A Guide to Deep Cleansing

Every day, our skin faces a lot of stressors – pollution, dirt, and sweat, among others. Add the daily makeup we put on our skin. For someone with oily skin like me, if I don’t deeply cleanse, my skin can feel congested, rough, and just plain tired. This will lead to blackheads, breakouts, and all those unfortunate skin problems. So I take some time on a weekend, usually Saturday morning, or afternoon when I prefer to sleep in, with some music on, to provide extra care on my face. The goal is to have cleansed pores and healthy skin.

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Cleanse Thoroughly

As soon as I wake up I use a cleansing balm to remove what the skincare products I put on the night before. Something that will remove everything like the All Clean Balm from Heimish or the Pore Cleansing Oil from Roccoco Botanicals, to start anew. Then I proceed with a cleanser like the Jelly Cleanser from J.One or the Deep Cleanse from Tatcha to remove other impurities that are still on my skin and prevent future breakouts with the use of a cleansing brush like the Clarisonic Mia 2. If you’re looking for something gentler, you can use Opus Luxe from Nion, which uses a vibrating anti-bacterial silicon to cleanse the skin. I pat my face afterward with a soft facial towel, not rub, to not irritate my skin.

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Exfoliate with a Passion

Some would go for a scrub but it’s a matter of preference. I don’t like small rock-like textures rubbing into my skin. I go for rinse-off exfoliating pads that won’t make my skin red. They help to remove dead skin cells, smoothen the skin’s texture, and balance the skin. You can check out the Centenella Green Level All in One Mild Pad from Purito or Milky Piggy Hell-Pore Perfect Wine Sparkling Peeling Pad from Elizavecca. They will further get rid of dead skin cells, which can clog the pores that lead to breakouts. These pads will also brighten the skin and give it a nice glow, countering the dull-looking skin.

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Mask and Take a Selfie

A favorite part of this ritual, I use a facial mask. It’s one of the most important parts of my skincare routine, as someone who has oily skin and is prone to the occasional breakout. When I can feel a breakout looming, I grab Exfolikate from Kate Somerville. If my skin is feeling really congested, I pull out the Cleansing Clay Exfoliant from Alchemy Holistics. This is really great for oily skin types as it really sucks out everything but leaves the skin so soft afterward. When I’m feeling really oily, I go for Supermud Clearing Treatment from Glamglow or Noire Charcoal Mask from Cardea AuSet. These masks are sure to draw out excess oil, pollutants, and other waste materials that get trapped inside pores.

Twice a month, I follow masking with the Baby Facial from Drunk Elephant, for an at-home facial experience. It contains a 25% AHA and 2% BHA blend with Glycolic plus Tartaric, Lactic, Citric and Salicylic acids. I will have a guaranteed baby-soft skin afterward.

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Moisturize Like You Mean It

After all that cleansing, I spray on a facial mist like ENature’s Vita8 Nutritive Mist to refresh the skin and provide instant hydration, like a tall drink of water. I will then lather on a moisturizer to seal in the skin and protect everything I just did. I usually go for the Pure Whipped Chiffon Moisturizer from Serumtologie or the Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel from Boscia. These two will moisturize and hydrate the skin and make it feel plump and healthy

Happy Selfcare!

**published on puropulence.com last March 2018

Why your AM and PM routines should be different

When I first found out that skincare goes beyond cleansers and toners, I got to know the benefits of serums, essences, masks, and moisturizers. Then I read about the 10-step routine and it’s just information overload. There is so much to do, and for someone who has oily skin with pigmentation, there’s a lot to treat. I bought so many products making me paralyzed with fear when I sat on my vanity. I’m going to put all this twice a day? When? How?

Using many products at night is okay with me. I’ve gotten used to it and even take pleasure on having a few minutes to myself –between my thoughts, my skincare, and I. It’s a time for me to really look at my face and check what exactly I would need that day.

At night, I usually remove my makeup with a cleansing balm like Banila Co’s CleanIt Zero Purity or Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm before anything else. They both remove my makeup so quickly and so efficiently. This step also serves as the time to relax; I turn on the music, close my eyes, and massage my face until the song is over. I know it’s too long but I like the feeling of balm on my face.

