Lisa Bova, Founder Arcadian Winds Beauty February 2020
Have you ever tried to apply a decorative decal to your wall? Instructions typically call for "washing the wall with mild soap and water for a clean surface before applying". So you get up on your ladder with a soapy concoction and a sponge and upon close inspection of said wall, you gasp a little. Years of debris, spider webby things, and splotches of....lasagna? While the wall decal's intention is to pretty up your wall, without that good cleanse not only won't it stick, but the raised debris will hinder a smooth application. Ok, I'm sure there are tons of better examples to emphasize the importance of skin cleansing, but you get the picture. All of your gorgeous serums and active ingredients are like that decal. Intended to improve and beautify skin but unable to do so on a grimy canvas.
Skin cleansing is the most important step in our regimen, and sadly also the most overlooked. The average person spends 30 seconds washing their face at night. With today's sophisticated longwear foundations and smudge-proof mascaras, 30 seconds isn't enough time to break these formulas down, let alone remove them. this is where double cleansing comes in. Just as it sounds double cleansing is a two step cleansing approach that has been used by skincare pros for many years. Step one is using a pre-cleansing emulsifying oil.
Using an pre-cleansing emulsifying oil as your first cleanse ensures the removal of virtually all surface debris and applications. Because like attracts like, any emollient (oil based) products applied during the day will immediately break down and literally melt away with an oil. This includes all foundations, powders, eyeshadows, stubborn SPFs and mascara. Once rinsed or toweled off with all of the day's gunk stripped away, you are ready for the second step of washing with your daily cleanser. Perhaps you are wondering right now, why this additional step? Isn't the oil cleanser enough? Well, in a nutshell, not really. While the oil is excellent at removal, even when rinsed a layer of occlusive oils may remain on the skin. While this might actually be best case scenario for dry skin types, others may find this causes mild breakouts. Following with your daily cleanser will prevent this, and give your daily cleaner the opportunity to do something it's really excellent at: Cleansing!
Without having to work at removing anything, now your daily cleanser becomes supercharged, getting down deep to the pores and REALLY cleaning the skin. Daily face washes should be gentle and never leave you with tight skin or that "squeaky clean" feeling. This feeling typically signifies a cleanser way too high in alkalinity, and that "squeak" is actually your skin screaming bloody murder from it's precious and protective acid mantle being stripped away. Cleansers with more gentle surfactants that have a lower pH are best for all skin types (my personal favorite here). And yes, men and women can use the same cleansers. To imply that they cannot is just another marketing tactic.
The double cleansing technique is beauty industry standard, and if you find yourself with constant bumpy congested skin and a makeup stained pillow case, a true game changer. It will add more time to your nightly routine to be sure, about a solid minute per cleanse, but the change in your skin will be darn near miraculous. Not only will the skin naturally clear itself of congestion as pores are being stripped of blockage, but a radiance will also emerge. Additionally, like that wall decal, anything you apply to that fresh clean canvas will go on smoothly and just work better.
Bottom line here is this: Double cleansing really is the first step to noticeable skin improvement. Pre-cleansing oils have proven results and are used by skin care professionals around the world. A daily facial cleanser, be it a bar, a liquid, or a foam should be gentle and able to remove surface debris while leaving skin nourished and balanced. Try not to be enticed by expensive cleansers claiming to be anti aging. Cleansers are not the product you want to invest any real money in. That money is literally washed down the drain in less than a minute, along with all those fancy ingredients. Spend that money instead on the serums, moisturizers and retinols that actually stay on the skin and go to work for you. And, I know it's tough, but try to reassure your dude that he won't sprout boobs if he uses your cleansers.