Sunday, May 25, 2014

Skin Care: Cleansing

I would like to apologize for not having this out sooner. As part of my therapy for my knee is to begin activity, but slowly. A little cardio seemed in order. Apparently 15 minutes of kickboxing was not slow enough! The next day, the muscles in my hands were so tight I could barely open them and then typing was almost impossible! 

I have been talking about my Skin Care routines as of late. I have people asking me about it all the time. I don't think I am spectacular or anything, I get asked a lot, and so I am sharing what I do and what I use and have used. This is where we are right now:

  1. Exfoliate
  2. Cleanse
  3. Toner/Astringent
  4. Moisturize
When washing your face there are a lot of ways to look at it. There are a lot of options, and a lot of skin types to be considered. I personally have combination skin, your classic T-Zone pattern. I want something to wash the oil, but not over strip the dry parts. So I am going to tell you about a few things I have learned, what I have tried, and what I use. 

It was about 10 years ago, I was about to have my 4th baby and I was looking in the mirror. I was really swollen, my face included. And I though to myself, Wow April, you are already looking your age, you might want to consider helping yourself out. Prior to this, I didn't do a whole lot. I moisturized on the days I showered {I am not a cute, happy preggo person & I do not have energy at the end.}. I had my bottle of Sea Breeze I pulled out when I broke out. Which was kind of regularly. I washed my face with the Oil of Olay body wash I used in the shower {yes, some of you may be gasping right now}. So if you are anywhere close to this routine, don't worry- you can recover.

I will admit though, I don't have set in stone products that I will never stray from (yet). I am willing to improve, and learn and change a few things to help myself out. So when you see this list of products I recommend, you will know why it is more than one product. I have used all of these, at one point, for a period of time and liked the results. Before you read on, I would recommend that you wash your face with your existing cleanser and wait 20 minutes to see how it feels. You want to see what kind of skin you have so you know what you should seek to use.

After 20 minutes it might feel like one of these:

  • Like your face is going to crack if you talk or smile: it is DRY.
  • Like the sides of your face are dry, but your forehead, nose and chin could use a little moisture: it is COMBINATION NORMAL (T-zone)
  • Like the sides of your face are dry but your T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) could go without moisture for the day: it is COMBINATION OILY.
  • Like your face would be just fine if you didn't put anything else on for the rest of the day: it is OILY.

Whatever your skin is, there is no shame in the label. In fact I have always heard women with oilier skin tend to age more gracefully! I have also noticed my skin changes with the season. In summer my skin feels drier because I am outside more often. But it is not as dry as it actually is in the winter when it is cold and drinking water isn't as easy to remember. So being aware is not bad thing, nor is it selfish. :)

{In no particular order...}
Dove Beauty Bar: If any of you have held a conversation with an old woman with beautiful skin you will find this was the go to soap. I was a CNA for 2 years after high school, and the women who were aging well used Dove. I mean these women were in their 70's and looked phenomenal! It is in a bar, so make sure you have a travel case to store it in when you put it away because you don't want it being the family bar of soap. You can pick this up at any super store or drug store.

Cetaphil: This is a lotion based cleanser that is designed to keep water off your skin. It doubles as a make up remover too. You rub it on and wipe it off. Because I use toner on my skin I found it difficult to just wipe it off and go to a cotton ball with liquid on it, so I would rinse it. But if you don't use a toner or astringent then no water is needed. I currently use this as a make up remover. This can also be picked up at any local drugstore.

Clinique Facial Cleanser/Bar: Let me preface this one with the fact that this line of products are customize-able to the type of skin you have. Do not let the women behind the counter tell you what kind of skin you have. I can tell you when I show up at the mall, what I have on my face would greatly influence the appearance of dry vs oily. My experience is they look at you, vs asking you. If you are getting the right product, it does work. These products are only availabe at department store product counter or online.

Murad Resurgence: This product comes with a hefty price tag. It is a pearlized creamy cleanser designed for women with hormonal skin. If you struggle with acne due to hormones, I highly recommend giving this one a shot. Yes it is expensive, but I found their set of products tended to last 9 months. They offer a discount for peeps that want to auto ship the product on a schedule determined by you. They will ship it every 3 months if you do not change it. The longer I used it, the less product I used. I do not use all the products anymore, I just use their cleanser a few times per week.

