A Model’s Guide to Teen Skincare: Cleansers

This is the first part in a series of posts and videos on teen skincare. Obviously I’m not a teen anymore, and I’m guessing that quite a few people reading won’t be teens either (though we all our inside our minds, aren’t we?) but I think that much of the time we share the same problems with our skin and have the same questions. Most women are reminded once every month of exactly how their skin was in their teens, because it turns into an awkward mess of breakouts, oiliness and little dry patches. It turns temperamental, and nothing in the world seems to be able to help it.

So I suppose that this series of posts and videos isn’t just for teens at all – and I can tell you that many of the products I tested (and my teen helpers tested) are ones that I use on a very regular basis myself. Or do now, anyway! I’ve found some real gems as I’ve trawled through my boxes of product – things that I would never have looked twice at usually. A couple of things stand out; the Alpha-H Clear Skin Wash (wouldn’t be right without a new Alpha-H love, would it?) and also the Living Nature Purifying Cleanser. Now the cleanser, unfortunately, I have managed to leave in a hotel bathroom which is why I forgot to put it in the video and also why there’s a face mist in the photo instead of a cleanser! But it is absolutely superb for freshening up oily, congested skin and it’s not too expensive at all.

The main purpose of this video isn’t really to say which cleansers are wrong or “right”, but to stress the importance of good cleansing. Not just a quick once-over with a crappy face wipe: a proper cleanse with warm water and a good, solid face wash. The skin needs to be perfectly clean before bedtime. But not stripped – and that’s the other point that I make; it’s not great to use something that strips and dries out the skin. The skin will just produce oil again anyway, but you might have left the skin vulnerable and aggravated. It’s all about kind, gentle but thorough cleansing.

And models: listen up! Face wipes after doing three shows? That won’t do! You need to grab a proper cleanser (see video!) and really work it into the skin to dissolve the makeup. The reason we all get sore skin around the eyes is that we rub endless cotton wool pads over them, trying to remove fifty layers of waterproof eye pencil, but work one of the cleansers in and you’ll find that after a few minutes everything will dissolve and you can rinse most of it away. Just do a clean-up squad with a q-tip after that and you’ll have avoided rubbing and irritating the skin.

Hurrah! Let’s get on with the show, shall we? All product info is below the video pane!

Products Shown:

Vichy Micellar Water: http://tidd.ly/e3f42a99

La Roche Posay Micellar Water: http://tidd.ly/70eba0f9

Clinique Cleanser: http://tidd.ly/c50ce071

Bioderma Cleansing Milk: French Pharmacy Brand

Naked “Up Tone Girl” Toner

Alpha-H Clear Skin Cleanser: http://tidd.ly/a7ebdcd2

Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser: http://tidd.ly/74fc5a21

Paula’s Choice Cleanser: http://tinyurl.com/c7bwanf

Natural Being Manuka Cleanser: http://tinyurl.com/but48q2

Link to Toners Recommendations: http://www.amodelrecommends.com/2012/04/17/dr-perricones-super-green-apple-breakout-solutions/



Link to Cleansing Video: http://youtu.be/t5Jp3t7BgGM

Makeup and Nails – there’s a tutorial coming out VERY soon, but for now, the base is a Too-Faced BB Cream: http://tidd.ly/4b61b3a3

and the nail polish is from Butter London, shade Lillibet’s Jubilee: http://tinyurl.com/bulw3fu


  1. Nessa
    Hi Ruth, can you help me, I’ve had good skin, just only in the last 2 years my skin has irupted, I’ve tried everything, I’ve always been good with my skin dr haushka, pai skincare, but now I’m having hormonal acne, Ive changed to alpha h, I use the balancing cleanser, and no moisturiser, is this a good choice for my skin? My skin is marked, sometimes itchy sore, same breakouts around my jaw line when its my time of the month, can anything that you put on your skin really get rid of hormonal acne or is it just a myth?, I also ordered the liquid gold to help my marks is that a good choice or not, I’ve tried everything, I really need something that’s going to work, I use to swear by organic products… Now Im not to sure, thank you x

  2. I have an oily t zone, acne and don’t tend to get dry at all, I’m undecided which cleanser to get.

  3. I’m positive that sugar in excess messes up hormones and skin and all sorts of things.

  4. Hey Ruth, I 12 and I go to school and half way through the day my skin gets dry and I have little break outs spots around my face, and I’d like to know what you would recommend me to do. Many thanks janell xx

  5. Hi.. I’m a swimmer and I’m in the pool for two hours a day. When I wake up in the morning my face is slightly oily and throughout the day it becomes more oily. But when I get home from practice its dry and patchy. My acne isn’t bad but I just want to get rid of the little breakouts. I use the same wash morning and night but only moisturizer at night. Any suggestions from the list above?

