Thursday, June 30th, 2011

This post was written by Renée Rouleau, who is a skin-care expert and celebrity esthetician who has been helping men, women and teens attain healthy, glowing, beautiful skin for more than twenty years.

Her philosophy is simple: With the proper tools, effective products and a disciplined approach, anyone can have great skin.  Her skincare line embodies this same approach and follows her dos and don’ts.  In relation to this post, I fully recommend her AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel!

She provides regular skincare advice and tips on her blog, too!

Cleanser Dos and Don’ts by Skin Care Expert, Renée Rouleau

Cleansers all have generally the same basic function, which is to clean dirt, debris, oil, bacteria and makeup from the skin. But, there are definitely some things you need to know when it comes to choosing the right cleanser and using it correctly.

Do choose a cleanser made exclusively for your skin type

It’s difficult for me to understand how skin care companies are able to say that their cleansers are “suitable for all skin types.” All skin is different and therefore, each individual has very unique needs when it comes to skin care products. Because a cleanser is a staple in a day and evening skin care routine, it’s essential that you’re using one for your skin type.

When talking to your skin care professional or whomever you purchase your products from, don’t say “Is this product good for me?” because chances are a salesperson will more than likely tell you yes. Instead, say “What type of skin does this product work best for?” With a specific question like that, you’re sure to get a specific answer that will help you decide if the product is right for your skin needs. When a cleanser is not a good fit, your skin will let you know. For healthy skin, never work against Mother Nature, always work with her.

Check out more tips!  Share your dos & don’ts in the comments! 

Do avoid cleansers containing synthetic fragrance if your skin is sensitive

Individuals with sensitive skin can react negatively to synthetic perfumes. Before purchasing your cleanser take a look at the ingredients and avoid products that read “parfum” or “fragrance.” Information regarding artificial fragrance ingredients will usually be down towards the end of the list of ingredients. All Renée Rouleau cleansers do not contain artificial fragrance.

Do switch cleansers every season, if necessary

Your skin’s ability to retain moisture or reduce oil production is directly correlated to the climate in which you live. If you are more accustomed to a humid environment or have oily skin, you will want to use a foaming or gel cleanser, and in dry environments, a lotion-based cleanser may be best for those with dry skin. Be sure to reassess not only your cleanser, but your other products as well, every change of season for best results.

Do wipe over skin with facial sponges after cleansing

Particularly when washing your skin at night with a cleansing lotion, it is important to do a physical wiping with facial sponges or a baby wash cloth to ensure makeup, dirt, and oil come off the skin and so you won’t find it on your cotton pad when applying your alcohol-free toner.

Do limit the use of the Clarisonic brush with your cleanser

The Clarisonic brush is a popular device to use along with a cleanser when washing your face. The company suggests for you to use it with every cleansing, but I feel this is way too much for the skin. Instead, I only suggest using it no more than three times a week.  (You can check out a past review on the Clarisonic!)

Do apply moisturizer within 60 seconds after cleansing

After cleansing, you must immediately use an alcohol-free toner and moisturizer. If you leave your skin bare for more than 1 minute, it will start to dehydrate as the dry air attracts moisture out of the skin. Perform your skin care routine quickly, and be sure to always leave your toner damp on the skin. This will leave your skin protected and avoid the tight and dry feeling.

Don’t use a cleanser that leaves your skin feeling tight or dry

Many foaming and gel cleansers made today are formulated with an ingredient called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Ammonium Laureth Sulfate. This ingredient is a surfactant; a cleansing agent that cuts oil from the skin. These ingredients are simply too harsh and will strip the water out of the skin after every washing leaving the skin feeling tight and creating more oil and shine.

And what you wash with is the most important part of your skin care routine. Why? Because if you wash with a foaming cleanser or soap that is too drying, it pulls all the water out of the skin and creates dead, dry skin cell buildup. Then you have to quickly run and put your moisturizer on to put back in what you just took out! It makes no sense! Choose either cleansing lotions or cleansing gels that avoid the harsh ingredient, Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. These will be better choices, as they will effectively deep clean the pores but will not rob the skin of much-needed water.

Remember the rule: More lather, more drying. Less lather, less drying.

Don’t wash with bar soap

Washing with a bar of soap – no matter how expensive it is or how moisturizing it claims to be – is just an absolute no-no. The binders that hold a bar of soap together naturally have a high pH balance, so they are always going to be too strong for the skin. When you wash with something that’s too harsh, you strip the water out of the skin leaving it dehydrated with dry skin cell build up. Then, you have to run and put on moisturizer to put back in what you just took out.

Skin cells are like fish, they need water to live and without water they die. Bar soaps are more suitable for the body, not the face. (Note: I’ve had people through the years try to convince me that the bar soap they use is gentle and not drying to the skin. While I never suggest bar soap of any kind, if you have one that you love, then by all means use it.)

