Choose The Right of Foaming Facial Cleansers

In our new facial cleansing series, we asked skincare experts everything they know about cleansing the face. In part one, Indie Lee, founder of the eponymous natural skincare line Indie Lee, gives us the 411 on everything there is to know about foaming facial cleansers. With so many options out there for face-washing, you may have a couple of questions: what’s the best type of cleanser to use? Am I even doing it right? Let’s find out!

Q: What’s the proper way to use foaming facial cleansers?

I’m so glad you asked. Believe it or not, many people don’t wash their face properly. They are in a rush and simply don’t get their faces clean. The proper way to clean is to splash warm water on your face, then massage a small amount of cleanser all over it in a gentle circular motion (scrubbing hard can irritate skin and make acne worse). Not only does this help the cleansing process, it also increases the circulation, which contributes to healthier skin by removing waste and promoting cell growth. Next, rinse off completely with warm to cool water.  Rinse more than you think you need to, because leaving dirt and cleanser behind can lead to clogged pores. Gently pat dry (don’t rub) with a clean towel.

Q: What types of facial cleansers are good to use?

Facial cleansers are great for your skin if they are gentle and the ingredients are right for your skin type. I recommend staying clear of harsh cleansers with sulfates and parabens that not only strip skin, but can also cause breakouts and lead to premature aging and may be detrimental to your long term health. Assuming you are using a gentle, natural cleanser, it will not only remove dirt but the nutrient rich ingredients will help promote healthier, radiant, hydrated, younger looking skin. Cleansing wipes and cleansing oil can be beneficial as well.

Q: How much of the product should we use each time?

In this country, the feeling is if a little is good, then more is better. That isn’t always true. A dime-sized amount of cleanser applied properly to the face is all you need.

Q: How long do we keep product on and how much time should we spend washing our face?

You should spend more time washing your face than you might think. The key is to be gentle with your skin, to make sure you cleanse everywhere, including around the hairline and jawline and then to completely rinse off the cleanser and dirt.

Q: Should we/can we use facial sponges or a Clarisonic?

Absolutely. If using either, make sure that they dry completely in between use so they do not become breeding grounds for bacteria. In addition, remember to replace the sponges or Clarisonic brushes regularly.  I love my Clarisonic and use it often. While it has been designed for daily use, over cleansing and over-exfoliation can strip the skin of its natural oils leading to irritation and even breakouts. For that reason, I prefer to use mine every few days to once a week.

Q: Are facial cleansers best for people with specific skin types? Should other skin types use something else?

I believe that all skin types should avoid cleansers with parabens, sulfates, fragrance and alcohol, which can be harsh and drying. When choosing a cleanser, read your labels and see which ingredients are right for you. More and more people have skin sensitivities and allergies. If you have dry skin, look for a cleanser that is great for hydration. If your skin is oily, you may prefer a foaming wash with fruit acid in it for better oil removal and an extra clean feel.

How to Choose Mascara For Your Eye Shape

Even though mascara is a staple for many makeup wearers, it’s one of the more misunderstood products in your kit. Mascara opens the eye to help you look more awake. Most think there is nothing to applying mascara—they swipe it on the lashes the same way, every time. But there are methods to apply it based on your eye shape that will transform your makeup into something that looks more polished and professional.

Every mascara application should start with these two easy steps:


Curl the lashes

Always begin with an eyelash curler. I like one with a silicone strip, like Kevyn Aucoin or Billy B Beauty. Gently press the band against the root of the lash and turn the curler until the curve is parallel to the crease of your eye. Press gently, release, and presto! This will give even the most stubborn lash a beautiful curl.


Basic mascara application

The next step is to apply your mascara at the root of the lash. My favorite trick is to bend the wand slightly to get right in to the base of the lash. Next, comb through the top lash, wiggling the wand gently as you work your way through. You want to brush through the top of the lash from root to tip, brush through the bottom of the lash from root to tip, and then weave the wand across back and forth through the lash until every individual hair is liberally coated on all sides. I recommend using both a lengthening and a thickening or volumizing mascara. I also prefer to use one mascara with a smaller brush and one with larger bristles—the combination of the two makes any lash look longer and more full.

Now let’s talk about eye shape and placement.


Wide-set eyes

Start with your curler and the basic application mentioned above, and be sure to coat all of your lashes. For wide-set eyes, I recommend working from the inner corner of the eye out towards the middle of the lid. You want the darkest area to be at the inner corner to create the illusion that the eyes are closer together.


Close-set eyes

For close-set eyes, we want to pull the eyes apart so the darkest part of the application needs to be at the outer corner. Curl and apply your first coat with a focus at the outer corner of the eye. Apply a second coat from the middle of the lash and work your way out. For more drama, add a liquid liner along the lash line or really pack the mascara in at the root to ensure that the darkest part of your mascara application is at the outer corner. This will give lift and the illusion that the eyes are further apart.

