Quick and effective skin cleansing regimes to maintain a matte but glowing complexion in Singapore’s muggy weather.
There are so many ways to peel a potato, or draw a cat. Likewise, if you asked every beautician listed in the green pages how to properly cleanse your complexion, you will be bamboozled by the sheer number of ways.
As both a beauty insider and a beauty consumer, I am sometimes torn between doing like the pros (aka what’s right) and winging it like a lazy ignoramus.
And cleansing, that first step in a skincare regime, is often – in my life at least – subject to these extreme mood swings.
I’ve done the oil/milk, foam/balm, brush, tone regimen for cleansing, and also the foam wash and pat dry quickie, and though my skin wasn’t the worse for wear when I went with the lazy two-step method, my complexion really glows when I don’t cheat.
As much as it’s tempting to be superficial with cleansing, especially when there is a lack of time, try to minimise and restrict the two-step cleaning method to days when you don’t wear any makeup. The fact is that healthy, radiant skin starts with thorough yet gentle cleansing, and exfoliation, which by the way is part of what a good cleansing routine offers.
Here’s an easy-peasy guide you can follow, that combines both how the pros and real people (like I) do it.
Double-cleanse daily, if you wear makeup
Oil on oil or sebum will lift and wash the latter away, that’s why oil should be the first step in cleansing.
If you wear the merest hint of makeup – powder, blusher, eyebrow pencil:
- Warm up between dry palms four or five pumps of cleansing oil and spread it all over your complexion, making sure to perform gentle circular massage movements, especially on parts of the face that have the most makeup.
- Emulsify the oil with warm water and massage to cleanse some more, then rinse the emulsified oil cleanser off thoroughly. Skin will feel clean and plump, not tight and dry, which strangely may take some getting used to.
I like Shu Uemura’s Blanc: Chroma Brightening & Polishing Gentle Cleansing Oil. I’ve tried several of the brand’s cleansing oil formulas, but this one suits my skin best. I have fairly oily skin and find brightening formulas effective in keeping my complexion matte and trouble-free.
I sometimes also use an emulsifying balm like the Eve Lom Cleanser, which is essentially a formula of four aromatic oils in balm form that emulsifies on contact with water. This should also be applied with dry hands and on dry skin. Just so you know, the Eve Lom Cleanser has also been said to have changed the concept of cleansing.
Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide Replenishing Cleansing Oil has also received rave reviews, not just from ceramide fans. Little wonder, as this oil cleanser is a leap-off EA’s famous ceramide in oil skin hydrating and firming technology.
Old school beauticians still like cleansing milk and I’ve only ever used the Clarins Cleansing Milk with gentian. I know a former beauty trainer from Shiseido who faithfully uses Shiseido’s Revital Treatment Cleansing Milk and she has amazing skin!
Foaming cream cleanser or soap, and a facial brush is a double-cleanse step to off-set that velvety feel that comes with cleansing with an oil or balm, which some people don’t fancy.
At this point on my most disciplined days, I would be whipping out and turning on my Clarisonic Mia 1 cleansing brush and whirring away with its delicate facial cleansing brush head. I like using it with Clarisonic’s Gentle Radiance Foaming Milk, which leaves my skin clean and soft.
Other cleansers that work perfectly with the Clarisonic Mia 1 also include Clarins’ Gentle Foaming Cleanser, the Clarins Foaming Cleanser for oily and combination skin, Shiseido’s Benefiance Extra Creamy Cleansing Foam, Cle De Peau Beaute’s Cleansing Cream, and Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple one-step cleanser.
You could also consider soap, but not just any facial soap. I’m partial to Erno Laszlo’s Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar that has deep sea mud, charcoal and grapeseed oil, which can clarify – cleanse and exfoliate – the complexion.
L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil,
Le Lait Anti-Pollution Cleansing Milk-To-Oil,
Le Lait Anti-Pollution Cleansing Milk-To-Water, and
La Mousse Anti-Pollution Cleaning Cream-To-Foam,
all of which target deep-cleansing of natural grime and external pollutants on the skin, with the help of active ingredients such as blue micro-algae and fortifying marine salicornia extract.
Toning the skin essentially also cleanses (the last traces of sebum, grime and makeup) and exfoliates, to get rid of dead skin cells and aid in skin cell renewal. Exfoliation is pretty much part of cleansing. Without this essential step, all the cleansing in the world will not give your complexion the smoothness of a boiled egg.
For me, SKII’s Facial Treatment Clear Lotion wins hands down. It contains AHA (alpha hydroxyl acid) that helps slough off dirt and dead skin cells, clarifying skin in such a way to prepare it for nourishment from serums and moisturisers. Erno Laszlo’s Light Controlling Toner comes a close second.
Weekly deep-cleansing mask
Masking makes a huge difference in the smoothness and clarity of your skin. You should in fact use a different mask every other day (deep-cleansing is just one) – alternating between deep-cleansing, hydrating, and firming.
As far as deep-cleansing masks go, I like GlamGlow’s Powermud Dual Cleanse Treatment that literally sucks up grime, scrubs the skin and leaves it utterly clean and perfectly primed to absorb serum and moisturiser.
Tip: I like to follow this up with GlamGlow’s Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment mask the next day, and on the following, GlamGlow’s Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment mask for some firming action.
Most cleansing masks are clay-based, but the one from Laneige called the Mini Pore Water Clay Mask also hydrates as it deep-cleanses and exfoliates, kind of like a three-in-one product.
The Sulwhasoo Clarifying Mask also has this triple-action effect, as it deep-cleanses, exfoliates and hydrates, leaving skin smooth and well-detoxed. More recently, Sulwhasoo added a Snowise Cleansing Foam and Snowise Exfoliating Mask to their popular Snowise Brightening Line. Trust the Korean beauty experts to think of everything!