  6. I found that i break out with the alpha H cleanser I was hoping hoping it’ll clear my skin but it didn’t :/

  7. Hello! I Very much enjoyed the video!I had a question however: I have verrrry sensitive skin ( all ways red not matter what!), and I was wondering about using the Pai Chamomile and Rose Cleanser. I have seen you mention it loads in other videos but I was wondering about it for teenage skin. ( For the record I am 16, with dry sensitive acne full skin). Also, do you have any recommendations for swimmers? I am often in the pool twice a day for two hours and my skin dries out even more!

  8. Hi Ruth, I’m loving your advice and insights. I’m using alpha h liquid gold, as per your recommendation and I love it! Thanks for that. X
    I’m using Cetaphil, which has had no effect on my acne, I need something with a bit of oomph,clearly..! I have an oily t zone, acne and don’t tend to get dry at all, I’m undecided which cleanser to get. The alpha h clear skin sounds right or Paula’s choice,I’ve tried SO many products before I’m losing hope. I’ve also read cutting out carbs and sugar will help my skin. I’m a sugar addict :-s I’m also concerned my contraceptive,the coil has an impact.
    I’m eagerly awaiting your teen/acne moisturiser/serum video, checking my inbox daily… Thanks for everything! Xx

    • First thing, un-addict yourself from that sugar! I am one too, but if I give in to it my skin suffers terribly. I’m positive that sugar in excess messes up hormones and skin and all sorts of things. Secondly, yes – Clear Skin or the Paula’s choice would be lovely for you. See also tomorrow’s post on Triple Action! xx

      • Thanks for your advice! I was so excited to get a reply from you. Also that cheeky spoiler!
        I emailed alpha h about my skin and they recommended renew and resurface kit for me.
        I’m on my second week of my new skincare regime and my skin has enormously broken out, in places I don’t normally get spots too. It must be the deep cleansing masks?!

        I’m right in thinking just to stick with the alpha h and my skin will improve?

        The un-addicting myself from sugar is extremely difficult. Sugar is in everything!! It’s all I think about,haha!
        I wonder if I’m your only reader trying to give up the white stuff and failing miserably? Any advice on giving up the sugar?

        Thanks Ruth!

        • Yes, I did get a few breakouts for a while… So long as you’re not sore or red, keep at it for a couple more weeks. Not everything is for everyone, though, so see how it goes! Giving up sugar? Hardest thing in the world! I mean, I eat too much of it even with being good! Just don’t have sugary things in the house. You’ll break the cycle after a week or so! x

  9. Hi Ruth! I know you’re on holiday at the moment but I’ve got myself in a bit of a tizz with regards to skincare and wondered if you could help!
    I am 21 and I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had BAD skin- just as well as I’ve always had a fairly lazy attitude to my skincare! I’ve never really had acne, but I do get a couple of spots mainly around my mouth and sometimes in the temple area which I’m not massively worried about as they only last a few days max. However, the red mark hangs around for ages afterwards! Even when I deny myself the satisfaction of squeezing the spots I still get a red mark for months. Anyway, I really want to deal with this now and help prevent these blemishes and treat my skin properly.
    I sent an email to Alpha H asking them for some recommendations etc and they’ve sent me three out of four samples that contain glycolic acid. Surely for my young skin that’s not a very good idea? They have sent me two masks containing it as well as the liquid gold. They also sent me the triple action cleanser rather than the balancing which was what I was expecting. All in all I feel a touch lost about what direction I should be going in. If I’ve got relatively trouble free skin should I be faffing about thinking about exfoliators as well or leave well alone? Lastly, I am really annoying because I totally hate the feeling of heavy moisturisers. Almost all of them feel heavy and claggy to me on my face and hands. At the moment I’m using a Chanel one that’s very watery as my exasperated Mum bought it for me in a desperate attempt to get me to use a moisturiser!
    All in all, please help and I’m sorry that this is such a long message!

    (On a side note I noticed that Mr Bear is modelling a very dashing harness in some of your photos and I wondered where it came from?! My own British Shorthair is very jealous…!)

