Once upon a time, before the need for razors, acne creams and anti-aging serums, a female cousin of mine gave me what she thought was sage skincare advice.
“I wash my face with a bar of soap,” she said.
I was confused. Weren’t bars of soap meant for washing hands? “The same one you scrub your hands with?” I asked.
“Yup!” She seemed so happy with her routine; I was intrigued.
Curiosity piqued my interest, although not in the way she advised, because I went home, promptly hopped in the tub and lathered my entire head of long black hair into a thick white froth the consistency of cream cheese. I mounded it at the top of my head and felt pleased.
“Mom, look!” I said. “I’m Martha Washington!”
The horror on her face is forever etched in my memory. Returning my hair back to normal was not easy, but skincare junkies, like myself, tend to learn the beauty dos and don’ts the hard way. So, I eventually decided to try the suds on my face.
The results? An irritated, super squeaky clean that left my normal to oily face feeling so tight it was hard to move my mouth or eyebrows without pain. After that experience, I never touched another bar of soap to my face or hair. I’m not sure if my cousin continued on the soap bar path, but I can say that her skin today is a far cry from what it could be.
What’s my point?
I know that many men and women prefer a minimalist approach when it comes to skincare. And, if a young girl who would go on to get her cosmetology license, work in salons and day spas and spend years researching about beauty and skincare could make the mistake of using a bar of soap on her face and hair, so could you. At the very, very, least, a basic skincare regimen should include a cleanser formulated for your skin type.
Why? Because the skin of the face is thinner, more delicate and already exposed to irritation from the sun, wind, heat and air-conditioning. Despite all of this, it still needs to be cleaned, and although the face and body are both covered in skin, they are vastly different when it comes to thickness. Bars of soap that are created for the body do not take into account the gentleness needed for the face.
Using a body cleansing bar or gel is one way to parch the surface of the face—throwing the underlying layers into panic mode. Minimalist or not, don’t let my silly skincare mistake become yours!
What’s your favorite facial cleanser?