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Wash Your Face!

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We all wash our face. Some, more than others. For myself, I find I wash twice a day, unless I've gone to the gym; then add an extra wash. With all of the makeup, lotions and environmental crap that hits my face on a daily basis, I am sometimes surprised by the fact that my face has not yet melted off into a steaming pile of radioactive goo. But what do you wash your face with? How frequently should you? Gel or Cream cleanser? Is soap ok? I am going to explore three great products I use on a regular basis and hopefully answer some questions!
As a side note, keep in mind that the opinions expressed here in are mine and mine alone. I have purchased all products and use them (or don't use them) on a regular basis. If anyone is interested in contributing products for review; I would be happy to take your suggestions or products. Send me an email.
This is the first exploratory post in what will hopefully become a semi-successful series of product reviews. I have always wondered if the soap I was putting on my face was good for me. I've used such a wide spectrum of products over my lifetime I sometimes wonder how or why my skin continues to thrive. A small biology note about your skin (what fun would these posts be without a little learning); it's the largest organ in your body, it covers both the inside and outside of your body (did you know your stomach to small intestine are all considered 'external' surfaces of your body!?). Your skin can handle the largest range changes in pH (for example, normal adult skin is between 4.5 and 6 pH - while a child's skin pH is closer to 7), it is full of millions and millions of cells and various environments; housing bacteria, sweat glands, oil glands and a wide array of incredible micro-do-dads. The skin is a wide and versatile landscape. For a more detailed and long-winded explanation, see Danny Siegenthanler's post. The biggest thing that contributes to the pH of our skin is soap, which brings me back to my original question; which soap is best? Ultimately there are a million choices out there. I use the following;

Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash

Best if you want to: Prevent boils and remove yucky oil with a super-cool, green, gel-based facial wash that won't usually over-dry your skin (unless you use too much) and is gentle enough for daily use. How it works: Lemon tea tree and tea tree oil (they claim is community trade) from Kenya contain properties that help fight pimples and prevent new ones from forming. Tamanu oil (which comes from another tree/plant) from Madagascar has a soothing effect and helps to calm irritation and redness. Does it last: I use approximately a nickle sized amount every morning in the shower; it lasts 3-4 months. Price per 250mL: $11.00 - though it goes on sale every quarter (hello sidewalk sales and groupons!). Bottom Line: I like this product for mornings because it is refreshing and makes my face tingle. If I use it in the evenings (which is fine), I find I have to use a more heavy-duty moisturizer. It cleans well, but doesn't make a dent in water-proof mascara whatsoever.  

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Purifying Gel Cleanser

How it works: Begin and end each work-day (or weekend). *note: I prefer this face wash at night. With a gentle plant-derived gel cleanser that forms-away impurities and helps normalize skin (re: balance your pH). Enriched with camomile, lavender and anti-oxidant vitamin E. Gently dissolves makeup and impurities. Leaves skin feeling skin soft and refreshed. For normal to oily skin. Refreshing new aroma with 16 certified organic essential oils. Does it last: One to Two pumps per wash; the soap is highly concentrated, a bottle sized 250mL will last 6-8 months. Price per 250mL: $35.00 - I have never seen an Aveda product on sale; though see below about longevity. Bottom Line: I originally bought this because a friend had it (she worked for Aveda) and let me use it one night. I was hooked. The smell is calming and clean. The lather is great. The glass bottle feels classy and sophisticated. For my waterproof mascara'd eyes, it takes it off, without breaking a sweat. I was shocked and outraged by the price, but I found if I bought the largest size available (11 ounces for $65.00), it wasn't getting used up too quickly. In fact, technically speaking, it costs me less than the Body Shop Tea Tree Wash because I only have to buy new Aveda wash every 3 years (I'm serious!).  

Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser

How it works: Foamy cream-mousse cleanser removes long-wearing makeup and sunscreens quickly, gently, efficiently. Comforts with soothing botanicals. Leaves skin feeling moist, clean, fresh. A great value too: ridiculously concentrated formula is long-lasting. Ophthalmologist Tested (re: a doctor has tested it with respect to eye damage and it isn't harmful). Does it last: Highly concentrated, the sample size I was gifted lasted 3 weeks with nightly use. I only used one pump (I emptied the tube into an empty aveda bottle to keep my bathroom looking tidy). Price per 250mL: $38.00 - Though I have never paid full price for this. I usually get it in the free gift packages if I buy $30 worth of clinique products (re: the Bay, Holt Renfrew, ect.) Bottom Line: I don't own a large/daily use bottle of this wash yet, but I loved it when I had a sample. The lather is unbelievable and for an evening wash, takes care of my mascara, sunscreen and all the crap I put on my face on a daily basis. It is even more expensive than the Aveda face wash, which is a big deterrent. I already have an 'expensive-ish' face wash. Do I want another? One thing I have learned about experimenting with face washes, is that it is good to have a variety to choose from. By being able to switch up my wash every so often, my skin won't tire out or build any kind of immunity to the cleansing properties in the wash. I am not going to rush out and buy this amazing product, but the next time I am at the Bay (or Holt Renfrew), I might just pick some up. I enjoyed posting/comparing the products in my cupboard and look forward to posting more! Feel free to comment. Which face washes do you use? Do you have a morning and night wash like me? Pros/Cons?

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