Don’t skimp on choosing a quality cleanser

When it comes to choosing skin care products, people will splurge and invest money into a moisturizer. But when it comes to using a cleanser, they don’t give as much thought and just use something inexpensive from the drug store. Since cleansing is the first part of your routine, if you use something that is not of good quality, leaving your skin tight, dry, or irritated, then your expensive serums and creams now have to do repair work to recover the skin from the potential dehydration caused by your cleansing products. Choosing a good quality cleanser can make or break your routine, so choose wisely.

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54 thoughts on “Skincare Tips: Cleanser Dos & Don’ts

  1. Emma

    I don’t even know what skin type I am…
    I have a very greasy T-zone, but the rest of my face doesn’t get very oily throughout the day. I do feel some tightness after washing my face. I do not have acne.
    I use Vichy Normaderm daycream, but by lunchtime, my T-zone is already an oily mess and I have to use blotting paper.
    I never use alcohol based cleansing lotions or SLS containing face wash. I recently bought La Roche Posay Micellar Water. I hope it’s going to help.

    • John

      Hey Emma, it sounds like you have typical combination-oily skin. Here’s what I think is going on. I’m assuming that the Vichy product you’re talking about is the Normaderm Pro Mat Ultra-Mattifying Oil-Free Lotion SPF15, which is the only one I could find fitting your description because it’s the only one in the line that has SPF, which I assumed was why you put day cream… Please stop using that product. One, the second ingredient is denatured alcohol, which is even worse than if you used an alcohol-based cleansing lotion because the Vichy is a cream! Which means the alcohol is in contact with your skin for a far longer period of time! Another reason why you shouldn’t use this is because it doesn’t provide UVA protection, only UVB! UVA rays are the primary cause of melanoma, wrinkles, and free radical damage. It’s just plain bad. Now going back to the alcohol, alcohol will dry at your skin initially, but because it dries out all the oil on your face, your skin will respond be producing even more oil. It would have been just the same if you had used a very drying cleanser, as you have naturally oily skin, at least in the T-Zone. The alcohol may be the reason why you’re so oily in your T-Zone, where you produce more oil, and dry in other areas because your skin doesn’t naturally produce much oil in the other areas. The cleanser you’re using, though I can’t seem to find an ingredient list, seems okay because it is micellar cleanser and not a water-soluble cleanser, so SLS does not apply. So yeah, the Vichy day cream is your primary concern. I think after you stop using that for a while, you’ll find your skin much improved. If you’re still oily, try using Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia or other mattifying products just on your forehead. Temptalia had a post a few weeks ago about oily skin. Check out the comments on that post for more information.

      The bottom line, stop using that Vichy product please. I hope that helped. ;]

      • Emma

        Thank you for your answer.
        I’m from The Netherlands and we don’t have Milk of Magnesia here. I do know what it is, because I’ve been to Canada and the US. But I’ve never seen it here.
        About the Vichy Normaderm: I do have the Mattifying Lotion, but that’s not what I use on a daily basis. It’s the white “tube” with a pump and green cap. It doesn’t have SPF. But it does have alcohol in it. But alcohol vaporizes very quickly, doesn’t it? So it’s not in contact with your skin for very long.
        Do you have other recommendations for daily (mattifying) moisturizers/creams for combination skin? Preferably not too expensive either, haha. The Vichy price range is as expensive as I’m willing to go. Maybe the moisturizers from the Effaclar line from La Roche Posay?

        • John

          No problem Emma, I’m glad I could help.

          The only other Vichy product from that line that matches the description you gave is the Normaderm Anti-Blemish Intensive Treatment Cream. And yes, it does have alcohol in it, but much less than the one with SPF. I still would like to emphasize the importance that you do not use that SPF product. :] Also if you are using the Treatment Cream, the pH of that product is too high to allow the salicylic acid to actually exfoliate. So you might not want to use that product either because it’s going to completely fail at fulfilling its intended purpose.

          Yes alcohol does vaporize very rapidly, but only when it’s in contact with your skin. But that drying action, no matter how fast or slow, is going to dry out your skin to the same degree because the amount of dryness is directly proportional to the amount of alcohol. Also, the alcohol in a moisturizer doesn’t evaporate as quickly because only the layer that’s in direct contact with your skin will evaporate. In toners for example, all the alcohol content comes in contact with the skin almost immediately. In a moisturizer, because the alcohol is dispersed evenly throughout the vehicle (whether it be a silicone or an emollient), it takes more time for the alcohol to reach the skin and dry it out and evaporate. But in the end, the amount of dryness, and consequently the amount of oil your skin is going to produce to make up for that dryness, is the same.

