A guide to your best skin: Cleansers

A guide to your best skin: Cleansers

Hello there! Here’s the second part to the 5-part series on how to get your best skin, and it’s all about cleansers and cleansing your face. I hope you enjoy!

Ladies (and gentlemen), I truly believe cleansing your face is the most basic, yet most important part of your routine. Honestly, a lot of skin issues can be prevented with proper cleansing habits. This includes focusing on makeup removal and then the actual use of facial cleansing products to clean your face.

As someone who doesn’t use make-up daily (if any, just some undereye concealer), I keep my cleansing routine fairly simple, only adding a few steps if I have a full face of makeup on. Here’s a few tips and products that you could use when curating your skincare routine:

Removing makeup

I’ll be honest, the reason I tend to stay away from makeup is because of the removing part, especially with eyeliner and mascara. Micellar water works wonderfully on waterproof makeup, and is gentle enough to be used around the eye area. It’s great even for sensitive skin, and effectively removes and dirt, oil and product you have on your face. Using micellar water with a cotton pad is actually one of the reasons it works so well; the cotton pad acts almost as a physical exfoliator.

This is my almost-empty bottle of NIVEA Hydration Make Up Clear Micellar Water. As long as the ingredients list is short, any brand of micellar water will do!

How to: All you need to do is soak a cotton pad with the product and let it sit on your eye for a bit to dissolve any heavy eyeshadow, mascara, or eyeliner before slowlyusing circular motions to rub the makeup off. Always use one pad for one eye. If you have any residue mascara or eyeliner, use cotton buds to get into those hard-to-reach parts.

I tend to use contact lenses, and I noticed micellar water sometimes seeps into my eye and gets trapped in the lens, which can be uncomfortable, so keep that in mind if you use lenses too!

Of course, when dealing with your eyes, any form of tugging, pulling, dragging, can aid the appearance of premature wrinkles. The skin surrounding your eyes are one of the first places that show signs of ageing, and therefore extremely gentle care is needed when removing eye makeup. Another reason why I don’t prefer to use eyeliner or mascara daily; too much tugging around the eye area.

Makeup wipes are a major no-no in the skincare area. Not only are they harsh on your skin, overpriced (baby wipes >>>), they don’t even properly remove makeup and products. I know it’s convenient, but in reality, the convenience here isn’t worth the long term affects. Wipes are bad for the environment, your face, and your wallet. Investing in a more effective cleansing routine is the stepping stone to building a healthy habit of cleaning your face at the end of the day.

Then again Dania, using cotton pads everyday can’t be good either, right?

Yeah. You got me.

Oil cleansers

Which is why I’ve converted to oil cleansing! If you’ve heard about Asian skincare, oil cleansing is part of the “double-cleansing method”. You’d use an oil-based liquid or balm to first dissolve your makeup, sunscreen and other products. Later, once everything has been dissolved, you’d wash away with a normal cleanser.

Theory: oil cleansing works with the idea that oil dissolves oil. Makeup, sunscreen, foundation, moisturizers etc. are all mostly oil-based products, and therefore oil cleansing is an effective way of removing facial products in the evening. At the same time, oil cleansers can clear your face of excess sebum.  There are lots of oils to choose from, and this allows you to choose oils that suit your skin better; in terms of comedogenicity, texture, and how gentle it is on your skin. 

When I started oil cleansing, I used pure castor oil from the pharmacy. Castor oil is gentle, extremely non-comedogenic and an easily available type of oil, so I’d suggest starting with it. Buying pure oils are also a lot cheaper than a ready oil cleanser.

The only drawback from using any pure oil is thatthey don’t emulsify as well as a readymade oil cleanser does. This makes the removal of the oily layer a bit more difficult. The best away is to use a microfiber cloth and warm water to breakdown the oily layer. This method has its cons, since you’d need to wash and clean your cloths frequently to prevent bacterial growth. I used to wash my face with a foamy cleanser twice after the oil cleansing, but this isn’t really sustainable. I’ve recently converted to using a cleanser from Caudalie, and it’s made oil cleansing a much more enjoyable experience!

With a bunch of oils, this bottle of slick goodness is the perfect way to start your double cleansing journey!

How to: massage to oil on your face, focusing on your nose, cheeks, forehead and neck. Ideally, I’d let the oil sit for 10-15 minutes before gently massaging again and rinsing. Here are other product recommendations: DHC Deep Oil Cleanser, Banila Co. Clean It Zero, Clinique Take the Day Off Balm, The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Butter.


Regardless of how you initially remove your makeup/skincare products, a cleanser is a must (technically, not for everyone. Some people are okay with not using a cleanser in the morning, for example). And it’s important to look for a cleanser with a pH on the acidic side, around 4-5. Our facial skin’s normal pH is naturally acidic, and rightfully so to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi on our skin. Maintaining this acidic pH is crucial to maintaining healthy skin (here’s a post filled with research on the topic, and here’s one on our skin’s barrier and pH). Neutral cleansers can damage to lipids in our skin’s moisture barrier, as they act as surfactants disrupting the bonds between them. 

I’ve been using this ever since I was 18; perfect pH, affordable and always available! (Remember, white-coloured pump. The black pump bottle is almost alkaline in pH!)

Once I switched to a cleanser with a lower pH, I immediately noticed my skin was brighter! Here’s a reddit thread on a few recommended low-pH cleansers for you to check out. Personally, I always use the Neutrogena deep clean facial cleanser, and I haven’t looked back. But if you’re curious to know what’s the pH of your current cleanser, here’s a spreadsheet from r/AsianBeauty with a huge list of cleansers and their respective pH.

Getting the first step right helps your skin prepare for the next steps in your skincare routine. Cleansing is a basic step, but a mistake here could damage your skin, cancelling-out the effects of your skincare products on it. Look for cleansers with low pH, and find a thorough way to remove your makeup before cleansing, be it through oil cleansing or using micellar water.

I hope you’ve benefitted from this post! The next one is coming very soon (fingers crossed).



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