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Cleansing 101: Everything You Need to Know

Danielle Fox | From the Experts | Dec 18, 2018
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Cleansing is one of the most important steps in your skincare regimen and, according to experts, there is a right way to cleanse and a wrong way too. Follow our failsafe rules to mastering the perfect cleanse. Better skin starts here…

Why Is Cleansing So Important?

Cleansing is essential in removing dead skin cells, makeup, sunscreen, sweat, oil and pollution—all of which can clog pores, stop absorption of any products you are putting on and even trigger issues such as impaired barrier function and pigmentation.

What Is Double Cleansing?

In an era of long-wear makeup formulas and the rise in urban pollution, double-cleansing should be seen as the new normal according to dermatologists. “First use an oil-based cleanser to remove cosmetics and sunscreen,” says London based dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting. “Then, see your second cleanser as an exfoliating step to remove dead skin cells and other ‘micro’ matter such as particles of pollution.”

How Often Should You Cleanse?

Cleansing at night is a non-negotiable to remove makeup, SPF and any dirt from the day. However, don’t forget cleansing in the morning too, particularly if you have blemish-prone skin. Overnight, the skin eliminates toxins via the pores, so starting the day with a clean canvas removes the residue from the night before and allows any products you apply afterwards to be more easily absorbed and effective. “But those with dry skin and no excess oil in the T-zone can skip this step to protect their barrier function,” says Dr Bunting. That barrier minimizes water loss and is essential for healthy and hydrated skin.

How Often Should You

Can You Over-Cleanse Your Skin?

The problem with multiple cleansing steps is that this disturbs your skin barrier function—and this is not good. It’s important to realize that “squeaky clean” skin means you’ve gone too far. The key, according to Dr Bunting, is to take your time, apply your product to damp skin, massage it in, give it a full minute to work, then rinse clear with tepid (not hot) water and asses whether you need to gently cleanse again.

How Do You Choose The Right Facial Cleanser?

Which cleanser you choose is very much down to personal preference, but the general rule is as follows: dry skin needs a hydrating cream (SHISEIDO Clarifying Cleansing Foamr is a great starting point), balm or oil-based cleanser (try SHISEIDO Essentials Perfect Cleansing Oil; sensitive skin works well with a foam (try SHISEIDO WASO Quick Gentle Cleanser); normal to combination should choose according to preference in texture.

Can Those With Oily Skin Use Oil Cleansers?

It seems counterintuitive, but as oil cleansers are close to the skin’s natural pH they won’t cause breakouts. Like attracts like, so an oil cleanser attracts the oil in makeup, grime and sebum, removing it without stripping the skin with harsh ingredients.