Baby Shampoo: Yes, I am totally serious. It is gentle and pH balanced. It doesn't strip skin. I have even had a dermatologist recommend it. If it is gentle enough to use on your sweet little baby's skin, I think it will be gentle on your face.

Oil Washing: I have recently been using this method 2 days out of my week (Saturdays because I am outside a lot and need more moisture). The thought of slathering oil all over you face seems like a complete contradiction. But oil breaks down oil, thus the reason you re-oil a grease stain on your laundry to get it out! I have these things on my nose that appear like small black heads. I worked at a spa and a few of the estheticians said they weren't and not to pick at them?! But they have never really gone away. So the first time I tried this method I was massaging this oil into my face on my nose and cheeks. After about a minute I started to feel this.... gritty feeling like a fine dust mixed with oil! After washing with is like 2-3 times I noticed my pores getting smaller. It was noticeable. So I figure it is dirt held hostage by old oils, and I was really grossed out {and honestly cannot believe I am putting this out there publicly}. I look forward to it now! I am sold... but I don't just wipe it off like they say to. After massaging it for a minute or so, I use a teensy bit of soapy cleanser, rinse and pat dry (use the same towel, oils can go rancid. I follow it with moisturizer (no toner).

With all facial cleansers (soap base), there is one thing to remember that is so very important! Using a soap that hasn't been lathered just concentrates the stripping power your soap can have. So start by using a small amount (the size of a small pea) and add water. It should be lathered and bubbly before you put it on your face. Also, if you have been using a product that strips your skin (even if you didn't know it), when you start to use things that take care of your skin, you can break out. This is because your skin keeps trying to overproduce oils to compensate for your skin. It does recalibrate itself, it just takes 2-3 weeks.

If all of this  is not overloading your brain, her is a bit more. I have been working on a recipe for cleanser. My son is struggling with acne. Junior High is bad enough, but with acne? I believe it is harder. So I am trying to help him out as we have not found anything working so far. I think I found it- a great recipe for the people out there looking for something for their face. These recipes are 'oilier' than what you may be used to. I consider them like a hybrid between soap and the oil washing method. I have noticed if you do not heat the ingredients through and whip the product for the 5 minutes it separates.


2 1/2 tsp Coconut Oil
4 Tbsp Glycerin
2 tsp Water 
2 1/2 tsp Shea Butter
2 Tbsp Baby Shampoo
1-5 drops essential oils (Lavender, Tea Tree, and Cedar wood are great for skin)

Combine all ingredients in a double boiler. Melt all solids and mix well. Transfer to a bowl and whip for about 5 minutes. Use like a normal cleanser.


1 tsp Honey
2 1/2 tsp Coconut Oil
4 Tbsp Glycerin
1 tsp Sweet Almond Oil
2 1/2 tsp Water
1 tsp Shea Butter
4 Tbsp Baby Shampoo 
1-5 drops essential oils (Lavender, Tea Tree, and Cedar wood are great for skin)

Combine all ingredients in a double boiler. Melt all solids and mix well. Transfer to a bowl and whip for about 5 minutes. Use like a normal cleanser.


2 1/2 tsp Coconut Oil
1 1/2 tsp Water
4 tsp Shea Butter
1 Tbsp Baby Shampoo
1-5 drops essential oils (Lavender, Tea Tree, and Cedar Wood are great for skin)

Combine all ingredients in a double boiler. Melt all solids and mix well. Transfer to a bowl and whip for about 5 minutes. Use like a normal cleanser.

A few notes about whipping your product (Lol! All I can think of is that 80's song...): Because it yields such a small amount, it is really hard to find a way to do it. I tried 2 methods and they seemed okay. The first is one of those small blenders designed for smoothies (Magic Bullet type, or a Ninja). Because the motors go at such a high RPM I did not let it go for 5 straight minutes as I didn't want to burn the motor. I started it in 1 minute intervals. Let it cool a bit and kept going for the 5 one minute intervals. The other way was to pour the contents into a tall hot chocolate mug. I used a hand mixer and used the whisk attachment for the 5 minutes. The mug kept the contents contained so it could continue to get a little frothy without splashing it out.

Thanks for stopping by!