With summer quickly approaching, we all want our skin to look its best sans heavy makeup. Nobody wants to stress over their skin or worry about makeup in the midst of a beach day or friendly tennis match. Obsessing over your naked face isn’t exactly relaxing. Don’t worry. This series has you covered. From cleansers, toners, serums, eye creams, moisturizers and sunscreen, I will give you the quick and dirty on what you need to know to get your skin looking its best, including my favorite picks in every step.
Alright, let’s get to it! Step 1 of any skincare routine is cleansing. In fact, it is the cornerstone of your entire regimen. Cleansing gets rid of the grime (think pollutants, oil, bacteria and other icky substances), and sloughs away the dead skin cells that clog pores and cause dull, blah skin. And remember – to get skin looking its best, cleanse twice a day, morning and night (no matter how sleepy/tipsy/busy you are). 😉
I keep a few different cleansers in the rotation. I have tried countless brands and formulations, but these stand far above the rest.
1. Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser: This is a beautiful, highly effective cleanser. It is 100% natural so you don’t have to worry about sketchy chemicals or artificial fragrances. It is also perfect for most (all?) skin types. This pick is actually an exfoliant, but is gentle enough to use daily (thank you, apricot seed powder). It is chock-full of amazing, organic goodness and leaves skin seriously radiant. Apply to dry or damp skin in circular motions and voila! After rinsing, skin is hydrated, balanced, glowing and just plain happy. It also reduces the appearance of pores. Plus, it is insanely refreshing and smells fantastic. Use this regularly for one week and you will never look back. (Holy grail status!)
2. Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser (Anti-aging acne): This is another phenomenal cleanser that I use almost every day. As its name indicates, this pick helps keep skin clear and – bonus! – also diminishes the appearance of fine lines. After using, skin is balanced, clean and soft. It has salicylic acid to treat and prevent acne, but miraculously doesn’t leave skin parched. It also contains hyaluronic acid, a highly effective moisture-binding compound, which helps your skin retain and attract moisture so it stays hydrated and plump all day. Genius. (Holy grail status!)
3. Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser: After using this just once, I was hooked. It deep cleans and eliminates excess oil without stripping your skin. I like leaving it on my skin for an extra 30 seconds to give it time to work its magic. You can feel it tightening your skin immediately after application, but don’t worry – it leaves skin insanely soft. Plus, it instantly brightens and reduces the appearance of pores. This one is a miracle worker. Because this cleanser contains French and Moroccan clay, it kind of smells like dirt. And while this should be a turn off, it feels so luxurious you won’t even care. (Plus, the smell is oddly addictive.) As a bonus, you can mix it with Sunday Riley Good Genes (a lactic acid treatment) to create an indulgent, super effective face mask. (See this post for details.) (Holy grail status!)
4. Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm: Full disclosure: I didn’t love this one at first. I don’t like the packaging – it comes in a jar so you have to dip your fingers in it. (Use a clean washcloth in lieu of hands.) Also, I am still iffy about how it feels on my skin – it transforms from a solid balm to an oily liquid on contact. But, when you use this as the first step of a double cleanse, it does its job brilliantly. I reach for this to get rid of stubborn, waterproof makeup or after a day of multiple sunscreen applications. It is incredibly gentle but removes every last trace – no tugging required. (I’m looking at you, face wipes.) Use this followed by a second cleanser – any of the ones I mention here work really well – and I promise your skin will thank you.
Tips: No matter which cleanser(s) you use, always read the ingredients. Personally, I look for things like hyaluronic acid (binds moisture to your skin which reduces the appearance of wrinkles), aloe (an anti-inflammatory rich in anti-oxidants that protects skin against the aging effects of free radicals), willow bark extract (contains salicylic acid, keeping pores clear by helping skin shed dead skin cells) and sometimes salicylic acid for acne prevention and treatment.
Importantly, avoid cleansers that contain the seemingly ever-present sodium laureth sulfate (or any sulfates for that matter). This compound is found in a lot of foaming cleansers and strips skin of essential moisture. To make matters worse, it renders the rest of your skincare regimen less effective because everything else you put on your skin has to work extra hard to repair the damage caused by these sulfates. Not cool, especially when you want to get the most out of those pricey serums.
The take away? Cleansing with the right products is crucial if you want radiant, glowing skin. (And who doesn’t?!)
The next post in this series will cover toners (step 2 in my skincare routine). In the meantime, happy cleansing!
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