Your ultimate guide to cleansing - everything you need to know. Cleansing is a fundamental part of any skincare routine. It’s essential to remove dirt, oil, and any other impurities like sunscreen before layering on treatments and moisturizers. This is why you need to double cleanse. Read more to learn the most effective way to thoroughly cleanse skin - including SPF!
Sunscreen is formulated to lay on the surface of the skin, forming a protective film to absorb UV radiation before it can reach the viable epidermis. Unlike active ingredients such as vitamin C and retinol, you do not want sunscreen UV filters to penetrate the skin. Absorption of UV filters into the skin results in reduced sun protection, potential skin irritation, as well as systemic absorption. To minimize permeation, sunscreens often contain film formers, polymers, and sticky coatings which also makes them a little more difficult to wash off.
The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology performed a study to evaluate the efficacy of various cleansing methods in the removal of sunscreen products.1 Twenty participants applied waterproof SPF 50+ and PA +++ sunscreen to the face in the amount of 1mg/cm2. The authors used the VISIA Complexion Analysis System to capture high quality standardized images under UV light before application of the sunscreen for a negative control and after application of the sunscreen for a positive control. The sunscreen emitted a dull red color under UV light which was then quantified by pixel area. The percent residue was calculated by comparing the amount of pixels in the photos with sunscreen application and the amount of pixels in the photos after cleansing. The participants were randomly assigned one of three cleansing methods: water only, foaming water based cleanser, and oil based cleanser. Then VISIA images were captured following the cleansing method. The same process was repeated with non-waterproof SPF 50+ and PA +++ with the same participants.
For the removal of the non-waterproof sunscreen, there was no significant difference in percent residue following cleansing between the foaming cleanser, oil cleanser, and negative control group. This means the foaming cleanser and oil cleanser left skin with almost no residue since the negative control was no sunscreen or fresh faced. Only the oil cleanser was able to efficiently remove the waterproof sunscreen with no statistical difference between the oil cleansing group and the negative control. Eight out of the twenty participants said the foaming cleanser dried out their skin while only one participant said the oil cleanser dried out their skin.
It is important to point out that the participants only applied half the amount of sunscreen suggested for consumer use. So if a consumer wanted to achieve the claimed SPF 50+ and PA +++, application would need to be 2mg/cm2 and therefore the percent residue values would likely be higher than those obtained from the study, further stressing the importance of finding the correct cleanser for the removal of your sunscreen products.
When in doubt as to what will best take off your sunscreen and makeup- double cleanse. This study found that only the oil cleanser was able to remove both waterproof and non-waterproof sunscreen without leaving behind sunscreen residue. Following your oil cleanser with a foaming cleanser would further improve sunscreen removal as well as any makeup and sebum without risk of drying out the skin.
First, pick your oil cleanser:
✓ Fermented Camellia Creamy Cleansing Oil: a D Phase Gel that effectively solubilizes sunscreen, makeup, and sebum with ease and provides “sacrificial lipids” that a foaming cleanser removes in place of your natural skin lipids. This unique cleansing system incorporates moisture binding humectants which can relieve dryness, mimic the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor, and soften the skin. Our Fermented Camellia Creamy Cleansing Oil also uses natural, biodegradable sugar esters that not only cleanse but increase the moisture content of the skin even after rinse-off for long term hydration and skin softness.
✓ Purple Ginseng Cleansing Balm: a PEG-free and polyethylene-free cleansing balm that provides a comfortable clean leaving skin feeling soft, smooth, and nourished. Unlike traditional cleansing oil and cleansing balms that need to be applied on dry skin to work, our cleansing balm features a unique emulsifier that efficiently removes makeup, SPF, and sebum under both wet and dry conditions. Our balm is blended with linoleic rich chia seed oil and jojoba oil as well as adaptogenic purple ginseng, known for regulating sebum production.
Second, pick your foaming cleanser:
✓ Niacinamide Cleansing Geleé: an essence-like cleanser that can be used on both dry and damp skin. It contains surfactants derived from both coconuts and an amino acid and is formulated with a clinical level of niacinamide.
✓ Mixed Greens Nutrient-Rich Cleanser: a plush antioxidant-rich cleanser with a daily dose of greens that melts away makeup and gently removes all traces of the day. It contains biodegradable, coconut-derived surfactants that deeply cleanse and clarify pores without irritating, stripping natural lipids, or disrupting the skin's natural pH.
✓ Fermented Rice Enzyme Cleanser: a gentle, daily exfoliating cleanser that removes not only surface impurities with a gentle amino acid based surfactant but polishes the skin with fruit enzymes and natural, biodegradable micro-powders. The powders used are small and uniform to ensure minimal irritation with maximum efficacy. By combining both enzymes and physical exfoliants, our Fermented Rice Enzyme Cleanser refines and brightens to provide a uniform and smooth complexion.
Third, exfoliate at least once a week:
✓ Half Step Flash Facial: a mask that fits in between your oil cleanser and foaming cleanser. It provides exfoliation from both alpha hydroxy acids and enzymes as well as biodegradable physical exfoliants. We formulated with the highest purity glycolic acid free of formaldehyde as well as vegan lactic acid to act as keratolytic agents that soften, separate, and cause desquamation or shedding of dead skin cells. Our proteolytic enzyme blend gently breaks down keratin protein to loosen upper layers of the skin while moisturizing. Once these skin cells are loosened, our biodegradable, sustainably sourced cellulose physically removes the superficial dead skin cells. The use of a high molecular weight polysaccharide derived from fermentation in combination with a high level of glycerin ensures skin moisturization and softness despite the presence of purifying clays.
Fermented Camellia Creamy Cleansing Oil
3.5 FL OZ / 103.5 MLOur innovative creamy cleansing oil is formulated with fermented camellia oil, camellia extract and a nourishing blend of linol...
Purple Ginseng Cleansing Balm
3.0 FL OZ / 88 ML Our cleansing balm is formulated with purple ginseng, plant-based esters and a nourishing blend of linoleic-rich oils that help t...