Cleansing might be the most basic (and probably the most important) first step in any good skincare regime, but do you ever feel like your cabinet is overflowing with products, none of which seem to give you the long-term benefits you’re really after?
I’ve been there. A serial skincare speed-dater, I’ve gone through love affairs with all sorts of different cleansers, only to discover a few months down the line that their positive effects on my complexion are dwindling.
According to dermatologists, to remedy this recurring problem, we must start using the correct products for our complexion type. And that means (Step 1) analysing and identifying our skin type, and (Step 2) shopping for a suitable cleanser. Read on to find out what will make the difference for you.
3 Steps to Identifying Your Skin Type
As skincare needs differ from person to person, the initial step towards better skin is to evaluate you skin type. Use the following easy steps and our diagnosis chart.
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser or an oil-based makeup remover, then rinse off thoroughly. Make sure to pat (not rub) your skin dry.
- Wait for an hour or two. During this time, your skin should return to its natural state. And remember, avoid touching your face!
- Lightly press your face with a tissue, focusing on the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin).
DIAGNOSIS 101: ARE YOU NORMAL, OILY, DRY OR COMBINATION?
If your skin type is normal…
…It will leave neither oil nor flaky patches of skin on the tissue. After the time period, it should still feel supple and not tight.
If your skin type is dry…
…flaking patches of skin will show on the tissue, and the skin will feel taut and uncomfortable.
If your skin type is oily…
…the tissue test will show greasy patches, and your skin will typically be shiny, with evidence of large pores.
If your skin type is combination…
…your skin will exhibit all three of the above conditions, and will likely be oilier around the T-zone and drier around the cheek area.
Finding the right cleanser to suit your skin type will make all the difference to your complexion. As well as working more effectively to balance your skin, it will allow all other treatment products in your beauty arsenal to be absorbed more effectively and penetrate deeper for better results.
Make sure to avoid products that are too abrasive. “Washing too frequently and using physical exfoliants such as scrubs and harsh brushes can actually dry out the skin by stripping the surface of its natural moisture layer, without giving it enough time to regenerate,” says Lynn Teo, a dermatologist at The Dermatology Practice. Where possible, testing the consistency of a cleanser on the back of your hand before buying it will help you to assess its suitability for your skin.
TRIED AND TESTED
Enlightened with new beauty know-how, the EL team identified cleansers tailored for their skin type and trialled them for a two-week period. Read on for the results.
Name of product: Laneige Fresh Brightening Cleansing Oil ($48)
What you liked: I loved the scent of this product, very fresh and citrus-y. I have oily skin and using a cleansing oil is always the best option when it comes to effectively removing excess sebum, makeup and dirt at the end of the day. It also removes waterproof mascara easily without having to scrub too hard, which is great for the delicate skin around my eyes. The only thing I did not really like was how I was unable to rinse the oil off the bottle exterior completely, making it too slick to grip at times, especially in the shower.
Verdict: This is a great product that I’ll definitely continue to use.
Mark out of 5: 4.5/5
Liana Talib, Client Services, 27
Insider tip: Forget what you’ve heard, you can fight oil with oil. Oil-based cleansers, while effectively removing makeup and pollution, also infuse the skin with necessary moisture. This balances your skin, reducing oil production and breakouts!
Name of product: Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash ($58)
What you liked: A little goes a long way, and only half-a-pump of cleanser on the palm lathers into a dense, rich foam which left my skin feeling very clean and fresh, and without a hint of residue. The product is for normal to oily skins, and is perfect in this humid climate. There was none of the tight and dry sensation that you get with some cleansers, possibly because this one contains no soap nor sulphates.
Verdict: Calendula extract from the humble marigold flower, a key ingredient known for its soothing properties, makes this new cleansing product stand out from the crowd.
Mark out of 5: 5/5
Katie Roberts, Life and Family Editor, 42
Name of product: Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam ($50)
What you liked: This cleanser was indeed gentle, had a handy pump for dispensing foam and the fragrance was subtle. Although it didn’t irritate my skin, it didn’t feel as clean as it does with my regular cleanser.
Verdict: Pleasant to use, but I don’t think I would buy this product again.
Mark out of 5: 3/5
Natalie Whittell, Brand Communications Manager, 27
Name of product: RMK Powder Soap ($46)
What you liked: I liked the powder-to-foam formulation, as well as the botanical fragrance. After using it for two weeks, my skin tone looks notably brighter and healthier. It hasn’t stripped my skin of moisture, either, and my complexion feels comfortable after each use.
Verdict: I’m happy to continue using this cleanser; it has fit quite nicely into my skincare regime.
Mark out of 5: 4/5
Susannah Jaffer, Fashion and Beauty Editor, 23
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