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Everything You Need to Know About Proper Facial Cleansing
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Everything You Need to Know About Proper Facial Cleansing

Proper facial cleansing is the foundation of a good skincare routine. Keep reading to learn about different cleansers and the purpose of double cleansing.


I’ve said this many times in the past, but since this is an important topic, I’ll repeat it again: Cleansing is the foundation of a good skincare routine. If you don’t do a good job of cleansing your face, then you can forget about the rest of your products. They’re not gonna work.

That said, it appears that many people are not cleansing properly. 

According to a 2017 skin survey(1) of 1,000 American adult men and women, 54% admit that they often skip washing their face before bedtime. Furthermore, 55% of dry skin individuals report only using water to cleanse their face, while roughly 33% of oily skin individuals report the same.

Even though the participants in this survey are Americans, I think we can expect this to be the general consensus for other regions as well.

As someone who has worked in the skincare industry for a very long time, cleansing has become second nature to me. So I find these statistics truly baffling.

In this article, we’re going back to the basics. Ingrid, a Holistic Skin Coach, and I will break down everything you need to know about cleansing. Our goal is to give you the information you need to create an effective cleansing routine and truly transform your skin. 

Why is it important to have a proper cleansing routine?

“The skin is an organ that needs our attention. For me, cleansing is a ritual to soothe and renew this organ.” - Ingrid

If you’re new to the skincare world, cleansing is a term we use to describe washing your face with a soap. However, the key is to not use the same soap you use for your body because that type of soap is generally too harsh and abrasive for your facial skin. Instead, use one that is specifically formulated for your delicate facial skin. We refer to this type of soap as a facial cleanser or face wash

Oh, and please, please, please spare your face the horror of using 3-in-1 shampoo, cleanser, body wash products. In the long run, these won’t do you any good.

Just like it’s important to brush your teeth every day, it’s also important to cleanse your face every day.

As you go about your day, your facial skin is continuously collecting bacteria, dirt, dead skin cells and other impurities. According to Ingrid, it’s important to cleanse and get rid of these buildups every day. If you don’t, it may lead to clogged pores and dull skin, which is a recipe for acne and breakouts. Plus, cleansing will prep your skin and allow for other skincare products to be absorbed better, giving you the most bang for your buck!

What are the different types of cleansers?

There are so many types of cleansers out there. And not gonna lie, as fun as it is to browse through them all, it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed. However, it’s important to at least know the basic differences between each type, as this will help you to filter your options and make it easier to choose the type of cleansers that work best for you. 

Ingrid and I have identified 9 types of cleansers that are currently available on the market. They can be separated into two categories: first cleanse and second cleanse. Don’t worry, we’ll touch on first cleanse and second cleanse in more detail a little later.

First cleanse

Oil cleansers: At first, you might be put off by them because these cleansers appear to be just like your regular facial oil. However, the cool thing is, once you add water, oil cleansers emulsify and turn into a milky texture that can easily be rinsed off. This type of cleanser helps you to gently remove impurities on your skin without being overly disruptive to your skin barrier or drying to your skin. Despite popular beliefs, these cleansers are good for all skin types, including oily skin.

Cleansing balms: Cleansing balms are very similar to oil cleansers, except that they have a thicker, butter-like consistency. Aside from the texture, they work just like oil cleansers to remove stubborn impurities on your skin and in your pores. And once you add water, the balm turns into a milky liquid and can be rinsed off easily. This is a good option if you have dry or sensitive skin.

Cream cleansers: Cream cleansers have a creamy and lush texture. They tend to be extremely gentle and ultra-hydrating, which makes them the perfect option if you have dry or sensitive skin. However, any skin type can benefit from cream cleansers. Despite being so gentle, they can still cleanse your skin effectively without stripping all of its moisture and natural oils. 

