Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Washing and Toning Your Face

Welcome to Facial Week here at Brown Barn!

Washing and Toning your face is today's subject! Usually when customers come to the store to purchase facial items they want to discuss our lotions and serums. Facial wash and toner are the workhorses of your skincare routine and deserve some attention paid when choosing products.

Why wash your face?

1. It's dirty. Even if you cannot see physical dirt on your skin...trust me....it's dirty. The world is full of bacteria, viruses and pollutants. Your skin flakes off dead skin cells. If you don't wash your face daily (we recommend washing your face twice daily - morning and night), these icky invaders will pile up on your skin.

2. Your face emits oil and sweat. Again, this will pile up on your skin causing break-outs and other skin eruptions if not swept away daily.

3. Your skin needs hydration. Washing your face removes the build-up of debris and oil so water can reach healthy fresh skin underneath.

4. Your body produces sebum - oil that travels outward to the exterior of your skin where it spreads out and produces a protective mantle or barrier on your skin. When you do not wash regularly sebum mixes with bacteria and debris, causing a back-up in the pores which can lead to acne and break-outs. When you wash you clear the way for a new layer of lipid armor to build up on the skin unimpeded.

How cold or hot should the water be when you wash your face?

I've heard many theories on this topic. The best rule of thumb is to use mildly warm to cold water. Many of our customers tell me they use very hot water to wash with. This is not a good practice as it can strip the layer of "good" oil from your skin. Warm to cold water will work effectively to remove the above mentioned Icky Invaders of bacteria and debris without stripping your skin of its important protective natural oils. Too hot of water can cause scalding, dilate vessels and cause irritation. It can also cause a flare up if you suffer from Rosacea.

What should you use to wash your face?

There are so many choices! Which one is for you? Often we find our customers are using too harsh of products and chemicals to wash. Customers often think like "if a little soap is good a lot will be great". Not so. You want to use something gentle that will not strip that important sebum/lipid mantle we just discussed but you also want something effective enough to remove bacteria and debris.

Brown Barn has a wide line of choices ranging from bars to wash. I'll review them here by skin-type:

Sensitive Skin: This skin type has special needs for one reason or another. We have two products we recommend for this type. First, our Honey Chamomile Facial Bar is made of soothing honey with added Chamomile extract. This is a very gentle bar and is available in our stores. You simply foam some up and wash, rinse. Second, we recommend our Regeneration Anti-Aging Facial Wash. This is a super gentle non-foaming wash made with lavender essential oil. If you are older and have sensitive skin you should reach for this choice.

Elderly Skin: Elderly skin has special needs because as we age our skin thins. Gentle cleansing is best. Again, we recommend our Regeneration Anti-Aging Facial Wash. Use cool water and gently remove with a soft cloth.

"Average" Skin: You can use anything we have you lucky soul! If you lean toward oily then opt for the acne-prone products. If you are just plain average stick to the gentler anti-aging or sensitive skin products.

Acne Prone/Oily Skin: We have two products that work especially well for this skin type. Depending on your needs you may want to consider one for AM and the other for PM after reading about both. Brown Barn's Deep Cleansing Facial Bar is a favorite of our staff and customers and is available in Brown Barn stores. It's a solid Goat Milk bar made with French Green Clay and infused with White Willow bark, Peppermint essential oil and Tea Tree oil. What I like best about this bar is the clay. You can foam it up and leave on for a few minutes to dry. The gentle clay will help pull debris and toxins from deep within your pores. Then just rinse off. This bar is gentle enough to use daily in this way. Like a mini-daily mask.

Second, we highly recommend our Revelation Facial Wash. Made with Black Willow bark and essential oils of lavender, bergamot and lemon, this wash was designed to gently reduce acne and inflammation.

What about washing tools like spinning brushes?

I do not use mechanical tools myself but we do have customers who just love them! If you decide to try a new tool always spot test first and be extra careful around tender eye areas. Brown Barn products all work well with these tools (per our customers!)

Brown Barn has a selection of facial pads and a really nice facial brush available to assist in washing your face. I use a washcloth or one of our soft boucle facial pads. I like to use the brush as a "dry brush" first thing in the morning. I simply brush my face with it! I avoid the gentle eye area and focus on areas I especially want to exfoliate. This loosens things up and also promotes great circulation to my face, prepping it for all the great Brown Barn products I use.

Astringent: Before we start on toners, I want to take one minute to talk about Brown Barn Astringent. Brown Barn's Herbal Astringent is a recipe that has been handed down for generations. It has countless uses but for facial use it works great as a spot treatment for blemishes. It also lightens sun and age spots, soothes inflamed skin and works as an overall cleanser. This item also works great as a sunburn soother and can be applied to scars or abrasions to cleanse and promote healing. We also like to swipe a little on a cotton swab under eyes to reduce puffiness and dark circles. (Do not get in eyes!)

Our astringent is made by hand and patience. It's an artisanal distillation of herbs infused in Witch Hazel, Rose Water and yes, a little Apple Cider Vinegar! We carefully hand cleanse the herbs and distill them for several weeks before bottling.

We find the best way to use this product is to spritz a little on a cotton swab and apply to affected facial areas. Be fore-warned this product smells strongly of cider at first but the scent dissipates quickly.

If you choose to include Astringent in your skincare routine be sure to follow-up with toner to return skin pH to normal range.


What is toner? I get asked this all the time! It's a very confusing item because there are so many types of toners on the market and all seem to make a different claim. Basically toner is a light liquid based product that neutralizes or balances your skin's pH. We recommend using Brown Barn toner following wash or astringent to bring any imbalance caused by washing your face back to the happy neutral zone of 4-6.5

Sensitive Skin, Aging and Anti-Aging: Use our Regeneration Toner This toner is made with Cranberry Fruit extract with anti-oxidants to protect skin from free radicals. Cranberry is also a natural antiseptic and has anti-inflammatory powers. This toner includes Geranium essential oil to aide in cleansing and soothing skin.

Acne Prone/Oil Skin: Brown Barn has a specially formulated Revelation Toner to soothe acne prone skin types. This toner is made with the above mentioned Cranberry Fruit Extract but also includes essential oils of Lavender and Tea Tree Oil.

How do I use Toner? Either spritz on face and allow to dry or spritz on a cotton ball and apply directly to face. Brown Barn toners have the added advantage of having been formulated by our in-house certified Aromatherapist! You can use Brown Barn toners throughout the day as a refreshing pick-me-up as well as skin neutralizer.

This ends our tutorial on washing and toning your face! Please feel free to ask questions or contact us via email at thebrownbarn@gmail.com with questions.

Chris Untiedt
The Brown Barn Company llc