How to tell if something is working part 2

How to Tell if Something is Working – Part 2

By Kate Limond
04/12/2023 | Read time: 5m

It’s difficult to tell which is the best thing to talk about first. On the one hand, cleansing and moisturising are the foundations of a routine (as well as sunscreen!) But on the other, if your routine seems mostly solid, it’s usually hydration that needs tweaking. That being said, cleansing can make a bigger difference than you might think.

Troubleshooting Cleansing

If you’re feeling a bit dehydrated, one of the reasons your hydrating toner might not be working well is that you’ve stripped your skin with a cleanser that isn’t right for you! Your toner may actually be fine but it’s cleansing that’s the issue.

Even with K-Beauty products that are properly formulated and tested for sensitive skin, it’s possible to use something that isn’t right for you or it’s the wrong season for that product.

Obviously double cleansing is super important but when my Beauty of Joseon Radiance Cleansing Balm felt like a sweaty mess in a hot and humid summer, whilst it cleansed properly, my skin didn’t feel clean!

How does your skin feel after cleansing?

If I’m low on time and skip an oil or balm cleanser, my skin is unhappy, even with the best water cleanser, my skin really does need that oil step first to combat drying water.

Whilst my Axis-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser is excellent and a rarity as it’s a two in one oil and water cleanser, it’s not perfect for my super dry skin now. It was awesome when I had combination skin, which was my skin type when I wrote my review.

I also lived in an area with softer water then. With my drier skin and living in a hard water area, I need all the beautiful oil in an oil cleanser to protect my skin from the ravages of the hard water.

Seriously, if I skip the Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Cleansing Oil for a couple of days, I notice my barrier begins to weaken. It’s been a couple of months since my review of the Beauty of Joseon, as it gets colder, this cleansing oil has really stepped up!

And if you have oily skin, you could find not using an oil cleanser leads to more congestion, which Bianca talks about here.

You can find the huge selection of oil cleansers at UNBLEMISH here!

Dealing with texture

Another scenario is that your routine is great, you haven’t changed anything recently but you’re noticing some texture. You’re already double cleansing and exfoliating with an acid so you ought to be fine and yet…. texture.

You could be dealing with build up of some kind and doing something simple like changing your cleanser or adding an extra cleansing product could fix it!

There’s lot of things that can help with this, whether it’s switching a product or adding something.

Switching your cleanser

Obviously, we’re all double cleansing because that’s a very important to thing for dealing with skin issues. And whilst there’s some cleansers focused on pores, like the Anua Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil, you’ll generally find the big hitting ingredients for texture are in the water cleansing step.

There’s several excellent ingredients to look out for in your water cleansing step: salicylic acid or BHA, clay, Himalayan salt and enzymes.

You can of course get salicylic acid, great for the appearance of pores and overproduction of oil, in leave-on products, which you can read about here and here.

Some people, though, might find leave-on products (even the gentle ones from Korea) are a little too much so using a cleanser still gives benefits but short-contact therapy means there’s less risk of dehydrating your skin.

There’s great options: Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser and Skin1004 Madagascar Centella Tea-Trica BHA Foam.

Generally, clay is associated with wash-off masks, which I’ll talk about in the next section. However, you can also get it in your water cleanser! Clay is amazing at absorbing oil and reducing the appearance of pores.

There’s two key kinds you can find at UNBLEMISH: kaolin and volcanic ash, which are both great for a deep cleanse. Which one

For oily skin, you can actually get volcanic ash paired with BHA in the Innisfree Volcanic BHA Pore Cleansing Foam.

For more sensitive skin types or combination skin that’s perhaps isn’t so oily, kaolin is a great option, which you can find in the Heimish All Clean White Clay Foam.

You can get Himalayan salt, for oil-absorption, along side an alternative to chemical exfoliation: enzymes, which will give your skin another deep cleansing option. This is a unique combination that you can find in the Skin1004 Madagascar Centella Poremizing Deep Cleansing Foam.

Masks and physical exfoliation

Even if you’re already using chemical exfoliation, you might still want something extra. Listen to your skin: don’t overdo it when you’re adding exfoliating products and that includes gentle ones. Also these products make me feel like I’ve given my skin a fancy spa-at-home experience!

A clay mask can be essential if you have oily skin because they’re so effective at absorbing oil but if you don’t have oily skin, don’t be put off! Korean clay masks are nothing like Western ones (which I’ve found very drying), especially Mary & May’s, and you can about my experience here, which even has a bit about physical exfoliation too.

You can get a gorgeous gift set of all the varieties here but you can also get the minis individually if you want to try it but not commit!

One of my favourite things to do is use a peeling gel, which is a super gentle but effective form of physical exfoliation.

Forget those hard scrubby beads you might have tried in other cleansers: peeling gels are soft and work by rolling across your skin, helping to clear pores.

I love knowing I’m doing everything I can for my skin whilst treating it with TLC and a peeling gel is ideal for this.

The squashy texture is a bit unusual at first and, as I’m washing it off, I’m not 100% convinced my skin is clean but it does emulsify a little. I’ve tried it with and without a follow-up water cleanser – my skin felt clean and soft each time.

I’ve used the lovely Beauty of Joseon Apricot Blossom Peeling Gel and you can read about it here.

Final Word

I hope you can see why it’s important to consider your cleanser and what you can do to optimise your cleansing routine!