March 20, 2015

How to Properly Wash your Face {My Journey to Clear Skin}

How to Properly Wash your Face

I should warn that this is a lengthy post! If you’re blessed with beautiful, blemish-free skin, you may want to skip it! If not, continue reading and I hope you walk away with some helpful tips that have helped transform my skin.

Growing up, I’ve always had pretty good skin. While some of my other teenage friends were cursed with terrible acne, I was one of the lucky ones. At that point, I didn’t even think about what they were going through, but now looking back, I could imagine it’s one of the worst things for a hormonal, insecure, moody teenager to live through.

Then all of a sudden, I turned 25 years old (maybe 26) and it’s like a switch went off in my body. My skin started breaking out like crazy. I wasn’t doing anything differently, so I wasn’t sure what triggered it, so not knowing the culprit was one of the most frustrating parts. Adult acne? hormones? Whatever it was, I was just desperate to know how I can stop it. This was also at the beginning of my blogging days, where I was meeting new people every single day. Horrible.

This continued to go on for years. It was never severe, but mild to moderate and consistent enough that it really started to affect my self-confidence in a really BIG way. The first thing I would do is wake up in the morning and run to the bathroom to look at my face. Did my breakouts get better? get worse? Did that “magic cream” zap my pimples away overnight? Most of the time, I’d storm out of the bathroom in a terrible mood. I probably took that terrible mood out on Keith, my family, etc. It might sound petty or vain, but it’s the absolute truth.

I started visiting countless dermatologists and spending hours on the web doing research. I was desperate. I tried everything from birth control pills, OTC gels and creams (Tazorac, Retin-A Micro, etc…), getting facials, antibiotics, Proactiv, with nothing helping. At some point, I was even considering Accutane. I became that girl that started dreading social events, especially in the daytime, because I felt gross. What’s a new pair of shoes or a new bag if your most important accessory, your skin, looks bad? I would have done anything, or paid any amount of money if I knew it guaranteed clear skin.

Then one night, stuck in one of my desperate searches for the magic cure, I stumbled across a couple of videos on YouTube, two in particular, that shed light on so many things (going to share them below and if this topic speaks to you, I highly recommend watching them).  It’s also when I first discovered Caroline Hirons, who unbeknownst to me, already had a massive cult following for her incredible knowledge and no BS attitude.

Caroline talks about many products and it can get a bit overwhelming, but after going through all of her posts, I found the few things that have dramatically changed my skin.


1. No foaming cleansers

Who knew? Maybe you guys did, but I always thought foam = clean skin. That could not be the furthest thing from the truth. 

A quote from Caroline’s Cheat Sheet:

“As a rule – stay clear of ‘foaming’ on the bottle (there is the odd exception, but they are few and far between) – to get foam you need to use a surfactant – and a surfactant turns your skin alkaline. Alkaline skin is like a petri dish for bacteria. The irony being that so many cleansers pushed on to acne/combination skins are foaming. Naughty, nasty companies should know better.”

2. Applying your cleanser on DRY skin.

Yes, I know this sounds weird, but this is key. I’ve learned that when you first apply on dry skin and gently massage into your face for about a minute, this really helps in not only breaking down your makeup, sunscreen and all the grime, but it stimulates your facial muscles.

This is what will keep our face looking young and vibrant. As dry brushing and stimulating circulation is key for the body, stimulating circulation in your face is also key. It all begins to make sense! After that, we move on to the step below.

3. Using a cleansing balm.

This has been another life changing thing for me. I used to have the same school of thought as so many of you: that applying balms or oils is a bad bad thing and going to contribute to further breakouts.

This could not be further from the truth! Trust me! After all my research, I finally took the plunge on this Emma Hardie cleansing balm and although pricey, it’s lasts forever and contributes to the most balanced, happy skin.

I genuinely look forward to using it on the days that I wear any sort of face makeup, which thankfully, has been less and less these days! This also plays a big role in making my skin look plump and dewy. I cannot stress how much I love this stuff.

4. Using a muslin cloth (facial cloth) in conjunction with you cleanser/balm.

For me, this is a CRUCIAL step. This is THE crucial step! If you’re using a balm, a cloth will always be necessary, but honestly, I think it should be necessary with any type of good cleanser.

I now believe that one of the main reasons I was breaking out was that I was never completely removing all my makeup. Even though I was pretty crazy about washing my face every single night, wetting my face and slabbing on some cleanser as I’ve learned, wasn’t cutting it.

Now, I apply my cleanser on dry skin, massage into my skin for a minute or so and then wet my cloth with warm water to wipe my face. After that, you can finish off with splashing some warm water to really get the remaining makeup gunk off.

FYI: I use one cloth per wash and then throw into the wash. Don’t reuse a dirty cloth the next day.

4. Lastly, after I’m done cleansing, I use my holy grail, miracle product: Biologique-Recheche P50.

Words cannot explain what this product, in conjunction with properly cleansing and prepping my face, does for me. However, I don’t want to completely overwhelm you guys with more information here so I’m breaking it down for you in this beauty post instead!


The videos below are what started it all for me:

Caroline Hirons: Pixiwoo’s Body Talk

Particularly from the beginning to the 4:20m – so enlightening and worth watching!

A Model Recommends: My Simple Beauty Routine for Perfect Skin

From 59 seconds to 3:22m

Pixiwoo: My New Skincare Routine

The first two steps of this video are part of my nighttime routine.

If you don’t want to watch, it’s the Emma Hardie balm followed by the Biologique P50. Then I follow up with a serum, moisturizer, and an eye cream.

In the morning (and some nights), I use this cleansing milk starting out on dry skin. More on all of this here.

I know this was a lot to process so please let me know if you have any questions! Would love to hear your feedback and if you’ve dealt with anything similar.

Phew! That was long…

Illustration: Lilian Jang for Brooklyn Blonde.



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