I’ve Tried The Sandwich Cleansing Routine. This Is What Happened

by Gio

What’s the secret to beautiful skin?

A. Snail slime

B. Kale

C. Cleansing

Yeah, Korean skincare is awesome and you need to eat your kale, but…

C is the winner! Congrats for guessing right, you smart beauty!

Just think of all the crap that lands on your face during the day. Pollution. Dirt. Oil. Makeup (ok, that’s pretty crap, but it’s still dirt in some way, isn’t it?).

Worse, all that stuff can get inside your pores and clog them up. Hello, breakouts! (No, seriously, go away, you’re not wanted here).

That’s why we need to cleanse twice a day. Easy-peasy, right? Mmm, not so much.

I thought I had this cleansing thing nailed down. Until I was approached by Simone skincare. Turns out, I was doing everything wrong.

I’m supposed to apply my moisturizer before my cleanser. And scrub everything in between. Huh?

Let me start from the beginning my friend. But, beware. It’s a LONG read (that’s why I highlighted the important bits for you. You’re welcome).

The Consultation

Over the years, a lot of brands have asked me to review their products. But very few bothered to ask me what my skin type is. And none offered me a complete consultation. Simone France did just that.

Best part? You can get a (free!) skincare consultation, too. Just so you don’t bother wasting money on stuff that doesn’t suit your skin type.

They offer the consultation right on their website. You can choose to have it done in different ways:

  • By phone or Skype
  • By email
  • By filling in the questionnaire on the website.

Pretty cool, huh?

They’ll tell you what you’ve been doing wrong so far (everything, apparently), what products (from them, obvs) you should be using and tips on how to use them.

Here are the products they recommended for my combo skin:

The Products

Cleansing Milk

It’s a creamy milky makeup remover that takes everything off. Longlasting foundation, waterproof mascara… And that, without irritating or drying out the skin.

It’s secret is plain old mineral oil. I know a lot of you don’t like mineral oil. It has gotten a bad rep recently. But, there’s nothing wrong with it. It doesn’t cause cancer or make you age faster. Those are just myths.

Mineral oil works thanks to the “like attracts like” principle. This oil acts like a magnet to attract the oils in your makeup so they can be easily rinsed away. And, because it’s so moisturizing, it leaves skin so soft.

Best of all, it does the job in less than a minute. So, you don’t have to tug and pull at the skin for ages to get every last bit of makeup off.

Gentle Toner

As you know, I don’t use toner, but this time it was part of the deal, so…

I didn’t like it much. It has alcohol, witch hazel and menthol and little else. And that’s a problem because those ingredients are drying and irritating. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this one to sensitive skin.

Why are they there? As I said, alcohol and witch hazel dry out skin, so they help with excess sebum. But temporarily. Because when you absorb too much sebum, your skin gets in panic mode and produces more oil to compensate. Not smart.

Plus, there’s no need of them. The toner also has salicylic acid and that can keep oil production under control. And get inside your pores, exfoliating them from within. Bye bye, breakouts!

But, SA alone isn’t enough to make me like this toner. I use it very sparingly to avoid skin becoming too dry. That’s happened in the past with this type of toner.

Light Moisture Cream

The name says it all. It’s a fluffy and lightweight formula that harnesses the power of safflower seed oil and hyaluronic acid to moisturize oily skin.

Hyaluronic acid attracts water from the environment and pours it into the skin. It’s a great way to add moisture without oil. Safflower seed oil, instead, is an oil but not one that’s particularly comedogenic. I didn’t get a single pimple since I’ve started using it.

Like all oils, it’s very moisturizing because it locks moisture into the skin. Hyaluronic acid sends it in, safflower seed oil makes sure it doesn’t get out. For oily skin, this moisturizer works like a charm.

Lovely Glow

This is a lightweight moisturizer for normal to dry skin that leaves no sticky residue behind. And, yep, I was surprised about that. It’s made with avocado, jojoba and emu oils, which aren’t the lightest of ingredients.

These oils act like a shield, preventing moisture from seeping out of your skin. They’are also full of antioxidants, so they help prevent wrinkles, too.

Talking about antioxidants, vitamin A is here too. Vitamin A is an anti-aging powerhouse that fights free radicals, accelerates cellular turnover and boosts collagen production. But, I’m a bit worried the jar packaging won’t keep it effective for more than a few short weeks.

