By my calculation, if you’re a makeup wearer, you may remove makeup up to 21K times in your lifetime. If that’s the case, let’s get it right! Makeup varies in thickness, texture, and consistency, e.g., powder, cream, powder over a cream. Then there is waterproof and water-based mascara. And let’s not forget our lipstick.
Let’s start with the eye area. The region around your eye is highly sensitive and should be treated with the utmost care; it contains glands and ducts that function to keep your eye clean and lubricated. Tear ducts are small, delicate canals that carry lubricating fluid (tears) from the eye area, through the lacrimal sac, and into the nasal cavity. The lacrimal excretory system can be clogged by makeup, oils or other foreign bodies, leading to bacterial infection and inflammation. This condition is called dacryocystitis.
Located around the rim of the eyelids, Meibomian glands secrete oils that coat the surface of our eye and keep them from drying out. In addition to makeup, dead skin and oils can clog these glands causing irritation, dryness, and crusting. A gentle massage with a warm compress can be used to relieve these obstructions.
What to Avoid
Acne wash containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide should not be used around the eyes. In the short term, these chemicals cause inflammation, however, long-term usage could cause permanent damage. Also, avoid using cotton balls for removing makeup from the eye area as they may release duct-clogging fibers.
Good Cleansing Practices
One of the first things we learn in Esthetics school is the importance of double cleansing. The first cleanse is meant to emulsify or dissolve makeup or the debris and oil that has accumulated throughout the day. The second cleanse is meant to ‘treat’ the skin, meaning this would be the time to use oil-controlling acids, brightening or moisturizing ingredients.
To double cleanse, you may use either a cream-based or sudsy cleanser or use both products. In my grandmother’s day, she used cold cream as the first cleanse. She would massage the cold cream all over her face and neck to dissolve her makeup and then take a tissue and wipe it off. Once complete, she’d use another cream-based cleanser or gel depending on what her skin needed that day.
There are updates to the method and products used today. My preference is to use a cream-based cleanser or an oil as a first cleanse. At the spa, I use dark colored washable microfiber pads to avoid visible staining and to avoid wasting cotton. My grandmother also picked cotton growing up, so I have great respect for that resource.
When cleansing at home, and want to use an oil, I suggest soybean, jojoba or sweet almond oil. Then follow with a sudsy or cream cleanser. A quick and easy way to dissolve lipstick, mascara, and heavier makeup is to apply one of the oils mentioned above to your fingertips or pad and gently massage in. Follow up with your favorite cleanser.
Rubbing, tugging, and scrubbing vigorously can be problematic for elastin and collagen. Washcloths, facial brushes, and hand mitts may be used gently, however, most people end up using them aggressively. Gentle circular movements across your skin with lukewarm water is all that is needed. Avoid using very hot or cold water, as hot water can promote irritation while cold water causes pores to close (we’re not washing dishes!).