My tips for dealing with dry skin: cleansing

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 16 - 2011

I don’t usually do “tip” posts like these, infact I’m not sure that I’ve ever done one before.  So it’s with a little apprehension and a large dose of ‘Do I know what the hell I’m talking about?’ that I present to you some of my tips for dealing with dry skin.

What do I mean by dry skin?  Well, for me… my combo/dry skin is largely self-inflicted.  I know I don’t drink enough water (and always see a marked improvement when I do), I refuse to give up my cleansing oil addiction and although I’m leaning more toward kinder organic cleansing balms, I refuse to just ‘get rid’ of some of my more drying oils until they’re finished.  Waste not, want not as my Mum would say.

I don’t suffer too badly in the Summer, but come the end of October, my skin loses its glow and the biggest problem I have to battle are those dreaded flakies that make any foundation look like crap.

I’m breaking the tips into a couple of posts:  cleansing, treating, moisturising & makeup.  Please remember that I’m in no way an expert, I’ve just bumbled through a lot of trial and errors to find what works well for me.  So without further ado…


1.  I refuse to give up on my cleansing oils/balms for makeup removal, so try to find one that is as natural as they come.  That means no mineral oils or other Petrochemicals.  Let your second cleanse shift the residue rather than relying on the inbuilt emulsifying agents.

Suggested products: Inlight Organic Cleanser, Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, Nude Cleansing Facial Oil, Spiezia Organic Facial Cleanser & Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel

2.  Don’t use your hands to wash!  Make sure you have a stockpile of your favourite flannels/muslins and use them to exfoliate!  I can’t abide ‘flappy’ muslin cloths and always opt for microfibre or generic flannels.  I buy 2 microfibre cloths for £1 in Asda (the home cleaning aisle!) but anything is better than nothing at all!

3.  Choose your cleanser carefully.  My skin always reacts most positively to the ‘boring’ cleansers on the market.  These are usually the creamy-type ones that don’t make any additional claims other than to gently cleanse your skin.  Avoid that ‘squeaky’ clean feeling like the plague.  We don’t have the excess sebum production of oilier types and can’t tolerate twice daily skin stripping from harsher cleansers.  Avoid SLS and Petrochemicals.

Suggested products: Bare Minerals Purifying Facial Cleanser, Lavera Organic Lemon Balm Facial Cleansing Gel, Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream & Dermalogica UltraCalming Cleanser.

4.  Mind that water!  Living in the South, our water supply tends to lean toward the alkaline end of the PH scale which can encourage dryness if you don’t use a PH balanced cleanser to even things out when washing.  Most ‘gentle’ cleansers are PH balanced by default but it goes a long way to explain why I’ve stopped simply splashing my skin with water in the mornings.  I thought I was helping by not over-cleansing.  Wrong!


I’m sure there are lots of other little gems out there to cleanse effectively without over-stripping our skin but these are the ones that I find work for me.

Do feel free to add any CLEANSING tips you’ve discovered from dealing with dry skin, I’d love to hear them.  I’ll be dealing with exfoliating, treating, moisturising, lifestyle type tips later.

* disclosure: in the above picture, the Inlight Cleansing Balm and Bare Minerals Cleanser are press samples

14 Responses to “My tips for dealing with dry skin: cleansing”

  1. NeenaJ says:

    I suffer from the flakies, too. My skin and hair have always been dry, but it became outrageous after the birth of my son. Hormones all out of whack and such. I stumbled onto Dempeaux’s blog after you suggested reading it and have begun to incorporate parts of her skin care routine into mine.

    Rather than purchase an oil cleanser, I made my own which is tailored for my skin using her suggestions and the ones discussed on the Skin Care Talk board that she mentions. I’ve been using it only at night, every night for a week and I’m happy to report that the flakes have been banished! (I also upgraded my moisterizing routine, so that may have also contributed.)

    I found a really neat tool at Sephora the other day. It’s a silicone face scrubber and it was $5. I use this to massage the cleansing oil into my skin and help break up the makeup. It’s very gentle and I like it a lot so far. Here’s the link, if anyone is interested:;jsessionid=PEV2HSCR2NP22CV0KQNQX0Q?id=P262041&_requestid=8393

    I look forward to the future installments!