          I hesitate to give you product recommendations because first, I’m not sure what products are available in the Netherlands, and second, I don’t know if they’ll be similarly priced as in the States. But I can tell you that the Effaclar line from LRP is something that I would not recommend because the products aren’t cheap for the amount you get, and they don’t have any ingredients that’s going to really repair and maintain your skin like antioxidants, peptides, and skin-conditioners. Honestly, the moisturizers have very, very basic formulations that don’t deserve your hard-earned dollars. Also I don’t know if you want something with SPF or without, and do you prefer physical or chemical sunscreens?… There’s just so much to consider when giving product advice for a particular person. Anyways, good luck.

        • Amanda A

          I am not sure what your vichy price range is since I found their products from $20 to $50. I LOVE Ren’s Matte Balancing Fluid. It is a natural product that helps to balance out combination skin. As mentioned above in the post, it doesn’t have any sulfates in it. Works well for sensitive skin as well.

        • Ria

          Hi Emma, have you tried Avene products? I think they’re widely available in Europe. Their Cleanance K lotion is very good. It doesn’t have an SPF and it contains an AHA, so you need to use a sunscreen with it – I use Clinique City Block Sheer SPF 25, it’s a physical sunscreen which hasn’t broken me out.

          I had the Vichy cream you describe, but I had to stop using it due to the appallingly high alcohol content. It made my skin so greasy.

  2. Great information!! I’ll definitely be moisturising right away after cleansing from now on, I didn’t realise you had to do it so quickly!

  3. Gia

    Great advice. I love it and it could not have been said better. Thank YOU!

  4. Lena Vaz

    Wonderful tips! Congrats!

  5. John

    Yay, I love skincare posts! While I definitely agree with most of the things Renee says, there are some parts that I believe are incomplete and/or parts that need to be qualified. I’ll just go section by section.

    Do choose a cleanser part… Everything she says here is correct and her advice on how to ask a sales rep questions about skincare is great! It’s definitely a better approach than asking if a product is simply good.

    Do avoid cleansers part… Fragrances in skincare is definitely a no-no. Renee says to avoid them if you have sensitive skin, but really, fragrance is skincare is never a good thing. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, just avoid fragrances in skincare because why hurt your skin if you can avoid it? Fragrance can be made up of vastly different chemicals that are not regulated by any organization and are certainly not tested, however, they are typically in very low amounts, so fragrance isn’t a make or break deal. But if possible, please avoid skincare with fragrance.

    Do switch cleansers part… This is only necessary if your skin really does change drastically as the seasons change. If not, your regular cleanser will do just fine. If during the winter you find your cleanser a little more drying, just cut down the time the cleanser is in contact with your skin and/or use less. If during the summer you find it not getting enough oil off, keep it on your skin longer and/or use a little more.

    Do wipe your part… This step isn’t really necessary because she says when using a cleansing lotion, and typically most people use cleansing lotions with a washcloth or cotton round. So you’re basically using another cotton round to go over what you just went over. I think it’s safe to say that if there’s nothing on your cotton round/washcloth after you’ve used X amount of them with a cleansing lotion, you don’t need another one after that, especially when she says you have to have a toner, which I’ll get to in a second.