I then cleanse with a foaming cleanser like Earth Tu Face’s Palmarosa + Aloe FaceWash before I put on my masks. I choose my mask depending on what I need that day – Georgette Klinger’s Vitamin C Mask if I need some brightening, Dior’s Hydra Life Pink Clay Mask for when my skin needs an extra glow, or Innisfree’s Super Volcanic Clay Mousse Mask if my skin is a bit congested. I put on my mask and watch a rerun of The Office while waiting for it to dry.

Once that’s off, I go to my vanity and watch makeup tutorials until I finish my routine. I start with a hydrating toner, like Whamisa’s Organic Flowers Toner in Refresh or By Wishtrend’s Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. I then pat SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence, the cult fave fermented essence, which helps refine pores and even skin tones. After that, I put on an acid, like Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, which is both clarifying and anti-aging. Then I use an exfoliating toner, Biologique Recherche’s P50, which is literally a miracle in a bottle. My skin is always clear and glowing the morning after whenever I use this.

I follow this with serums to treat whatever my skin is feeling that day. If my skin is feeling extra oily, I will use the Bare Alchemy Ambrosia Cleanse Serum. If I have a budding zit, I will use Glossier Super Pure and use this continuously until the zit subsides. If it’s a good day, I will pull out Sahajan’s Ayurvedic Radiance Blend Face Serum or Bare Alchemy’s Ambrosia Cleanse Serum. With this, I always use a hydrating serum, like Jordan Samuel’s Hydrate Facial Serum, because it’s like a tall drink of water and an anti-aging serum like The Ordinary’s Buffet because I need to. I’m already in my 30s so I desperately need to keep those wrinkles at bay.

I cap my nighttime routine off with a moisturizer. This was a tricky part since it took me a long time to find a moisturizer that will not make my skin oilier. I found Blended Boost’s Face Cream, which can be customized to fit your skin needs, and J.One Cosmetics Black Jelly Pack. They are both hydrating and moisturizing but I don’t wake up with a greasy face after. I sometimes mix Butter Elixir’s Face Oil with my moisturizer if I feel like I need more nourishment.

Having these many products in my stash was a huge adjustment in the morning. You see, I love to sleep a bit too much. I tried doing all the steps above in the morning but it just didn’t work. My skin got greasy even before lunchtime and it was difficult to apply makeup. I also experienced breakouts. This is when I realized that I don’t have to follow a specific routine, I can adjust it based on what my skin needs and how my skin works.

I use a different type of cleanser in the morning – something gentler like Goodal’s Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam or Alder New York’s Everyday Face Cleanser. They don’t strip my skin but they do the cleansing part well. For toners, I use something lighter like mists. Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator or Enature’s Vita 8 Nutritive Mist is so light and yet so hydrating. Mists are also great for waking up the skin and for reducing the puffiness a bit.

In the morning is when I will use my Vitamin C serums, like Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum or Skindeva’s Vitamin C+E Serum to brighten dull spots. These two products have a very light oily texture and sink in the skin quickly so it goes great with makeup. I do this because Vitamin C is very fussy with products used with it. After this, I use Onomie’s Priming Serum to even the tone of my skin.

After the serums, I use a different moisturizer, something lighter than what I use a night – Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion or Yasou’s Cellular Day Cream. They both work great with makeup and don’t make my skin oily. Up next is sunscreen, which is, again, a difficult search for me. Most of the sunscreens in the market are too greasy or too thick for my skin. Some have even broken me out. I use either Benefit Cosmetic’s Dream Screen or La Roche Posay’s Antihelios XL Ultra Light.

As you can see, my morning routine is much shorter. I have toned it down because what I need during the day is very different from what I need at night. During the day, my main goal is to mattify and protect my skin. I spend my days either stuck in the office surrounded by air-conditioning or outdoors surrounded by dust or under the sun so protection is important. Also, if you apply makeup finding products that will blend well with your foundation is necessary.

My goal for my nighttime routine is to cleanse, treat, and moisturize to prepare for the next day. Double cleansing is very important because it removes everything that my face has encountered during the day. This is the time to check what my skin needs and what I can do for it be it a serum or a mask.

It would, of course, be a different thing for people who have normal or dry skin types as they are looking for different things. Note that the routine I mentioned took a lot of trial and error on my part in order to find the most suitable products for my skin. However, my experience just proves to me that yes, layering products can be effective but it can also be customized depending on what your skin needs. Happy Discovering!

**published in puropulence.com last December 2017