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17 Jul

A Cultural Guide To Cleansing


How you cleanse your skin is just as important as what you apply on it. In fact, choosing the right cleanser for your skin type has many positive benefits for your skin and is possibly a routine that you have inherited from your mum, sister, aunt or grandmother! 

Sounds interesting? You may not be aware but the way we cleanse is as much cultural as it is a skincare choice.


Botanical Enriched Skincare: Australia

Australians have a deep connection to the environment and the “great outdoors”, so, naturally we are drawn to skincare formulated with the healing power of nature. Australian botanicals are particularly potent because of their unique phyto-nutrients – a direct result of plants adapting to our harsh climate.

The go-to formula: Creamy consistencies are gentle and effective at melting away the day (and SPF which Australians know too well its importance) without stripping the skin.

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Purifying Creme Cleanser


avid cleanser



Micellar Waters: France

The French are know for their paired back elegance, so it is of no surprise that their love affair with cleansers that are simple, gentle, effective and efficient remains strong.

The go-to formula: Micellar water cleansers (which are essentially tiny drops of oil suspended in water) remove impurities, all traces of makeup, dirt and grime while leaving the skin moisturised. The inside tip from French women, store micellar waters in the fridge for an added cooling and skin-tightening effect on the skin.

Darphin Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water



Darphin Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water



Foaming Cream Cleansers: Japan

The Japanese cleansing method is not one known for being quick! The four-two-four method is where you massage in an oil for four minutes, then a foaming cream for two and then wash both off for four minutes is still popular. According to Shiseido’s regional marketing manager Miyabi Kumagai, “The length of rinsing is unique, it’s part of the traditional and spiritual cleansing ritual called ‘misogi’, which means purification.”

The go-to formula: creamy and gentle formulas that turn to foam on contact with water – like Shiseido’s Creamy Cleansing Foam and SK-II’s Facial Treatment Cleanser – are what women reach for daily. To those who have not experienced this, it’s a cream that bubbles but leaves skin moisturised. Magic!

Kanebo Sensai Silky Purifying Cleansing Cream


Kanebo Sensai Silky Purifying Cleansing Gel (New Packaging)


Hot Cloth Cleansers: United Kingdom

Once known as cold creams that were tissued off, we now know them as hot cloth cleansers. Their appeal is that they maintain the skin’s 5.5pH, so don’t completely disrupt the acid mantle.

The go-to formula: nourishing, thick, hydrating, decadent balms that dissolve makeup while the cloth leaves the skin polished and clean. Warm a coin sized amount between fingers and massage into dry skin. Dip the cloth in warm water, hold over your face to dissolve dirt and wipe product off. You don’t need to splash with cold water, instead pat skin dry and immediately press in a teardrop of serum to protect the acid mantle, which takes 45 minutes to replenish post-cleanse.

Eve Lom Cleanser


Eve Lom Cleanser


Gel-To-Oil Cleansers: China

For over 4,000 years, cleansing in Traditional Chinese Medicine centres on strengthening the skin.

The go-to formula: Chinese women prefer lightweight gels that convert to oils as they maintain the skin barrier and prevent irritation, but get rid of pollution which is a major concern in chinese cities. According to chinese facialist Su-Man, meridian points in the face are where chi (energy) passes and massaging these while cleansing is vital as it prepares the skin for other products. Start around the eye socket to brighten circles, before concentrating on the middle of the cheeks, above the Cupid’s bow and up along the jaw to lift and firm, with deep tapping movements.

Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel with Marula Oil



Wash-Off Cleansers: USA

History is responsible for how Americans cleanse, purity-obsessed pilgrims of 1800s, and immigrants received hygiene lessons, as a result, clean became synonymous with being American!

The go-to formula: American women love wash-off gels that dissolve dirt until skin is squeaky clean! Formulas that deep clean are favoured, thankfully, these days squeaky clean no longer means tightness and dry skin as gentle ingredients have been introduced.

Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser


Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser



Two-Step Oil and Water Cleansers:Korea

An obsession with glass skin and decades of scientific advancements mean that Korean cleansing is less of a mundane daily routine and more of a lifestyle – one that has turned into a global phenomenon.

The go-to formula: The Korean cleaning is a two-step process, beginning with an oil (balm or liquid) followed with a water-based cleanser. Ingredients-wise, collagen-promoting moringa seed and dullness-fighting acids like AHAs are very popular. As a rule of thumb in Korean cleansing, the rule is, if you spend 15 minutes putting on your skincare and make-up, you should spend the same amount of time removing it. Oil cleansers are effective because they extract oil and impurities deep in the pores. Always massage them into a dry face as oil and water naturally repel each other.

Caudalie Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil


Caudalie Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil



Rodial Dragon’s Blood Cleansing Water 


Rodial Dragon's Blood Cleansing Water


Exfoliating Pastes: India

Ayurveda believes that the more emotional toxins we release, the clearer our skin looks, so it’s not only about superficial cleansing. The Ayurvedic approach is to mix ingredients found in the home – like honey to reduce scarring, antioxidant green tea and amla [Indian gooseberry] for its vitamin C content, which is 20 times that of an orange.

The go-to formula: Traditionally the preserve of kings and queens, ‘ubtans’ (botanical-rich pastes) are still the most widely used beauty staple in India to remove toxins.

Eminence Sweet Red Rose Cleanser


Eminence Sweet Red Rose Cleanser




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Sarah Henderson

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