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November 02, 2021
To achieve great, healthy skin, it is important to adopt a holistic approach, as our skin is a body organ, just like our liver and heart, thus can be greatly affected by diet, stress level, sleeping quality, daily habits, and exercises etc., on top of genetics, environmental influences and skincare products. However, even with highly efficacious products, the way you use them can greatly affect how they perform.
This week, our founder Wendy explains the best ways to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize.
Wendy: Actually, no. Many people think of face cleansing like using a body wash, but it is actually very different. You can’t just rub a cleanser in for 15 seconds, quickly rinse with water then pat dry. That is not cleansing the face properly, and can be the actual culprit of issues like acne, blackhead, sensitivity and inflammation.
Wendy: First of all, double cleansing at night is crucial because dirt and pollutants can be either water- or oil-soluble, so one cleanser just won’t do. We have discussed this in detail previously, so you can check it out here.
Charcoal Peace Calming Cleanser <- Click to shop
We have also talked about how foaming cleansers and cleansing brush can easily damage the lipid barrier, resulting in dryness, sensitivity and irritation many times, so I won’t go into that this time. But yea, always choose a non-foaming cleanser and stop using cleansing brushes.
Here's the important part——the amount of time you spend in massaging in the cleansers. With each cleanser, remember to slowly massage it in circular motions, paying extra attention to areas where you can feel tiny little bumps with your fingertips (trust me, you can feel them), as well as the hairline, T-zone, sides of the nose, chin, and jawline, for 60 seconds so you’re spending enough time on all parts of your face, and the ingredients actually have time to work. Do not spend less time than that.
Then, rinse with lukewarm water (roughly 40°C) throughly in downward motions for 60 seconds. Water too cold cannot remove dirt, sebum and pollutants effectively (just like when you wash the dishes), and water too hot will dry out the skin. Do not rinse in circular or upward motion, as you would essentially be pushing the dirt back into your pores, your hairline, or sides of the nose and cheeks. Do not hurry either, as even if you feel like there’s no more cleanser left on the face, there is probably residue you can’t see or feel.
Finally, unless you’re using a clean, freshly washed towel every time you wash your face, it’s better to pat dry with a kitchen towel. This is because 1) the bathroom is usually already full of bacteria so your face towel won’t be clean after a day even if left unused; 2) the humidity in the bathroom and the damp towel after use breed bacteria; 3) after washing the face, you may be leaving bacteria on the towel, so when you’re patting the face dry again with the same towel, you’re introducing bacteria back to the skin.
Smooth Operator Purifying Cleansing Gel <- Click to shop
MARIE REYNOLDS LONDON
Goji Mallow Cleanse™ <- Click to shop
Wendy: Remember, physical scrubs with particles like beads, shells, salt and sugar, are not oil-soluble and thus cannot get into the pores and unclog them. This means they will do nothing for your acne, blackheads and blemishes.
But most importantly, physical scrubs, besides removing dead skin cells on the top layer of the skin like acids do, also slough away healthy skin cells. It may also cause micro-tears on the skin, as well as wounds in existing acne, thereby creating an opening for bacteria to attack the skin. Therefore we do not recommend physical scrubs of any kind.
Wendy: If used wrongly, yes, they can irritate the skin. However, when used properly, they can work wonders and can be used by even sensitive, rosacea, and eczema skin.
Acids, which include AHAs, BHA and PHA, work by dissolving the bond between only dead skin cells, while leaving healthy skin cells attached. With nothing forcing these dead skin cells to stick together, they can be shedded off much quicker and easier. This helps smooth skin texture, even skin tone, fade pigmentation faster, and allow skincare products to penetrate better. If used on a regular basis, they can also increase collagen and hyaluronic acid deposition and synthesis within the dermis, so the skin will appear more plumped, smooth and bouncy!
We have a detail breakdown of different acids here, so you can check it out here.
Now, when you use an acid-based product, rather than choosing a product with 15-30% acids that you can use only once every week or fortnight as it can be irritating to the skin, it is much better to choose one that can be used consistently, which means it should not be too high in concentration. 10% or under is therefore best. Also, for the face, I would recommend avoiding Glycolic Acid, as although it is the most effective AHA because of its smaller molecular size, it can easily irritate the skin. It’s therefore best left for only body use.
