Three ways to cleanse skin, and why proper cleansing is essential in our modern world.
In a skin care protocol, cleansing is the step that most people treat like a chore, rushing through and trying to get it over with as quickly as possible. It’s also an area where people tend to feel like it’s okay to skimp on product quality since it’s only temporarily on the skin. Approaching cleansing this way is a disservice to your skin, and to your psyche.
By changing your approach to the cleansing process, you can completely transform your relationship with your skin. Cleansing is the doorway into the ritual of skin care. It is not just the first step, but is the initiation into the ritual, and is just as essential as all the steps that may follow. It unburdens the skin from the weight of the day, and it prepares it to receive nourishment.
When done properly, cleansing is a ritual that allows you sink into your body and be present with yourself, if only for 30 seconds of your day. It is a time to connect and enjoy. Beyond the soothing of the nervous system, and the potent refreshment it brings, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to create movement in the skin — movement of lymph, and blood circulation — and a good opportunity to check in with your skin and notice any changes of texture, temperature, or the like.
The less we interfere with the body’s ability to achieve balance the better. The skin can self-regulate, and part of that process is self-cleansing, and in a perfect world, free of pollutants and toxins, we wouldn’t have to wash our skin. But let’s face it, we live in the industrialized twenty-first century, and our air is filled with petrochemicals from our cars and airplanes, and our soils are depleted and covered with pesticides — Just being alive at this point in history gives cause to wash our faces.
You are in a long-term relationship with your skin, whether you engage with it as such or not. Like all relationships, maintaining harmony with your skin requires your intentional time and presence.
The skin is not a battlefield or a landscape to conquer. Healthy long-term relationships of all kinds — skin included — are not created through aggression, hostility, or resentment. Healthy long-term relationships are cultivated through patience, compassion, understanding, receptivity, and love.
~ Chose gentle products
~ Apply them thoughtfully, with slow rhythmic and circular movement
~ Use harsh products that make your skin feel ‘squeaky clean’
~ Do not scrub too aggressively or too quickly. Do not rush the cleansing process.
Skin should not be thought of as impure, dirty, or something to sanitize.
Our skin is a living, breathing organ — ever supportive and dynamic. An entire world of support lives on our skin and within our bodies, taking care of us. This is the microbiome, a vast community of beneficial bacteria that play a tremendously important role in nearly every aspect of human health. Over-cleansing, or cleansing with the wrong products, both destroy this support network, and strips the skin of its protective hydro/lipid balance.
Be gentle with yourself. You deserve it, and your skin will thank you.
Here are our favorite ways to cleanse….
Ideal for skin that is: Normal, untroubled, dry/oily/combo, sensitive, and/or acne-prone — or people looking for a more traditional cleansing experience.
The most deeply refreshing cleanse comes from a traditional facial cleanser.
These create a more traditional ‘clean’ sensation, though they should never leave the skin squeaky clean. “Squeaky clean” an indication that you’ve stripped the skin of its essential hydro/lipid barrier and is a bad sign. There should always be a slip to the skin.
For those who want the most thorough cleansing sensation and light foaming action? Tea Tree Gel Cleanser. It’s non-drying, deep cleaning, soothing, refreshing. Though initially formulated for acne-prone skin, it has become a customer favorite for all skin, from teen to mature and oily to dry.
Our Cleansing Milks — Rose, Blue, and Patchouli Rose — are more like a hybrid between a gel and a milk cleanser, rather than a traditional creamy cleanser. Containing no wax, they don’t leave a film on the skin the way most milky cleansers do. These therapeutic gems are each a unique emulsion of clay, hydrosol, aloe vera gel, yucca root, shea butter, and essential oils.
How to: Begin by moistening your skin with three to four splashes of warm water. Put between one-half pumps or two pumps of one of our Cleansing Milks, or Tea Tree Gel into the hands, and dilute by adding dribbles of warm water. Blend the cleansing mixture in your palms, and then massage all over the skin, working in upward circular motions. Rinse with cool water, pat dry.
Ideal for skin that is: Troubled, extremely dry, sensitive, reactive, acne-prone, and/or congested — or minimalists who enjoy simple formulations. Also, the best for removing makeup and sunscreen.
This is the most fortifying and nourishing way to cleanse the skin.
The process of cleansing with oil is centered around the combination of oil, facial massage and a steamy cloth, and is an ancient, simple and restorative way to get a magically deep, yet non-invasive cleanse.
Oil Cleansing follows the logic that like dissolves like — The oil massage breaks-down dirt, debris, excess sebum, makeup, and sunscreen, and softens congestion in pores like nothing else. The process is a little more involved than other forms of cleansing, but the thoroughness and the deep cleanse that it provides makes it well worth the extra effort. The facial massage enables the oil to get deep within the pores, while simultaneously stimulating collagen and elastin production, and the removal with the washcloth not only leaves the skin incredibly receptive to the nourishment and moisture that will follow with your next steps — it’s also remarkably soothing and calming.
A key note — You MUST use a washcloth when oil cleansing. Using a cloth to remove the oil is essential to the process and cannot be skipped. If you don’t use a cloth, you’re not actually cleansing; you’re just rubbing oil on your skin.
Our favorite products to use for oil cleansing are Neem Immortelle Purifying Infusion for blemish-prone and troubled skin, Coconut Cream Cleanser for all skin, Nourishing Cleansing Oil for all skin, and Whipped Argan Butter for dry, devitalized skin.
Here’s how: Massage oil of choice into DRY skin, focusing on areas of congestion, and/or dryness. Spend at least 30 seconds massaging the oil into your skin. Next, take a warm, damp washcloth and drape it over your skin, pressing against the forehead, cheeks, and chin. Finally, take the cloth and gently wipe away the residual oil in outward sweeping motions until skin feels clean, strong, and supple.
Ideal for skin that is: Highly sensitive and reactive. Skin that reacts even to tap-water.
This is the most gentle and subtle way to cleanse skin.
While it’s not a long-term solution for such extreme sensitivity, it’s a wonderful tool to use while you address the deeper issue. If your skin is this reactive on a daily basis, it’s a sign of a deeper disharmony, and you should work with your natural practitioner to help discover the root of the sensitivity/inflammation.
Any HydroSoul can be used to gently cleanse the skin. Their gentle acidic nature supports barrier function while also gently working to soften congestion, remove debris, and neutralize impurities.
This technique will not remove makeup or sunscreen, so it’s best used in the morning, or after days when the only things you’ve put on your face are oil, hydrosol, moisturizer, or shea butter.
If your skin exhibits signs of extreme hypersensitivity, we suggest you avoid rinsing or washing with tap water unless you have untreated well or spring water. The chlorine in city water only exacerbates this kind of sensitivity. If you are hooked up to chlorinated city water, make sure you have a shower filter so to avoid as much exposure to the chlorine (+ other additives) as possible.
HOW TO: Completely saturate the skin with hydrosol until it dews into droplets. Gently remove with a soft, dry cloth.