Like the waves of the sea lapping on the shore, cleansing your sweet skin must be consistent. There are so many products out there that can help you take care of your skin, but there is only one at the helm that sets the stage for your merbabe glow… your facial cleanser!
Why Are Cleansers So Important?
Your skin faces many stressors throughout the day. Even if you don’t wear makeup your face has produced its own oils that need to be balanced, sweat that needs to be whisked away, and dead skin cells that need to be removed ASAP (and all of the extra mask-wearing we’ve all been doing in 2020 doesn’t help the situation!). Then there are the outside factors: the pollution, effects of the sun, and impurities that build up in pores and keep skin from being able to breathe and function the way it should. Without proper cleansing, the other products you use day in and day out for protection, treatment, prevention, and maintenance won’t work as well because there are those pesky barriers blocking them. How will your skin be able to repair and renew itself in that condition? This is why it is important to cleanse your skin, day and night, to give it a fresh start and allow everything else you are doing to help your skin take effect. If you’ve ever felt like everything you’ve tried to help reach your skin goals— from acne to anti-aging— has been to no avail, then it’s most definitely time to evaluate your cleansers and optimize the routine behind them!
How Do I Choose the Right Cleanser?
Choosing the right cleanser is important because everyone’s skin and lifestyle is different. You also have so many variables that affect your skin on a daily basis that you may not even realize— from climate to stress levels. Your skin may be oily, dry, combination, or a skin-type all your own (that’s most of us)! Your skin may also be sensitive to certain ingredients, getting harmed by cleansers that are harsher than you realize, not getting properly cleansed for a truly blank canvas, or not getting a nutritious cleanse thanks to added fillers such as water that’s often swimming in cleansers. There are so many different variables that you can see why being aware of your skin’s specific needs is key in being able to choose a cleanser and create a cleansing ritual that works for you. This blog is here to make that as easy of a process as possible by helping you find cleansers that can adapt to you and your lifestyle quickly.
The Go-To Cleansing Guide:
We break it down below to make it simple to find which cleansers your skin is currently craving while also sifting through our treasure trove of cleansers to find the perfect one for you. You’ll definitely learn a thing or two as you dive into this world of cleansers! Also, keep a lookout for the ones that fit your self-care preferences best:
Ideal For: Morning cleanse for all skin types; evening water-based cleanse for sensitive, mature, dry, blotchy, and irritated skin (the second cleanse when double-cleansing)
Our Solution: Ahoy Love Nourishing Cream Cleanser is our moisturizing cleanser which gives your skin a plump, hydrated, fresh feeling without stripping the skin. We’re mentioning her first because she was created to be an essential morning cleanser for all skin types! (Later on, in this blog post we discuss why using a cleanser specifically designed for mornings is crucial.) Ahoy Love is a gentle, non-foaming, pH optimized wash that restores hydration and nutrients while helping to fortify your skin from the environmental stressors it will face throughout the day. She is also the perfect nourishing cleanser day in and day out for dry and mature skin that doesn’t require a foaming cleanser at any time throughout the day.
Ideal For: An evening cleanse for all skin types; makeup and SPF removal
Our Solution: Sunshine Dew Antioxidant Cleansing Oil is the perfect daily cleanser for impurities and sun exposure. She attacks buildup in your skin and washes it away— all while rejuvenating skin at a cellular level— to give you that ultra-fresh feeling while you work towards your glass skin goals. Because she’s good at removing buildup on the skin such as makeup, SPF, dirt, pollution, and old skin cells, Sunshine Dew is a great choice for a nightly cleanser. This ray of sunshine has the ability to remove impurities, soften complexion, hydrate your skin, and reduce inflammation. Not to mention she gives a gentle, yet effective, enzymatic exfoliation to help with skin turnover. And unlike many oil cleansers, she washes completely clean with water.
Ideal For: Water-based cleanse for normal, oily, combination, sensitive, and blemish-prone skin types (the second cleanse when double-cleansing); foaming-action lovers
Our Solution: We offer two luxe bar cleansers that are a new breed of “facial soap”. These babes are skin-friendly, pH optimized, nutrient-dense, contain very little soap, and are our go-to daily foaming cleansers. Additionally, their packaging is 100% compostable! These babes are especially comprehensive as a water-based cleanser if you prefer to double cleanse with foaming action after an oil-based cleanser. See below for which one is best for your skin type and why:
- Rose Bay Balancing Facial Soap is a low-foaming bar cleanser with a smooth, light lather that is especially good for gently removing dead skin cells and toxins with Australian Pink Sea Clay. The addition of Moroccan Rose Extract and other proven botanicals helps your skin through soothing and balancing. This light cleanser is great for those with normal to sensitive skin who want the benefits of a good daily cleanse.