  2. Yinnie says:

    ooh. I hate dry skin and i hate the cracked skin feeling on my cheeks in the winter. I recently went to get my skin tested at shiseido and they recommended cleansing only once a day instead of twice so I only moisturise in the mornings. Also i’e also learnt to stay away from cleansers for acne and teenage skin.

    My tips aren’t great, sorry! LOL

  3. My skin is very dry, due to my age. I cleanse my face with a Clairisonic and the creamy Clarisonic cleaser. I rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a towel. This is after removing my eye and face makeup.

  4. mary says:

    I use La Roche-Posay Toleriane to cleanse, Cure Natural Aqua Gel to exfoliate (found it works better than the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant) and MU London Organic Moisturiser (fragrance Free). I have dry sensitive skin and I love these products so much. I’m still looking for a good face wash…I use Invisible Zinc IZ Cleanser at the moment, but I’m not loving it as it stings my eyes.

  5. cinseven13 says:

    I wash my face with water only in the mornings, no cleansers or soaps. I save the cleansers for nighttime.

  6. baby in a corner says:

    I like MAC cleansing oil – its got no mineral oil in it either. and i’m not a massive MAC make up fan. I’ve had good results with avene moisturisers also.

  7. Jade says:

    Antipodes Lime & Patchouli – perfect for my dry skin!!! I’m a microfibre cloth user too, and I only “cleanse” at the end of the day :)

  8. Charlotte says:

    I’m sorry but as a scientist your ‘PH’ which is actually ‘pH’ is making my skin crawl.

    • That’s ok.

      As a humanitarian (who is in no way a scientist but is just trying to share a few tips), your unkind manner made me feel sad. So I guess we’re even.

      • Adama says:

        Real quick: inspired by your grace and dignity handling that.

      • Charlotte says:

        It wasn’t my intention to make you sad. I am just OCD about getting things right so will research anything I am unsure about (hence the career path).

        And just to add that our skin is actually slightly acidic so the alkaline limescale-laden water is probably even worse than you thought.

        • Hello Charlotte, thank you for clarifying! Had I researched the correct capitalisation, you can guarantee I would have still forgotten it at the crucial moment! Always very happy to be educated about things by others in the community who know more than me (it happens lots!), one of the pleasures of having access to so many different opinions and chatty women. I’m not a precious type but won’t pretend I have the thickest skin either. I think it was the ‘skin-crawling’ thing that did it. A sensation if reserve for something far more heinous.

          Thank you for the extra info on the pH of skin, it’s naturally acidic to help fight bacteria isn’t it? Like a built-in protection?

  9. Katrine says:

    My flakies and weird hard patches (scientific definition, that) have magically disappeared in three days, after I moved country last week. I have no idea why – the only change in my routine has been a return to my Weleda almond face oil, but with the new inclusion of a teeny bit of Avéne water spray underneath. I have used the oil before, though, with good, but not as good results. I’m completely mystified, but not unhappy with that development! Maybe it’s do with the hard water you mentioned? I used to just leave my face moist with tap water, which was very, very hard in that area. (I didn’t really feel like doing that in a super old east Berlin apartment, with super old east Berlin plumbing… ‘Romantic’ doesn’t really apply to the minerals and etceteras I imagine in those pipes 😛 )
    I usually use coconut oil to cleanse my skin, followed by Weledas almond cleansing cream, to remove oil residue. I’m really happy with it – I used to use the oil for eye makeup, which is SUPER effective, but tried it for the entire face on a whim one day. I really like it, I think my skin looks generally healthier, and somehow more ‘plush’ as well.

  10. Rhamnousia says:

    My skin has always been combo for as long as I can remember ever having tackled it. This past winter however, it went dry. Like really really dry. Massive flakes were peeling off all over the oiliest parts of my face and this confused me. I panicked and slathered on tonnes of moisturising products that did nothing at all.

    My salvation was the pink toner by Garnier (I can’t remember the name but you know they do a green one and a pink one, it’s the latter). It says that it is for sensitive/dry skin and it really sorted my skin out.

    I’ve got soething else that also works but I’m not sure if it fits into cleansing. It’s the Aloe Vera serum from The Body Shop. It sorted my dry skin out a treat.

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