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Cleansing and Makeup Removal: Halloween Edition

There is perhaps no more crucial time than Halloween to discuss the importance of thorough makeup removal -- and not just your typical "once over with eye makeup remover and a cleansing towelette" routine either. If you're doing complex makeup involving prosthetics, greasepaint, latex, synthetic hair and more, you're putting your skin through its paces. Your normal cleansing routine just won't cut it. Here are six detailed steps to make sure that extreme makeup doesn’t have its own out-of-control party inside your pores:

  1. Prosthetic Removal -- Using blunt & thin tools (popsicle stick, butter knife, floss) carefully remove any appliances or skin effects. Examples of these would be fake burn or wound appliques from a costume or stage makeup store, often made from rubber or latex. Clean and store these as instructed by their packaging, and avoid contact with oils and astringents, as these might damage or deteriorate the appliance. You may want to get another use out of it next year!
    Cut through the Grease Part 1: Oil -- Soak a few cotton pads in baby oil and wipe them over your face, or work a splash of oil directly into the skin. If you recoil at the idea of putting oil directly on your skin, let us explain: Baby oil is ideal for that first round of cutting through the more stubborn, less water-soluble ingredients of greasepaint.  It’s gentler on your skin than the potentially comedogenic makeup you’ve had on for the past several hours; plus, you’ll remove the oil from your face in the next step anyway. Remember, the goal here is not to remove all the makeup; just to break it down so that it comes off easier and doesn't leave residue. So don't rub in too much during this step.
  2. Cut through the Grease Part 2: Cold Cream -- Next, wipe away the excess baby oil with a baby wipe, and reach for a cold cream cleanser/makeup remover. Bioelements makeup dissolver or cold cream (like Pond’s brand) is an excellent way to deep cleanse without stripping moisture from the face. Use a liberal amount and take time to rub the cream in small circles all over the face. The goal is to mix it well with the paint on your skin so that when you remove the cream, it takes as much makeup as possible with it. Be sure not to neglect your hairline, jawline, nostrils and any other crevice that makeup might've seeped into.
  3. Cleansing Part 1 -- Carefully and gently wipe the cold cream and makeup from your face with warm washcloth in a downward motion, rinsing the cloth often. Do not rub or scrub. Pat skin dry with a towel and follow with a baby wipe or makeup remover cloth to tackle any remaining traces of cream and/or makeup.
  4. Cleansing Part 2 -- Follow your usual skin-cleansing routine. Since you've already exfoliated, we recommend a mild milky cleanser (like Bioelements Moisture Positive or Decongestant Cleanser, or Cetaphil), followed by a toner or astringent (such as Bioelements Equalizer) that will pull any remaining crud out of the pores, but also start to re-balance your skin. A mixture of two parts witch hazel to one part water is a great low-cost option.
  5. Treat Your Skin -- Finish with a moisturizer appropriate to your skin type, and maybe even a little richer than usual if your skin is feeling dry from the detox/cleansing process.

Please remember that everyone’s skin is different, and that you should follow the directions of your dermatologist, esthetician or other skincare professional before taking any other advice. Happy Haunting!


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