Lately, I’ve been relying on three current cleanser MVP’s, Votary, Natura Bissé and Avène with the first two for facial cleansing and the third item for eye makeup removal. Your facial cleanser should do three key things, remove dirt, sebum and makeup without stripping your skin of its natural oils and disrupting your skin’s natural barrier.
My first MVP is Votary Cleansing Oil Rose Geranium and Apricot featuring a slew of nourishing oils that have been expertly blended under the direction of British makeup artist and brand founder Arabella Preston. Founded in 2016, Votary occupies the high-end of facial cleansing oils as only premium, botanically derived oils are used. While Votary currently offers three versions of their cleansing oil, I’ve been using the original formula which is a blend of Rose Geranium, Chamomile, Grape Seed Oil and Apricot Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil and Jojoba Oil.
With a mildly herbal scent, hefty texture and packaged in a weighty green glass bottle with a pump top, this is the cleanser I can count on to remove every drop of sunscreen, primer, serum, foundation, powder, bronzer, blush and whatever else happens to be on my face. I also bring the cleanser down under my jawline and onto my décolleté (upper chest area, neck and cleavage) as I agree with the French that that area should be considered and treated as part of one’s face.
To use, I pump out four or five pumps of oil into my palm and massage into my fully made up face using my fingers. In no time, everything emulsifies and I then begin the removal process with a damp (not dripping), warm cloth. For a full face of makeup, I tend to repeat this twice. Afterwards, my skin is left feeling nourished and hydrated. With this oil, I don’t feel the need to use a separate product for a second cleanse.
Here’s the thing though, I can see how this cleansing oil or any cleansing oil may not be the first choice for many people. While it’s formulated for use on all skin types, if you have oilier skin you may prefer the feeling left by a different formula cleanser, maybe. Votary’s cleansing oil can also be used as a morning cleanser, which is especially nice if you tend to wake up foggy-headed like I increasingly do. The non-offensive mild herbal scent will gently wake you and your skin up while leaving a perfect canvas for your morning skincare and any makeup you wear. As a nice touch, a 100% cotton face cloth is included with the oil. I’ve used a number of cleansing oils in my time and to tell the truth, it took me a while to warm up to this cleanser and truly enjoy it. Nothing against the brand at all, I usually need to get to know a product before the love or adoration takes hold. Compared against some other cleansing oils I’ve used, Votary’s is excellent but you’ll still need a dedicated eye-makeup remover to ensure mascara especially is completely broken down and removed.
Second in my MVP lineup is Natura Bissé Diamond White Rich Luxury Cleanse, a 3 in one gel-oil-emulsion cleanser that does a stellar job as a makeup remover, or end of day cleanser while also being a great way to begin a morning skincare routine. Off the bat, I have to say that it smells very mildly of men’s cologne but the scent doesn’t linger. At first pump, it comes out as a clear gel then transforms into an oil as it breaks down makeup or simply whatever our faces produce when no makeup is present.
It’s last incarnation is into an emulsion that I ultimately remove with a warm, damp cloth. Natura Bissé’s Diamond White Collection is the brand’s brightening, anti-ageing set of products targeted at decreasing hyperpigmentation and increasing radiance. This cleanser is formulated with pomegranate extract along with Vitamins E, F and radish root. It leaves my skin feeling hydrated and brighter looking and it also does a stellar job with breaking down makeup, skincare and sunscreen. Natura Bissé’s Diamond White Rich Luxury Cleanse comes in two sizes, 3.5ounces/100ml as pictured and 7 ounces/200ml which comes in a jar. Ultimately, I’d recommend this cleanser if you’re cultivating a skincare routine to target the signs of ageing or as a compliment to other products that work on reducing imperfections and/or hyperpigmentation.
MVP number three is Avène Intense Eye Makeup Remover, featuring a bi-phase formula (a mixture of oil and water) to effectively break down eye makeup including water-resistant types. I decant enough product onto a cotton square for each eye and instead of rubbing, I close my eyes and press the cotton pads against each eye for about thirty seconds. Then, I slowly and gently glide the cotton over my eyelids, eyelashes and below the eye contour to remove makeup. To ensure thorough removal of mascara, I also like to saturate cotton buds and work them over the roots of my eyelashes.
This is also safe to use if you have sensitive eyes or wear contact lenses. Plus, it includes Avène’s proven and effective Thermal Spring Water [which I covered here] along with a saline component similar to natural tears to make the remover more comfortable and easier to tolerate. Avène is my favourite French pharmacy brand and I encourage you to have a look at their products as they focus on helping skin to be stronger, healthier and better prepared to withstand environmental impact. With a history dating back to the mid-eighteenth century, the company zeroes right in on developing products that offer solutions for various skin types and skin conditions and covers the needs of the entire family from babies’ skin to very mature skin.
The road to an effective skincare routine includes using cleansers that cut through makeup, skincare, sunscreen and any other microscopic grit that finds its way onto our faces. Even if you don’t wear makeup, it’s still important to ensure that your cleanser is working to thoroughly remove ‘the day’ from your face. If you’re not already doing so, try to use cleansers that allow you to massage the skin as cleaning shouldn’t be a splash-dab and run affair. The skin on our face is subject to increasing environmental onslaughts including the blue light from our telephones and computers, so it’s really worth your time and effort to ensure this step in your skincare routine is a well thought out one. I hope this helps.