As a newfound lover of makeup I've quickly discovered that removal is a process all on its own. There have been way too many times when I thought I did a thorough job washing my face only to find foundation on my cotton swab later. It's probably one of the most frustrating feelings in the world! Why? Because I know it's super important to get rid of every last drop of product at the end of the day.
Dr. Palmer, Dermatologist and founder of REPLERE skincare, not only agrees, it's actually one of her go-to beauty tips. "The reason why cleaning is so important, besides removing dirt, makeup and bacteria, is exfoliation. Exfoliation is key to a beauty regime," she explains. "As we age, our cell turnover rate slows down. This is the process in which our skin cells travel from the lowest layer of our epidermis to the top most superficial layer to be shed off."
Now, are you ready for a fun (or perhaps depressing) fact? Dr. Palmer says that when we're teens our cells turn over every 21 to 28 days. As we continue to get older that process takes considerably longer, slowing down to 30 to 40 days and 40 to 80 days once we're over the age of 50. This delay, "allows dead skin cells to accumulate on the surface of our skin, giving it a dull appearance." As we can all agree, dull, lifeless skin is a major no-no!
How do you combat that and wash your face to perfection? Dr. Palmer gave us a full run through.
Types of cleanser:
Foam cleansers are great for giving pores a deep cleanse but if you have dry skin it's probably best to stick to moisturising cream cleansers. They're best suited for combination and oily skin types.
Cleansing balms are usually cream or oil-based products with a vaseline like consistency which makes them perfect for dry skin types. I've been using the Elemis Pro Collagen Cleanser for months. Not only does it smell divine thanks to ingredients such as starflower, elderberry and Optimeg oils with rose and mimosa waxes but it dissolves every last trace of makeup while conditioning and nourishing the skin.
Cleansing balms can also be a very versatile product to have in your skincare regime. The Elemis one doubles up as a skincare mask. So if you get an evening to set aside 10 minutes you can unwind with a hot cloth and inhale the beautiful aroma for a more intense cleanse. DO IT.
Great for all skin types, cream cleansers are perfect for dried out winter pores in need of hydration and nourishment. Clarins's Anti-Pollution cleanser is great for the city girl. Thanks to the purifying moringa and nourishing shea and mango ingredients, it gently removes grime without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
For anyone with sensitive skin cleansing water is THE gentlest option out there. It does a fab job of removing eye makeup without making your eyes sore. The micellar particles inside the water lift dirt and oil without leaving skin feeling tight and stripped.
I would recommend doing a double cleanse if you're going to use a micellar water skincare routine. The first cleanse should remove any makeup while the second can then cleanse the skin underneath. The best bit? No hogging the bathroom necessary. All you need is a few cotton pads to hand. No excuses now!
Hot cloth cleansers
A rich and creamy cleanser ideal for using morning and night. Most of them come complete with their very own muslin cloth to dislodge your daily slap and leave skin looking and feeling radiant but if you prefer to use something a little more abrasive then a flannel will do fine - just don't over scrub. Liz Earle's cleanse and polish is a particular fave of mine.
The ultimate time saver. Cleansing oil can remove the most stubborn of makeup with just a few pumps, even waterproof mascara. However, if you suffer with oily skin you're better off sticking with foaming cleansers as any excess oil will only cause break-outs.
If you crave that fresh faced feeling then a cooling gel cleanser could be your thing. Best for invigorating fatigued-looking skin and leaving pores energised and ready for the day ahead. It's defo a product to start your day with.
Cleansing bars aren't everyone's cup of Joe but nowadays you can get gentle bars sans all the harsh detergents. Clinique have a great option specifically designed to treat acne. It's mildly medicated with salicylic acid to calm skin and reduce blemishes. Or for extra sensitive skin you could try Cetaphil's cleansing antibacterial bar.
The 101 for how to cleanse your face properly
1) Wash your hands before you start. There's absolutely no point in cleaning your face with dirty hands. Make sure you're clean to clean.
2) Use luke warm water to rinse your face and break down the dirt.
3) Once you've wet your face it's time to cleanse. Apply a small amount of the foam/balm to your face and massage in circular motions for 1 minute. Work from the centre of your face outwards, paying particular attention to your T Zone and ensure that you work right into the hairline and along your jaw.
4) To take off the cleanser, use luke warm water. Don't forget to rinse your nose, neck and ears to avoid soap residue build up. Dab your face dry, don't drag the towel/cloth across your face as this can cause irritation and wrinkles.
5) Depending on how heavy duty you've gone with your makeup, it might be worth doing a double cleanse. That said, you should avoid doing this all the time because it can be just as damaging to over cleanse your face as it can be quite harsh on the skin. If you feel like your complexion is craving that squeaky clean cleanse then repeat steps 1-4.
6) That's not the green light to slack either! Aim to wash your face twice daily and if you go to the gym/swimming then add a third cleanse into the mix.
Tips, tips, tips
- Listen to your skin. Work with your skin type and you'll get the best result.
- Don't rush! Take your time to cleanse your face properly.
- Be gentle. Using your fingertips is more than enough to massage product into your pores. There's no need to rub it raw.
- Exfoliate twice a week - cleansing alone won't serve to break down the build up of impurities. Only exfoliating can prevent that.
- Be gentle around your eyes - if you want to really enjoy working on your complexion it's better to take off your eye makeup before hand. Using cleansing water is great for the delicate eye area as it requires zero rubbing and dissolves even the most stubborn mascara.
- Follow up with toner and moisturiser and don't forget your SPF in the morning.
Do you have any face washing tips you'd like to share? Tweet us @sofeminineUK
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