GET THE LOOK
This season’s best cleansers leave skin clear and comforted. Rachel Marie Walsh reports
Should I avoid oil cleansers if I have oily areas?
Not because they contain oil. Even the most emollient oil-based cleansers contain surfactants for the removal of makeup and other debris. Oil clings to oil, so excess sebum is also easily rinsed away without the drying effects of a soapy wash. The oil cleansers to avoid are those containing potential irritants. Alcohol and heavy perfume are irritating additions to any cleanser, and can exacerbate excess oil production and acne inflammation. Dior HydraLife Oil-to-Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser, €35.50 (far right), is my favourite oil-cleansing launch this season. The sweet almond oil-based formula eases makeup off quickly, foaming to a milky lather and rinsing residuefree.
My dry-skin cleanser is soothing but does not prevent blackheads. Help!
Blackheads have a grimy look easily attributed to improper cleansing but their dark colour is not dirt. Blackheads, or comedones, occur when hormones cause excess oil production in a pore not adequately shaped to accommodate its natural flow to the skin’s surface. Trapped, this backed-up oil (sometimes mixed with dead cells) turns black through oxidisation. Regular use of a beta hydroxy acid product can both remove excess oil and refine the shape of the pore lining. You could swap your dry skin cleanser for a BHA wash but the choice of these in Irish stores is very small and the choice of those I found to be potential irritant-free is non-existent. I recommend sticking with the dry skin cleanser you like and wearing a BHA treatment like Paula’s Choice Skin Perfect 2% BHA Liquid, €30 at paulaschoice-eu.com, overnight once or twice weekly. Beta hydroxy acids are oil-soluble and (in a fragrance-free formula with the correct PH) can cleanse inside the pore lining, reduce inflammation and make the complexion look more uniform. It can also help prevent ingrown hairs. Prevention is better than cure but individual blackheads can also be tackled with a comedone extractor like Tweezerman Face Skincare Tool, €12.60 at allbeauty.com.
Enzyme cleansers — can I use one instead of a separate cleanser and exfoliant?
Enzymes act as exfoliants in skincare, encouraging natural activities that have slowed because of ageing or UV damage (eg, cell turnover, post-spot healing). They work in a manner similar to alpha hydroxy acids: by breaking down the connecting structures that hold surface cells together, resulting in mild resurfacing. Papein and bromelain, pineapple extracts commonly used in enzyme cleansers and treatments, are also antioxidants. An enzyme wash such as Trilogy Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream, €33.45, is certainly preferable to facial scrubs or harsh exfoliating devices, both of which can irritate skin or damage the hydrolipidic barrier. However, while some types can find daily exfoliation sensitising, even the sensitive or rosacea-prone benefit from a combination of gentle daily cleansing and weekly applications of a topical exfoliant. Normal, sensitive and oily types get on best with a beta hydroxy treatment while dry and sun-damaged skin looks brighter and feels softer after using a glycolic or lactic acid lotion. Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturiser, €33.80 at allbeauty.com, is a good fragrance-free choice.
I hate spending ages on skincare at night. Which one product will remove all my makeup and get my skin clean?
I have never had a facial without the aesthetician telling me it is best to “double cleanse” at night, either by washing my face twice or using a separate pre-cleanser and cleanser. I understand the inclination (urban environment + makeup = double the debris) but am mindful of skin’s natural moisture barrier. I use balm or lotion cleansers and soft cloths to remove makeup and am far from alone. Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, €19, is an editors’ favourite that has won over 100 beauty awards. The mint-coloured cream has also inspired a bargain alternative, I love Paula’s Choice Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser, €25, which removes makeup fast and softens without leaving a residue. The formula suits all skin types. Eau Thermale Avène Fluide Démaquillant 3-in-1, €15 (above), launching July 1, is more widely available and also comforting. ‘3-in-1’ refers to its efficient cleansing, soothing and makeup removal.