If you ask the secret to great skin, cleansing will appear somewhere high on that list; it kicks off your routine and is one of the most important steps to achieving healthy, radiant skin. We know it’s tempting after a long day but skipping this step or using a face wipe is unlikely to be sufficient to ensure that your skin is clean enough to apply subsequent products. With so many different types of cleansing products on the market it may be confusing to know which to pick. The good news is that there isn’t one specific product for each person, a lot is personal preference and we’ve rounded up the main types of cleansing products to help you pick one that works for you.
We all want to get the most out of our products so it is essential to start your routine with clean skin to ensure that your other products can be effectively absorbed. There’s no point spending time and money on products that will just sit on the skin’s surface and those are two things we definitely don’t want to waste.
The wrong cleanser can also irritate and cause inflammation and it may not clean as effectively as you need. The right cleanser can leave skin looking brighter, clearer and healthier.
We recommend cleansing both morning and night-time. At night-time the skin oils accumulate so washing your face in the morning gets rid of oils and sweat leaving you with a fresh, clean base on which to apply products and makeup. During the day skin is exposed to ageing environmental impurities and pollution which destroys the skin’s natural oils and breaks down its protective barrier. These environmental factors expose skin to damage from free radicals which breaks down collagen, causes fine lines and wrinkles and can leave it red, inflamed and irritated. It is therefore important to give skin a thorough cleanse at night to remove the day’s dirt, impurities, SPF and make-up.
We all know that moment when you’re ready to head to bed and suddenly realise that you’re still wearing make-up, it seems like such a chore to wash your face once let alone twice but a couple of extra minutes could make a lot of difference to your skin.
What is it?
Double cleansing is a two step process that ensures that you are left with a clean base to apply the rest of your products. The first cleanse removes daily dirt, makeup and SPF and the second step deep cleans the skin.
It is only necessary to double cleanse when you have been wearing makeup/SPF or been exposed to pollutants so there is no need to double cleanse in the morning or if you have had a make-up free day at home.
Why double cleanse?
Most people apply multiple layers during the day (skincare, sunscreen, foundation and concealers) which means that it takes more than one step to truly remove everything and to cleanse the face. This is especially true because products such as SPF and makeup are designed to stay on your face so it is essential to take the time to remove them. If you wear makeup and aren’t double cleansing there’s a good chance that you will be leaving impurities on your skin which hinders the absorption, and therefore effectiveness, of subsequent products that you apply.
First of all, ensure that you have washed your hands as the idea is to remove the grime and germs not to spread them across your face.
Those with sensitive eyes or if you wear lash extensions or waterproof mascara could use a dedicated eye makeup remover that is formulated for the delicate skin around the area. Go Easy is a gentle but effective eye makeup remover with anti-ageing ingredients including eyebright, cornflower, glycerin and lactic acid that smooth, soften and revive tired eyes.
This amazingly gentle eye makeup remover effectively removes eye makeup - even the waterproof types - without leaving a greasy residue.
Then you can start your first cleanse, massaging the cleanser into dry skin in circular motions to loosen and remove dirt and makeup. Remove the cleanser with a face cloth and fresh running warm water from the tap, if you fill the sink with water first you will splash dirt back onto your face. Don’t use water that is too hot as it can irritate skin and leave it red and dry. It is important to be gentle with your skin so let the cleanser do the hard work and avoid rubbing and tugging at skin as this will result in redness.
The second cleanse will be your skin cleanser rather than a makeup remover, it will leave skin feeling clean, comfortable, balanced and ready for subsequent products. This is the step where you can give your skin a good massage. In order to lock in the moisture you want to apply the next step immediately as this allows for extra absorption and maximises the effects of the active ingredients.
Types of cleansers
Gel cleansers offer a deep clean and help to reduce oil and acne-causing bacteria making them a great choice for those with oily, acne-prone or congested skin. They can help to soothe, cool and hydrate skin so are suitable for those with combination skin. You should look for a gel cleanser that is gentle enough to clear impurities without making skin feel tight or dry.