    • Hi Sophie,
      Firstly, the Bear harness is from Zooplus!
      Right, skincare. I’d expect that they sent you the glycolic for the breakouts. I’d say if you’re not worried about the breakouts then you could leave it a good five or six years before cracking onto the Glycolic, but plenty of people use it regularly, including teens. So no real harm, so long as you use a good SPF in the daytime to protect the skin. I’d say that either of the cleansers would work, though I like the Balancing version more, and then why don’t you try a hydrating serum instead of a heavy moisturiser? The new Hyaluron from Boots is excellent! Follow with a day moisturiser containing an SPF or your tinted moisturiser or what have you. Deep cleansing mask once a week, type into search box and all posts will appear! x

  10. Hi ruth, greetings from Malaysia.

    So I wanted to know more about double cleansing. Do you use the same cleanser for the first and second cleanse? And if not, what kind of cleanser would you use for the second cleanse? Also do you use a flannel both times? Sorry for bombarding you with the questions, just wanted to know the best way to cleanse my face.


  11. Thank you so much!! This videos been really really helpful :), I’ll definitly be trying one of those cleansers very soon.

    Just a Question, I have really very sensitive skin, so out of the three deep cleansers which one do you think will be the most gentle?

    I’ve been using VICHY PURETE THERMALE One Step Cleanser 200ML, which is a 3in1: cleanser, toner and eye make-up remover which I’ve been using for about a year now and would definitely recommend to anyone with highly sensitive skin, and who is a bit on the lazy side with skincare in the evening. Its £11 and you can get it from Boots and is fantastic!

    Thanks again (now I’m off to watch some more of your videos!)

    Ana xxx

  12. I dont have acne skin but i am prone to breakouts at the time of the month.. Again, on the description of the Alpha h daily clear skin wash is pointed towards those with active acne? Should i stay clear?

  13. Have you heard of anyone having a reaction to the Manuka Honey Cleanser? I’ve been using this recently and those tiny under the skin bump type pimples have come up over my cheek bones and forehead. I’m also using the Liz Earle hot polish and Alpha H liquid gold. Could it be a combination of all?

    Thank you.

    • Try cutting out one at a time – please let me know which it is, I’d be interested to know! xx

  14. Moa Bratt Dimow

    Hi Ruth, I just turned 13 in April so I’m now officially a teenager but surprisingly my skin broke out about a week after. Weird huh? It’s so funny how skin really has with the numbers to do. My skin was all clear and smooth as a baby’s but before and now it’s the complete opposite haha. Now I loooooooved this video and I’m so exited for this series and I’m looking forward do the other vids. Although I have dry skin so I was kind of disappointed with you not mentioning that many toners and things like that. And you said you had wrote about them on here which is why I came on here but I can’t find any :( . Oh well

  15. Hey Ruth!
    Have you come across the Clean Start face wash? Ive only started using it and I’m quite unsure about it. Do you recommend the rest of the products in that line?
    Thank you!

  16. Ruth,
    I was wondering if you could name a few products, out of the many that you have tested, that don’t leave much residue? I’m one of those teens that gets greasy and shiny and some of the creamier products leave a film, of sorts, on my skin. Not really the best thing when your’ face already likes to create a film of its’ own!!


    • Mattifying moisturiser – Paula’s Choice do a good one, and there a few others I’ll be putting in the next teen vid! xx

  17. I really love Soap and Glory The Fab Pore hot cloth cleanser. It is so gentle but it cleanses really well and feels gorgeous to use. I find using the cloth helps minimise blemishes (now I’ve said that though, I will probably end up breaking out!)

  18. Really good post- I always trust your skincare recommendations. What moisturiser would you recommend for a teen with both dry and blemish prone skin?

  19. I love videos like these. I’m still trying to understand the ropes of skincare and knowing when it really really works for my skin. By the way, when you test out products, how do you go about them in terms of time for optimum results? For instance, if you want to try out a new serum, do you immediately use it and do it every day for a week, or do you use it once weekly and gradually increase it to every day? Hope you understand what I’m asking because I love trying out new products but sometimes, I fear that I switch up too much, and thus I don’t know what’s working best for my skin.

