I have a few badly behaved clients who underestimate the importance of thorough cleansing, despite my nagging. Stale make-up and pollution stretch and block the pores overnight, and then your expensive skincare products just can’t penetrate as well. Dirty skin simply can’t breathe. Hopefully this post will shame/scare them!
Here are my top ten cleansing tips:
1. Swap cleansing wipes for a micellar water
I would love to ban all wipes. The harsh chemicals and preservatives strip the protective oils from the surface of your skin and leave a residue which prematurely ages your skin overnight. Also they are fairly useless at cleansing because they only work on the surface. Swap them instead for a micellar water, which is far more gentle. The tiny particles of oil, suspended in soft water, cleverly pull dirt off the skin like a magnet. My low-maintenance clients love them.
2. Cleansing with even ‘natural’ soaps will dry out your skin
I am fed up of hearing: ‘But it’s a natural soap!’ It makes no difference whether you bought it from a hippie or a supermarket – soaps are alkaline and will disturb the barrier of the skin, which is slightly acidic. Soap strips the natural oils from the surface of the skin, leaving behind insoluble salts which are incredibly drying. Never trust a skincare company who won’t tell you the pH of their products. The ideal pH of any cleanser should match the skin: 4.2 – 5.5. Most soaps are in between 7 and 9 – downright dangerous – use on your armpits only!
3. Avoid cleansing with a foaming wash
Avoid any cleanser that leaves your skin tight – it is probably too alkaline. When the natural oils have been stripped from the surface, they can no longer protect your skin from the the cold and wind. Overtime this can lead to redness or flaking, especially over the winter. Remember that foam is just detergent.
4. Single cleanse in the morning – not just a splash of water in the shower!
Many of my clients consider a splash of water plenty in the morning, but it is not enough to remove oil, toxins and dead skin cells left on the surface overnight. I know everyone is rushed in the morning, but try a single cleanse with a facial wash (never shower gel!) instead. If hard tap water leaves the skin tight, wipe over with a micellar water instead.
5. Double cleanse as soon as you get home to remove pollution
I always recommend a double cleanse as soon as you get home. Most of my clients are too knackered to cleanse properly at the end of the evening and just collapse into bed. However, pollution left settling on your skin will cause pigmentation and premature ageing, so the sooner that it is removed, the better.
6. First cleanse: oil based make up remover
I love cleansing oils: they loosen make-up and physical sunscreen gently and effectively. Apply all over the face, press in gently for thirty seconds to emulsify, then gently massage in. This speeds up blood circulation, which warms the skin so that pores can relax and are easier to clean.
7. Double cleanse with a facial wash
Oil-based make up removers only remove oil-soluble make-up and dirt, so you need to double cleanse with a wash to remove water-soluble dirt. Use warm rather than hot water, which dries out the skin. Be careful to massage and not rub because the skin is more delicate when wet and pollution nanoparticles have sharp edges. Choose a gel cleanser with mild detergents, but if your skin still feels tight, (especially over the winter), then use a creamy wash or a micellar water.
8. Double cleanse with an electronic cleansing brush
Cleansing brushes, like this one here, can be very useful, especially if you live in a polluted area. Do not overuse them however, especially over the winter, because they can overstimulate a sensitive skin and lead to spots. Start off using twice a week and see how your skin tolerates it. I am addicted to mine.
9. Blot dry with a microfibre towel after cleansing
Finally blot dry with a microfibre towel which soaks up moisture so you don’t need to rub.
10. Don’t cheat! However tired you are at the end of the day, keep up your cleansing routine
I know it’s boring, but you will thank me in ten years time.