The Glamour Ranch

The Gang’s All Here: A Guide to My Current Skincare Favorites – Cleansers

I will be honest, I was actually quite surprised by the overwhelming response from many of you that were curious about what my current skincare favorites are. As someone who lives life behind the makeup brush, and focuses on enhancing other’s beauty and putting them in the lime light, I honestly wasn’t sure if you guys would be that interested! However, I put it out into the universe – and here we are!

I like to think of myself as a minimalist, someone that is pretty low maintenance in my daily life. Sure, I love to get glammed up from time to time (for a very special occasion), but a majority of my time is spent makeup free – with the exception of brows and a soft mascara. Now, if you looked at my bathroom counter, you wouldn’t believe my minimalist approach to things. The reason I am able to go out of the house with little to no makeup is because of how intricately I care for my skin! If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times… your makeup will only look as good as the skin you are applying it to, so you better start with proper skincare. Below I will go over all of the cleansing products in my arsenal, I will give you a direct link to shop them, and also go over how and when I currently use them. If you have questions, feel free to drop me an email or comment below and I’d love to answer any questions you may have!


First things first, my favorite cleansers. It is so incredibly important to ensure that you are removing any dirt, debris, makeup, or other environmental chaos from the surface of your skin, but also your pores. There are three cleansers that I have been using regularly and I feel like this has tremendously helped.

Beautycounter – Countermatch Pure Calm Cleansing Milk (link here).

When I purchased the Countermatch collection from Beautycounter, I’ll be honest… I didn’t like the cleansing milk. At all. I am someone who really enjoys the slip and suds associated with a gel cleanser, and past products that I’ve used have the ability to trick me into believing that the better the suds, the better the clean. So using a cleansing milk left me bored, unimpressed, and just overall uninterested. In recent months, my skin has yet again shifted and I find myself becoming dryer and more sensitized than usual so I picked up one of the unopened bottles of Cleansing Milk (I have six… so I felt it was time to find a way to incorporate it into my regimen) and I began using it in place of my Clinique cleanser that I’ve been faithful to since 2012. The results? My skin felt more supple and less tight after just one week! However I still feel like it doesn’t do a great job by itself getting the longer makeup off, so I use it as a pre-cleanse step. Essentially I will dampen my skin with cool-lukewarm water, take the cleansing milk (two pumps after shaking), and gently wash my face to break up a day of makeup (or on makeup free days – prep my skin for my current favorite cleanser). I find that it works really well to bust through my setting sprays and powders and begin the process of removing my makeup. Once I have gently washed my face by moving the water and milk around my face in gentle circular motions, I will follow it up with a rinse of cool water to remove everything. Again, I feel like this works extremely well but in no way do I feel like it does everything I need it to do – so I follow it up with my second cleanser. I generally use the cleansing milk morning and night unless I am feeling very lazy and haven’t worn makeup the day before, then I might skip this pre cleanse step in the morning.

Could you get away with skipping this step? Probably. If cleansing milks are something that you don’t enjoy the texture of, or if you plan to use this alone and you wear very heavy makeup – I probably would skip this step and opt for the two below instead.

CLNandDRTY – The New Romantic: Exfoliating Rose Cleansing Stick (link here)

The New Romantic: Exfoliating Rose Cleansing Stick is completely out of my comfort zone, and if Paula and the awesome gals at CLNandDRTY wouldn’t have sent this to me to give it a whirl, I probably would not have discovered it and still be in my cleanser rut. This cleanser has been a game changer and I’ve been using it for just one full week… That is HUGE. First off, if I haven’t worn makeup and I am feeling lazy, I will probably skip my pre cleanse step all together and jump right into using this little stick of magic. I feel really dorky saying that, but this is probably my favorite cleanser I have ever tried – ever, seriously. The cleansing stick application is something that I have had to get used to, and being a clean freak you know that I asked Paula about the potential for mold growth or bacteria by storing the stick with the lid, and she assured me that there is no danger of that at all. The way that I use this cleanser: I apply a small amount of lukewarm water all over my face, and then I take the cleansing stick and grip the tube very well around the bottom and begin using circular motions to gently scrub away the debris and makeup that might still be on my skin.