Vitamin A can also be a bit irritating if you’re new to it. But, I think the addition of aloe vera and allantoin will help prevent and soothe that.

I find it moisturizing enough for my slight dry skin type, but if your skin is drier than mine, it won’t do.

P.S. I have combo skin (sligtly oily t-zone, slighty dry cheeks. That’s why I was sent both creams).

Refining Scrub

If you’re been reading this blog for a while, you know I recommend chemical exfoliants over scrubs. I think they’re gentler (yes, really). But Simone disagrees. So, scrub it is (for now).

To be honest, this was the most annoying product to use. The lightweight, fluffy texture is infused with diatomaceous earth. Diaromaceous earth is made up of fossilized hard-shelled algae and phytoplankton that used to live in our oceans before us humans even made an appearance.

It’s in the scrub because it exfoliates skin. But, I find it pretty harsh. It took me a week to make it work for me. Every day I’d use a bit less until I used so little, I’d have to give up on it entirely if it turned out to still be too harsh for my skin.

So, yeah, the scrub works. Just use the teeniest, tiniest bit (and even less) or you risk to seriously drying out and irritating your skin. My slightly dry cheeks were starting to get pretty dry that first week and took on a redness that had nothing to do with a rosy glow.

Go easy on it, please. And if you have dry and sensitive skin, you may want to skip this.

Signature Cleansing Cloths

I think using a washcloth when cleansing skin is optional. The experts don’t. Simone says it’s a must. Caroline Hirons would tell me off for not using one, too.

Well, these cleansing cloths are made with a special weave and texture (all natural) that removes all makeup quickly. According to Simone, they’re even better than cotton or tissue.

Each cloth is folded four times and meant to be used like that. Do not unfold them.

What can I say? They do the job well.


Bar soap is another thing I usually avoid like the plague. That’s cos most of them are way too drying for the skin. This one seemed gentle enough.

It doesn’t lather much, but it’s made with moisturizing oils that cleanse away dirt while softening the skin.

There really isn’t much to say about it. It’s a soap and does what a soap’s supposed to do. Without any nasty side effects, too.

So, these well all the products I got. It’s time to learn how to use them now. Ready for a skin sandwich, ladies?

The “Make Your Sandwich” Deep Pore Cleansing Technique (Morning)

You’ll see why it’s called “sandwich” in a minute. Here’s how it works:

  1. Apply Lovely Glow Moisturizer
  2. Over it, apply the Refining Scrub and add water with fingertips to soften
  3. Over Refining Scrub, apply a lather of Soap
  4. Wipe everything off with a warm, wet Signature Cleansing Cloth. Rinse cloth and repeat as necessary.
  5. Splash with lots of warm, then with lots of cold water
  6. Pat skin dry and reapply Lovely Glow

Got it while it’s called Sandwich now?

By the way, I know it seems unnecessarily long, but it only takes 60 seconds (after you’ve memorized it). Promise.

Touch And Glow Makeup Remover And Surface Cleansing (Evening)

No sandwich here. This cleansing ritual is quite normal:

  1. Apply Cleansing Milk on dry skin and on eye makeup
  2. Wipe it off thoroughly with a warm, wet Signature Cleansing Cloth. Rinse cloth and repeat as necessary.
  3. Apply a few drops of Gentle Toner on a clean Signature Cleansing Cloth and wipe off any remaining milk or makeup
  4. Apply Light Moisture Cream

This one takes 60 seconds too. 🙂

Let’s Put Them To The Test: Personal Use And Opinion

So, does the Sandwich technique work?

Yes, if you can be bothered to figure out how much of each ingredient you should use.

I like some mayonaisse in my sandwich, but when you put so much that’s all you can taste? Not good.

Same with the skin sandwich. Put in too much scrub or too little moisturizer and your skin won’t be happy.

The first time I tried the sandwich, my skin was left a bit dry. By day 3, it was starting to turn red. I was about to turn in the towel and call this whole thing an epic fail.

But, I sort of stuck with it. Sort of because I still made my sandwich every day, but this time played around with the amount of each ingredient until I got something my skin would happily munch on.

A normal dose of moisturizer, the tiniest hint of scrub and a generous amount of soap lather is what worked best for me. That’s the recipe that made my skin so soft, smooth and glowy. 

The Makeup Removal technique, on the other hand, went smoothly from the start. The cleansing milk took everything off in less than a minute, the toner didn’t seem to make anything worse and the moisturizer made my skin soft and smooth. 

