge proof makeup or sunblock, I highly recommend using a separate makeup remover. Take a look how ineffective regular face cleansers were at removing a waterproof eyeliner.
  • Pores are open after a shower/wash!  I always apply serum/moisturizer within minutes of stepping out of washing my face.
  • Just because you have oily skin does not mean you should exfoliate, scrub and strip your face. Always be kind and gentle.
  • Over washing your face will stimulate more oil production. If you get oily, don’t wash… use an oil blotting paper.
  • Oily does not mean your skin is moisturized! Don’t skip the moisturizer.
  • If you have dry skin, it may be worth investing in a rich cream moisturizer. I use and love La Mer. Using a lotion that doesn’t provide enough moisture may make your skin even more sensitive and irritated.

Now that your face is nice and clean…  stay tuned to learn the why and how of the next step in my skincare!~ Until next time… stay pretty inside and out.

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Related post:
Why and How of Skincare Series: Toner
Cleanser vs. Waterproof Eyeliner (Part II)
Break Out Of Breakouts
PA+++ vs. SPF
ABC’s of UVA, UVB and SPF

Posted in: skin, tips & tricks