- Coconut Charcoal Purifying Facial Soap is a foaming bar cleanser with a soft lather that vigorously pulls out toxins from your skin and leaves skin feeling baby soft thanks to Activated Coconut Charcoal and nourishing botanicals. She is great at removing the pollutants clogging your pores and helping regulate oil production for even the oiliest complexions. This bar cleanser also works hard to prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin which can lead to breakouts. We recommend her most frequently for combination, blemish-prone, and oily skin types.
Ideal For: Eye makeup removal; a rich oil-based cleanse for skin in need of a rescue treatment, mature skin, and dry skin types that need extra moisturization.
Our Solution: Nymph Nectar Superfruit Radiance Balm is great for targeting the removal of stubborn buildup, especially from eye makeup and waterproof makeup. Being an oil cleanser that’s in concentrated solid form, she has the strength to take away the impurities your skin has come into contact with throughout the day, but also has the correct ingredients to deeply moisturize and replenish your skin. If you are noticing that your skin is drying out or looking dull, regardless of the moisturizers you are using, perhaps you need to choose a balm cleanser like Nymph Nectar that adds moisture— and definitely stay away from any that strip it away.
Ideal For: All skin types 1-3 times per week; can replace other respective cleansers at those times
Our Solution: We have three cleansers that offer different types of exfoliation because finding the right kind of exfoliation for your skin is crucial for maintaining a healthy, youthful complexion.
- Microdermabrasion: Citrine Sea Purifying Exfoliation Potion is our weekly physical exfoliator that uses microdermabrasion during her cleansing process. That means Citrine Sea can target rough skin along with blemish-causing impurities and will deeply clean your pores with her micronized Sea Salt, finely-tumbled citrine gemstone, turmeric, and botanical oils (yes, she is oil-based)— without creating microtears on your skin. This invigorating cleanser is tough on bacterial and fungal buildup but also works to calm your skin by reducing the root of inflammation in the long term while immediately adding hydration back into your skin. Citrine Sea is our golden goddess whose exfoliating prowess only needs to be used sparingly. Leave her on for a few extra minutes for extra purification and replenishment. Enjoy her tingly sensation!
- Non-Physical: If you want a phytochemical exfoliating cleanser in addition to the physical exfoliation that Citrine Sea bestows, then be sure to pair her with Sunshine Dew Cleansing Oil that we already mentioned! Phyto-chemical exfoliation is important for cellular turnover, removing harmful free radicals that cause premature aging, smoothing skin, brightening skin, and helping reduce hyperpigmentation.
- Water-Based Exfoliation: If you are looking for a super gentle physical exfoliator that is water-based, then look no further than Blue Crush Marine Perfecting Mask as a cleanser (details on that next). You may only need a microdermabrasion cleanser, like Citrine Sea mentioned above, once a week if you have sensitive or mature skin, but you still need frequent physical exfoliation which is where Blue Crush fits into your cleansing ritual beautifully.
Ideal For: Sensitive, mature, and oily skin types 1-3 times per week.
Our Solution: Blue Crush Marine Perfecting Mask can be used as both a mask and a cleanser. And to be honest, on days where our skin needs extra TLC, we prefer her as a cleanser! She possesses the power of both a powder and a clay cleanser. This means you get the best of both worlds when using Blue Crush as a cleanser. From her clays, Blue Crush gets her absorbing power that purifies and draws out toxins and excess oil. From her botanical powders, she thoroughly cleanses your skin while providing gentle exfoliation and rejuvenation (gentler than Citrine Sea Exfoliator mentioned above because she doesn’t perform microdermabrasion). Blue Crush is powdery soft when dry— and dissolves into a frothy, creamy concoction when mixed with just a few drops of water.
Ideal For: All skin types day or night
Our Solution: Agave Leaf Cleansing Cloth is a great tool to add to your cleansing toolkit. She aids in cleansing the skin but also works as a gentle exfoliant. Agave Leaf Cloth can be used on the face or body and is made from 100% wild agave plants. The cloth is free from synthetics and chemicals and is the perfect sustainable, plastic-free alternative to popular cleansing devices and brushes. This is a preferable way to wash your skin, along with a cleanser, instead of using face wipes, too. While wipes can be convenient, they are often full of chemicals and are harmful to the environment!
