The Best Way to Cleanse
What is the best way to cleanse your skin? There is a list a mile long when it comes to products you can use, whether they are liquid form, a paste, made of fabric or even a machine to do it all for you. The word ‘cleanse’ is so small, but it truly does contain multitudes which is why figuring out just how to cleanse is not as simple as it sounds!
At The Skin Nerd, we feel that we have cleansing down to a fine art. We have our double cleansing system, and we follow it strictly as possible. We are aware that there are many, many schools of thought, however, which is why I’m sharing my thoughts on the best way to cleanse - the nerdie way.
Why Should I Cleanse My Skin?
Cleansing is always Step 1 in your skincare routine. By cleansing your skin, you clean all the impurities of the day away from it, including makeup residue, old SPF, pollution from daily life in 2020 and even excess oil produced by your skin itself.
Cleansing also can help when it comes to targeting your particular skincare concerns. For example, using a salicylic-based cleanser can be really helpful in targeting congestion in skin, or a glycolic based cleanser can be helpful in giving a bit of dazzle back to skin which might be schlepping along and feeling a bit lacklustre.
Cleansing isn’t a decorative step - it’s a first and crucial step in your skincare routine. So just what is the best way to cleanse?
How to Cleanse
Cleansing is an investment in time, but here’s good news - you can be a superstar cleanser just by being super diligent. You can be a true cleansing pro if you invest a few minutes in your technique, morning and evening. You can learn even more about the basics of your skincare routine by reading our blog on the subject.
The object of a good cleanse is pretty simple - at the end, you should have clean skin, free from old SPF, oil, makeup, debris - skin which is ready for serums!
So, hair back, and ready to cleanse all the way from the nipples up - let’s go!
We truly believe in double cleansing your skin. That means that you start off your cleansing routine by pre-cleansing the skin. May we cheekily recommend the Cleanse off Mitt?
This is a microfibre mitt which harnesses the power of warm water and microfibre to hook debris from your pores and lift makeup, oil and SPF from your skin, to leave it clean and cleansed. We admit that we’re a wee bit biased, as the creators, but even so, we’re big fans.
To cleanse with the Cleanse Off Mitt, simply saturate the COM in warm water, squeeze it out, slip the mitt over your hand and sweep it in gentle circles from the centre of your face outwards, taking particular care over your eyelashes, as the COM can even remove mascara too! You can learn more about the best methods of cleansing with the COM in our blog!
What is a Pre-cleanse Balm, and Do I Need It?
Whether or not you use a pre-cleanse balm is a total matter of preference. In general, your Cleanse Off Mitt is usually enough to get all but the most stubborn makeup off your face, and this is part of the reason that we advocate the double cleanse.
If you’re coming back from a Big Night Out - we’re talking tan, lashes, and a face highlighted for the gods, then a pre-cleanse balm might be the move for you. Although it is a matter of preference, it can be very helpful when it comes to removing heavy makeup, and particularly lashes.
Apply your pre-cleanse balm all over your face and massage it into your skin thoroughly. The result will probably have your face looking like a really expensive piece of impressionist art, but that’s what we’re going for. Cleanse it away thoroughly with your COM, and then double cleanse as usual.
The best way to remove this product is to saturate your Cleanse Off Mitt, wring it out, and then sleep it over your face, in small circles, from your nipples to your hairline. If you’ve used a good deal of product, you can rinse out your COM midway through, making sure you’ve rinsed the product out of it, and continue cleansing your skin until you’ve cleansed away all traces of product.
Once you’ve pre-cleansed with the Cleanse Off Mitt and water, you can start your double cleanse.
Your double cleanse is just what it sounds like. Choose your preferred active cleanser, and measure out the required amount - it could be anything between a chickpea to a euro coin-sized amount depending on the product, so be sure to read the directions carefully.
Apply this with your fingertips to your skin, and massage it into your skin for the time recommended (nerdie tip: it’s very rarely less than 60 seconds). When you’ve massaged the product effectively into your skin, it’s time for the COM to re-enter the ring.
Using the clean side, you can use the COM to cleanse away all remaining product from your skin, leaving you with clean skin, free of residue and ready to absorb all of the gorgeous serums waiting for you next.
