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Tuesday 8 January 2013


I admit to being a bit of a freak about cleansing my face, especially after a horrid scare with adult acne. Now, my bedtime face washing ritual is more luxe than lax – I love to pamper myself in the way (I imagine) Marie Antoinette would have done after a glistening ball at Versailles. After all, cleansing is what sets the stage for all your skincare, so it’s essential to get it right. Over-cleansing or harsh products can cause irritation, dry patches and redness. Not cleaning well enough can leave pores clogged with grime or greasy residue that clogs pores and reduces the efficiency of serums and moisturizers. So, here’s how to suds up correctly to get your best, most beautiful, healthy and princess-y complexion ever:

  • If you have dry skin, look for a hydrating cleanser with natural butters or glycerin, like L’Occitane’s Shea Cleansing Milk.
  • Oily or acne-prone? Try products with salicylic acid, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide – like Neutrogena’s Oil Free Acne Wash.
  • And if you have sensitive skin, wash with a gentle, fragrance- and dye-free cleanser and avoid acids, botanicals or too many preservatives. You won’t go wrong with Shu Uemura’s Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil.
  • Use different products for your face and body. Since body skin is thicker, those cleansers are tougher and contain detergents and chemicals that strip oils – a strict no-no for facial skin.
  • Take your time. Gently massage in the cleanser for 30 seconds, and then let it sit there for another 30 seconds, before rinsing thoroughly. The cleanser binds to the skin’s oil and debris, removing it while rinsing, and it needs more than a couple of seconds to achieve that.
  • For the most effective deep cleansing, cop this tip from Clarins therapists – start by slathering liquid cleanser over your face, then lay both palms flat against the skin. Keep lifting hands away from the skin in brisk motions, repeating for half a minute. This technique creates suction and flushes out toxins effectively.
  • Avoid cleansing more than twice a day. Too-frequent washing can dry and irritate your skin or stimulate oil production, resulting in clogged pores and breakouts. If you need a midday pick-me-up, just rinse with water.
  • If your skin still seems dull, try twice-weekly exfoliation and a deep cleansing mask. These remove trapped debris and dead cells, rejuvenating skin and allowing products to penetrate better. Stick to gentle scrubs, with micro-beads for fragile facial skin, and chunkier crystals for the body.
  • Remember that it’s more important to wash at night, than in the morning – because of the dirt, oil, and makeup that your skin is subjected to all day long. There is no greater skin sin than going to bed with gunk on your face! 

Now tell me, what’s your nightly face cleansing routine like? I promise not to judge.

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