Jan 19, 2013

Beauty at Home: Cleansers

Facial cleansers have always been the biggest disappointment of any skin care item I've used. They always cause an imbalance to my skin (some cleansers have made my skin very dry, others have made it very oily - no matter what my skin would still break out), the ingredients are always questionable, and I feel as if I am just paying to use a product that doesn't even help my skin in the long run.

So, what are the alternatives?
  • Water-only method: I am sure that somebody who comes across this post will have heard of the water-only cleansing method because a lot of people I know don't even use facial cleansers and their skin looks fine. There is an even more extreme version of this called the caveman regimen, which entails not letting water touch your face for at least a month in order to "fix" your face's acid mantle. I'm not brave enough to try the caveman regimen, but I do only rinse my face with water in the mornings now and my skin hasn't gotten dry at all this winter. Another way of doing the water-only method is to use a microfiber washcloth or something like the Jane Iredale Magic Mitt for extra exfoliation (which I will be reviewing once I've tested it for another week or so).
  • Oil cleansing method: this is another popular alternative to commercial facial cleansers. It is common to mix castor oil with a carrier oil (such as olive, grapeseed, jojoba, almond, and so on), rub it on the face for a few minutes, and then take a washcloth and drench it in water that is as hot as you can stand and steam your face with the washcloth to remove the oil. This is a longer process and can be irritating to very sensitive skin because of the rubbing and temperature of the water, but a lot of people notice a small difference immediately and a significant difference within a few weeks. I have tried this on several occasions and I think it is nice, but I have yet to find a carrier oil that I like on my skin. Even people with oily and acne-prone skin can use this method. The trick is to find the right oil for your own specific skin type and also to steam your face enough times to remove the oil. People with dry skin seem to prefer leaving some of the oil on the skin.
  • Honey: this is one of my favorite methods to cleanse my face. I will remove my makeup and pat my face dry, and then rub honey on my dry face. I let it soak in for as long as I can (since I shower in the morning, I do this at night). I do not recommend the honey you will typically find in grocery stores because from my understanding, the honey commonly found at grocery stores is heated above a certain temperature, which kills the antibacterial properties of the honey. I recommend raw honey (which can be found online or at a health food store and should usually cost less than $10 for a huge jar) or manuka honey (can also be found online or at a health food store, but manuka honey is expensive - the cheapest I have found was $20 for a tiny jar). Honey has antibacterial properties and also softens my skin.
  • Baking Soda: I use this as an exfoliant either mixed with water or honey. It can be abrasive, so I don't recommend that you use it every day. Baking soda is inexpensive and can be used for a lot of different things.
  • Oatmeal: I only recently tried this out of curiosity. I had heard from a few different sources (Bubzbeauty included) that oatmeal is soothing and moisturizing to the skin. I've noticed that it is also a gentle exfoliant. The downside to using oatmeal is that it is probably the messiest out of all the ingredients I have mentioned.
Good skin care is not the ultimate end to every skin problem. If you have acne and want to get rid of it, the very best thing to do is to eat better (and better is a very broad term, but my suggestion is to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables), exercise to get your lymphatic system working properly (so your body can eliminate toxins), to drink plenty of water (also to eliminate toxins), and also to use products that won't aggravate the problem at hand. In my experience, acne products do not work beyond treating what is on the surface. The idea is to get to the root of the problem and go from there. I'll be honest: I'm still working on it to this day.

When it comes to taking care of your skin, my recommendation is to be gentle no matter what you do and when you try a new routine, stick with it for at least a month or two so you can see the full effects of what you choose to use. Start with the basics and then slowly add things into your routine so what you do will fit your personal needs.

What do you cleanse your face with?