There are a multitude of products and preferences between the face wipe and the perfect oil and water-based double cleanse. Today I wanted to test-drive a few products that claim to remove makeup and cleanse the skin in a single step to see if they work - and, if so - whether they're gentle enough for my skin.
I'm going to let you in on a secret: a 'one size fits all' approach to skincare rarely translates to reality because everyone's skin is different! Even when it comes to sunscreen; if you aren't bothered about skin ageing or pigmentation, you don't need to wear it in the winter when UVB rays are at a very low level. My advice that you should every day all year round comes from the assumption that if you're reading this blog; you probably do care about these things.
Likewise; the popular 'rule' that you must double cleanse with an oil-based and then a water-based cleanser comes from people who are in my sort of age bracket and grew up as teenagers swirling a wipe over our faces (then wondering why we'd wake up with panda eyes, why our skin was stripped and why we'd break out so much) and calling it a night in terms of skincare. But, at the end of the day; you know your skin best. I recently caught one of those 'skincare routine reaction' videos where the YouTuber said the person in the video was doing a double cleanse 'wrong' because they went in twice with the same cleanser. They said they'd been been using this product for years, they weren't breaking out and their skin was totally clean of the makeup at the end. So, what's the problem? I think rigid rules are for those just getting into skincare and as you get to know your skin, you'll figure out what works best. If you're very oily and you don't like the feel of a cleansing oil: try a micellar water (just avoid tugging around the eyes), if you have dry skin: a foaming gel cleanser for the second cleanse might be too stripping and a creamy formula is fine. You shouldn't be waking up in the morning finding makeup on your pillow and your toner shouldn't be picking up any extra makeup after cleansing, but as long as your skin is happy; I think you should just do what works for you and your lifestyle.
- THE ALL-IN-ONE CLEANSERS PUT TO THE TEST -
First up, let's talk about the product that really inspired this post: the Ole Henriksen Wonderfeel Double Cleanser* | £23. This comes out as a sort of creamy cleanser with a slightly gel-balm quality. It has some moisturising oils in there that will also help to loosen up makeup and any dirt and grime. I know it's not as relevant in a wash-off product but this does also contain niacinamide and ascorbic acid (the gold standard of Vitamin C) for their brightening properties. One thing to mention is that this is a total fragrance bomb! I personally quite like this sort of berry smoothie scent and I really don't mind fragrance in a cleanser; it's not sat on the skin so is unlikely to irritate someone unless they're very reactive to fragrance. However, it's not what everyone wants from their cleansing experience, so I'm just warning those who get migraines from lighting a candle! This is a beautiful cleanser which I massaged in and then removed with a damp cloth, but it didn't even remove all of my complexion makeup, unfortunately (it actually wasn't too bad on eye makeup, thanks to those oils). When testing out these cleansers, once I'd used them, I did the micellar water test and ran a cotton pad over my skin to see if anything more came up and there was quite a lot left behind with this product. You could go in twice with it, but by that point. you might as well have just done a traditional double cleanse. However, this is a really lovely moisturising, non-foaming cleanser that I personally enjoy in the morning because it softens and smooths things without being at all stripping.
Next, let's talk about the CeraVe Hydrating Cream to Foam Cleanser* | £12.50. This comes out as a sort of gel lotion and it is a foaming cleanser (not usually my favourite, but as a one-step PM cleanse or after exercise, they're still ok on my normal-to-dry and very dehydrated skin) so I dampen my hands, dispense some product and lather it up in my hands before going in. This is formulated with ceramides, amino acids and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin and strengthen its barrier function. CeraVe is also a pretty safe brand for sensitive or acne-prone skin as the ingredients are gentle and there's no fragrance. It isn't a stripping foam, but personally - if we were talking a morning or second cleanse - I prefer the jelly texture of the original Hydrating Cleanser. Using it as a one-step evening cleanse (as this product is marketed) didn't work that well for me in terms of eye makeup. There aren't really the sorts of oils that lift eye makeup in here, so I can't say I'm massively surprised that this kind of just smeared things everywhere. Even when I removed it with a cloth, it felt like I was tugging to get the mascara off and when I checked with the micellar water afterwards; there was still some left. What I would use this for is as a one-step on days when I'm just wearing sunscreen (included a tinted formula) or concealer. If you wear any sort of eye makeup; I don't recommend getting this expecting it to remove everything. Who I really think this product is for are those people who liked the idea of the Hydrating Cleanser but didn't like its non-foaming quality.