It’s absolutely key to make sure when you’re cleansing to make sure that you cleanse the area around your nose, over your eyebrows and down around your jaw to make sure you’re getting all the product and pollution off your skin which you might otherwise leave to linger behind - and which could lead to breakouts!
There are certain mistakes which the majority of people will make as they try to figure out the perfect cleanse.
If you aren’t double cleansing at the moment, you might find that incorporating it into your routine could really make a difference. Double cleansing ensures that you’ve cleansed all of your product away fully, as well as cleansed all the oil, makeup and pollution from your skin! If you don’t do this, then the reality is that you’re probably applying your (sometimes very expensive serums) onto unclean skin, where they can’t be as effective.
Think of it like this, your active serums have a job to do - so why would you stop it from working as effectively as it could? That’s what happens when you apply it to unprepped skin.
It can be a time-crunch - but cleansing in the morning can be really helpful. Cleansing in the AM rids your skin of the build-up of oil from overnight, as well as cleaning off the products which you might have used the night before. We do think you can cleanse during the morning shower, however - ideal for saving a bit of time!
You could also be mistaken by cleansing for too short an amount of time. As I’ve said before, you’re rarely recommended to cleanse with a product for anything under 60 seconds. It’s important to massage your cleanser into your skin for the recommended amount of time, otherwise, you simply won’t be getting the most out of the product that you’re using. There’s a big difference between five and forty-five seconds, even, when it comes to skin!
Can You Cleanse with Oil?
You can indeed cleanse with oil - but pre-cleanse only! It might sound counter-intuitive , but remember this - oil cuts through oil. There is no reason to fear using oil as a pre-cleanser, as long as you remove it thoroughly afterwards. I can’t stress this point enough, however - if you’re prone to congestion, you have to be super certain that you’re removing all the oil-based balm from your skin, as otherwise it could lead to further breakouts.
Oil also acts as a barrier - so if you don’t cleanse it away thoroughly, it can keep the good serum stuff from penetrating into your skin, which would be an awful shame.
Can I Cleanse with Face wipes?
Of course - if you’re a lunatic. Face wipes are definitely not a substitute for a solid cleansing routine, noy EVEN as a pre-cleanse. They irritate the skin, strip it, dry it out and do not clean the skin thoroughly, as well as being the opposite of eco-friendly. I preach that we should #binthewipes, and I truly mean it. The skin is an organ, and face wipes really are junk food for the skin.
What you do with a face wipe does not count as cleansing in my eyes - it’s more moving the dirt around your skin.
Nerdie Bit: Is Cleansing Good For Your Skin?
As well as cleaning any grime from your face, the mechanical act of cleansing your face also promotes lymphatic drainage. It’s a handy trick for caring for your skin in the morning particularly, if you suffer from puffy skin in the morning, the act of cleansing can often help to reduce the appearance of puffiness in your face.
We don’t advocate for mechanical cleansers as a rule - that is, using an electric cleanser. The problems with electrical cleansing brushes are often that they can harbour bacteria, which we spread on our skin as we re-use the brush. Often the brushes can be too intense, too - and they can create microtears in the stratum corneum by being too abrasive. Most importantly, though, in the spirit of honesty - electric brushes for the face are often just unnecessary.
You can look after your skin perfectly well without needing to spend the money on an electric brush as well, particularly one which might cause more harm than good.
In truth, the best way to cleanse is to keep it simple. Two steps, two products, warm water and a couple of minutes to yourself.
And so, in the spirit of excellent cleansing, here are a few of my favourite cleansers at the moment to give you some inspiration, so you can also explore the best way to cleanse that skin!
This gel cleanser goes onto the skin smoothy and lathers into a foam on the skin. It contains salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant, as well as tea tree leaf oil, which is both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, making it ideal for the hoomans among us prone to congestion. It removes excess surface oil and avoids drying out the skin. It's not suitable if you have an aspirin allergy, or are pregnant.
This cleanser is a real softie. Coming to us as part of the Australian brand ASAP Skincare, this cleanser is suitable for all skin types, and can also effectively remove makeup. It contains white tea extract as an antioxidant, and aloe vera to soothe your skin.
This super gentle cleanser is full of pre and probiotic goodness to help look after the delicate microbiome of your skin. It also comes in at a very reasonable price point. It's super gentle, and suitable for all skin types, and contains lactic acid to smooth the skin. It emulsifies into a luxurious, creamy texture.