    Do limit the part… I certainly do not agree with what she says. The Clarisonic serves as a form of physical exfoliant, like she states in her Clarisonic review. But how much exfoliation actually occures depends on how long you use the Clarisonic, how often you use it, and what brush head you use, as there are a few. Like she said above, every person has unique skin types, so to just randomely give some arbitrary number isn’t in line with her other tips. Now, perhaps the reason why she said only three times per week is because she assumes you follow her other advice above how often you should use glycolic acid. So she’s assuming, if I am correct in my assumption in HER assumption (haha that’s confusing), that 3 times of physical exfoliation (from the Clarisonic) is too much in combination with the 7-day bi-weekly chemical exfoliation (from glycolic acid). If that is the case, then she may be correct for people who have more sensitive skin types. However, it may be okay with some other people. For example, I use BHAs (Salicylic Acid) and/or AHAs (Glycolic Acid) on an everyday basis, and I use the Clarisonic once per day for 60 seconds in the morning. And my skin never feels irritated or flaky, etc… So even if her assumption is correct, it isn’t correct for everyone. Again, I just don’t like that she gave a random arbitrary number. One other thing that I need to address is her advice on how you should use glycolic acid in your skincare regimen, which is in the Clarisonic review that Renee links. I only skimmed it so maybe I missed some vital part, but the gist is that she says to use a glycolic acid product 7 days in a row and then stop using it for a week. Then, in that week of no glycolic acid, you should use a hydrating moisturizer. Then repeat. I strongly disagree with this advice. One, because the skin doesn’t stop shedding dead skin cells in the week that you don’t use glycolic acid, so you’re getting NO exfoliation during that week, which is never a good thing because dead cells will continue to build up, which can lead to flaky skin which can lead to cakey foundation and the appearance of enlarged pores. Two, depending on the strength of the glycolic acid serum she talks about, 7 days of pure chemical exfoliation may be too much for some people with or without hydrating products. Too much exfoliation can lead to increased redness, sensitivity (to the sun especially), and can lead to an increase at the rate the skin approaches the Hayflick limit. It would be too long to explain that term. Please wiki or Google it if you don’t know what it is. So how can her approach make cells approach the Hayflick limit you ask? Chemical exfoliation eats away at dead cells, but they also eat away at live cells too. They essentially melt phospholipid bilayers, which both dead and live skin cells have. The purpose of chemical exfoliation is to eat away the dead cells without hurting the live cells. Now if too much exfoliation occurs, the live cells will be damaged, which forces or triggers a production of new live cells in order to replace those that have been destroyed. After understanding what the Hayflick limit is, you can hopefully see how too much exfoliation, which may occur with Renee’s advice, is detrimental. What a good skincare routine should be is to use a glycolic or salicylic acid product(which Renee doesn’t even mention), depending on your skin type, every day (or how often is best for you skin) in conjunction with a hydrating product. I mean why separate them like she wants you to? Since when does skin need alternately different things in such a short time period? One more thing I’d like to address is again something she stated in her Clarionic review, which is that she recommends a professional strength peel every other month. I do not agree with this because like I said before, a skincare routine with proper chemical exfoliation should take care of any excess dead skin cells, so there is never any buildup, or at least very little. A professional chemical peel uses a high strength acid to melt not only all the dead skin cells, but also the upper layers of the skin, part of which, is composed of living cells. This is to, like I said before, force the skin to produce more new living tissue, which results in that beautiful radiant skin all of us want. However, the skin can only produce so much new tissue because of the Hayflick limit. So professional strength peels should only be sought after if there there is already damage to the skin, like sunspots, that need to be removed. Chemical exfoliation or any form of exfoliation is all about moderation and balance. Routine professional strength peels are definitely not recommended because in the long run, they hurt your skin more than help it. Phew that was a long post for one section. Okay bare with me people… :] Just a few more sections to go.

    Do apply moisturizer part… Renee is completely correct about everything she says in this section. Toner is definitely great because toners have a lot more water content than any moisturizer because well.. it’s a toner. And most beneficial ingredients in moisturizers, serums, toners, like antioxidants and peptides, need water in order to more effectively penetrate the skin. So not only do toners immediately hydrate the skin, but they help in the delivery of your moisturizer/serums. Who wouldn’t want that?

    Don’t use cleansers part… Again Renee is spot on. Well except that Sodium Laureth Sulfate isn’t nearly as drying as Lauryl Sulfate. They both act as surfactants and do remove the oils from your skin. However, Lauryl Sulfate is significant more potent. However, those with dry skin should avoid both ingredients. One more thing, there are lathering agents that are not drying, so it’s not always more lather=more drying like she states. But usually, that’s the case. I mean there’s an exception to almost every rule, right? Haha that’s an exception right there!

    Don’t wash with part… Oh yeah, she’s definitely right. Soaps are far too stripping. Please note… it’s not just skin cells that are like fish. Almost every cell in the body needs water to stay.. well alive. Haha. Thought that’d be a fun fact to know.

    Don’t skimp on part… Renee is definitely right that you need a quality cleanser. However, by her diction and tone, she kind of equates price=quality. That is certainly not the case because there are great effective, but gentle cleansers at the drugstore. Skincare is all about ingredients, not price, marketing, or claims. Well price does matter more when it comes to moisturizers, serums, and other leave-on products. But that’s a whole separate topic.

    Okay that was a mouthful… or pageful. I hope I made everything pretty clear.

    • AnGeLwInGz

      I appreciate your insight. It’s sometimes difficult to take advice objectively from someone who has their own skincare line because you don’t know what’s fact and what’s a sales pitch. I’m sure Renee’s products are fantastic but they are rather expensive and it’s not fair to write off all drugstore products because a lot of us are on a budget and there are lower priced items out there that work well.

    • oscarelli

      John: thank you for a such a thoughtful reply. I found this very helpful.

    • Eileen

      I don’t know who you are, John, or what your “credentials” are, but you are the informed voice of reason. After reading some of the drivel contained in the original article, I was heartened to read your intelligent responses and explanations.

      • John


        I don’t have any credentials unfortunately. I’m just someone’s who’s struggled for almost 10 years with terrible acne, and finally got it under control simply by having a good skincare regimen. After discovering what I’ve missed out on, I just want to spread the information I suppose. I guess that’s the main reason why I’m really passionate about skincare… Because I know how much it can change someone’s life, not be cliche and all. :] I’m glad that you enjoy my posts.

