Skincare Tips: Cleanser Dos & Don’ts

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.