Face Care Mantra – Part 2
Preparation – Cleansers & Toners
With this blog I’ll be providing more detail for the “Preparation” part of The New Face Care Mantra.
(The New Face Care Mantra is “Preparation, Nutrition, Protection.” See “The New Face Care Mantra (Part 1)” for an explanation of the mantra as a whole).
Preparation covers cleansing and toning the face. It’s simple! Clean skin allows for better absorption of nutrients and moisture. Toners help maintain the pH balance of the acid mantle.
“The acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of the skin acting as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin.”
Let’s start with the thing I know least about! Being a guy, I haven’t had any experience with Make-up removers. I do have the benefit of working with an esthetician and Make-up artists.
With Make-up removers you want something gentle but effective. Easier said than done with things like waterproof mascaras or eyeliners. All-natural Make-up removers work better with all-natural Make-ups. However, there are some all-natural Make-up removers that are up to the task. Look for Earth Science’s Chamomile Green Tea Eye Make-up Remover or Andalou Naturals’ Lash + Lid Make-up Remover.
Did you know you can also remove that stubborn waterproof eye Make-up with a carrier oil? Coconut, almond, or even olive oil on a cotton pad can take it off. Be sure to rinse with warm water so no excess oil is left on your eyelids.
Cleansing Milks & Oils vs. Gels & Soaps
Cleansing milks and oils are gentle solutions for most skin types and conditions. In my humble opinion, this is not where you want to spend a lot of money. It will only be on your face for moments. It’s the fat content from oils that make them effective. Cheap fats work as well as expensive ones.
Cleansing milks and oils work on the principle that oils attract oils. The dirt on your skin is held there by oils. When you apply your cleansing milk or oil, it attracts the dirty oils from your face and then gets rinsed away.
Here’s a pro-tip I learned while attending training from Anne-Marie Borlind. When applying cleansing milk, use dry hands and a dry face, then rinse with water. The reason being that if you use a wet face, the water is a barrier between the oils. I now use about half as much cleansing milk as I did before!
Cleansing gels, in general, tend to be for oily, combination, or acne prone skin. (An exception to this rule is Green Beaver’s Grapefruit Facial Cleanser. It’s good for all skin types, even sensitive). Andalou and Evan Healy have great cleansing gels for oily or combination skin. With these you want to use wet hands and wet face.
The face care rule for soap is “nope!” Soaps can be harsh and alkalize your skin. That’s the opposite of what the acid mantle needs. There are, of course, some wonderful exceptions to this rule. These include Weleda’s Rose Soap Bar or Sibu’s Sea Buckthorn Soap Bar. Both are gentle, nutrient rich, and full of moisturizing glycerin.
Exfoliator & Clay Masks
About once a week you want to do a deeper cleanse. This is a case where more is not better. You may strip away the acid mantle quicker than it can recover and you will be wasting your product.
Exfoliators help to remove the thin layer of dead skin cells that can build up on the surface of your skin. This can lead to blemishes and impede the absorption of nutrients. All-natural exfoliators tend to use biodegradable agents. Crushed nut shells, plant derived acids or even jojoba beads are common. Cocoon Apothecary’s “Petal Purity Exfoliating Cleanser” uses spherical jojoba beads. They roll off the dead skin cells instead of scratching them off.
Please be sure to never use an exfoliator that uses little plastic beads. These beads do not biodegrade and end up in our marine ecosystem where fish eat them.
Clay masks will help exfoliate too but they give a deeper cleanse and will also add minerals to the skin. They work because the negative ions in the clay pull out the positive ions (aka free radicals) in the skin. Clays are absorbent and can remove much of the natural oils (sebum) on the face. Be sure to follow up with a toner, and then an oil, serum, and/or moisturizer.
Toners & Hydrosols
Old-school face care regimes would say that a toner is part of the cleansing process. This is because they often had alcohol in them. The alcohol breaks up the oils from your face and the cleanser you just used. This leaves the cotton pad used to apply it look dirty. Please, if your face still has dirt after you cleanse, cleanse again or get a better cleanser.
The primary function of a toner is to maintain the pH balance of the skin. “The pH of the skin is between 4.5 and 6.2, slightly acidic.”1 Here’s a tip: do not apply it with a cotton pad. You’ll only waste half your product in the cotton. Apply by putting a little in the palms of your hands and patting onto your face. Better yet, spray or mist directly onto your face. Graydon’s Face Food toner is a great way to get essential minerals into your skin.
A hydrosol (sometimes called a floral water) is derived from steam distillation of flowers. They make great toners because they are mild, and provide botanical nutrients. They also provide moisture that is pulled into the skin with a serum or oil. And since they are slightly acidic, they also to help maintain the acid mantle.
The Clean Routine
It’s important to maintain your face care regime twice a day. You want to clean your face in the evening to wash away all the dirt and pollutants from the day. During the evening, the skin goes into repair mode and toxins are excreted out the sweat glands. Clean these away when you start your day.
Another reason comes from our wise and talented visiting Make-up artist Jeanine. We don’t eat all our daily nutrition from one meal. Likewise, the skin is better served by taking in nutrition twice a day.
Always apply nutritious serums or oils while your face is still damp from the toner. This helps the nutrients absorb into the skin and maintains the acid mantle. After all, cleansing and toning are preparation for the next two parts of The New Face Care Mantra; Nutrition and Protection.
Steve Milito, Body Care Supervisor
J. Michels, Ph.D., A. (2011, September 1). Micronutrients and Skin Health. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
 Acid Mantle. (2006, August 24). Retrieved December 5, 2015, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_mantle