    • K.

      John, do you have a blog of your own? I would love some more tips from you! There is sooo much information out there and it’s tough to find products that follow all guidelines regarding what to look for and what to avoid. For example, I have normal-combo skin (its neither very dry or very oily, but fits the pattern of most oiliness in the t-zone), and I rarely break out. My main problem is dark spots (I am South Asian and when our skin pigments after a blemish, the hyperpigmentation tends to hang on for dear life, not to mention the intensity of our under eye and around the mouth pigment – which I’m told by my doctor is a race thing). Some sources say use salicylic acid, some say glycolic. Some say both and others say both is too much! It’s very confusing.
      Anyway I babbled, my point was to find out if you have a blog of your own. I’m sure many of us would appreciate an objective point of view, with product recommendations based on ingredient quality versus the name on the label!

      • John

        Hello K.

        I actually don’t have my own blog… I’m waiting on several decisions to be made by myself and others to see how everything pans out. I don’t want to be specific because that would probably be pretentious, but I might not need my own blog if things work out. But who knows, maybe I’ll start my own blog and/or Youtube page anyways. I just never thought I could really reach anyone or that anyone would listen to me… because it’s not like I’m a doctor or anything. But anyways, we’ll see. :]

        Also, the plethora of information out there is an unfortunate but necessary aspect when searching for good skincare products, or anything really. I want to stress that you shouldn’t rely on a single source, no matter how authoritative you may believe that source is, because skincare is so malleable… meaning it’s so personal between the broad generalities and guidelines that exist, guidelines defined by the medical field, the government sector, and your own common sense I suppose. You certainly don’t have to follow all the guidelines you read, but you should follow the ones that make sense to you, because in the end, you know what’s good for you and what’s not. Of course these informed decisions can only happen after you’ve read and absorbed a lot of information so you can find that perfect balance between all guidelines, which is why I stress not to just follow one source. Of course if you don’t have the time to do all this research and reading, one good source is still better than five random ones.

        So yeah, I hope things work out for the both of us. ;] And as you can see, I babble way more than you do. Sigh… it’s a bad habit of mine.

        Let me just quickly address your dark spots… I don’t know you but having a predisposition to pigment deposits on your skin can certainly be a genetic factor. Trust your doctor, but like I said above, use other available sources like Temptalia, which you definitely do look at. But there are many other good ones out there too. Also, I hate to say this, but not all dermatologists are made equal. If you don’t like yours, there’s always others out there.

        Now, I can see why some say salicylic acid and other say glycolic acid because both act as exfoliants, which eat away at dead skin cells. I personally would recommend glycolic acid because of the way glycolic acid functions. First you need to know that hyperpigmentation results from excess melanin being formed where it shouldn’t form. This can result because of sundamage, acne, and/or genetics. Now the dark spots exist in the epidermis, or upper part of the skin. What glycolic acid does, is eat away at the epidermis. However, routine glycolic acid usage should not penetrate into the living part of the epidermis, only destroy dead tissue. So in order to actually reach those melanin deposits, you would need a professional chemical peel because those actually go far deeper than at-home treatments, and those need to be done by a doctor. So you should talk to your doctor about that. However, before doing so, please note that there are several other options out there for you. One, is to use a high concentration of several forms of Vitamin C (I forget the specific ones, but they’re easily found online) that have been shown to lighten the skin. Another substance is alpha-arbutin. The last of course is the “dreaded” hydroquinone. I’m not going to debate the safety of the latter because that would take forever… but it is an options out there that’s available OTC. But really, unless the hyperpigmentation is a reoccurring problem for you, you don’t need to do anything drastic because they will go away on their own eventually. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use Vitamin C and the others, because they certainly have other documents benefits, but yeah… no need to do anything if you’re not comfortable. I mean that’s why foundation and concealer exists right? One more quick note, the reason I don’t recommend salicylic acid for the treatment of your hyperpigmentation is because salicylic acid works to exfoliate the pores and reshape them so they function more consistently. Sorry, long post again. :[

        • K.

          I appreciate the long post though! Thank you so much for your help and please keep us updated if there is anywhere we can go to get more help from you. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would appreciate it!

  6. Natasha

    Good tips I suppose, but for my very sensitive skin I have to leave a few minutes between washing, toning and moisturising.

    • John

      Which toner do you use? Because if you have sensitive skin, it’s likely that there’s something in your toner and/or moisturizer that’s irritating your skin. Really by waiting while your skin just dries out, is not a good thing. Let me know. ;]

      • Natasha

        The Origins purifying one, it’s quite calming actually, my face is just silly, it even gets irritated by water! Maybe i’ll try to do it all quickly and ignore the redness, seeing as it goes red just touching it now that I think about it. : ) Thank you btw.

