As a make-up artist and Esthetician I am privileged to be up close and personal with women of all age groups and ethnic backgrounds. When prepping the face for a make over or when getting a client situated for a facial, the universal complaints and common issues I encounter the most are clogged, enlarged pores, black heads and fine lines.
Time and time again I have women asking me, “What can I do to diminish my pore size and get rid of these black heads and the wrinkles that are appearing on my face?” My first response is, “tell me about your beauty regimen, specifically tell me how you cleanse you face.” The responses I get are always very interesting to say the least. Let’s just say the problems are universal, but the ways in which people define and actually cleanse their faces are very diverse.
This is why I always feel the need to ask this question and to provide my insight on the importance of properly and thoroughly cleansing your face. I personally feel the cleansing process is one of the most important steps in anyone’s beauty regimen. I believe you have to thoroughly cleanse in order to maintain glowing, radiant skin and to prolong the aging process.
We encounter so many toxins and pollutants throughout the day from the environment and from some of the make-up and products that we wear, combined with the natural oils and sebum your skin produces. So, not properly cleansing that build up off daily with an effective and diligent regimen can really effect every aspect of your skin’s basic health and needs. The five steps are as follows:
Finding the right cleanser
The first step is finding the just right cleanser for you, and that is another blog in itself. So, please stay tuned for “Finding the Right Cleanser for your Skin Type.” Therefore, I will keep it concise and to the point here. Depending on your skin type and condition you want to look for active ingredients specifically targeted to meet your exact needs. For example, an oily skin type doesn’t want to use a moisturizing cleanser that is made for dry/dehydrated skin.
Just like a dry/dehydrated skin type would not want to use a cleanser that contains active ingredients that are going to purify and create a mattifying feel and look to the skin. With that said, let me list some of the ingredients I believe should be avoided in your cleanser and can be drying agents or can end up irritating your skin.
Some of the ingredients I avoid are: Sodium Lauryl Sulfates, artificial colorings, parfum and anything in the paraben family. A lot of people are finally realizing that some of the ingredients within a cleanser alone, can be causing unnecessary issues with their skin. Remember different skin types will require different active ingredients within the cleanser you chose. Also, my philosophy always leans toward chemical free and natural products.
Prepping the skin for the cleansing process
Cleansing the face to unclog pores and to prevent the enlarging of pore size and fine lines doesn’t constitute the ‘removing make-up properly’ part of cleansing your face. This is another common over site I see and hear over and over again.
There are always two steps to the cleansing process, if you wear make-up. The first step is to always remove the eye area make-up and facial make-up prior to the cleansing process and these steps can be seen in my “5 Daily Steps to Achieving Radiant, Glowing Skin while Prolonging the Aging Process video.”
So, assuming that you have a nice clear and clean face to cleanse this is where the fun begins. Allow 3 minutes for this entire process. Make sure you have you hair out of your face with a head band in order to be able to access your hair line. Very important, make sure you have clean hands. Next, use warm water and wet your entire face and if possible extend this to reach onto your neck and decolletage.
Then distribute the cleanser into the palms of your hands and rub them together in order to activate the ingredients in your cleanser. I prefer to use my hands, especially my fingertips when washing my face. Washcloths can be too abrasive, can be carrying drying agents from detergents and unless you wash them after each use, harbor bacteria.
I do recommend the Clarisonic if you are dedicated to cleaning it after each cleanse and replacing the brush as recommended.
The actual cleansing process
This is where the fun begins, and it is all about perspective. We can get so busy in just our daily life routines. So, all the things that us women would like to do in order to keep ourselves feeling beautiful and pampered at times can feel tedious and overwhelming, especially when we have other demands aside from ourselves, and most of us certainly do.
So, I have turned this 2 minute process into a time for me to check in with myself, and to affirm the goodness within my day and my life. Therefore, incorporating in part of my daily spiritual practice to the often tedious chore of cleansing my face. Also, have you ever noticed that when you are cleansing your face and you are up close and personal with yourself, it can be a time when you may be the hardest on yourself. I know for myself it can be….
