This Is How You Wash Your Face, with Isabelle Bellis

If you’ve ever looked at a skincare aisle in a drug store and could only figure out what 1-3 of the products are used for (…which doesn’t mean you know how to use them…), this post is for you.

And by “you” I mean “me” because I just described myself.

Creams and serums and cleansers and also toners and moisturizers and gels and soufflés – soufflés?! How many of these things are really necessary? I don’t have space in my bathroom for 16 different bottles of junk that I don’t even really know how to use. Shopping for skincare is about as easy as walking into a beauty boutique where nothing has labels.

Thankfully, YouTube has provided me with the answers I have been looking for in the form of a short visit with French Beyoncé-of-skincare, Isabelle Bellis.

Isabelle Bellis

Bellis’ hyper-condensed life looks like this: Born to organic farmers in Brittany, France; spent years as a professional diamond grader in Belgium and Israel; studied nutrition and health from several different cultural perspectives; combined all of her knowledge to come to North America and do even more studying; finally come to New York to become the reigning queen of holistic skincare.

Into The Gloss has a great feature written by someone who received a two hour facial from Isabelle Bellis, leaving the writer feeling like she’d had a minor facelift. (“My eyebrows arched with new vigor.”) They also got together with Bellis to have her show and teach us all how to properly wash our face – it’s both more simple and more complicated than you think.



In addition to mastering skincare, she is a holistic nutritionist, and has studied naturopathy, Ayurveda, and countless methods of caring for your body. As you’ll see in the videos, she doesn’t use any tools other than her fingers and a cloth to wash her face. There are also some fantastic tips included in her daily regime – like using extra eye cream on your upper lip, where the skin is also extra-delicate!

She uses some interesting products – thermal water, for instance – but everything else seems to be pretty basic. It’s all about how you apply it. In the beginning, she says, “Whatever skincare products you use – what will make a huge difference is the application…” So you’re basically learning how to give yourself an A+ professional facial at home, for free, with your drugstore beauty products.

How to Wash Your Face

“Seems simple, but is not.”

1. Thermal water: a “clean water” to soften the skin, and prepare your skin to receive the product. (I have a feeling that super-filtered, super-clean water in a spray bottle would work pretty well here…)

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2. Cleanser: she says that she has delicate skin, so she uses a cleansing milk. Liquify the product in your hands, then apply with rapid movement, in circular motions.

3. “Swim.”: This is Bellis’ word for the finger technique she uses to massage the cleanser into her skin.

4. Rinse: use tepid water, then “dab” dry with a towel – don’t rub! “Your skin is like silk – very, very delicate.”

5. Thermal water again: to neutralize the effect of tap water, blot off excess with a tissue.

6. Toner: prepares your skin to breathe & accept the forthcoming serum.

7. Serum, oil or cream: for protection from the elements, and aids in her lymph drainage and circulation improving application technique. (More swimming & “piano touch”: Must see!)

8. Eye cream: the tiniest bit, strategically placed and applied.

And then you are super clean, super prepared for whatever else you want to put on your face. Pretty amazing. I really suggest that you watch the videos to get her actual application techniques and see how she massages her face – it’s really amazing!

I will definitely give myself a full facial using her methods – I already have everything but eye cream, and I’ve wanted to pick some up anyway, now that I’m old.

What’s your face-wash routine?

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.