        • John

          Oh Gosh, Natasha, stop using this product! There are only a few ingredients in there: Water, Alcohol Denat., Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Vinegar, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Linalool. It’s the Alcohol Denat, Vinegar, and the Lavender Oil that’s completely messing with your skin. The Willow Bark is the only good ingredient, but it’s completely negated by all the other poor ingredients in this product. Please PLEASE stop using this!

      • Amy

        I use Thayers – Rose Petal Alcohol Free Witch Hazel. Toners always dry out my skin, but this one doesn’t. However, I only use toner at night.

  7. Antonina

    I just switched to Kiehl’s Ultra Cleansing facial soap and there is such a difference in how my face feels. It actually feels fresh and bright. So long for now, Purity Made Simple.

  8. Nichole

    I disagree in part with the climate driving oil production. Heat and humidity may exacerbate oil production, but food (specifically simple carbs) is the driving factor to worsening oily proned skin. Anybody that says different is either ignorant to this topic or simply lying. Simple carbs increases insulin levels and hormones, which is directly linked to oil production. A skincare or makeup product may mask oily skin for short while, but not a single product will prevent it.

    Don’t believe me, test it. Remove simple carbs from your diet for one day (white & brown sugar, honey, prepared foods with a high sugar count, white bread, white pasta, white rice, white flour, white potatoes) and see how your skin responds. Assuming all other factors are equal (climate, skin & makeup routine), you will see an improvement in oil production. I used to have sweetened coffee and toast for breakfast and would be an oil slick by 10 am. This morning, I had an egg white, veggie omlette and plain green tea and there isn’t a drop of oil on my skin and it’s 11 am.

    I have acne and oily proned skin, I still have to blot. If I need to blot, it is at 2 o’clock in the afternoon versus 10:30 in the morning. With my diet change, my oil production has drastically reduced. To my fellow oilies, I encourage you to do your own research.

    • John

      This is so true. I mean the medical community can’t say that food causes oiliness or that food really causes anything because no one can’t create a verifiable and legitimate experiment that can be consistently reproduced. This is because there are simply too many variables and factors that cannot be manipulated or controlled. Every person is different, with different metabolism, body chemistries, and reactions. But there are definitely correlations that food may cause certain bodily responses. The medical community, I assume, can only trust people with their good common senses… you know if you eat something and you break out time after time after… you should avoid eating that food item. However, you shouldn’t dismiss the climate factor, because it certainly does influence skin oiliness. To what extent? Who knows. All the factors exist as fluid, ever-changing pieces of a much larger mosaic, which is the human body.

  9. Stephanie

    Good info. I don’t use Clairsonic but I wash my face with a washcloth every night as, to me, that’s a gentle but effective way of exfoliating. I’m also an avid user of Erno Laszlo’s bar soaps for cleansing. I love the stuff, despite what’s written in the review here about bar soaps. I use the active Phelityl Soap and I swear by it and the splashing technique that they suggest. My skin is always glowing after cleansing and never feels tight or dry.

  10. Ashley

    My thoughts on these..

    1) Many people use the wrong cleanser because they are relying on what skin type it’s recommended for. For instance, acne. That’s not a skin type, yet people will use that, and it often makes their skin either oilier or flakier (or both), and can easily worsen acne. The skin type listed for the cleanser is less important than the formulation itself and the ingredients. I had dehydrated skin that was mostly combination, yet using anything for oily skin made the dehydration and oiliness worse, and using anything for dehydrated skin had no effect on the oiliness and mostly didn’t help the dehydration. I had to stop using cleansers entirely for the dehydration to go away (which also allowed my acne to clear up about 99%, and my oiliness to decrease a good deal).

    2) I cannot wipe the skin down, it breaks me out and thins my skin out, even just using cotton pads. As long as you rinse away whatever you put on your face, and do it thoroughly, wiping it off wouldn’t be required.

    3) You don’t NEED to use a toner or lotion. This is up to your skin. Despite having skin prone to dehydration, I cannot use moisturizers because they do not absorb (regardless of the type or formulation) and they break me out. And toners, even oil-free/alcohol-free, made me oilier. Again, I had to stop using all of my products for my skin’s hydration to mostly balance out; one month later, my face only gets mildly tight still on my forehead, with all dehydration marks gone and all flaking peeled away.

    4) Less lather doesn’t mean less drying. I used a micelle cleanser (ie no lather) that was quite drying, even though it had like 6 ingredients and was for dry and sensitive skin. And I’ve used milk cleansers that were drying and irritating. I cannot use anything with any type of emulsifier or surfactant, and that does not only include the ones that everyone knows of.

