Wednesday, 7 August 2019

The Basics of Cleansing

Continuing our "Basics of Skincare" series, today we are discussing a bit about cleansing. 
I hope you have read all about Exfoliation in our previous posts - Physical exfoliation HERE & Chemical exfoliation HERE

So let's get into some detail. 

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india

Why cleanse?

You do not want to be walking around with a grimy face do you? Sweat, pollutants, bacteria, skincare products, makeup and everything else...clean it please. 

Why is using a cleanser important? 

Don't you clean your clothes, your vessels and everything else around you? You use detergent or something to keep them clean, yes? You use soap/bodywash to clean your body. So how is the face any different?

A splash of water on your face at the end of the day is not going to do the job. It just won't. You need to use a cleanser! Which ever kind suits you, as long as it is gentle and preferably non foaming. 


cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india

How often should I cleanse?

Most experts recommend cleansing twice a day. Morning & Night
Many people also advise that if your skin is very dry and dehydrated, you can skip using a cleanser in the morning and just clean your face with water. 

However, this is controversial. So at the end of the day, listen to your skin and do whatever works for you. 

Evening/Night cleansing is non-negotiable for me. It just has to be done, no matter what. 


Is Double Cleansing Necessary?

Most professionals/experts recommend a double  cleanse in the evening, to remove makeup and sunscreen. However, there are 2 schools of thought, and there are experts who also say that double cleansing is not a necessity if you are makeup free. 
I personally like to double cleanse whenever I am wearing makeup just to be sure that I have absolutely no traces of makeup remaining. 


Broadly I'd divide cleansers into:
  1. Foaming 
  2. Non foaming cleansers 
And cleansers can come in a variety of formulations
  1. Gel based
  2. Cream based
  3. Cleansing Oils & Balms
  4. Natural/Homemade
  5. Cleansing devices (Act as aids) 

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india


1. Foaming Cleansers 

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india

You'd probably be better off without these. I am personally not a fan of them. 

I have used them when when I was new to skincare because I did not know better. Hopefully this post will help you know better so that you don't make the same mistakes I did. 
The 17 yr old me with super oily skin & acne used a few of them - Like this one called Saslic (reviewed HERE) which did help me control acne to an extent at that time & age but I realize now that it was probably a bit stripping. 
I have also tried the Neutrogena cleansers (reviewed HERE) which do not work for me at all. They are very drying! I have so tried facial soaps too, like the Kama Ayurveda Red Sandalwood Soap (reviewed HERE) which was okay but I won't use it again. 

A lot of the foaming cleansers contain surfactants (SLS)  which make them foam. This not only strips your skin completely but can also make your skin alkaline and ultimately bacteria likes alkaline. You do the math. 

Foaming cleansers are also generally harsh on the skin - stripping it of all moisture (thus giving you that super duper squeaky feeling). Your skin in turn produces more sebum to try to compensate = you get more oily. It's a vicious cycle. 

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india


2. Gel Based Cleansers

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india

My personal favourite category. 
I love a good gel based non/low foaming cleanser . I find them perfect for my combination skin. Neither too stripping nor super moisturising
I like to go for the gentle gel cleansers - they clean effectively but don't leave your skin feeling dry & stretchy afterwards. 

Few that I have liked and used are the Kama Ayurveda Rose Jasmine Cleanser (all time favourite! been using it since 2016!! read HERE). The Avene Cleanance gel is also a good one especially for skin prone to breakouts. 
I have tried the Forest Essentials Kashmiri Saffron & Neem Cleanser and Mashorba Honey, Lemon & Rosewater cleanser (reviewed HERE) Kaya Purifying Gel Cleanser (read more HERE). 


cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india


3. Cream Based Cleansers

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india

As you get from the name, these are cream based cleansers, perfect for dry skins, slightly mature skin, or even a combination skin like me espeically during winter. Cleansing milks and lotion-y or moisturisng cream based formulas all come in this category. 
These days you even have cream based cleansers but with added benefits - Charcoal, Glycolic Acid and more
I haven't tried many cream cleansers but I am currently using and liking the Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser (smooth creamy non foaming formula - Reviewed HERE).
Smriti is currently liking the Enn Closet Wipe Out Chlorophyll Cleanser too. 

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india


4. Cleansing Oil and Balms

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india

Oil cleansers usually form the first step in a double cleanse routine (more about that soon) but if you have super super dry skin then you might like a oil based cleanser on a regular day too.

Oil based cleansers can be either in a cleansing oil or a cleansing balm format. 

Cleansing balms are pretty much the same as a cleansing oil, just in a solid balm formula. You scoop out a little bit, rub it between your palms to soften the product and cleanse your skin. 

I prefer oil based cleansers that emulsify with water. Mainly because then they wash off clean and do not leave a residue/layer behind. 
One of my favourites is the Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleanser, but there are many brands that make similar products. I have also used the Emma Hardy Moringa Cleansing Balm which was nice. 

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india


5. Natural Cleansers

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india

This too is one of my all time favourite category! Usually in the form of a fine powder which needs to be mixed in with water to form a paste. It gets a bit cumbersome to use, yes. But these are gentle, mildly exfoliating and they work well if used properly and religiously. 

Store made ubtans, natural ayurvedic cleansers, homemade DIY cleansers all come in this category.
A few that I like are - Kama Ayurveda Mridul Cleanser (reviewed HERE), Forest Essentials Naragi & Nagkesar Ubtan (reviewed HERE), Forest Essentials Soundarya Ubtan (reviewed HERE), Mitti Se Wild Essence Face Wash (reviewed HERE). 
Or make yourself a homemade one with gramflour (besan) or orange peel powder... whatever suits your skin. 

6. Devices 

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india

These are not necessary but are trending nevertheless. 
There are a number of mechanical aids available in the market today - like the Foreo Luna tool, PMD & some almost similar devices. These devices are gentle on your skin and claim to give you a deeper cleanse. But, not necessary. 

cleansing basics, how to use cleansers, types of cleansers, best cleansers india

Some pointers to remember:

  • Try using tepid/lukewarm water to wash off whenever you can.
  • Finish it off with a few splashes of cold water.
  • Use a soft face cloth/flannel to gently dab your skin afterwards. 
  • You can also use the wet flannel to remove the oil/balm cleansers off your face.
  • Choose a cleanser based on your skin type & needs
  • SAY NO TO WIPES! Wipes are not cleansers. Wipes are not even proper makeup removers. BIG NO TO WIPES!


There you have it. I hope this post helps you out a bit. If you have any questions or any other points to share, please let us know below or join us on Instagram.