My Skin Regimen | Battle of the Gentle Cleansers

I’m all for the double cleanse. Hey even triple cleanse. Bring it on! Ever since I’ve learned about the different types of cleansers and ways of properly cleansing your face from her Majesty Miss Caroline Hirons, I’ve been trying out every kind of cleanser at my hands reach. And this has been a very bumpy ride but I think I have it down to a pretty solid cleanser wardrobe, as Miss Caroline Hirons would say:

  1. Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser – This is an amazing cleansing balm that I have recently started using and it was love at first pump. Now, I realize this has been a holy grail winter time cleanser of our fellow UK beauties, but it’s absolutely impossible to find in Canada. This one I’ve scavenged in a tiny tiny health supplements shop and boy, I was so glad I did. Pai is an amazing skin care line that focuses on organic ingredients and most importantly, effective clean ingredients. This cleanser is meant to double as a makeup remover and a cleanser, but I like to use this as my second cleanse after using cold-pressed coconut oil to remove all of my makeup. It comes out as more of a cream but it has many oils which help emulsify any left over makeup on your face. I use a steaming cotton wash cloth to take it off and at the same time start exfoliating my skin. It contains aqua, camellia sinensis seed oil*, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil*, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil*, cetearyl alcohol, vegetable glycerine*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter* , cetearyl glucoside, rosa damascena (rose otto) oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) oil*, lavandula officinalis (lavender) flower oil*, litsea cubeba fruit oil* – may chang oil, mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin e), sodium lauroyl lactylate, sodium anisate, sodium levulinate, lactic acid, glyceryl stearate citrate. Note: It does contain shea butter, which is non-advisable for acne-prone skin but I have not seen any breakouts since using it. The geranium and lavender oil also help heal and reduce inflammation on breakouts as well, while camellia, almond, shea and rose oil help hydrate.
  2. Emma Hardie amazing face Moringa Cleansing Balm – An absolute must have for anyone that likes cleansing balms. This one in particular is a star: the very thick and luxurious texture, the orange oil/moringa scent, the hydration (!), etc. There is too many good things I can say about it. I would use this more in the winter months as my second cleanse instead of the Pai cleanser, because of the heavier consistency. And the same method: massage into your skin in circular motions as to emulsify any remaining makeup and increase blood circulation. Note that the second cleanse is meant to be a time indulgent pamper/exercise for the face, so using a very good balm makes it that much better. But what about the Eve Lom Cleansing Balm you say? It contains mineral oil as the major ingredient and thats a big no-no (Why no mineral oil in my skincare?). It also costs the same but the EH balm has all natural ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-8 Beeswax, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Sorbitan Stearate, Palmitic/Stearic Triglycerides, Limonene, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Silica, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Juniperus Virginiana Oil, Aqua (Water), Lecithin, Linalool, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecyl PCA, Menthyl PCA, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Disodium Phosphate, Citronellol, Citric Acid, Geraniol, Citral. Like with the Pai cleanser, it’s hard to find but the best place I’ve found was at Bath&Unwind, which ships free to Canada.
  3. [comfort zone] ACTIVE PURENESS Cleansing Gel – This is an excellent gel cleanser to use on those especially oily days. It is a very light non-soapy cleanser meant to remove the excess oil and rebalance the oil levels in the skin. This would be used after the oil-cleanse or after removing makeup. Light surfactants and botanic extract of usnea barbata. Could not find the ingredients list.
  4. Mario Badesco Acne Facial Cleanser – This cleanser I keep on the back burner simply because I am currently into the glow right now – I find that it simply removes a little bit too much oil than I would like. When I first started to turn my skincare around and develop a regimen, I started with the Mario Badescu range. Its very simple, effective and non expensive. I keep this one in the shower just in case I jump in without removing my makeup and this does the trick. One of the best things about this cleanser is that the ingredients are very simple: Deionized Water (Aqua),Glycerin,Sodium Laureth Sulfate,Aloe Vera (Barbadensis Leaf) Gel, Hyaluronic Acid,Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Extract,Chamomile (Chamomila Recutita) Extract,Isopropyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid,Triethanolamine,Propylene Glycol. Aloe Vera and chamomile help soothe the red and inflamed skin, while salicylic acid and thyme extract disinfect. The hyaluronic acid does hurt either although the effect of it is not abundant when using this cleanser.
  5. Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser – Saving the best for last. Andalou is hands down the best skin care line I have yet tried, and believe me I have tried and repurchased the majority of their products. This one in particular is an excellent (exfoliating) cleanser meant to brighten and gently exfoliate the skin using vitamin C, fruit enzymes and meyer lemon extract. I love the fact that with this cleanser, the exfoliation starts at an earlier stage as someone who has quite a few acne scars and pigmentation from post-acne skin, exfoliation is a must. I would say this is a cleanser in between a light gel and a good cleansing balm as it contains a lot of very good oils that helps nourish the skin while removing impurities. The manuka honey is an excellent humectant and helps to restore the water balance in the skin at the same time as it repairs the natural skin barrier. What more does one need? I can use this alone or with my FOREO to exfoliate and increase blood circulation even more. Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Decyl Glucoside, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Manuka Honey, Vegetable Glycerin, Sorbitol, Citrus Medica Limonum (Meyer Lemon) Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) and Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Oils*, Lauric Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oil*, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed) Polyphenols, Allantoin, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) and Hibiscus Sabdariffa Extracts†, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Vanilla Planifolia and Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Extracts, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cananga Odorata (YlangYlang) Oil*, Styrax Benzoin, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Oil* (Non-GMO verified *Organic † Fair Trade).
  6. Some that were not mentioned that are also excellent cleansers/makeup removers:Clinique Take the Day Off and REN Hot Cloth Cleanse.

Note that my skin is quite normal, but still quite sensitive with a few breakouts here and there, mostly due to my diet (read: dairy and sugar). I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve been out looking for skincare to help my very resistant oily and cystic acne several years ago and every counter told me the same thing – “Do not put any oil on oily skin or acne prone skin – it will just make it worse!!” That is absolute nonsense. Yes, some oils, for example shea butter, do not bode well when left on acne prone skin, but putting oil on my acneic skin helped me reduce if not completely heal acne! When your skin is oily, it is in fact screaming out for hydration! Your skin feels very dehydrated from not enough water, salty foods, too much caffeine and sugar, so it overcompensates by overengaging the sebum and overproducing oil. Please go put some oil on your oily skin and you will notice a dramatic difference. I found out the hard way that the cleansing step is the most important step of the whole process. If you are not cleansing correctly – there is no point to using that 100$ moisturizer – literally, money down the drain. As noted above – go in with a coconut oil or any oil (I’ve known some ladies like to use avocado oil and evo, so use what you like!) massage to breakdown all of that makeup and dirt and use a hot non-abrasive cotton wash cloth to take it off (I found these work very well). Then start the second cleanse – which is where you would use any of the above cleansers and you are on your way to some beautiful skin.

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