This cool, refreshing rinse-off gel will remove grime, makeup and excess seburm, leaving your pores flushed and squeaky clean.
Cleansing milks are made from lightweight emollients and oil so have a light and gentle formula. They are also effective at removing make-up because ‘like attracts like’ (oil attracts oil) meaning the oil in these cleansers can dissolve sebum or makeup without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
A water-soluble cleansing lotion is gentle enough not to leave skin feeling tight and is effective at removing makeup and oil without drying out skin so it is a great option for those with combination skin. It will clean and condition skin leaving it feeling fresh.
Foam cleansers are usually water based and they are particularly suitable for oily as they offer a deep clean while removing excess sebum. These cleansers may be too drying for those with dry skin. If you have normal or combination skin look for a foaming cleanser that will provide balance for your skin.
Developed for people on the go who need a quick yet effective wash-off cleanser that leaves the skin soft and nourished without feeling taut.
Cream cleansers have a thicker texture and they remove make-up, dirt and sweat while moisturising skin. They are suitable for dry and sensitive skin as they not only offer a deep clean but also possess hydrating capabilities.
Clay based cleansers detoxify skin; the charcoal acts like a magnet drawing out pore-clogging dirt, oil and impurities. They are great for those who want a deep cleanse or those with oily skin and breakouts.
Cleansing balms are rich cleansers that remove dirt and impurities, help to polish the skin (especially when used with a muslin cloth) and leave skin hydrated, smooth and supple. They are ideal cleansers for dry skin as they are nourishing and moisturising and give skin a radiance boost. They are formulated with natural oils which help to control excess oil (as like attracts like) making them also suitable for combination skin.
Containing beads that gently exfoliate the skin, before melting to release deeply cleansing ingredients and a rich vitamin complex that is delivered straight to the right skin layers.
Cleansing oils are very effective at removing make-up, dirt and impurities. They are suitable for all skin types as their oil formula means they can remove excess oils whilst moisturising at the same time. They won’t strip the skin of natural oil instead they help to keep the skin’s natural pH balance and prevent the overproduction of sebum.
Micellar water is made of micelles which are tiny cleansing molecules that float in water. They are gentle but effective cleansing agents as they attract dirt, grime and oil and draw out impurities without drying out the skin. They make great travel cleansers as you they don’t require any rinsing.
Choosing a cleanser
With so many cleanser options it may seem overwhelming to choose one especially for such a simple task as washing your face. The best cleanser for you will depend on your skin type, the season, any skin issues you are suffering from and your personal preference of texture. First, narrow down your options by picking one suitable for a morning cleanse and then one or two that can perform the evening cleanse. Then, within these options choose the best one for your skin type and with your preferred texture:
All of the above cleansers work well as a morningtime cleansers with the exception of micellar water or a face wipe, these should be reserved for travel or if you need to remove make-up.
As the aim of this step is to remove make-up you should look for cleansers that are designed for this job such as eye makeup removers, micellar waters, cleansing oils, cleansing creams or a cleansing balm.
At the stage you are giving your skin a thorough cleanse so you want a cleanser that will leave skin clean, comfortable, balanced and prepped for the next step of your routine. There are lots of types of cleansers that can perform this role including cleansing balms, cleansing milks, cleansing milks, cleansing creams, cleansing oil and cleansing clays.
As they say, don’t run before you can walk, sometimes you need to take care of the basics first and that’s why cleansing is so pivotal in your routine. Starting your routine with prepped, clean, balanced skin will make the rest of your regime more effective and ensure that the ingredients that are in your serum, oil and moisturiser will be properly absorbed and do their job effectively. For many, double cleansing will be key to prepping your skin for the rest of your routine. This may seem a chore at first but finding a cleanser with a texture you love and giving your skin a relaxing massage as you cleanse will turn this step of your regime into an enjoyable moment of calm after a busy day.
Are you a fan of double-cleansing? What are your favourite products to use?