No complaints on this front. Well, they could get rid of all that nasty stuff in the toner and replace it with antioxidants or hyaluronic acid… But, as it didn’t do my skin any harm, I’ll just put up with it.

So, yeah, if you fancy trying a skin sandwich or are looking for a gentle makeup remover, go ahead. The French know how to make those.

Price & Availability: Lovely Glow Moisturizer, from $20; Light Moisture Cream, from $20.00; Signature Cleansing Cloths, from $10.00; Organic Soap For Face & Body, $12.00; Refining Scrub, from $15.00; Cleansing Milk, from $15.00, Gentle Toner, from $15.00 at Simone France

Cleansing Milk Ingredients:Water, Mineral Oil,* TEA-stearate, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Hydromethylglycinate, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Ceteth 24, Cloeth 24, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance

Gentle Toner Ingredients: Water, SDA 40B Alcohol, Witch Hazel Distillate, Salicylic Acid, Menthol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance, Diazolidinyl Urea, Disodium EDTA

Light Moisture Cream Ingredients: Water, Safflower Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C), Tocopherol (vitamin E), Cetyl Alcohol, Isocetyl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Steareth 2, Steareth-20, Sodium Polyacrylate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Trideceth-6, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Imidazolidinyl Urea,Tetrasodium EDTA

Lovely Glow Ingredients: Organic Aloe Juice, Rose Distillate, Avocado Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Emu Oil, Emulsifying Wax NF, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Palm Oil, Palm Stearic Acid, Vitamin E, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Rosehip Oil, Vitamin C Ester, Pro-Vitamin B5, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Wheat Germ Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Vitamin A, Organic Black Willow Bark Extract, Rosemary, Oleoresin, Neem Oil, Citric Acid

Refining Scrub Ingredients Purified Water, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Diatomaceous Earth, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Dehydroacetate

Soap Ingredients100% organic ingredients. Saponified oils of safflower and/or sunflower, palm oil, coconut oil, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary extract.

PR Samples.

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Suzanne January 12, 2017 - 1:06 pm

Hi Gio
A short question a little bit on the side. You write that “skin gets in panic mode and produces more oil to compensate” if you absorb to much sebum.
I recently bought the ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zink 1% and the zink is supposed to “balance visible aspects of sebum activity. ”
So, my question is, will this freak out my skin and make it more dry or oilier by using the niacinamide serum? My skin is quite dry and a bit sensitive after tretinoin, vit c serum and weekly aha exfoliating.
I wanted to introduce niacinamide to my skincare routine also, because I have heard it really benefits skin, but know I am worried I have chosen the wrong niacinamide serum for me.

Gio January 16, 2017 - 4:16 pm

Suzanne, this isn’t my fave niacinamide serum for dry skin, but if you use a good moisturizer afterwards, you shouldn’t experience any problems. I think this is more of a problem for people with oily skin because they tend to dry out their skin too much in an attempt to keep the excess oil at bay. Someone with dry skin would be more likely to use a moisturizer to prevent and treat dryness so that should keep your skin nicely balanced.

But I would still keep an eye on your skin and see how it reacts to the serum. Just in case.

Meredith November 25, 2017 - 5:35 pm

Kind of unrelated, but bringing up the special washcloth they require made me think of it. I find the easiest way to clean the skin is with reusable cloth baby wipes. They are gentler and usually smaller than washcloths, but way more effective than plain hands, and you can buy a pack of 6 to 12, which means tossing one or two into a mesh bag every day and then washing every week with the rest of my family’s bath towels.

Gio November 26, 2017 - 1:48 pm

Meredith, thanks for sharing. I had never thought of that before but it makes a lot of sense. It’s cheaper and more convenient. 🙂

Marzell K. July 16, 2018 - 2:01 am

I tried the sandwich several years ago and found my skin looked better than it had in years. I happened to glance in the mirror and my skin looked so good I could go without makeup. I have combination skin which can become sensitive. I used several of the masks as well and loved every product I ordered. When I ran out, I didn’t reorder because for me and my budget at the time, the products were a little pricey. Well, long story short, I just received my order for the sandwich again and I will not be be throwing good money after bad on other products that don’t keep their promises. Simone France skin care products promise a lifetime of beautiful skin and this skin care line is one I can trust to keep that promise.

Gio July 21, 2018 - 8:06 pm

Marzell, thanks for sharing your experience. Glad to hear this line is working so well for you.


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