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How to cleanse your skin like a pro

January 1 | 5 minute read

How To Properly Cleanse Hero 16x9

Words by Gemma Dawkins

Originally published on | December 31

When it comes to beauty, there are (almost) no rules. Want to use your lipstick as a blush? Do it! Clashing colours on your eyes, lips and cheeks? More is more!

Wearing glitter, going barefaced, black lipstick, neon liner, layering fragrances? Why not?! However, there is one golden rule we should all subscribe to: thou shalt cleanse thy skin – properly!

Whether you’ve been wearing a full face of makeup or just your daily SPF, a good cleanse is a non-negotiable to keep your complexion looking and feeling its best. But with more cleansing options than ever before, how does one choose between balms, gels, foams and mousses? And is there a ‘right’ way to cleanse?

We spoke to MECCA’s customer education lead, Francesca Hyde, to find out how (and why) to cleanse like a pro.

Your cleansing routine has the potential to be a powerful moment of indulgence and self-care. Take your time where you can!
Francesca Hyde

Why do we cleanse our skin?

In a sea of sheet masks, essences, serums and treatments, it can be easy to overlook the importance of the humble cleanse in our skincare routines. Cleansing effectively removes any makeup, oil and SPF while clearing pollutants that can irritate or congest the skin. Using a cleanser designed for your skin type can also help to balance your skin, perfectly prepping and priming for all those exciting products you layer on afterwards. If you want to get the most out of your skincare, it all starts with step one: cleansing.
How To Properly Cleanse 16x9 1 Copy
Devoting a quick minute to cleansing in the morning will refresh the skin, remove any occlusive products from the night before and prep your skin
Francesca Hyde

Do we really need to cleanse in the morning?

Just like brushing your teeth, Hyde says we should be cleansing morning and night. “Cleansing in the morning may seem counter-intuitive, as our skin should be clean from the night before,” she explains. “However, as we sleep our skin can accumulate oil, sweat and pollutants from our pillows and the surrounding environment. Devoting a quick minute to cleansing in the morning will refresh the skin, remove any occlusive products from the night before and prep your skin to better accept those hi-tech serums you’ve invested in!” Roger that.

However, the PM cleanse is the one where you can really go to town, according to Hyde. “Invest more time in your evening cleanse,” she suggests, recommending a two-step process. “Step one is to effectively remove makeup, dirt and pollution from the day, and step two is to help balance your skin, based on your skin type.”

A step-by-step guide to cleansing

In the evening, Hyde recommends starting your cleansing ritual with an oil or cream-based cleanser to melt away dirt, pollution, makeup and SPF: “Massage your oil or cream cleanser into a dry face for at least one minute, so your cleanser can attach and ‘pick up’ debris.”

The massage isn’t just for fun – it’s got a function, too. “Focus your massage on any areas you tend to get more congested,” Hyde says, “and if the formula permits, take it over your eyes to melt away eye makeup in one go.”

If you’re wondering whether a double cleanse is really necessary, the answer is a firm yes! “Two steps may seem like an effort after a long day, but oil-based formulas are much more effective at removing the remains of the day from your face, so you’ll save time (and cotton pads) in the long run. For some balm cleansers, you can simply add water to emulsify and rinse off. For a more indulgent, deep cleanse, run a flannel or muslin cloth under hot (not boiling!) water, then press onto the face to soften the skin and gently wipe your cleanser away. Your skin should feel calm and balanced, ready for your second cleanse,” she says.

Speaking of which – your second cleanser should be selected based on its ability to support and balance your skin type (think: hydrating and soothing for dry skin types, or oil-controlling for those more prone to shine), and it’s the same one you’ll use for your one-step cleanse in your morning routine (“Leave the indulgent balms for evenings,” Hyde advises). Massage it into your skin and follow the instructions on the packaging.

If there are some late nights or early mornings where the thought of those extra steps is just too much, keep a micellar water on hand to quickly remove makeup and SPF. Says Hyde: “It’s better than nothing, but best kept for emergencies!”

The biggest mistake when it comes to cleansing is using the wrong formula for your skin type
Francesca Hyde

Avoid this cleansing mistake

“The biggest mistake when it comes to cleansing is using the wrong formula for your skin type,” Hyde explains. “So often we look to serums and treatments to help combat skin concerns, when we need to start at the basics first. If your skin feels dry, tight, dehydrated and sensitised, your cleanser may be too stripping for you. On the flip side, if your skin feels congested and excessively oily, your cleanser may be too heavy and rich. Matching your cleanser to your skin type is key to keeping your skin happy!”

Looking for your perfect match? We’re so glad you asked…

Cleansers for oily skin

“Oily skin tends to produce excess sebum, so choosing a cleanser is all about balancing your oil production,” Hyde says. “Your oil-based first cleanse should be light: try AMOREPACIFIC’s Treatment Cleansing Oil. Then follow up with a clarifying foam or gel-based cleanser that will remove any leftover oil and work to balance your skin. Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta AHA/BHA Daily Cleansing Gel contains salicylic acid, a great ingredient for breaking down excess oil in the skin. Or reach for a formula that contains oil-absorbing clay, like Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser or REN Clean Skincare’s Clearcalm Clay Cleanser.”

Cleansers for dry skin

“Dry skin types lack oil, so your cleansing routine will be all about adding it back in,” says Hyde. “Reach for rich and nourishing balm cleansers to melt away makeup, like Sunday Riley’s Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm or Eve Lom’s Cleanser (don’t forget the muslin cloths to remove). Follow up with milks or light balms [skincare-cleansers-oilbalmcleansers] that continue to replenish your skin’s moisture-locking lipid barrier, like Cultured’s Vitality Cleansing Milk or REN Clean Skincare’s Evercalm Cleansing Milk.”

Cleansers for combination skin

“If you find your skin can be oily in some places and dry in others, or if you feel like your skin is generally in between the two, it will be all about balance,” Hyde says. “Look for formulas that aren’t too heavy or too light – consider yourself the Goldilocks of skincare! Keep it mid-weight with your first cleanse. Look for gel-balms like REN Clean Skincare’s Perfect Canvas Jelly Oil Cleanser or Eve Lom’s Gel Balm Cleanser.

“Picking your second cleanse will be a balance between ensuring your oilier zones don’t feel too heavy, but your drier sections don’t feel tight and uncomfortable. Go for lightweight gel or milk formulas that contain balancing ingredients, such as Moon Juice’s Milk Cleanse Gentle Wash or REN Clean Skincare’s Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel.”

Make cleansing a ritual

Hyde’s top cleansing tip isn’t a product or a technique: it’s all about intention. “Your cleansing routine has the potential to be a powerful moment of indulgence and self-care. Take your time where you can!” she says. “Lock the bathroom door and have a moment to reconnect with yourself after a busy day. Massage your first cleanse into your skin, focusing on areas of tension (slow and steady wins the relaxation race). Apply a steaming cloth over your face, take three deep breaths and repeat once more. Remove your cleanser, finish off with your second cleanse, then return to your real life reborn!”

And if you want to turn your cleansing ritual up a notch, why not add a sonic cleansing device to your routine? We can’t go past the FOREO Luna 3 for a deep cleanse.

Related topics and brand tags

Oily skinSkin careDry skinCombination skinSunscreen

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