    • Good question, Nancy. I tend to switch gradually, and I use my basic skincare regime as my standard to go back to. A “control” regime, if you like. I then give it a month or so if it’s skincare – less if it’s something like a lip balm or complexion enhancer or primer, because I expect instant results from those! x

  20. ooh, thank you! I’ve been running out of my favorite skin cleanser, Glymed Plus gentle wash (have you heard of it… it’s from my esthetician back home) and looking for something to tie me over! Thanks Ruth, nice site

    btw if you ever run across Glymed it’s great for sensitive skin, also American so I don’t know

  21. I’m so glad you’ve done this video! I am 24 but I have quite oily skin which has visible pores and breakouts. Yay. I was thinking about trying the Elemis Fresh Skin range which you reviewed a while ago?

  22. Great video really interesting, so pleased you’ve mentioned the natural being cleanser and hopefully the moisturisers too :-) in next video, I’ve used this brand on and off for a few years now, really good at balancing the skin and sorting out spotty dilemmas, both the normal oily and normal dry moisturisers are lovely and great make up bases. To be honest the price doesn’t match the quality as its really cheap lol!

  23. Hi Ruth – I’ve got a question that isn’t product-related but still has to do with acne-prone skin. What are your thoughts on people with acne-prone skin getting facials with extractions? I’ve had bad experiences with facials where I’ve tried them and was left with really bad scarring that took ages to heal but I’ve been told by many people that they help make skin better. I’m VERY skeptical. Your input will be much appreciated! x

    • Ouch! Yes, I think you need to tread very carefully with acne. Go to the best place that you possibly can and find out whether they have a lot of experience dealing with acne or acne prone skin.. x

  24. Hi Ruth, greetings from Brasil :)have you ever tried Murad’s Time release acne cleanser? It’s wonderful and gentle blecause it not only contain salycilic acid but also htaluronic acid and other soothing and hidrating ingredients. It is also perfect to be used with the clarisonic. Another thing I love is the La ROche Posay Serozinc. Its somewhat of a thermal water spray but packed with zinc sulfate. Love you!!

  25. awesome video, i’m 17 and have been trying out different face products since i was 14 when my skin started to break out. i’ve used honestly everything and i’ve found that the best thing for me is to use the pai cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. then twice a week i use the clear skin probiotic masque from eminence and the rosehip exfoliating masque. to be honest, the worst things for my skin were the ones specially formulated for teen skin, like the dermalogica clean start line, they always just dried out my skin too much.

  26. I found a lovely seller on Ebay who sells Bioderma, she only stocks the Crealine H2o but she goes to the wholesaler in France every week and will pick up any special requests. I bought 2 bottles of the cleansing milk from her, it’s lovely and she only charged £2.70 for postage. Her seller id is ‘beckymortimer’ if anyone’s interested.

  27. HI, I’ve always wanted to be a model, I have the body, I have the unique style and look and I can pose very well. But I have rosacea, what can I do, this is the only thing preventing me from going to castings!?

    • Hey Peg, have you considered seeing a dermatologist or specialist? If it’s really stopping you from doing something you want to do, you’d be wise to seek some professional help! x

  28. Im so glad this site exists :P the amount of models that just turn up to shoots and expect miracles from me ((the makeup artist))
    what people dont understand is they need to take care of the skin there is only so much i can do :P

  29. Have just discovered this site. Love it! I have very oily skin although I am in my 30s and found this very interesting. it tallies with what I do but I also use Lush’s Ultrabland. Follow it up with a bit of either Trilogy Rosehip oil or Clarins Lotus oil as I have found they make my skin alot less oily (sounds odd I know but the theory is if you add a little oil your skin needs to produce less of its onw and these oils sink in beautifully in stead of sitting on top). Follow with a moisturiser. I think the key with the Ultrabland is to use a cloth and hot/warm water to take off. NOT cotton wool as this would leave it quite greasy. Looking forward to more videos. By the way – could you be any more beautiful?!

  30. Hi, I started reading your blog a couple of weeks ago and I really like it! I noticed you’re talking a lot about Alpha-H and Omorovicza. I’m really thinking about buying the Liquid Gold and the Queen of Hungary mist. But could you perhaps post the ingredient list?

  31. I use the Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Cleanser and I love it! I also like her CLEAR Normalizing Cleanser. I used that one before the skin balancing one and their both good for acne prone skin. :)

  32. Ah,I forgot to say you should try the biphasic cleansers to remove just your eye makeup ( I personally find them too much oily for the whole face ),they’re formidable ! They exist with the formula for sensitive skin too !

  33. Hello Ruth !great post as always ! btw do you know where to buy the muslin cloth ? And what about the konjac sponge ,have you ever tried it?