How you use an acid-based product is equally important. Acids aid in exfoliation due to their lower pH, and they will automatically cease actions when the skin returns to its normal pH after a certain timeframe, or when a toner is used to neutralize their effects. This means you should give acid-based products at least 5-20 minutes, or as indicated, before using another product on top, so the ingredients have ample time to work. For instance, it’s best to wait for 30 minutes after using our OUMERE No. 9 for maximum effects, and at least 5 minutes after using our Agent Nateur acid(wash). If you’re using acid-based products with a concentration of 20-30%, then a few minutes would be enough, otherwise you’d easily damage the skin (not that I recommend going for that kind of high concentration though).
Also, do not forget sun protection when you’re using an acid-based product. You don’t want to damage the fresh, new cells that have just come to the skin surface now, do you?
No. 9 Exfoliant <- Click to shop
acid(wash) Lactic Acid Brightening Cleanser <- Click to shop
Wendy: Would you curse me if I told you I’ve never used a heavy moisturizer in my life, but my skin never feels dry or tight even when it was snowing when I was living in New Zealand, Japan, France and Austria? (laugh)
When the skin is dry and flaky, your first instinct may be to put on a heavy moisturizer. True, the skin may feel smoother, you can’t see those flakes anymore, and it makes you feel good, so you think the moisturizer is working. What if we told you, in reality and in most cases, you’re simply compressing down those dead skin cells and stopping them from shedding naturally, whilst trapping oil, dirt, and bacteria in the skin, which ultimately impact the skin’s natural processes and health?
According to renowned cosmetic dermatologist Rachael Eckel, besides those with eczema and rosacea, only 15 percent of the population have genetically dry skin that requires moisturizer——telltale signs being invisible pores, no acne, and dry body skin. For the rest, there is really no need to use a heavy moisturizer twice a day, 365 days a year.
Lightweight moisturizers that nourish enough are the way to go.
All Day Radiance Light Concentration Cream <- Click to shop
MARIE REYNOLDS LONDON
Skin Quencher <- Click to shop
Wendy: The skin has a naturally built-in function of hydrating itself. When heavy moisturizers are continuously applied to the skin, the cells in the epidermis would send a signal to the cells in the dermis telling them there is enough hydration so there is no need for more, instead of asking them to move hydration up to the skin surface. Gradually, the cells in the dermis would become lazy, go dormant, and ultimately stop regulating its own hydration level, resulting in drier and less elastic skin.
For most people, when the skin feels dry, it is actually most likely due to a build up of dead skin cells, dehydration and a damaged lipid barrier. Thus instead of a heavy moisturizer that mainly makes up of occlusive ingredients like petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil, beeswax, and shea butter, it is much better to exfoliate regularly, use a good hydrating toner and serum, add an oil, which helps to rebuild your skin barrier and supports the skin’s natural water retention function, then seal all that in with a light emulsion / hydrator, which hydrates and nourishes the cells without impeding the skin’s natural hydrating function, and/or a lightweight regenerative sleeping mask that aims to provide the skin with nutrients and support its renewal process during the night.
The Bright Recovery Brightening Overnight Mask <- Click to shop
Nutritive Repair Emulsion <- Click to shop
When you feel like the skin is smoothed with less wrinkles and visible pores after using thicker moisturizers, it is because they physically fill in wrinkles and pores, whilst forming a film on top of uneven skin texture. The reality, however, is that all these problems did not go away, and you will find your skin still dry with visible pores and wrinkle once the thick moisturizer is washed off.
Face oils on the other hand, are made of a mixture of soothing oils and botanical extracts, and without any emulsifiers, preservatives, texture enhancer, silicones, or occlusive ingredients, which means every single ingredient works to nourish and soothe the skin with their huge amount of essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phenols, phytonutrients, etc... Because of their lipophilic nature and their small molecular size, they can also penetrate the skin’s layers way faster and deeper to repair and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, create a protective barrier against external aggressors like pollution and allergens, fight free radicals, and ultimately slow down signs of aging. Better yet, many of them also possess anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
This is why it’s way better to use an oil plus a light moisturizer, rather than a heavy moisturizer, if you want to treat dryness, sensitivity and skin aging in one go.
holi(oil) Ageless Face Serum <- Click to shop
MARIE REYNOLDS LONDON
Elixir™ <- Click to shop
Wendy: You know what, that is very natural, which is why if you are prone to clogged pores, acne, blemishes, and blackheads, do not use a heavy moisturizer.
Heavy moisturizers influence the natural skin renewal cycle by sticking the dead skin cells to the skin instead of letting them shed naturally. This layer of accumulated dead skin cells would trap oils and dirt inside the skin, clog pores, create an oxygen-free environment that acne bacteria love, and kill off ‘friendly’ bacteria that keep skin healthy. The result? Blackheads, whiteheads, clogged pores, and acne.
Serum Bioluminelle™ <- Click to shop
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