Hannah's Guide to Cleansing

People ask me this question a LOT – “How do I fix my skin?” and proceed to explain their skin problems in detail. To tell the truth, I would ask sooooo many questions before I felt comfortable recommending a product to someone, but I’ll step you through each tiny change I made to get from cystic acne and chronic irritation to where I am now. I’m talking to my younger self here. Let’s dive in to part 1 – your cleanse.

I’m a huge advocate of double cleansing in the evening - have you ever found that when you apply your toner, the cotton pad is dirty with makeup even after cleansing? Me too. Now imagine how much congestion this could (and does) lead to. When I say congestion, I mean clogged pores, breakouts, dullness. So you have 2 options – either cleanse suuuuuper thoroughly, or indulge your inner product junkie and do it twice.

For your evening first cleanse, you want something that will take your makeup off gently, but you don’t need to spend a fortune because this isn’t your treatment step. I like gel to oil cleansers (try Jordan Samuel After Show Treatment Cleanser, $20, or Grown Alchemist Hydra Oil-Gel Facial Cleanser, $50), straight up oils (try BareMinerals Oil Obsessed Total Cleansing Oil, $30,or Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil, $32), or balm cleansers (try The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Butter, $16, BanilaCo Clean It Zero Classic, $16) for this step. The idea behind an oil or balm cleanser is that like dissolves like, so an oil will help to gently dissolve your makeup. Don’t stress about oils causing congestion either, because we’re going to wash this off along with any residues using another cleanser later. Apply your first cleanser to dry skin, massage it in for as long as you need to melt off your makeup, add water to wash off. A clean washcloth is great to get the last of your makeup off, but don’t scrub too hard - it does physically exfoliate somewhat and some people are too sensitive for that so my personal philosophy is; the softer, the better. If you find you’re still irritated by this step, try making sure your cleanser is free from any irritating essential oils (On a bad day, I can’t do grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, lime, orange, or sage. And lavender. Fuck lavender.)

Your second cleanse is where you can go active, take your time with it, get really clean, and sort out your skin’s needs. Relax into the swiping motions and use this time to reflect on your day, or your life, it’s your time! My favourite kind of formula here is a hydrating cream cleanser, because I have normal skin that tends toward dehydrated (try Grown Alchemist Hydra Restore Cream Cleanser, $49). A cream cleanser is great for drier skin types too – my mum switched to cream cleansers recently and says she feels a lot better. I like cream cleansers to be replenishing, you know? If I’m feeling extra dry, I’ll go in with a gorgeous oil or balm – like the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel, $48. If I feel congested and/or wore a lot of makeup that day, I like to draw out the impurities with a clay cleanser (try Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip, $45African Botanics Baobab Clay Oxygenating Cleanser, $60, Allies of Skin Fresh Slate Purifying Cleanser/Masque, $48). These are great for the oilier among us, as are pH balanced foamy cleansers. Very rarely I get nostalgic and go in with a foaming cleanser – my favourite is Go-To Skincare Properly Clean, $24.


For the morning, I usually wet a washcloth in the shower, wring it out, then swipe over my face and go about the rest of my skincare regimen. IF I cleanse at all, I would go back in with my replenishing cream cleanser. I found that skipping a morning cleanse left me a lot less irritated and more hydrated throughout the day! If it’s not a morning shower kind of day, I prefer to just swipe my Indie Lee CoQ10 Toner, $32. I was prompted to try the no-morning-cleanse by a conversation with nurse from one of the top dermatologists in my city and I’ve never looked back.

I think it’s important when cleansing to remember that congestion and acne do not happen solely because your skin is dirty, but because it is somewhat clogged, irritated or inflamed. So we really want to be delicate here and remove any particles – makeup, dirt, pollution, whilst preventing any further irritation. No stripping! OK?

To summarize: double cleanse, but never over cleanse.