I've spoken to a few reps at beauty counters recently and they all have spoken about the benefits of using a cleansing milk and toner to clean your face rather than a facewash or soap-based product. They have said that lots of contact with water on your face makes it sensitive, dries it out and can lead to uneven skin tone.
No one was trying to push products on me, so I don't think they were selling anything. The lady at Geurlan was applying bronzer on me and she said "I can tell you use face wash from your red cheeks" (my cheeks aren't that red, I thought it was a natural flush!)
Anyway, I am using clinique 3 step, which I know is a bit harsh anyway (I've been using it for 10 years when I needed a bit of harness for my oily skin) but feel my skin has changed over time and could do with something to even out my skin tone and deal with my dry cheeks.
I used to use Purity from Philosophy too (really liked it), and recently switched to Fresh Soy Cleanser, which I find to be just as efficient as Purity was, but much gentler, and my skin seems to be very happy with it :)
I had been using that orange Neutrogena acne face wash for years (never had acne but was paranoid of getting it) and recently at age 26 noticed fine lines and was prescribed retin-a. I had to switch to a more gentle face wash and was recommended CeraVe, which is a very gentle cream or lotion type cleanser, and I must say my skin looks and feels sooo much better. Plus a huge bottle is only $10 and is readily available at Target, Wal-Mart, CVS and Walgreens.
Oh and I tried Clinique 3 step and found it was horribly confusing for my skin and I experienced dry patches, oiliness, redness, and breakouts. Way, way, way too much. I don't understand how anyone uses it. I thought it was my skin but it all went away when I stopped using it.
From all my (highly unscientific) research, a gentle cream cleanser (and CeraVe has hyaluronic acids and ceramides for anti-aging), retin-a for pm use and SPF are all you need to have beautiful skin.
I use Neutrogena acne wash, the orange one, most of the time. I alternate it with Clarins Milky Cleanser for combination skin once in a while. I use a Clarisonic with the Neutrogena. I am prone to oiliness on my T zone and need something to cut through the oil.
I use cleansing milk or cream. Sometimes almond oil instead the milk.
After I wash with my fav rose oil hand made soap.
Once a week I use an exfoliation cream or a peeling mask.
Then I use a toner.
Lastly I put my creams on (face, under eye areas, and neck).
Using only soap or any foaming cleansers is not enough to take of the make up. Make up is like your clothes you wear on your body. You should take your clothes off before you take a shower. The same with the make up removal/skin cleaning.
I have been using 2 products by Sulwhasso these past few weeks and love them. First I use the Cleansing Oil (which takes off the waterproof sunscreen that is so hard to get off with many different products I have tried before). Then I use the foaming face wash. My skin is so soft. I bought the kit on eBay for under $25.00 and it also came with a bar of soap and free shipping. I ordered one for my sister and she told me she is now hooked on this set.
I have also used Bobbi Brown cleansing oil that I mix with their scrub grains and I like that too.