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How to Cleanse - A Two Step Process

Updated: Jul 15


Cleansing is a fundamental step in any skin care routine and its importance is often underestimated in comparison to the actual products you leave on your face. I'm here to tell you that it is important, crucially so, and by getting this step wrong you can cause yourself a lot of unnecessary stress, spots and frustration.


I have broken down the double cleanse process, why it is so important to do, the different methods available and my #SkinFood favourite products.

The Double Cleanse


Double Cleansing has become quite the ritual for most skin care fanatics. The first step is entirely centred around breaking down and removing products which have spent the day sitting on the surface of your skin. This is then followed by a second step which is solely responsible for cleaning any remaining residue and impurities.

Why is it Important?


It's incredibly important to break cleansing down into two steps. Should you do one part and not the other (eg. makeup removal or just basic face washing), you are essentially applying your skincare ingredients to an unclean canvas which then becomes a feeding ground for bacteria and blocked pores. Moreover, even if you're fortunate and not prone to breaking out, you could be removing a lot of your skin's potential lustre by not cleaning it properly. You could also be wasting a lot of time and money on investing in quality skincare that cannot penetrate congested pores and perform properly.

When to Do it


The two-step cleanse should be done at night after you've had a full day of wearing makeup and SPF (which is typically harder to remove than a normal moisturiser). On a normal day (outside of quarantine) you would have also been exposed to external elements and your skin will have accumulated a combination of pollution, dirt and grime, even if it's not visible to the naked eye. Hence why in the evening, before treating yourself to your night-time skincare routine, it is critical to take the time to wash the day off thoroughly.

What to Use For Your 1st Step


#SkinFood Favourite- Micellar Water


My preferred product for the first step is to use a cotton pad soaked in micellar water. Micellar water is still a relatively new addition to the skin care arena, having made its appearance in the last couple of years. It has already become a main-stay item. What micellar water does, and why it has quickly become a dermatologist recommendation, is that the combination of oil suspended in soft water that make up its "miscelles" are attracted to dirt and oil on the surface of your skin. This makes it truly efficient in getting that first unwanted layer off, without stripping your skin dry.


Runner Up- Oil Based Balm


A lot can be said for balm cleansers as well. I happen to find them more high maintenance. What it involves is using an oil based cleanser and massaging it into your skin to break down all of your products. You then follow by using a clean wash cloth soaked in warm water to remove this layer, prior to moving onto your face wash. I have tried this and it can be relaxing and also gently exfoliating by using the hot wash cloth against your skin. However, I find it requires a stack of dedicated wash cloths for the week ahead. It also frankly never looks as if it has removed as much product compared to when I'm using a simple cotton pad with micellar water. Please note, if you prefer this technique, don't feel the need to buy a separate balm, a simple coconut oil from your kitchen will suffice.


Not Recommended- Make Up Wipes


For the no-muss no-fuss approach many people prefer face wipes, but I urge you to please not use them. A lot of the tugging associated with their use has been widely criticised. They are also far too harsh to remove any eye make-up or mascara, as the skin in the eye area is even more delicate and in need of gentle care. I have checked the ingredients lists on a lot of wipes and many of them contain alcohol which is something you don't want to use on your face as it's incredibly harsh and drying.


What to Use For Your 2nd Step


#SkinFood Favourite- Gel Based Cleanser


I always prefer to use a gel-based cleanser for my second step, one which preferably lathers but has naturally based ingredients so I don't feel like it completely strips my skin of its own oils. A tip to get more out of your second step is to leave your cleanser on while you brush your teeth, that way any active skin ingredients have a little longer to work their magic before you rinse it off.

See below to check out our #SkinFood favourite products!


Garnier - Micellar Water


This is a product which is inexpensive, easy to find and it works every time. It has never caused me any sensitivity or dryness and it has always done the trick of removing every last scrap before moving onto my second cleanse. Click the image to be redirected to Garnier's website. This product can be purchased in most drug stores worldwide.


Elemis - Superfood Facial Wash


This cleanser has been somewhat of a hero product for me and I've gone through many tubes since discovering it. Made up of mainly greens such as Wheatgrass, Kale, Nettle and Broccoli, it leaves your complexion clean, refreshed and luminous. It also contains a Pre-Biotic which helps to maintain the skin's micro flora. Click the image to be redirected to Elemis's website.


Cetaphil - Daily Facial Cleanser


Cetaphil's Daily Facial Cleanser is another hero drug store product. I used this for several years, especially in phases where my skin was particularly sensitive or irritable. This soap-free formula doesn't lather; but rather helps to restore the pH levels in your skin whilst still performing its job at cleansing your complexion thoroughly. If your skin is feeling stripped, dry or sensitive, give this a try. Click the image to be redirected to Cetaphil's website. This product can be found easily in most drug stores across the US and the UK.

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