That is, first removing all traces of makeup and grime with a makeup remover, before following up with your everyday cleanser to make sure your skin is all clean and ready for the rest of your skincare products. But with products such as cleansing oils, cleansing balms, and even micellar waters on the market – how does one choose the best for that first and crucial cleanse?
Interestingly enough, these three makeup removers can actually be used across all skin types – and the final choice actually boils down to your habits, lifestyle, and convenience. For example, while cleansing balms can be great for travelling and removing waterproof makeup, micellar waters are far gentler and can work in a pinch if you prefer something quicker and gentler.
With that said, keep on reading to find out which first cleanser suits you, why we love it, and a few of our favourite products thrown in for good measure.
Like the name suggests, cleansing oils are oil-based makeup removers that work to effectively melt away waterproof makeup, sunscreen, and aid in unclogging pores during the first cleanse. They usually come in a pump bottle to prevent the formula from contamination, making it easy to use. The only issue is that it can sometimes get messy due to its liquid state, and if used incorrectly, can leave an uncomfortable oily film behind.
The correct way to use cleansing oils is to apply 2-3 pumps of oil into your hands (depending on how much makeup you’re wearing), and massage it gently all over your face and neck. After all the makeup and grime has been broken down, wet your hands to emulsify the cleansing oil – this usually turns the oil into a soft, milky liquid that can easily be rinsed off, without leaving a greasy residue behind. However, residue or not – giving your skin a second cleanse will help clear out your pores and wash away any possible residue behind.
Cleansing oils also usually contain beneficial ingredients that work to moisturise and nourish the skin, making it a favourite amongst drier skin types. However, cleansing oils can easily be used by all skin types – including oily, since it can help to unclog pores and provide a non-drying first cleanse.
Here are some of our favourites:
SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil
Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil
Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil
Guerlain Abeille Royale Cleansing Oil
(Swipe left for more)
Think of your cleansing oil, but in a solid state. Cleansing balms work by massaging the product into the skin, which “melts” it down into oil form to help break down waterproof makeup, buildup, and sunscreen. These buttery makeup removers are usually preferred over cleansing oils when travelling because they aren’t as messy to use and its solid form improves their portability. Cleansing balms nowadays usually come with a spatula included for hygiene reasons, to avoid contaminating the product with bacteria. If you don’t have a spatula, make sure your hands are completely clean before scooping out the product.
As for application, cleansing balms pretty much work the same way as cleansing oils, with extra steps such as warming up the product between your hands or fingers first to soften the product prior to applying it on your face. It also requires to be emulsified with water to ensure you’re able to rinse away your makeup.
Just like cleansing oils, cleansing balms can be used pretty much on every skin type. Though sensitive skin types may want to look out for potentially irritating ingredients such as citrus oils and essential oils, as they’re not uncommonly found in makeup removers.
Shop some of favourites here:
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm
Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
(Swipe left for more)
Probably the easiest, fuss-free, and gentle method to remove makeup, micellar water is basically a formula where tiny lipid molecules called “micelles” are suspended in purified water. While micellar waters just look just like regular water, these micelles are actually responsible for attracting all the dirt, sebum, and grime off your skin, and leaving the skin feeling cleaner and refreshed.
Another benefit to using micellar waters in your first cleanse is that it doesn’t require that extra emulsification step, and you can immediately proceed to your second cleanse. For extremely late nights when you’re way too tired or drunk to perform a second cleanse, using a micellar water alone can easily wipe away most of the makeup and sebum off your skin – rather than falling asleep with a full face of dirt and oil ready to clog up the pores.
Due to its gentle formulation, they are perfect for dry and sensitive skin types. And thanks to the little oil-soluble micelles, you won’t need to tug at your skin to remove your makeup – however, it may require a few more swipes to get everything off compared to their oil-based counterparts, and may not be as effective on waterproof makeup.
Shop some of our favourites:
Chanel L'Eau Micellaire
Bioderma Sensibio H2O
La Mer The Cleansing Micellar Water
Laneige Perfect Makeup Cleansing Water
(Swipe left for more)
Product photos courtesy of the respective brands.
Featured image: Then I Met You.