[Before I begin, I have oily but dehydrated skin. I now have my oily skin almost totally under control and don’t get pimples anymore, which means I am now able to focus on hydration and anti-aging goals for my skin.]
We all know we need to ‘clean our makeup off before we go to bed’ but cleansing is more than that. Cleansing isn’t just about getting makeup off before it clogs your pores and smears all over your pillow. It’s also about purifying your skin - removing the pollution, dirt, sweat, sebum (which can cause pimples and blackheads if you produce lots and don’t remove it), sunscreen and dead skin cells that accumulate over the day (and night).
Clean, purified skin is the base you want for any of your skin treatments, including sheet masks. Hydration and anti-aging treatments for dry or mature skin will absorb and act better on clean skin. Most importantly, it’s critical if you are treating oily and acne-prone skin. Purifying your skin properly helps reduce the comedones (clogs) and sebum that cause pimples and blackheads.
You can of course become overly fanatical about these things, and that’s not necessarily you living your best life! Which is why I want to tell you how I do it (and did it, when I was treating my own acne-prone skin).
Rule No 1. Use the Korean Double Cleanse Method
I know it sounds like a ploy to get people to buy two cleansers instead of one. But think of it as replacing a drying makeup remover with a first cleanser. Seriously, this is the best way I have found to properly clean my skin of all makeup, sunscreen, dirt and all the gunk my skin produces . The double cleanse method uses two different products to ensure everything gets cleaned properly.
First, you use an oil-based cleanser to remove oil-based waste (like sebum, sunscreen and makeup). It glides on and, because like removes like, removes the bulk of the gunk you’re trying to get rid of. Emulsify it with water and wash it off.
We sell Heimisch’s All Clean Balm in our shop because it is the best oil cleanser I’ve found so far (and I’ve tried quite a few). It lasts for ages and it’s super easy to scoop out a bit into a smaller jar to take with you when you travel.
Second, you use a water-based gel or foaming cleanser to clean away other non-oil based dirt, debris and dead skin cells. These are the sorts of cleansers you are probably more used to here in Australia. With one exception: I really recommend only using a low pH (slightly acidic) cleanser to better match the natural acidity of your skin. A lot of the cleansers I bought when I was younger were too alkaline and left my skin stripped and feeling tight. Low pH cleansers leave your skin feeling much more healthy, supple and buttery.
We sell only two water-based cleansers (I use both of them). If you have oily and acne-prone skin I recommend COSRX’s Good Morning Gel Cleanser, which includes very gentle exfoliants to help purify your pores even further. If you have normal, dry or maturing skin I recommend SU:M’s Miracle Cleansing Stick. This cleanser is more nourishing, and frankly the most luxurious and long-lasting cleanser I have found.
When I was treating my acne-prone skin, I double cleansed morning and night. Now everything’s under control, I use the COSRX cleanser on its own in the morning, and double cleanse with the Heimisch cleansing balm and then the SU:M cleansing stick in the evening.
I think if you have normal to dry skin, you can really just double cleanse at night - to remove the day’s sweat, makeup and sunscreen.
Rule No 2. Dry your face with a CLEAN towel
Bacteria and dirt end up on your bath and hand towels. You don’t want to be wiping that back all over your lovely clean face. Especially if you have acne-prone skin, I suggest you dry your face with a small, soft, cotton face washer that is small enough that you can replace it every couple of days without creating a mountain of washing. Some women in Korea and Japan go even further and will only let their face air dry - but I rarely have enough time for that, and if I do would much rather use it to enjoy a sheet mask.
Rule No 3. Use a great toner after cleansing
I cannot tell you how much I LOVE toners. We only sell one at the moment (although I am testing another that I am rather liking at the moment). But to me, the COSRX Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner is still, so far, my holy grail toner. I am very liberal with its application, and sometimes apply it twice. The fermented extracts in this toner do wonders for the clarity and brightness of my skin and really finish off the purification process with a hit of light hydration.
Once you’re all clean, you can treat your skin: either to a sheet mask, serum, overnight pack, sunscreen or makeup.
I hope all of that has been helpful to you. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions and I’ll certainly try to help if I can.
If you want to check out any of the products I use to cleanse just take a look here.
Keep it clean,