At times, especially if I am tired, my ego can take over and I will catch myself saying and thinking negative things about myself while I tend to point out my flaws. Well, I have come to realize that it is just as important to clear the pores, prevent blackheads and fine lines as it is to clear the negative self-talk and prevent negative spiraling. We can be too hard on ourselves.
As women we are very talented at multi-tasking so why not multi-task as we cleanse our faces and take the time to love, appreciate, and be gentle with ourselves. Days are so busy and it can be challenging to make time for all the things we want and should do for ourselves.
So, if you can cleanse internally and externally in a total of 3 minutes, why not begin to use this time to make the internal shift to loving and affirming ourselves and our unique beauty. Straight from the mouth of the wonderful Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”
I start by rubbing the cleanser all over my face and extending it down to my neck and decolletage. With the pointer, middle, and ring fingertips and at times my entire hand, I rub the cleanser into each area using enough pressure to really work the cleanser into the skin, but not so much as to stretch, pull or irritate the area. ( I break this routine into 4 parts spending about 3o seconds on each:
- chin/lip area extend out,
- nose/t-zone extend out to cheeks and under & around eyes,
- forehead up to the hairline. You will come up with your own routine and what feels good to you.)
First, I start at the neck and decolletage and then I move to the chin. Targeting the area on the chin and then moving to the crease between your chin and up to your lips and around the lip area and out to the ears. Simultaneously, I list 5 things that I am thankful for, and it can be anything that feels right for you in that moment: my health, the fact that I have water to wash my face, my family, the sun, something great that happened during the day, it can be anything.
I dip my fingertips back into the water to activate the cleanser again and make sure I have enough water to allow the cleanser to slide and do its thing. I then move to the nose and t-zone area and really work it out because this is usually the area where the black heads love to grow and hang out, which in turn causes the pores to enlarge and be more noticeable. I move out to the cheeks and mid ears and circle the eye area.
This is the time when I list 5 things that I am proud of myself for, they can be things that happened in your present day or things that happened in your past. It could sound something like this: I am proud of myself for not having seconds at dinner when I really wanted to; I am proud of myself for not overreacting to my husband when he asked me the same thing 3x’s today; I am proud of myself for getting to the gym today; I am proud of myself for getting my master’s degree; I am proud of myself for washing my face; are you catching my drift??? It can be anything.
Next, I move to my forehead and hairline revisiting some water to reactivate the cleanser. I also like to revisit each area I covered just to rehydrate it and prevent it from feeling dried out. Also, a good cleanser will continue to cleanse while it is just sitting on your skin. This is the last section of the cleansing process and the time when I list 5 things that I will intend on working on being or doing better in the days that follow.
This isn’t a time to be hard on oneself, it is a time to set an intention and to be extra loving and gentle by envisioning the things that will serve and make you feel better. Some examples are: I am going to bed earlier tonight, I am going to move my body for 20 minutes tomorrow, I am going to call my Mom to just say “Hello!”, I will only hit my snooze button 1 time tomorrow, I will cleanse my face for 3 minutes tomorrow.
After you have cleansed and loved on yourself for 2 minutes, rinse the entire area you cleansed with warm water making sure you remove all of the cleanser. When you are sure all of the cleanser is removed you can complete the process with a nice splash of cooler water to close the pores and refresh the skin, and finally wash away all the dirt, debris, negativity and non-serving thoughts and say, “a bye-bye!”
Then pat your face off with a towel and apply your anti-oxidant and anti-aging serums or moisturizers. Tell yourself and your beautifully cleansed face, “I love you _______,!” 5x’s…… I guarantee you and your skin will look and feel beautiful!
Come for beauty but leave with some soul and centeredness.
So BE Beautiful Now, because you already are!!!!!!!!