Aloe Milk Cleanser beside product smear

Since I wanted to formulate a universal cleanser that can be used by anybody, regardless of their skin type, a cream cleanser was the obvious choice. Our Aloe Milk Cleanser has a creamy smooth texture and is formulated with a melange of aloe vera, black tea and niacinamide to calm and balance your skin

Micellar cleansers: A French invention as a solution to their harsh tap water, micellar cleansers (AKA: micellar water) are made up of micelles. These are minuscule oil molecules suspended in soft water that can easily attract oil, dirt and makeup. Micellar cleansers are a gentle, yet effective, option to help you get rid of makeup or sunscreen. They’re gentle enough for even those with sensitive skin. However, we do recommend using another cleanser afterwards to make sure your face is truly clean.  

Makeup wipes: Not exactly a cleanser, but some people still regard these as such. Makeup wipes are made from materials like polyester, cotton and rayon. They’re soaked in common ingredients such as moisturizers, surfactants and preservatives. Despite what you may believe, these wipes are not substitutes for cleansers, as they don’t actually cleanse the skin but only rub the impurities around. At best, you should only use them during your makeup application to fix some minor mistakes.

Second cleanse

Gel cleansers: Gel cleansers are clear and have a gel-like consistency. They’re typically designed for deep cleansing since they’re effective at unclogging pores, removing excess oil and other impurities. We generally recommend these types of cleansers for those with acne or oily skin.

Foam cleansers: Foam cleansers are the OG of all cleansers. They are typically what you imagine when you think of a cleanser. They usually begin as a gel or cream but when you add water, they lather and burst into a rich foamy texture. This type of cleanser is effective at removing impurities from deep in your pores and is perfect for those with combination or oily skin.

Face Foam with product smear

As the name suggests, our Face Foam is a foam cleanser with a rich, foamy lather. It’s formulated with a synergistic blend of natural BHA, bamboo extract and azelaic acid to retexturize your skin

Clay cleansers: Enjoy using clay masks? Then you’ll absolutely adore clay cleansers. They have wonderful absorbing capabilities and can purify your skin by drawing out excess oil and impurities from your pores. Even though they’re perfect for oily and combination skin, individuals with sensitive skin can use clay cleansers too. 

Now that we’ve covered the types of cleansers that we typically see on the market, let’s get to this first cleanse and second cleanse stuff. 

What is double cleansing and why is it important?

According to a recent survey that we carried out on our Instagram, when asked “Do you ever double cleanse your skin?”, an impressive 73% of our audience answered with “Yes.” However, when asked “Do you know why we should double cleanse?”, only 47% of the audience answered “Yes.” That means a staggering 53% of respondents answered “No.” 

This suggests that even though most of us know about double cleansing and indulge in it from time to time, we still don’t really have a clear understanding of what it is and why we do it.

So, let’s discuss!

Double cleansing is exactly what it sounds like—cleansing your skin twice. The first cleanse softens and breaks down the impurities on your skin. The second cleanse rinses it all away.

For best results, you should use different types of cleansers for each cleanse.

For the first cleanse, you’ll want to use an oil cleanser, cleansing balm, cream cleanser or micellar cleanser. This is to get rid of oil-based impurities such as excess sebum, makeup and other pollutants. For example, our Aloe Milk Cleanser does a really good job at removing makeup, dirt and excess sebum without stripping your skin of its natural moisture. 

For your second cleanse, it’s up to you to choose the kind of cleanser you want. You could use a foam cleanser or a clay cleanser. This is to get rid of water-based impurities such as sweat and dirt. I tend to use a foaming cleanser. Face Foam is my go-to as it always gives me that good deep cleanse feeling. 

How to double cleanse your face properly

According to the 2017 study(1) mentioned above, at least 80% of people make one or more mistakes when cleansing their face and 60% of people report that they feel uninformed about proper skin cleansing methods.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone!

This is where Ingrid and I step in to share our knowledge. With over 20 years of combined experience in the skincare industry, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about double cleansing. But please note that this is only intended as a general guideline. In fact, skincare is never one-size-fits-all, and this is no different. You may find yourself only needing to double cleanse a few times a week, or only when you think it’s necessary. Again, this is entirely up to you.