Choose Oil Cleansers

Oil is a popular alternative to regular facial cleansers these days, but more than likely you still have a lot of questions about it. Our face wash series continues with a look into the magic of oil cleansing. RMS Beauty founder and makeup artist Rose Marie Swift tells us everything we’ve been dying to know about this type of cleansing method. Read on to learn all the secrets of oil cleansing!

Q: Why are oil cleansers good for face washing?

It isn’t the fact that oil cleansers are better. It’s all about which oil “walks the talk”. Oils that naturally contain high levels of lauric and caprylic acid are ideal for cleansing the skin and have the ability to minimize acne and pimples. My oil of choice, hands down, is raw coconut oil. But not just any coconut oil—many are refined and hydrogenated which destroys the healing properties of the oil. Most oils other than coconut oil go naturally rancid fast and really have no anti-bacterial or anti-fungal properties, so for cleansing the skin, those would not be a wise choice, especially for people with acne or skin irritation.

Q: What’s the proper method for cleansing with oil? Step-by-step, how long to keep product on, do you wipe or rinse, etc.?

Cleansing with oil is very easy. Apply a small amount on fingers and gently rub away all traces of makeup—including mascara (waterproof or not) and wipe with a tissue or a cloth. coconut oil will remove every little trace of makeup easily, gently and safely without stinging the eyes.

Some people need to have a complete skin regime that includes cleanser, toners and scrubs but I do not come from that mind set.  I believe if we do too many treatments, it’s aggressive to the skin…less is more.  Once I have cleansed my face of the leftover makeup and oil, I simply rinse with water (filtered of course). There will be a slight oily feel to the skin, but I do not strip that away with cleanser—that is the oil doing its job to help the skin! I then apply a few drops of RMS Beauty Oil to my damp skin and off to sleep.

Q: Are there certain people who shouldn’t use oil-based products for cleansing? Can they work for people who are prone to acne or have oily skin?

If it is the right oil, such as a high grade coconut oil, it actually works. Remember coconut oil contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties as well as many other healing properties so it is almost impossible not to see results. Why dry out the surface with harsh chemicals? That actually sets the skin up for aging over the long term. I am a firm believer that the skin on the face is a mirror to your gut, so whatever is going on inside the intestinal tract will reflect on the skin. Probiotics are a must for anyone with acne prone skin, no matter what anyone says. I have seen superior results from probiotics then any “hope in a jar” remedy. Also, every model I have ever worked with that had bad skin also had a soda pop (mostly diet pop) addiction as well as a sugar addiction. I hope that tells you something.

Q: Are oil cleansers a better option for specific skin types?

The Secret Makeup Artist of Theo Kogan

Theo Kogan, the owner and founder of Armour Beauty, has earned a permanent place on the list of ladies we look up to. She’s had a wide range of awesome experiences—from being the front woman of 90’s punk band The Lunachicks, to a high fashion model and actress. In 2008, after launching her lip gloss line, Kogan began her career as a makeup artist. She has worked backstage for New York Fashion Week – keying Rachel Antonoff’s 2009 show, and more recently working on the Maybelline NYFW Teams. Her work has also been seen in fashion editorials for Nylon Magazine, as well as on the band members of Echosmith and Delta Rae for their television appearances. Theo dances to the beat of her own drum when it comes to her career, so we thought we’d track her down for some valuable advice.

What is some of the best makeup artistry advice you’ve ever received?

I know it sounds simple but most people don’t know it–concealing that little crease under the nose and around the nostril. It may not sound earth-shattering, but it makes a huge difference. Otherwise it tends to read as dry. Or red. Or dry and red. It was James Vincent who got that through to me when I was starting out.

In the beginning, it felt weird doing other people’s faces. I would practice on my friends, which most of them were actually pretty happy about. A lot of my early experience came through happy accidents and things I just had to figure out on my own. So in a lot of ways, I learned a lot more through experimenting than from specific advice.

In the beginning, did you ever receive any hard advice?

I showed my makeup work to an agent pretty early on who basically told me I didn’t have anything in my book worth showing—that made me feel like crap. I had a lot of experimental work in my book at the time and they wanted to see more natural looks. The experience didn’t make me feel good or like I wanted to go back once I had more work to show. It made me say “I’m gonna do it my own way” which is basically what I’ve been doing my whole life.

What advice would you like to share with aspiring makeup artists?

Even though it stung, it was true what I learned from the agent. New makeup artists tend to want to do more crazy and imaginative makeup, but what most clients want above anything is clean basic beauty. If you’re working on building your book, avoid putting in too much “kookoo” makeup in the beginning.

Products for your face are really important too because there are so many people with allergies. I’ve been on jobs where say, someone is allergic to soy, and I realize how much of that ingredient is in various products and creams—even in makeup. There are tons of cheap products that may have a good payoff, but I’ve used everything from drugstore to high end makeup and I’ll find certain cheaper brands might look really amazing but I’ll have a reaction to them which makes me not want to use them on anybody anymore. I’m really sensitive to products so I’m a good guinea pig for that type of stuff.