    5) Plenty of bar cleansers/soaps get great reviews. If it works for someone and does not actually harm their skin, it doesn’t matter what formulation it is in. Growing up I’d use bar soap on my body (I never used soaps or anything on my face) and never used lotions. It only became dry once I started using exfoliants and moisturizers when I got into my girly phase.

    6) Price doesn’t equal quality. I’ve used plenty of cheaper stuff that worked better than expensive stuff. And cleansers aren’t nearly as important as what is going to be sitting on your skin.

    • Thanks so much for this. You’re completely right about everything. My mother has used bar soap (not even a bar cleanser; plain old moisturizing body soap!) to wash her face for her whole life and her skin looks amazing; she’s in her mid 40s and is regularly mistaken for much younger. When she went to my parent-teacher conferences a little less than a decade ago, teachers would mistake her for a teenaged sister of mine and talk to my grandmother instead until they were corrected.

    • John

      1) Well to an extent, what you’re saying may be correct. However, it is a good idea to rely on what skin type a product is recommended for. Now it depends on WHO gives those recommendations. Certainly not brand representatives, because they’ll say anything. Not even the label, but perhaps an organization, or a person, like a dermatologist can and should recommend products by skin types. The latter two of course consider the ingredients and the formulation, so again to an extent you are correct. However, though acne isn’t a skin type (it’s a skin condition) it is reasonable for companies to claim that people with acne have oily skin. This is because acne cannot exist without oil or sebum. This is why Accutane works so well for treating acne; it’s the closest thing to a cure. This is because Accutane or isotretinoin, cuts off all sebum product on the skin, and therefore the acne goes away and your skin becomes super dry. People with true dry skin types, can’t get acne naturally. If they do, it’s because they maybe transferred something(s) onto their faces that reacted with their skin. There’s a difference between dehydrated oily skin and dry skin. Anyways, you must have been using a very bad cleanser… bad in the sense that it was very drying.

      2) Yeah what you said doesn’t make sense because if your skin is so sensitive that you can’t even wipe it down, it would probably instantly turn black in the sun. Well, unless you’re attacking your face like WWIII. No clue how it’s even possible for you to break out by using a clean cotton pad. I mean the pressure from your hands when you rinse or from a shower head is greater or equal than that of using a cotton pad with gentle motions. As to thinning out your face… there’s no way you can possibly measure that your skin is thinning out because human vision is nowhere near that precise. You would need a decent microscope to even see a difference. Not to mention if your skin is as sensitive as you claim it to be, if someone touched your face, your skin would probably slough off.

      3) Sure you don’t NEED a toner, just like you don’t NEED a car. I mean you can always walk or use public transportation. But it’s just something that makes everything else work so much better and more easily. But if you don’t want to use one, oh well.

      4) I guess you’ve had bad experiences with products. Sorry to hear that.

      5) Great reviews does not always mean that it’s a good product. On Sephora the Purity Cleanser by Philosophy is not a good product, yet it’s rated very highly with thousands of rates. It’s funny how you disregard formulations in this part, while advocate them in part 1). Regardless, I agree with Renee.

      6) I agree completely.

      I apologize if I seem rude but I have to be strongly opinionated when people right stories like you did. Maybe you didn’t intend to do this, but the message you get across is akin to a scare tactic and I do not appreciate that. Skincare advice is about balance, moderation, unbiased knowledge, and a genuine passion in wanting to help people better and protect their skin… or ideally at least.

  11. I don’t agree with that bar soap thing. There are cleansers made especially for the face in bar form, and one of them is perfect at stopping eczema from spreading to my face (recommended by my DOCTOR, even).

    Also, I find the ‘choose something made exclusively for your skin type’ to be incredibly silly. As long as it cleans and keeps your skin looking good, I really don’t think it matters. ‘Skin care experts,’ in my opinion, take ‘skin type’ way too seriously; dermatologists, for the most part, don’t. Skin type is really more of a guideline at the end of the day, to help people find what will *probably* work, but if something else does work for your needs, that should be first and foremost, not what skin type a company decides to slap across the label because of what it’ll do for most people. That doesn’t speak to what works for every person; that would be impossible. My friend is very oily and acne prone, and ‘dry skin’ cleansers are some of her favorites that have helped clear her up quite a bit.

  12. AnGeLwInGz

    My skin is super oily but contrary to what experts say about needing a moisturizer no matter what, I cannot use them. My skin literally regurgitates them (for lack of a better word). Any kind of moisturizer I’ve tried just spills right out of my pores and becomes a greasy mess, even the oil-free ones. I need a product with salicylic acid every day to keep my acne under control. I use my Clarisonic with the sensitive brush head for 1 minute evry night along with Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash (sounds harsh doesn’t it?) and it’s worked miracles.

