The power of double cleansing for healthy looking skin
Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies
For years I’ve been wittering on about the importance of thoroughly cleansing our faces and how double cleansing is the gold standard of any skincare routine. But, understandably, there is sometimes confusion surrounding cleansing, double cleansing and their benefits and worth.
Cleansing is the most important step in our skincare routine because, if it’s done properly, it leaves a clean blank canvas for the rest of our products to work effectively. Would we polish our car without washing the dirt off first or iron our clothes before putting them in the washing machine? Hopefully most of us wouldn’t and it’s the same principal for our skin. Wash the dirt, grease, pollutants, make up and SPFs (sun protection cream) off to prevent the pores from becoming blocked and then clean the skin before applying other skincare products.
When should we cleanse?
Every morning and every evening regardless of whether we’ve been wearing makeup, an SPF or both. Overnight the skin eliminates toxins via the pores so cleaning in the morning removes this residue on the surface of the skin. These days I’m not wearing much make up but I will still thoroughly clean my face in the evening. I tend to do this when I put my PJs on which, at the moment, is around 8pm! My life is so rock and roll! In ‘normal’ life or for those of you that are still leaving your house for work, I’d do it as soon as you walk through the door after work. Don’t leave it until you go to bed as you may feel too tired to do a good job.
So what is double cleansing?
This is when we use more than one cleansing product (or the same product twice) to clean our faces in the evening. The first cleanser targets and works loose make up and SPFs. These are designed to stay on our faces all day, therefore they need to be removed thoroughly. The second cleanser actually cleans our skin. The only time I wouldn’t need to double cleanse at night is if I hadn’t left the house all day, wasn’t wearing any make up or an SPF. I’d still cleanse my face thoroughly though, but just once. This is also the case each morning as we’re not going on any wild nights out at the moment and forgetting to remove make up before bed. So a simple cleanse is all that’s needed.
What types of cleansers are there?
The cleanser you choose will depend mainly on your personal preference and your skin type or any skin conditions you are experiencing. I like to have a few cleansers on the go so that I can pick and choose on the day according to how my skin is feeling. I also like to use a flannel or muslin cloth that’s been soaked in warm water (not hot) to remove residue and gently remove dry dead skin cells in the process. I’d suggest having a stash of these at home so that you can use a fresh one every day.
These are soothing on the skin and are usually applied all over the face using cotton pads. I like to pop some into my hands, massage onto the skin and then remove with a flannel or muslin cloth. If your skin is really sensitive to water you can stick with the cotton pads.
By far my favourite way to cleanse. These are generally gentle and nourishing blends of great ingredients that can not only effectively remove make up (including mascara) but also thoroughly clean the skin. Their solid texture which melts on the skin means that a little goes a long way. Once massaged in, they can be removed with a warm flannel or muslin cloth.
These will often transform into more of a milky consistency once mixed with a little water on the skin. They are generally a newer generation of cleanser and are great for removing make up and dirt using a flannel or muslin cloth.
These need to be mixed with water. In the past face washes and foams have been quite harsh on the skin, making it dry and uncomfortable. This is normally due to the chemicals used to ensure the product lathers. At no point during the cleansing process do we want our skin to feel super tight and squeaky clean. Therefore I would steer clear of varieties that use Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which may disrupt the skins natural protective barrier.
A simple, gentle and convenient way to remove make up. I don’t consider them to be a full on cleanser for the whole face but act as a really effective makeup remover.
These might feel convenient but try to give them a wide birth. They are usually packed with alcohol and fragrance and just smear the dirt and make up around our faces rather than giving a good cleanse.
What to use for a first cleanse?
These are products to remove make up and SPF and our main aim is to loosen these on the face so that they can be easily removed with a warm flannel or cotton pads. I usually apply them to dry skin as I find there’s less slippage on the skin and the product can really get to work.
- Eye makeup removers
- Micellar waters
- Cleansing oils
- Cleansing creams
- Cleansing balms
- Say ‘No’ to cleansing wipes
What to use for a second cleanse?
This is when we are actually cleaning our skin. It’s not to remove our make up or SPF as we’ve already done that. My advice is to use the best cleanser you can afford for this stage. Our aim is for our skin to feel comfortable and hydrated. Again, apply to a dry face, massage the product thoroughly into the skin and remove with a warm flannel. The massaging action of working the product into the face and neck also helps bring fresh blood flow to the surface of our skin aiding detoxification. This encourages it to look fresher and more radiant. So if you can spend a minute or so massaging the product in before removing it you will certainly see the benefit. This is also a great time to really inhale the wonderful fragrances of the products. Cup your hands around your nose and mouth and take several slow deep breaths.
- Cleansing balms
- Cleansing oils
- Cleansing creams
- Cleansing milks
- Cleansing gels
- Say ‘No’ again to the cleansing wipes
Perfumery & Co. have a comprehensive collection of cleansers to choose from and offer fantastic personal advice. Here’s a selection of cleansing products they stock if you don’t know where to start:
Wildsmith Skin - Active Repair Nourishing Cleansing Balm
A wonderful balm/gel texture which glides on the skin and is super easy to use. It’s packed with lots of plant based ingredients to breakdown surface oils, make up and pollutants. It has the most invigorating fragrance. It’s incredible at its job whilst leaving the skin hydrated, comfortable and protected. I’ve used this as both the first, second and both cleanses by applying a small amount to my palms, massaging onto my face and neck before removing with a warm cloth.
Neals Yard Remedies - Wild Rose Beauty Balm (One Pot Wonder)
A beautiful rose scented balm to nourish and soothe skin and provide a warm glow. Containing organic wild rosehip oil which is a fabulous skin protecting antioxidant and an amazing blend of essential oils. It comes with its own organic muslin cloth so will provide a gentle exfoliation on the skin to smooth its surface and boost radiance. Perfect for your first or second cleanse or both. I use a small amount and warm it in the palm of my hands, before massaging it into dry skin. I then remove with a warm flannel. It’s called One Pot Wonder as it has so many uses. Not only is it a cleanser, it can be applied and left on overnight as an intensive nourishing boost, can tame eyebrows, be a lip balm, accentuate cheek bones as a highlighter. It’s a delight to use.
Nourish London – Skin Renew Cleanser
A rich and creamy texture packed full of wonderful ingredients, including argan, jojoba and borage oils to hydrate the skin. It’s a nourishing formula with a really comforting fragrance and is great at removing make up whilst being gentle on the skin. I use this for a first or second cleanse and sometimes both. The pump ensures you use the correct amount so as not to waste any. One pump into the palm of my hands, mixed to warm and massaged into dry skin loosens any make up, SPF, dirt etc. I remove with a warm flannel. This product is a great find.
L’Occitane en Provence – 3 in 1 Micellar Water
A very light texture infused with cucumber and thyme to refresh, hydrate and purify the skin. A perfect product to use as a first cleanse to effectively remove make up. I soak cotton pads with this and hold them onto my closed eyes to break down eye makeup before using a gentle sweeping motion to remove the residue. I then use fresh ones to sweep over my face afterwards. This is an easy to use product which does its job quickly.
Clarins – Cleansing Milk
A classic milky texture with a comforting delicate fragrance. This cleansing milk contains alpine herbs to soften the skin and vegetable extracts to help rebalance the skins natural protective layer. I use this for a second cleanse and work it into the skin before removing with a warm flannel or muslin cloth. It could equally be removed with cotton pads if your skin is particularly sensitive to water.
So, do you already double cleanse or have you been inspired to start?
Here's to glowing skin!