What exactly are pre-cleansers, cleansing oils and cleansing waters?
Who’s heard of pre-cleansers? What about cleansing oils? Oh, and do you know what a cleansing or micallar water is? Don’t feel silly if you have no idea. Truly. They are all rather confusing, really, but each has a genuine role to play in your skin care routine, depending on your skin type and concerns.
We’ve nutted out what each of these skin cleansing products does and how it does it, so you can make one very informed decision as to whether any of them deserves a coveted place in your bathroom cabinet…
What is a pre-cleanser?
Pre-cleansing products are designed to be used before your regular cleanser, and are generally oil-based. As oils are able to penetrate the skin and attract dirt, oil, and make-up, pre-cleansers allow you to remove impurities first, so your proper cleanser is able to do what it was intended to do – clean your actual skin. You see, once the surface dirt and grime is removed, your targeted facial cleanser is able to clean deeper and more effectively, encouraging clearer, healthier skin and fewer breakouts. To use, apply to dry skin and emulsify using a little water before rinsing clean and following up with your regular cleanser.
Ideal for: those who wear make-up or sunscreen on a daily basis, and those wanting a clearer, healthier complexion.
Wonderful pre-cleansers to try: ENVIRON AVST Pre-Cleanser and Dermalogica PreCleanse. Alternatively, you could try Eve Lom Cleanser ($115, meccacosmetica.com.au) as part of a pre-cleanse routine as its oil-based formula helps extract impurities, too.
(Note: Although using a pre-cleanser means you’re using two products, this routine is not to be confused with double cleansing, which actually refers to washing the face twice using the same product – once to remove impurities and once to clean the skin.)
What is a cleansing oil?
Cleansing oils are similar to most pre-cleansers, however they are completely oil-based. They are perfect for those with oily or problem complexions, as they work on a “like attracts like” basis. This means they rid the skin of excess oil, but they do so without stripping the skin or leaving a filmy residue behind. They are equally as brilliant at dissolving and grabbing on to make-up and other impurities, too, which means your eye creams, serums and moisturiser will be able to penetrate deeper into the skin once the product is removed with water. Cleansing oils can be a little drying on dehydrated skins, so opt for a hydrating formula if your skin is on the dry side. To use, apply to dry skin and emulsify on the skin before rinsing clean.
Ideal for: oily, problem skins, and those looking for a more thorough cleanse.
Wonderful cleansing oils to try: Palmer's Ultra Gentle Facial Cleansing Oil, SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil, shu uemura Enriched High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil ($52, 1300 651 991), and MAC Cleanse Off Oil.
What is a cleansing water?
No, it is not ideal for nourishing your insides, but it is the perfect cleansing drink for sensitive, easily-irritated skin. Or for those who sometimes make mistakes and need to remove make-up quickly and without leaving a mess behind. These types of waters are infused with teeny tiny molecules that help absorb as well as dissolve dirt, make-up and oil, so they’ll never leave make-up smears behind. For this reason, they are absolutely adored by make-up artists, as they’re the perfect instant make-up removal product for between shows, and they won’t redden the models’ skin either. They leave the skin feeling refreshed and clean, without irritation. To use, simply squirt the product on to a cotton pad or cotton tip and wipe it over the area to be cleansed. However, if you’re using one at night, I’d recommend you follow up with a creamy cleanser to ensure your skin is thoroughly clean.
Ideal for: sensitive skins, and quick touch-ups.
Wonderful cleansing waters to try: Sukin Micellar Cleansing Water, BIODERMA Créaline H2O, Guinot One Step Cleansing Water, and Garnier Skin Naturals Moisture Infusion Cleansing Water.
Have you heard of double cleansing? Have you used a pre-cleaser, cleansing oil or cleansing water before? Are you intrigued to try any of them now?