A Guest Blog
OK, OK. I’ll admit it. When I was young...er, I used to wash my face with any old thing I had laying around. Cetaphil? Great. Noxzema? Fine. Ivory bar soap? Whatever. I mean, what was the point of worrying too much about what you’re cleansing your face with if you’re just going to rinse it right off? Do cleansers even matter that much?
Then I went to esthetics school. And I learned some things.
Let’s back up. As a teen, commercials for zit creams made me SO paranoid about getting a pimple. I thought that to prevent a breakout, I needed to wash my face with something harsh. In fact, we were conditioned to believe that. I didn’t feel like my skin was truly clean unless it had that squeaky clean feeling. You know, that “tight” feeling you get after using one of these cleansers? Yeah, that’s actually not a good thing. Benzoyl peroxide in facial cleansers was heavily marketed to teenagers in the ‘90s. And we all bought into it.
In esthetics school, I realized that drying out my already-extremely-dry skin was one of the worst things I could have been doing. If the skin is dried out, our oil (sebum) production goes into overdrive to make up for the stripping of the skin’s natural oils, and you’re more likely to break out. Your acid mantle is all out of whack. The commercials don’t tell you any of that! It was time to dig in and do some research.
This is when I discovered cream cleansers.
Cream cleansers work well for most people with dry or combination skin, but are especially great for mature skin. They get the job done. Your face is clean but it’s not squeaky, it’s not tight, and after using a cream cleanser your face will feel not only clean but hydrated. Of course, we still must always follow up with a moisturizer. Come on. We’re not animals.
That was back in my thirties. Oh, was I carefree in those days - a relative child! I wasn’t using eye cream. I was standing up quickly and not hearing weird sounds crackle out of my bones. I could wear stilettos for eight straight hours with only a few complaints. Then, it happened. Forty arrived and hit me like a ton of bricks. I sprouted hairs in funny places. Fine lines and wrinkles started showing up on my cheeks, my chin, my neck(!). Once, I threw my back out when I was brushing my teeth. I needed more than just a cream cleanser. I needed all the help I could get.
Then, the concept of oil cleansing was introduced to me. It seems counterintuitive, no? I mean, after all those years of oil being pegged as the boogeyman! Those Clearasil commercials are still deep inside my brain. Now I’m supposed to slap that shit on my face in order to cleanse it? No, ma’am! That was crazy talk...or was it?
One really cold, dry Boston winter, my skin was just on fire. “Angry,” as my esthetics teacher used to say.
So, I randomly decided to use a sample of Bobbi Brown’s oil cleanser. I now look back on that tiny sample as the gateway. Once I realized how hydrated my skin felt after using it, I was hooked.
After researching everything I could find about cleansing with oils, and I learned that people worldwide have been cleansing with oil for hundreds of years. Probably longer. Contrary to popular belief, cleansing oils do not clog our pores; rather, they clear out our skin in a way that other cleansers can’t. It’s almost a “like-attracts-like” situation, where the oil cleanser is picking up the oil in your makeup to be rinsed away, but leaving your face truly clean with a luxuriously hydrated feeling. In the book “Wicked,” Elphaba used cleansing oils because, as we all know, water was a big no-no for her. Well, maybe I’m part-witch because that shit WORKED.
Now, I use Sonia Roselli Beauty’s Japanese Cleansing Oil.
I don’t need a lot, so a bottle full of these magical, luxurious ingredients lasts a while, making the cost well worth it. JCO easily removes all my makeup at the end of the day, and it leaves my over-40 skin feeling smooth, looking hydrated and dewy, but without any residue left behind after rinsing. It is the best, and I’d say only, option for cleansing mature skin. At this stage of my life, my skin deserves it!
Cleansers are important, and although they only remain on your face for a short while, they truly make a difference in how your skin behaves, looks, and feels. A harsh cleanser could kick your ass: it can cause adverse effects such as breakouts, skin dehydration, or even strip your acid mantle, leaving the skin more susceptible to bacteria and other potential contaminants. If you use the wrong cleanser for your skin type, your skin will retaliate!