It is the strangest sensation in the world, but I love the way the cleanser glides across the skin without tugging at all, and then at the same time – baby jojoba beads exfoliate your skin without ripping or tugging. I like to give the pores around my nose (under my eyes on my cheeks, and across the bridge of my nose) a little extra TLC as I have huge pores, and already after one week I can tell that this cleanser has made a huge difference! Once I have thoroughly made my rounds on the face, I will gently rinse off the stick (leaving the cleanser on my face while doing this step to give it an extra few seconds to work it’s magic), and then dry the stick thoroughly and replace the cap. I like to do this step with the cleanser still on my face because those few extra seconds help my skin to feel even more refreshed and I feel like the cleanser penetrates my pores even better and pulls out the debris this way. Before rinsing, I take the thin layer of cleanser that is still on my face and continue to work it around my face in small circular motions with my fingers, and then follow it up with a good rinse from some cool-lukewarm water. Gently pat dry with a clean towel. As I mentioned above, this cleanser has already became a favorite in my regimen and I can tell that even though I was sent this for free to try, I will be repurchasing this whenever I run out! Another thing that’s cool? Paula has actually given me a discount code to share with you guys! No, this is not a commission code. Truly, if you use code “ASHLEY20” at the checkout, you will save 20% on any full-priced items (including the amazing cleansing stick) and I get to feel good that you purchased something that will level up your skincare! Simple as that.

Beautycounter – Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm (link here)

The Cleansing Balm is again, something I have had to get used to. My first encounter with this product was when Krysten (the gal that got me hooked on Beautycounter) gave me a bag of goodies to try for a week to ensure that my skin didn’t react. My skin is so sensitive that I can usually tell after one use whether or not a product is going to be an issue, but before making the investment she was kind enough to loan me the Countermatch line and this cleansing balm. I’ll be honest, a cleansing balm is so completely out of my comfort zone that I didn’t like it. I hated how thick it felt, much like vaseline (because it is a balm, duh Ashley…). And I was confused by how something like this could make a difference in my regimen – so I used it once, decided I hated it (because I’m biased) – and never touched it again… until recently. With the weather in Minnesota and our winters being so darn dry and cold, yet we still have some form of humidity that is bone crunching and skin cracking – I remembered back to a conversation that I’d had with Krysten about the balm, and how she said that many people use this as diaper rash in a pinch, or that you can sleep in it as an overnight masque. So in the name of science, I gave it a whirl. And I actually found that I really enjoyed it! If I am wearing airbrush or waterproof makeup, this is the cleanser I reach for instead of the cleansing milk to take care of my precleanse step. It busts through the longwear and waterproof products, and helps to prep my skin for the cleansing stick step as well.

Another use for this guy is when I get my pesky eczema flare ups. Whether using it on my body to add a boost of needed hydration (much like my favorite eucerin cream that you won’t find me without), I will apply the smallest amount to my break out and work it gently into the skin. Usually within a few minutes my skin feels much softer and considerably less painful. If I get that same eczema breakout on my face, I’ll actually follow all of my skincare steps and then apply the cleansing balm over my moisturizer in that area and sleep in it. Seriously, a little goes a long way and I’m disappointed in myself for pressing snooze on this product for so long! – This product is not included in the photos as I am still just using a sample size because it lasts forever!

Again, the favorites listed above are MY favorites, and they work incredibly well for me. In no way am I saying that these products will work for every single person, as you may have an allergy to one of the ingredients, or maybe you just don’t like the texture or how it works for you – and that’s okay! But all of that being said, these products have made a huge shift in the clarity of my skin and they will definitely be in my arsenal for years to come!

Check out second part to this mini series – my favorite skincare treatment options –

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