So there's the idea that if you want your serums to penetrate the skin better, you'll need to exfoliate. Personally, I'm terrified of acid peels and the like so I steer clear when I hear that a bunch of acids (glycolic, alpha hydroxy etc.) are the active ingredient in a product. However, I'm more familiar with salicylic acid and it's the active ingredient in my spot treatment that I use when I get the occasional breakout so I thought I'd give the Vichy Normaderm Triple-action 3 in 1 Cleanser a try.
After the first use, I got so worried because it dried out my face so much! The instructions say that you can use it as a regular facial wash, a scrub and mask. I thought a quick washing would be good but maybe in the winter, there's just not much sebum and oils to remove that it dried me out terribly. I resorted to using it as a spot treatment. While I never saw instant results (like a zit going down in size considerably or redness disappearing), I would slowly start to see peeling of the top layers, which is what I usually experience with other spot treatment products that contain salicylic acid. What does this tell me? That basically, it's just another salicylic acid wash and clearly wasn't worth the $$$ I spent on it. Having said that, now that it's hot and humid, I have been able to use it without such disastrously drying results. But it's definitely not on regular rotation. Reserved for excessively oily, acne-prone days.
What's made my regular rotation are the Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Cleansing Foam, a nice everyday cleanser than I can use with or without a Clarisonic, and First Aid Beauty's Facial Radiance Polish.
Let's talk about the latter first. The Facial Radiance Polish from FAB that I have pictured above wasn't something that I loved from the get go. It was ok. It wasn't too abrasive or harsh that I could occasionally use it in the winter and I felt clean after using it. I took some pictures before I pulled the tab to open this tube and then photographed the product on the back of my hand for you to see the little grains.
But after having left it in the shower, I've found that I use it quite often and haven't had any adverse reactions to it. I think it's my favorite scrub right now.
In the case of the Shiseido Brightening Cleansing Foam, it wasn't so much that I was looking for brightening results (the so-called Micro White Powder in it is supposed to take care of banishing dead cells on the surface that reduce skin clarity) but I was looking for something pleasant to use, foamed reasonably well and made me feel clean. This did the trick. With a pleasant odor to boot. Granted, even Shiseido make less expensive cleansers. I'm on the fence about whether or not I would repurchase it or try something else from the brand.
What didn't work too well for me is this new Olay Brightening Cream Cleanser. The little grains in this felt synthetic and it left a film of grease on my skin. While it meant that I didn't feel tight and dry right after cleansing, I also didn't quite feel clean. I didn't really see any ingredients notable for skin brightening. This isn't a big deal since these ingredients in a cleanser pretty much just get washed away after use but I wanted to understand Olay's claims that this is a brightening cleanser. My skin didn't look bright or luminous after, and if I didn't put on any moisturizer, it still left me feeling dry after awhile. If it wasn't the least expensive of this bunch, I would have returned it!
Right now, I'm working through several more oil-based cleansers and a couple of not oil-based ones. So far though, the Shiseido and FAB products I mentioned above are the ones I like the best. If anything tops those two, you'll be sure to hear about it.