For the longest time, I never knew why the double cleansing method required a foaming cleanser after an oil-based one. I mean, I’m a huge fan of using oils to slough off the heavy duty stuff like sunblock and BB cream, but why is the foam cleanser a must? Prior to the two-step cleanse, when I used micellar water to get makeup off before regular cleansing, I’ve always preferred using a non-foaming wash like a cream or gel, simply because after lots of disappointment, I have come to associate the luxury of bubbles with a stripping wash.
Of course, we now know that the pH levels of products (thanks, Cat! This entry changed my life) make a huge difference in their efficiency, especially when it comes to cleansers. The dryness and squeaky clean feeling I hated was a direct result of the fact that more often than not, foaming cleansers have a high pH level, or one that is more alkaline. I’m going to bastardise the hard work that all these AB-bloggers have done and summarise it for slothy people like me.
- Your skin’s natural barrier is called the acid mantle, and it functions best at pH 5.5. It can range from 4.0 – 6.0.
- pH spectrum reads like this: 1 = most acidic, 7 = neutral, 14 = most alkaline
- Acidic (less than pH 7) cleansers don’t disrupt your acid mantle the way alkaline (more than pH 7) do
- When your acid mantle is disrupted, your skin loses that protective barrier against acne, bacteria, moisture loss, and irritation (credit SkinandTonics).
So if foaming cleansers tend to be more alkaline, why bother with one at all? The answer is simple: in a double cleansing method, the first oil cleanser lifts all the gunk from your skin (oil attracts oil) but unless you can slowwwlyyyy emulsify the oil with water a drop at a time for say, half an hour, there is no way to guarantee that there is no residue left behind. The role of a foaming cleanser is that it cuts through the oil gently, and also cleanses other impurities so you know that your skin is 99% (plus chop!) CLEAN. (I obviously am not a derm, but you know what I mean.)
Yet due to all the agents that is needed to create your boing-boing lush marshmallow foam, most of these in the market have an unacceptable pH level. Finding a good pH level foam cleanser is like trying to find a unicorn, except you need one that can sing as well. Since my Seoul trip, I’ve been using the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick – it’s kind of a superstar product in the asian beauty community. Not only is it pretty, with real rose petals in it, smells like roses, comes in a dramatic and innovative stick form, it also has an optimum pH level of 5.5.
Everyone loved it. I did too, but I also know my skin. It is the biggest whiny bitch in the world; oily all the time yet severely dehydrated and cranky, prone to breakouts and all that crap. I also found out today that not only my skin – my entire body is hypersensitive 🙁 But that’s a whine for another day.
So while the MCRS is perfect on paper, it was slightly stripping on my skin. It wasn’t horrid, but I had to be more gentle than preferred because otherwise I end up with really tight skin. It was something that I was fine with, but not entirely happy to spend the rest of my life with. Then a couple of weeks back, while I was hauling some *furtive look* Tosowoong sheet masks from RRS, I decided to chuck this in too.
Comes in a 150g handy snap top container, from US$6.10 to US$12.90 (before shipping). HOW INSANELY AFFORDABLE IS THAT.
While perfume is listed as one of the last ingredients, there is no discernible scent to this cleanser.
Loved that the list is relatively short, but the inevitable inclusion of cleansing agent Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as the fifth ingredient takes some points off. To be clear, SLS can be a potential irritant but its links to cancer has been debunked and found to be a hoax. The main ingredient is corn starch, a thickening agent, so stay away if that is a trigger for you.
Ingredients: Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sodium Lauroyl Aspartate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Palmitate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Titanium Dioxide, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Methylparaben, Alcohol Denat, Perfume, Maltodextrin, Papain, Badger Oil
(Key: Red = Ingredients with a 2 or more acne/irritant rating on CosDNA,
Green = Hero ingredients/extracts that are supposed to be beneficial but may not be listed on CosDNA)
Powder is dispensed via a small mouth, but you don’t need a whole lot for each cleanse so I usually cautiously shake a few times to get just enough. The grains are not too big, but they are about the size of exfoliating beads and can feel a little abrasive on your palms if you’re too lazy to use a foaming net/sponge like me.
I like this very much. Other than the foaming part – which is entirely on me because I usually won’t bother with a sponge thingy – and how some grains can escape the rubbing action to the corners of your palms, this has become my default sole morning cleanser and second cleanser in the evening. I hate it when people say this cause it’s so relative, but my skin IS softer after cleansing with this. Yes, even after an oil cleanser. It’s like the cleanser hits the reset button on my skin and restores it to a basic, clean, state, where it’s ready to absorb all the other steps in my regime. I’ve used this for 2.5 weeks, and so far have had no clogs, irritation, or any other negative reaction to this.
On days when I’m a bit more hardworking, I use a konjac sponge to foam it up. This is definitely the recommended method because you use way less product AND get a super lush foam too.
- Softens skin
- pH of 5.5
- Grains might feel abrasive when using bare palms to foam up
- Inclusion of fragrance while product doesn’t smell of anything at all
Hell yeah. I’m now wondering what to do with the second MCRS in my stash.
All products have been purchased with my own money and opinions here are 100% my own.