  13. Melody

    I think this is pretty good advice! I’m not able to moisturize right after cleansing anymore since I started using Retin-A again, though. Doubly horrible because it’s so drying, but it’s the only thing that works for me. I love the Renee Rouleau features! I’ve been thinking of trying her anti-cyst treatment.

  14. Rosie

    WOw thanks for this Christine this was very very helpful!

  15. Melinda

    I use my Clarisonic twice a day, and my skin has never looked better. I have sensitive skin, so I use it on the most gentle setting and use the sensitiive or gentle brush head.

  16. Traci

    I have been using Renee’s products and methods for about a year now, and my skin has never looked better! Her products are exactly what I want with the correct and quality ingredients (only a couple products didn’t work for me, but everything else is my Holy Grail!)

    A big thing that helped my skin was to use my Clarisonic less. The first year I got the clarisonic I used it every day and my skin was fine. The second year I noticed my skin was not looking too good, and some other problems – I was over exfoliating and didn’t know it.

    Renee’s products and multitude of information she puts out has definitely changed my skin for the better and I am so happy!

    Thank you thank you Christine for showing us her products and help, and thanks Renee for wonderful products!

  17. Megan

    great advice though my mom has been using Dove bar soap to wash her face and at 57 her skin looks AMAZING! She gets the occasional pimple but who doesn’t?!
    Everyone’s skin is differnt though so I guess that explains her great results with bar soap!

    • John

      Not really Megan. I mean, I’m 21 and I didn’t start using regular sunscreen until about a year ago. So that means I’ve had 20 years of unprotected sun exposure. And let me tell you, I was in the sun a LOT. In high school for example, I was on the Varsity Track and Cross Country teams for all fours years… so that’s a lot of sun. But my skin doesn’t have any signs of sun damage… people always say that I have perfect skin. So does that mean that just because my skin looks good despite having endured so much sun exposure, that UV rays are suddenly a good thing? Certainly not. Your mom could just have really good genes. I mean look at Demi Moore. It’s possible. But it still doesn’t mean bar soap, if it is an actual traditional bar soap, is good at all.

  18. Samantha

    Hm… I’ve been using Bioderma’s Gel Foaming Cleanser but it has SLS :(
    Any suggestions for a new cleanser for acne-prone/oily/dehydrated skin?

  19. Shalimar

    I try to purchase cleansers for my skin type but it is hard to find a cleanser for an oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin type. It is like people with a similar skin type are an oxymoron in the skincare world.

    • John

      Your skin is probably sensitive because you use potent products to try and treat your acne, and/or you have irritating ingredients in your skincare products. People with truly sensitive skin means they would be irritated by ingredients that most people would be okay with… like glycerin or even good ingredients like low concentrations of vitamin C. But yeah, people with truly sensitive skin types are rare. If you want, you can tell me what cleansers you’ve tried and I can try and give you pointers from there.

  20. Linda

    I was wondering if anyone could tell me about my skin type? I don’t really get oily and I get the occasional pimple, but I never break out en mass.

    Also does anyone else have permanent little bumps on parts of their skin? Like I have a few on my eyelid and right below my eyes. I also have them right above my lip. My mom has them as well so I’m guessing they’re a genetic thing. I was wondering if there’s anything I can do to help it or is it hopeless?

    • John

      I can’t know what skin type you are, but I’d guess combination-oily because it’s probably the most common skin type. As to the little bumps, I can’t know what they are because one, I can’t see what they look like, and two, I’m not a dermatologist or doctor. They can be syringomas, milia, psoriasis, and any number of other conditions. You can look up those terms and see which one sounds and looks most like what you have. But check with a physician if you can.

  21. Amanda

    I actually use a sulfur based cleanser because it’s what my dermatologist prescribed. I have acne (actually I HAD acne) and it is MUCH less harsh on my skin than all those awful benzoyl peroxide cleansers. Before I switched dermatologists I was using a prescription benzoyl peroxide wash and it was just awful – my face was dry and flaky all the time and it didn’t do anything for the acne. Since using a sulfur cleanser my skin has totally changed. My skin is not dried out anymore but more importantly – HOORAY, no more acne!!!

    And I find all of this totally funny because I have to use sulfate free shampoos/conditioners, lol.

  22. Thanks for posting about bar soap. Great information.

  23. Lauren

    This is sound advice! I agree with much of what she states, particularly the no synthetic fragrance and no bar soap tips.

  24. Veronica

    I have heard that cleansing your face with olive oil is good for your skin. What are you thoughts on using evoo/jojoba/castor oil to cleanse/moisturize your face?

  25. There is no other good things than having a clear glowing skin. Having a nice skin is a pride, it makes women even more beautiful, more attractive, and being attractive could boost confidence.