I also have the Fenty Total Cleans'r Remove-it-All Cleanser* | £20. I tried this as a morning cleanse, a second cleanse and a one-step evening cleanse. In the morning, this was way too stripping for me! I generally wake up in the morning with quite tight, dehydrated skin, for context, and this was just too much. It has a thicker, more luxurious texture (it's packed full of plant and fruit extracts, rich in antioxidants) and, again, I'd lather it in your hands with a bit of water before going in with this. It's another fragrance bomb; I'm not super anti-fragrance but could be a little overwhelming for some. I'm not sure if it's the fragrance or something else but this stings my eyes so I can't recommend it for eye makeup. It left my eyes streaming in agony and didn't even remove all of the mascara! And I don't wear waterproof products or lots of heavy eyeliner. This isn't a remove-it-all cleanser for me, but it does work on days when I just have a little bit of sunscreen on or if I'm just back from a run and want to cut through the sweat.
Moving on, let's get into the Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser* | £21. This has a really similar texture to the Fenty product in many ways; it has a thick, creamy consistency that can be worked with a little water into a rich lather. It's quite fragrant too, and I think the trick with this one is not to over-apply it. You have the yoghurt to moisturise the skin and hydrating lactic acid within this formula as well as pre and probiotics (live bacteria that contributes towards a healthy skin barrier), so there are beneficial ingredients in there too. I did go to a digital event with Korres and the brand said this product has been designed to remove makeup as well as cleanse the skin, so I decided to put it to the test. Even without the use of a face cloth, I actually found that this worked pretty well. My skin didn't feel dry but after the micellar water test I couldn't see any makeup left behind. It's not super-gentle but it's also not a harsh, stripping cleanser either. I wouldn't use it in the morning but it works pretty well for this purpose. It isn't the gentlest thing in the world on my sensitive eyes, but as long as I wash it off fairly quickly, it doesn't sting, and it certainly wasn't the burning-eyes-Fenty situation.
We'll wrap up with the Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser* | £19. This comes out as a thick creamy-gel that's actually got a number of oils in it, though the texture definitely isn't oily, this is just going to act as a magnet for grease, makeup and other impurities. It does foam, so I do get the lather going with a little bit of water before massaging this cleanser onto my face. I've saved the best for last because this one actually worked! I was worried that it might be really stripping, but I don't find that to be the case. It cuts through the makeup and sunscreen without bleeding my skin dry of moisture. I personally wouldn't use something like this every single day, because that could get a little drying, but for those days when I'm home late (I miss those times!) or I'm just a bit tired and lazy; this does the job. I think this is a really good option for those who just want an easy life. Yes, a proper double cleanse is ideal, but not everyone has the time for it. If your skin is clean and not stripped; using a one-step cleanse is not the end of the world. I think this is better for your skin than a face wipe and is a lot quicker for those of your who need the convenience!
- FINAL THOUGHTS -
I'm not totally against these types of cleansers; are they 100% the best thing for my skin, personally? No. My skin is very dehydrated and actually also pretty dry this winter and these cleansers tend to be more 'heavy duty' and can be a bit stripping. However that's just my personal experience; I've seen people with oily skin talk about how hydrating something like the Fenty cleanser is, so if you're more on that side of things, you probably won't have that issue with it. A relative of mine who shall remain anonymous only uses micellar water, and I think if you're doing that and still experiencing breakouts; a one-step solution is still very quick and easy but will be more effective at cutting through everything. Likewise, if you often come back from work tired and wanting to just pass out; this is a lot better than nothing! I think sometimes we forget as creators in the skincare space that not everyone has the time, money or inclination to use 5 products in the morning and 5 products in the evening, so insisting that double cleansing is The One And Only Way isn't necessarily the best advice. For me personally, most of these products will be saved for lazy evenings and late nights.
Do you ever use these sorts of cleansers?