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How to Cleanse Your Skin According to Your Skin Type

Cleansing seems like a simple step — possibly the most straightforward one in any given skin-care routine. Wash, rinse, pat, and you’re done…right? Not exactly. Think of cleansing as the first step in treating your skin, because it is. These days, cleansers aren’t just there to remove grime and makeup. They’re now formulated to exfoliate, hydrate, calm, nourish, and everything in between — while, yes, still removing dirt, oil, sweat, and makeup. Because of that, the cleansing step in your routine may not look the same every time you do it. Depending on your skin type and how it feels that day, it may require a different approach. Here, how to customize your cleanse depending on the day.

Your Everyday Cleanse

Even if skin looks fine — think no breakouts, redness, or major dry patches — that doesn’t mean you can wash and call it a day. Rather, the One Plus One Method ensures that you’re getting every last bit of grime out of your pores. The One Plus One Method, for the uninitiated, entails washing for one full minute of massaging in an oil cleanser, followed by one full minute of massaging a foaming cleanser into skin.

In practice, that means cleansing first with the an oil-based cleanser like the Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm, which melts away oil-soluble materials with a blend of papaya seed, camellia japonica seed, and apricot kernel oils, and following it with either the Avocado Ceramide Moisture Barrier Cleanser, which strengthens the moisture barrier, or the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser, which lathers up with hydrating suds (sans sulfates, of course).

Use this as the basis for cleansing no matter what’s happening on your skin.

When Your Skin Feels Dry or Dehydrated

Before we get into this, a little reminder: Dry skin and dehydrated skin are not the same thing. Dry skin is a skin type that lacks oil production — it just doesn’t make enough sebum. Dehydration, on the other hand, is a temporary condition that means skin lacks water in its outermost layers. (The common signs are flaking, ashiness, or redness, as well as more exaggerated lines and wrinkles.)

Either way, cleanse at night using the Avocado Ceramide Moisture Barrier Cleanser (or, if you swear by One Plus One Method, using it after your oil-based cleanser). It’s especially powerful for dry and dehydrated skin thanks to its ceramides, which are lipids naturally found within the skin barrier. Not only does this offset the dryness simply by restoring skin’s oil content, but in fortifying the barrier, it minimizes transepidermal water loss, thus addressing dehydration, too. Another advantage: It’s formulated to continue to work even after you rinse, moisturizing skin over time. And since it uses gentle makeup-removing agents to rinse away foundation, eye makeup, and beyond, it won’t leave skin stripped or tight.

Then, rinse with lukewarm water. Hot water can actually strip skin of its essential moisture, drying it out and potentially causing inflammation. Instead, opt for room-temperature water when you rinse to make sure moisture stays where it should be.

When Your Skin Is Super-Oily

The problem with oily skin is that well-intentioned people tend to fight it with harsh cleansers that strip oil. The problem here is that you then kick off a cycle of removing too much oil, which in turn spurs skin to produce more oil — so it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy of greasiness. In short: not a great option! However, an oil-based cleanser can absorb oil from your skin, and without starting that cycle to boot.

So, use the One Plus One Method in the evenings to remove makeup. Then, in the morning, wash off any oil that collected overnight with a foaming cleanser. You can even create a mini clarifying mask by leaving the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser on for five to 10 minutes in the morning, which brightens and smoothes skin.

When Your Skin Is Breaking Out

While you may be tempted to scrub a breakout away, resist the temptation and instead treat it gently.  In the evenings, do the double cleanse using the One Plus One Method. Then, instead of drying your skin with your everyday face towel, simply pat your damp face with clean hands. That’s because unless you’re doing laundry 24/7 or have a vast collection of clean washcloths, you may be reusing the same one over and over — and a damp towel is a breeding ground for bacteria.

If you’re acne-prone, you already may know that bacteria are a major contributor (the offending microbe is called P. Acnes for a reason), so it’s best to minimize repeat contact with any germs. (Here’s a primer on how to #DitchtheTowel, if you want to learn how to do the patting method without making a mess in your bathroom.) In the A.M., wash any oil, product residue, and dirt away with the foaming cleanser. As with oily skin, you can use the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser as a mask for a fast exfoliation and brightening.

When Skin Just Has a Lot Going on

Dealing with a combination-skin situation? You’ve come to the right place. Just like the multi-masking technique before it (i.e. the concept of applying different face masks to separate areas of the face, as needed), this consists of using cleansers depending on where to need them. Use a nourishing, oil-based cleanser on dry areas, like the cheeks, and save a foaming wash for your T-zone and chin (or anywhere else that looks oily).

Then, in the morning, take stock of your skin. Does it seem more dry? Or does it look extra-greasy? Take it as your cue to use either the oil-based cleanser if it’s dry, or the foaming cleanser as a mask to clarify skin and cut oiliness. We’re all about caring for skin day by day, and this is no exception

Want to learn more about cleansing correctly?


Glow Recipe

Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser


Glow Recipe

Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm


Glow Recipe

Avocado Ceramide Moisture Barrier Cleanser


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