Cleansing, Toning and Moisturising - What you need to know.
Something I learned right at the start of my beauty career is to Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise!
I bought my first cleanser (Anne French, seems to be everyone’s first cleanser) when I was about fourteen and the more I learned about the skin, the more I was able to realise why these three little things are so important to good skin.
So let’s start with cleansing, first things first, if you’re still using soap to wash your face, please stop! This doesn’t mean having to buy an expensive product or not using water anymore, these days there are some fantastic products that are gentle enough to use on your face and body and a wash off cleanser is so much gentler on your skin. This advice goes for men and women and the reason behind it is that the detergents in soap damage the skin’s barrier by removing surface cells. The term ph refers to levels of acidity and soap has an alkaline ph whilst your skin is naturally acidic. If you wash your face with soap, it can take your skin up to 24 hours to rebalance. Using soap can therefore make your skin more sensitive to other products you might use and these products cannot work as well as they are intended too. So when choosing a cleansing product go for something that’s ph balanced and soap free and you’ll begin to see an improvement in your skin within about a month. The next little gem is, ladies ALWAYS take your make-up off to go to bed. I have found an easy way to do this is a facial wipe (or maybe two if you have a lot of make-up on) to remove most of the make-up and then cleanse, tone and moisturise.
I believe that you don’t need to spend a fortune for good skin care products and this has certainly been shown in secret product trials where cheaper products are often shown to be just as effective as the much more expensive ones. I am however very interested in the growing demand for natural and organic skin care products, it certainly makes sense not to overload yourself with chemicals. I have recently got a few books on natural skincare and will let you all know my findings.
So onto toner, now there is some debate about the need to use a toner, if you use a facial wash then I don’t think you need to use a toner, unless you like how your skin feels when you do use one. There are a lot of toners that are astringent and can dry out your skin, so make sure if you use a toner that it is alcohol free. A toner does help to rebalance the skins ph after cleansing and I also think it makes the skin feel lovely and fresh after cleansing. Another option is a facial spritz, which can be used after cleansing and also throughout the day, especially good if you work in a dry or heavily heated or air conditioned environment. Personally I love using toner; it just makes your skin feel really clean and ready for moisturiser.
So why do you need moisturiser? This is the one product you cannot do without, especially as you get older. Your skins protective barrier gets damaged and your skin’s cells reproduce much slower and even more so if you’ve been out in the sun a lot. A good moisturiser will leave your skin looking more dewy and plumper. If you can spend a little more on your moisturiser it will be worth it as cheaper creams can be oil based which will block your pores. Look for ingredients such as ceramides or lipids which will help to prevent water loss, vitamin C which helps to stimulate collagen, hyaluronic or lactic acid to boost your skins moisture production and also consider a moisturiser with built in spf protection, although if you’re going out in the sun you would also need an additional spf. If you have a specific skin problem then go for a moisturiser designed for your skin type, so don’t go for a heavy anti-wrinkle cream if you have a oily/combination skin, it will be too heavy for your skin type. I don’t think you need to spend more than £30.00 on your moisturiser, but if you’ve found one that you love and you can afford then great. Something to consider is the container your moisturiser comes in, dipping your fingers in a pot means that you’re introducing dirt into the products, so I would suggest you wash your hands before using your moisturiser or using a little spatula that is sometimes provided for you. If you buy a moisturiser in a tube, never throw it away when you can’t get anymore out, cut the tube in half and you’ll see there’s a lot more product left, then use the top half to slide over the bottom to preserve the product until you finish it all.
So that’s the basics covered, if you have any questions please let me know. I will go into eye creams, exfoliating, serums etc etc etc in my future blogs. I’ll also go over things I’ve learnt about specific skin types and how to treat them.
Just as quick note, if you think you need a quick pick me up and can’t afford a facial, go and get your brows and lashes tinted and your brows threaded, it immediately lifts your face and brings the focus back to your eyes. Threading is a fantastic way to shape your brows, my customers love it.
Lisa Mansell has worked as a hairdresser and beauty therapist from Saundersfoot to St Barts. After several years in London working as a TV and film make-up artist she has returned to Kilgetty, where she has set up her own treatment rooms. She will share advice and insights into the beauty world, including skincare and make-up, as well as her experiences and travels. Lisa welcomes feedback and questions from readers.