The chances are, you’re making a mistake somewhere in your cleansing routine. It’s not simply a matter of window-wiping with a cotton pad and thinking the job’s done, a proper deep-cleanse requires a bit more attention and, truly, it’s well worth the extra effort.
We all know that grubby skin is more prone to spots – if makeup is left to sink deep into pores, and grime is allowed to build up over time, it spells bad news for our skin. Not only will a thick coating of crud cause unnecessary congestion, and prevent skin from breathing, it’ll also create a mucky film between your skincare and your skin, which means anything you put on after is redundant.
The aim of your cleansing routine is to get deep down into pores, vacuum them out and give them a deep clean before you load back up on makeup and environmental pollution particles the next day.
Face feels tight? Lashes feel brittle? Got some rando white-heads scattered across your face? Wake up to find the foundation you thought you scrubbed off the night before is mysteriously on your pillow?
We asked A-list facialist, Nichola Joss, whose clients include Gwyneth Paltrow, Meghan Markle and J-Lo, how to get it right.
1. Break down makeup and grime with your first cleanse
“I would always recommend a double cleanse routine for removing makeup,” says Nichola. “Start with an oil or micellar bi-phase cleansing product applied to a cleansing pad which will easily and effectively remove topical makeup, grime and daily environmental pollution.” Micellar water is formed from little micelles (spheres of mild surfactants combined with purified water) which attract all the makeup, excess sebum and daily grime on the surface of your skin – like a magnet – leaving it clean and refreshed.
2. Go easy around your eyes
“Oil and micellar bi-phase cleansers are also gentle on the eye area and soft enough for lashes and brows,” says Nichola. Overly stripping cleansers can dry out lashes causing them to become brittle and break easily. Plus, too much rubbing can disrupt the delicate skin around our eye area, causing premature creasing. Hold a cotton pad steeped in micellar water or bi-phase oil onto your lashes with your eyes closed, to give it time to work and loosen up stubborn mascara before gently sweeping it away. The same rule also applies to other stubborn products, like long-wearing lipsticks.
3. Give skin a deep clean with your second cleanse and a face cloth
“Once all your makeup is out the way, you can then go in with a second cleanse that cleans skin deeper. I would use a cream, balm or milk cleanse to gently but deeply cleanse the skin,” says Nichola. “Massage the cleanser onto the skin, making sure you work gently around the eye area. Use a cleansing cloth to make sure you get into all areas and remove everything. This will also very softly exfoliate the surface of the skin,” she adds. “I recommend having seven or more face cloths, using one a day and washing them in non bio gentle wash liquid.”
4. Keep an eye on the water temperature
If you often find your skin feels tight or overly dry after cleansing, it could that the temperature of your water is too high. “The hotter the water, the more moisture your skin loses, so always rinse in lukewarm water and splash with cold,” says Nichola. “The cold water awakens the system, resets the endocrine and stimulates lymph vessels [and in turn lymphatic drainage], as well as boosting the immunity of the skin’s microbiome.”
5. Ditch the face wipes
“Get rid of wipes,” says Nichola. “They are just pushing grime into the skin. They’re harsh and you end up rubbing around the eyes and lashes which is damaging.” Not to mention, they’re terrible for the environment. Time to ditch.
6. Be careful with steam
Some facialists start by steaming skin to dislodge grime, open up pores and soften blackheads for extraction. The thing is, they’re the experts. At home, it’s best avoided. “It can be very harsh, disrupt the skin mantle and potentially push makeup deeper, which causes congestions and stress on the skin,” explains Nichola. If you are going to attempt it yourself, “make sure you’ve completed your first cleanse, and only do it once you’ve taken your makeup off. Stick to just once a week max and don’t use boiling hot water,” says Nichola.
7. Prep for the next steps
“Pat skin dry [as this is more gentle than rubbing], then apply your facial mist or toner to re-balance pH levels and prep skin for the next products, such as your serum and moisturiser,” says Nichola.