Thursday, November 10, 2011

Recommendation Thursday: Winter Skincare, Facial Cleanser Edition

I realize I didn't do a Tip Tuesday on winter skincare, facial cleansing, but I hope you'll forgive my laziness (or, more accurately, busyness––I just didn't have the time!).

Recommendations all have ratings above 3.8, with buy agains of 65% or more on MUA.  I've bolded the products that have 4.0+ and 75%+, since if I'd restricted the products to those only, this list would be uninformatively short!  Cleansers are a very personal matter, and what works for some people may not work for you (this has been a problem of mine!), but I thought that the masses of MUAers would help make this recommendation list a good resource for you, regardless of personal skin type.  Some cleansers are conspicuously absent, including Cetaphil, Cerave Hydrating, and Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, because they didn't receive enough lippies/buy-agains.

While bar soaps are usually to be avoided, particularly in the winter (due to their inherently drying binding ingredients), there are a few that have received such good reviews that I couldn't not include them.  The Dove Beauty Bar is a staple that I've used in the past and liked a lot; it's gentle, moisturizing (25% lotion, in fact), and very no-fuss.  You can also use it as a body wash, and it travels really well (no need to fit it into your quart-sized ziplock!).  The Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar has also received much praise, more so than the liquid cleanser version, as has the Aveeno Moisturizing Bar, which has colloidal oatmeal, known for its moisturizing properties.  The Dove is the cheapest option, and you can sometimes find it for $1/bar, but even not on sale it's only a couple of bucks; the Aveeno runs about $3, and the Cetaphil is around $5.
Cleansing milks and balms/lotions are the gentlest of all the kinds of cleansers, which makes them great for dry, sensitive skin, since they don't usually need to be washed off (and washing your face tends to dry it out faster, go figure).  Vichy Purete Thermale Calming Solution ($16 for 6.7 oz) touts itself as an all-in-one makeup remover and no-wash cleanser, though I would probably recommend using it after another cleanser if you wear a lot of makeup.  Aquanil cleanser ($12.10 for 16 oz) is another good option; it can be rinsed off or wiped off with a cloth, depending on your skin's needs.  Alba Botanica Sea Lettuce Cleansing Milk ($9 for 6 oz) is a cheaper, more accessible option available at many drugstores.  Lastly, Pond's Cold Cream (~$8 for 9.4 oz) is an oldie but goodie, in that it's been around for ages and has many adherents (I haven't tried it myself).  There are many other cleansing milks and lotions at a higher price bracket, but I chose not to include them, as the higher price didn't seem to be reflected in better reviews.

Rich foaming cleansers, characterized by being white and thick and foaming vigorously with water and friction, can be good in the winter.  Boots Botanics Moisturising Deep Clean Foam ($6.99 for 5 oz), Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam ($4.99 for 4.2 oz), First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser ($18 for 5 oz) and Borghese Kirkland Signature Pure Moisturizing Cleanser (~$10 for 7 oz, at Costco) are all really good options.  I've been testing Bare Escentuals Deep Cleansing Foam ($20 for 4.2 oz) for the past week, and while I'm not ready to give a full review, I think it's safe to say it does help my skin retain moisture, and it's kind of absurd how little product I need to cover my face (and neck, and chest, and I said, absurd).  One cleanser of this type that I've used and do not recommend is the Garnier Nutritioniste Moisture Rescue Cleansing Foam ($6.99 for 6.8 oz), which may have broken me out and definitely dried my skin, giving me that uncomfortably tight and painful skin feeling we all try to avoid.

Dry skin often means flakes, so using a gentle exfoliator is key to having smooth and happy skin.  Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash ($25 for 8 oz) has gotten good reviews, as has Lush's Angels on Bare Skin.  You can also make your own scrub at home with sugar or salt and honey or oil (olive works well).

If you have really dry skin, using an oil at night as a cleanser/moisturizer can help a lot.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, and Grapeseed Oil are all very moisturizing, though those with oily or acne-prone skin should be wary, especially of coconut oil.  If you're applying them as cleansers, use a cotton ball to swipe the oil around your face, then let it soak in for a few seconds before putting a warm, damp towel over your face to steam your pores; swipe face clean, re-dampen the towel and repeat until oil is absorbed/removed.  I used EVOO as my nighttime moisturizer when I was going to school back east, because it really helped cut down on my dry skin problems, but that was only when it was particularly cold and dry, because my oily skin doesn't need it otherwise.

Alrighty then!  We'll be covering moisturizers in a future TT/RT, but using a moisturizing cleanser will help a lot in the prevention of overly-dry skin.  What cleanser do you turn to when your skin is dry?  Do you find the need to change your skincare with the changing seasons?
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