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Skincare 101: Part One – Cleansing

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No-one really likes cleaning. But your skin isn’t those old festival boots in the bottom of the wardrobe, or that Tupperware container that never recovered from the spag bol disaster of 2012. It’s on your face (and the rest of you) all the time, so it needs to be cleaned and cared for properly.

Choosing the right cleanser

Different cleansers do different things, so it’s important to match them to your skin type. As a general rule, cleansing milk is better for a dry skin, and foaming cleansers work better on oily skin. A purifying foam cleanser strips away oils which is great for some people, but will leech all the moisture from skin with a tendency for dryness or sensitivity. If you feel like you need to really slather on the moisturiser after cleansing, this may be a sign that your cleanser is stripping too much from your skin.

Exfoliating cleansers often appeal to time-poor people for their easy instant gratification, however they should not be used every time you cleanse as they can be too harsh and cause flare-ups of redness.

Cleansers for deep cleaning with active products such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), glycolic acid or salicylic acid can be a friend or a foe. These ingredients can be very effective in treating acne and targeting breakouts, however they are not suitable for all skins and can give a chemical-like burn in extreme cases, so should only be used with guidance from a professional.

How to cleanse

Once you’ve identified the correct cleanser for your skin (for now – remember the needs of your skin may change over time) it’s time to use it. Water is not enough to control oils and bacteria and clear the pores of build-up. Using water alone is like washing the dishes without detergent – it just doesn’t penetrate enough to have any real effect.

Our recommendation is actually to double-cleanse. Many people shampoo their hair twice: once to lift dirt, dead cells and build-up of products, and again to wash clean. The same principle can be applied to the skin. The first cleanse removes make-up, dirt and bacteria gathered on the skin during the day, whereas the second cleanse gives the proper clean, a light exfoliation and the opportunity for the product to absorb into the skin better.

How often to cleanse

The answer to this is twice daily, morning and night. Even if you don’t wear makeup, your skin picks up dirt and accumulates oils during the day, so cleansing at night is still essential and gives a good clean base for your bed-time moisturiser.

Likewise, cleansing in the morning is important even though you haven’t been outside or wearing makeup. This is because during the night when your skin is regenerating, bacteria can be forming and oiliness building up, so it’s best to start the day on a clean slate for a fresher feel.

Having good face cleansing habits makes a big difference to the absorption of products, the prevention of break-outs and blackheads, and to giving the skin a glowing radiance. (The glow definitely comes from within, but the removal of dead skin cells helps!)

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