    • Konjac is great, yes! Cloths I get free with the cleansers – I have a huge pile now – but you can equally just buy plain old facecloths. x

  34. Thanks so much for this Ruth! I’ve just ordered the Natural Being Cleanser; it seems to have rave reviews everywhere. The site I’ve ordered from (MyPure)seems to share your attitude (and mine!) to free samples, so they’re sending some other Natural Being products for me to try too. It’s going to be like Christmas for my face when this parcel of dreams arrives!

  35. Hey Ruth, I know your makeup vid is coming, but just quickly, what eyeshadow are you wearing in this video? Thanks!!

  36. You collected great resources and nice article video is step to step guide for teen skin care which prefect and it will give great beauty to teenagers even some tips can be used by any age persons thanks for great video and other resources.

  37. The skincare is not only for the adults but required for the teenagers as well this is very informative teen skincare guide video very helpful to Getting rid of using face wipes

  38. Thats awesome Ruth! Definately looking into the waters because i dont wear much makeup unless i have a photoshoot. Which i just use makeup remover right after.
    Is it strange i dont like wearing makeup everyday?

  39. Quick question, I’m 20 and have combination acne prone skin. Do you think using my Clarisonic once daily could cause me to break out?

    • Personally I think that’s too much – why don’t you try just once a week and see if it changes things? x

  40. Ugh, I wish I would’ve seen this in high school! I had terrible skin, and the irritating, awful, drying things (all of the “acne” products) I put on it just irritated it even more!

  41. Hi:

    Love your blog so much, can you recommend some night cream/lotion for adult acne skin? and what is the best product to even the skin tone with acne marks?

    LOvely xxx:)

  42. *simple formula!

  43. This is a great video, I’m in my last year of my teens and my skin likes to either be perfect or screw up so bad I want to wear a face hat…
    I’ve recently been using Lush’s Ultrabland cleanser at night with a cloth to get rid of all the bad stuff but it’s such a smile formula that it doesn’t irritate.
    I also used Avene’s soapless gel cleanser and whilst it cleared my skin to begin with, it then really dried it out at which point I switched to the Lush one. I think it’s better to be gentle with skin and see results in a few weeks then dry it out, get rid of spots and then suffer all over again because the skin is over dried.

  44. On top of the brilliant Alpha-H cleanser I really like the Green & Spring cleanser along with the toner. I don’t “believe” in toners, but that one smells so amazing (like English countryside) that I always have some handy.

    I have a question though, Ruth, perhaps also for your ‘little helpers’. My sister is turning 12 soon and showing first signs of unclear skin. Naturally I want to help her to a few good products to sort that out, but every time I think about it it breaks my heart to inflict a beauty regime to her baby skin. On top of that I’ve always had quite dry skin, so I simply never really needed an acne-conscious routine (not saying she actually has problem skin – she has 1-2 pimples pop up a week now which is already more than I ever really had, but not really a huge deal either – she also doesn’t have visible pores or oily skin) and don’t know if I’m going way overboard considering even mild acne-preventing products. What is in your opinion a reasonable age to start with skincare? And do her 1-2 mini-whiteheads warrant concern?

    On a random note – your nail polish is absolutely mesmerizing!

    • Hmmm, good question Liz! How about the Natural Being range? It’s pretty gentle and “innocent” looking, which I’m guessing is part of your feelings on this! It’s an absolutely BRILLIANT range for young skin, I think. There are no harsh chemicals in there, but I think you’ll find that they’re more effective than using a generic supermarket range and more gentle than going in for Clean & Clear and so on… Anyone else have an opinion on this? xx

  45. I usually use a facewipe to take off of my eye makeup, i may try for a little while using something else to see what that does!

  46. Very interesting!
    And yes, makeup removing wipes are the devil.
    While I was doing the Pixiwoo makeup course in May, we were using them several times a day as we took off our makeup quckly to practice another look, and they just killed my skin- probably because of the rubbing as well. Thanks heavens for hydrating face masks at night!

  47. This is a fantastic article, it’s great to see some of my favorites mentioned here!

  48. Yay, the long awaited teen skincare guide video is finally here :)
    Getting rid of using face wipes (except when I’m sozzled) was the best thing I ever did for my skin. I suffered for years with bad skin and then, after about 3 weeks of no face wipes and a more gentle cleanser it just cleared up and I have lovely skin now. Sometimes, I don’t even wear make-up which is something I would never have done before.