Bonus! Micellar Cleanser
Ideal For: On-the-go lifestyles; dry and sensitive skin
Our Solution: Tidal Rose Crystal Hydration Mist + Sunshine Dew Antioxidant Cleansing Oil mixed together works as a toning micellar cleanser! This skincare cocktail has tiny oil molecules suspended in soft water that help attract oil, dirt, and makeup from your skin as well as adds a layer of barrier-strengthening protection. Because of these abilities, you don’t even have to wash it off if you don’t want to. This combo makes a great leave-on for after a cleanse and before a moisturizer. With its excellent ability to reduce redness and provide hydration, this can be applied throughout the day to give your skin a little pick-me-up. Also trying adding in any Earth Harbor ampoule in place of Sunshine Dew for an extra targeted treatment.
Now That You’ve Found Your Perfect Cleanser, How Do You Optimize Your Cleansing Ritual?
The Morning Cleanse
As you already learned, some cleansers are great for certain parts of the day or to be used in a certain order. For example, Ahoy Love Cream Cleanser is a good choice for a morning cleanser due to her gentle, non-foaming formula, hydrating properties, and skin-boosting botanicals. Why should you have different rituals for night and day? Simple... your skin has changed. When you go to sleep your skin rests as well. It isn’t being exposed to the harsh outside world, your blood flow is consistent, your oil production is down, your daily stresses are non-existent, and so on. So when you wake up in the morning, you don’t actually need to “clean” your skin. If you do, then your skin is at-risk for being over-cleansed, irritated, and dried out that can lead to a whole slew of other skin concerns. However, what your skin does need in the morning is a fresh dose of hydration and nutrition from a gentle wash and an occlusive botanical formula to keep your skin going strong all day long. Still don’t believe us that you shouldn’t be using your regular cleanser for mornings? Give it up for 2 weeks in the mornings and see how your skin is transformed. Our advice if you don’t have a morning cleanser on hand? Simply start your morning skincare ritual with a cool water splash.
The Throughout-The-Day and Night Cleanses
After you cleanse in the morning, you may cleanse another time throughout the day or just at night. Note that if you exercise, get a little extra food on your face at lunch, or are exposed to excess dirt, heat or pollution, you’ll do your skin a huge favor by washing it right away rather than waiting until the end of the day to get off the grime. At night, keep in mind everything that your skin was exposed to and treat it as such through the way you cleanse it. You want a cleanser (*cough* Sunshine Dew *cough*) that can focus on removing all those impurities, from free radicals that can cause premature aging to SPF you used throughout the day for UV protection. Night time is the chance to give your skin what it needs to operate at peak level, but it needs a completely clean slate first in order to make that possible. Sleeping is the perfect time for allowing your skin to absorb all the good products you put on it while prepping skin for facing daily impurities all over again. So nights are your cleansing rituals' time to shine. Which leads us to our next cleansing biggie!
Know When and How To Double Cleanse
Think about when you go to the beach. Sand gets everywhere and one rinse is never enough. You think you got it all but the next time you shower you find even more sand. The makeup, sweat, and impurities on our skin are the same way. Have you ever had an especially active day outside and washed your face once and then rubbed a cotton ball over it? If you did, it is very likely that the cotton ball will not be perfectly white. You need to get your face *actually* clean and fresh, and ready to absorb the helpful products you will put on afterward. This is all why double cleansing is imperative to do every night, especially on days where your skin was exposed to excessive elements and environmental stressors, or if you have excess oil and breakouts.
So what is double cleansing? Double cleansing is using two different cleansers when you are washing your face, typically in the evening (double cleansing in the morning is basically only for if you forgot to clean your face the night before). The idea is to start with an oil-based cleanser to get off dirt, grime, excess oil, makeup, and other buildup clinging to your skin and inside your pores. Then you follow that first cleanse with a second water-based cleanser. This second cleanse is where the real cleansing magic happens since your skin is now able to be cleansed at a deeper level, becoming more balanced, hydrated, nourished, and rejuvenated. Truly clean!
The Essential Cleansing Ritual
As you could have guessed, we suggest Ahoy Love Nourishing Cream Cleanser every single morning. No other cleanser is necessary. If you're really not feeling a cream cleanser, then Sunshine Dew Cleansing Oil is also a beautifully gentle cleanser that our merbabes can turn to out of textural preference.
A Quickie During the Day:
This one is totally up to you and your lifestyle. First of all, remember as a rule of thumb that you don't want to cleanse more than three times a day because otherwise, you may strip your skin of all of its microbiome-friendly oils. At Earth Harbor, if we do choose to cleanse more than just morning and night, we typically find ourselves grabbing for a facial bar (Coconut Charcoal or Rose Bay) if we are limited on time. Or Sunshine Dew if we hit up the gym or sweated our face-off doing errands. During the cold weather months, you’ll find us grabbing for Ahoy Love Cleanser here, too. An easy bonus cleanse that you can do while just sitting at your desk is spritzing Tidal Rose Crystal Hydration Mist into a couple tiny drops of Sunshine Dew Cleansing Oil to form a leave-on micellar water. No rinse necessary!