So here’s a super simple, straightforward guide to double cleansing:

Step 1: Wash your hands

I know. I know. This may seem irrelevant. But trust me, it’s extremely important. You need to wash your hands to get rid of the impurities, germs, oil and dirt on your hands before touching your face. 

Here’s why: Your cleansers are formulated specifically for your facial skin. If you don’t wash your hands first and just skip straight to using your cleanser, then your cleansers may have to overwork by cleansing the impurities on your hands as well. And by the time it touches your face, it’ll no longer be as effective. 

Step 2: Adjust the water temperature

The next thing that you need to keep in mind is making sure the water you use is lukewarm. If the water is too hot or too cold, that might strip your skin of its important oil and moisture, leading to a disrupted skin barrier. So remember, lukewarm water only!

Step 3: First cleanse

This is my favourite part of the cleansing process because I can take time and just enjoy pampering my skin and I recommend you do the same. Don’t rush the process. This is really your chance to slow down and work the cleanser into your skin. Give your cleanser a chance to really get into your pores and clear out all the impurities. 

Here’s what you wanna do: Apply the cleanser onto your dry face with clean, dry hands. Massage the cleanser onto your skin for as long as you need. Ingrid tends to enjoy performing a lymph drainage massage. According to her, this is beneficial because it can “improve circulation and drain fluid from under the eyes and cheeks to reduce puffiness.” 

And whenever she feels like spending some extra time pampering herself, Ingrid also takes time to go over a few pressure points on the forehead, cheeks, and chin. Particularly, there are three points that you should pay attention to: 1) urinary point between the eyebrows, 2) gallbladder point on the forehead, and 3) stomach and small intestine points on the cheeks and along the jawline.

According to Ingrid, this simple pressure point exercise can help to improve the overall blood flow in your body.

After that, simply rinse off the first cleanse and move on to your second cleanse.

Step 4: Second cleanse

For your second cleanse, simply wash your skin how you normally would. Apply your cleanser on damp skin and spend some time to really work the cleanser into your skin. As a rule of thumb, you should spend about 45 to 60 seconds to cleanse. This will make a world of difference as it’ll allow the cleanser time to truly work its magic.

Optional Step 5: Triple cleanse

So far, we’ve been talking about double cleansing. So what is this triple cleanse???

Well, in essence, the triple cleanse is very similar to the double cleanse, with one distinctive difference: The cleansing tool.

With the double cleanse, you’ll mostly be using your hands to cleanse. With a triple cleanse, you’ll incorporate a cleansing tool into the mix. It could be any tool of your own choosing, ranging from cleansing brushes like those from Clarisonic or Foreo, to microfibre cloths.

At Graydon Skincare, we choose our Bamboo Charcoal Sponge as it provides the  perfect texture to remove dirt and grime from your face in a very gentle way. In fact, it’s SO gentle that even if you have sensitive skin, you can still use it.

Bamboo Charcoal Spone

Again, apply 2-3 pumps of cleanser onto the moistened sponge and massage it into your face. We recommend using the sponge in conjunction with your second cleanser. Do this for about 30-45 seconds to really work the cleanser into your skin. Finish by rinsing your face (and your sponge) with lukewarm water. And you’re set!!

Final Words

Now that you know a little more about cleansing, give this double (or triple) cleanse routine a try. But remember, these are just guidelines!

In reality, you don’t have to double cleanse every day. Personally, I only double cleanse whenever I wear makeup or I want to pamper my skin. And while it’s a great suggestion, you don’t have to use two different types of cleansers either. You could just use one cleanser twice and get similar results. 

I’ve found tremendous results using Aloe Milk Cleanser and Face Foam. I know many members of our plant-powered family have had great results with this cleansing combo as well.

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Despite our best efforts, sometimes sunburns happen. Click here to learn how to soothe your skin after a sunburn and get glowing skin without UV rays.


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