Evening - Time to double cleanse:
1. The Oil-Based Cleanse
- You’ll want Sunshine Dew Cleansing Oil to be your daily go-to oil cleanser and the first step in your cleansing ritual. If you're just really not into double cleansing, then put your mind at ease and simply single cleanse with Sunshine Dew since her unique formula combines the benefits of both cleanses. :) Just read on if you're an over-achiever.
- If you have stubborn eye makeup, use a little dollop of Nymph Nectar Balm.
- You can replace Sunshine Dew with Nymph Nectar if you prefer a richer oil cleansing experience or if your skin is in a bought of needing ultra-moisturizing TLC.
- Once a week you’ll want to replace your regular oil cleanser with Citrine Sea Purifying Exfoliation Potion to gain the benefits of microdermabrasion.
- Tip: Sunshine Dew can be mixed in with either Nymph Nectar or Citrine Sea to 1) give you an oil cleanse that washes clean with water without any greasy feeling, and 2) to multitask by giving your first cleanse a dose of gentle enzymatic exfoliation.
2. The Water-Based Cleanse
- You’ll want to find which water-based cleanser is your go-to. We recommend the following:
- Rose Bay Balancing Facial Soap for normal skin types, sensitive skin, hormonal skin, and dry skin that is blemish-prone.
- Coconut Charcoal Purifying Facial Soap for oily and combination skin types, and acne-prone skin.
- Ahoy Love Nourishing Cream Cleanser at night for sensitive, mature, dry, blotchy, and irritated skin.
- 1-3 times a week you may want to consider replacing or supplementing your aforementioned regular water-based cleanser with Blue Crush Marine Perfecting Mask. Blue Crush is a skincare alchemist’s dream because she can be mixed with water, or any other Earth Harbor liquid you can get your hands on (Tidal Rose Crystal Hydration Mist or Sunshine Dew Cleansing Oil are our two favorites to mix in with Blue Crush for cleansing!). Note that you won’t want to use both Citrine Sea Exfoliator and Blue Crush on the same day to avoid over-exfoliation.
*Note that all specific usage instructions can be found on the individual product pages as well as on product boxes. We even give tips for creating your own, personalized cleanser cocktails! And as always, listen to your unique skin and make decisions based on what you feel will work best for you personally.
Common Cleansing Follies
We wanted to quickly mention that there are wrong and right ways to wash your face. You want to make sure you are doing things correctly to make sure you’re not hindering your cleansing efforts.
- Make sure not to use hot water; lukewarm is best to keep your skin’s natural oils and pores happy while clearing away the impurities. A cool water splash afterward is always welcomed.
- Always make sure your hands are clean before touching your face or your skincare. It also helps to use an assistive product, such as our Agave Leaf Cleansing Cloth, to avoid facial contamination even more.
- Remember to be gentle with your skin. Even when you are exfoliating, the product is doing the work so you don’t have to. You don’t need to rub hard, scrub, nor tug at your skin.
- Upward, circular motions are the best way to massage products into your skin so that you don’t help gravity out by pulling down.
- Use cleansers that are pH optimized! Your skin rests at about 4.5-5.5 on the pH scale, so that’s the pH your cleansers should reflect. All Earth Harbor cleansers are adjusted to be between that perfect pH for your skin. (Noting that anhydrous formulas, such as our oil-based cleansers, don’t have a pH because only aqueous solutions can have pH. Science is neat.)
Now It’s Time to Get The Rest of Your Skincare Ritual On!
When your face is fresh and clean in the best way possible, you can move ahead with your skincare ritual. Check out what we suggest for your next steps by taking our basic skincare quiz here, or for a deeper look you can see the order we suggest using your products in here.
Putting the time in to properly cleansing your precious face will be well worth the effort. You’ll find yourself moving towards your skincare goals faster than ever. It’s important to not feel overwhelmed and to start small, though. Finding what works for you, your skin, and your lifestyle is an important balance to discover. And yes, that can take time, creativity, and patience! Also, this blog is basically just about optimizing your cleansing routine, so keep in mind that any way you clean your face is a step in the right direction. Ultimately, finding what’s exactly right for you takes using your "skintuition"; even if it means finding a different path than the specifics we mention here. There’s truly no wrong way to treat your skin to a good cleanse that’s right for you.
If you need us, holler here! Happy cleansing, sunshine!