Cleansing your face correctly is the cornerstone of any beauty regime regardless of your age, skin type or ethnicity and whether you are using expensive luxury brands or everyday high-street products. It is also the key to maintaining beautiful, healthy skin and will provide a sound base for all your skin care and make-up products.
While washing your face is something that you take for granted, you may not actually be going about the process in the best way possible so here are a few tips to help you:
- Always remove all make-up or any other products such as heavy overnight creams and serums from your face beforehand. Use a gentle cleansing cream or make-up remover especially designed for your skin type and either your fingers or a cotton ball to help remove all traces of make-up. Be especially careful around the eyes as the skin there is very fragile.
- Make sure that the water you use to wash your face is lukewarm – too hot or cold as you can dehydrate your skin. Very hot water can also damage your skin – aside from scalding or burning, it can also aggravate conditions such as rosacea, eczema and broken capillaries.
- Choose your facial cleanser carefully. Avoid harsh soaps and other cleansers as these can severely dehydrate your skin and strip it of all natural oils and lipids. This is particularly important if you are prone to acne – too many people make the mistake of opting for the harshest cleaner possible if the hopes of clearing their skin but this only makes the condition worse. For most cases of acne, gentle washing twice a day with a mild soap is much more beneficial. These days, there is a wealth of products on the market and you can choose specially designed cleansers that are soap-free, non-comedogenic and especially formulated for your skin type.
- Apply the cleanser in gentle, massaging strokes – rotating upwards using your middle fingers and little fingers. DO NOT rub vigorously as this will not cleanse your skin more and will actually cause more damage and aggravate certain conditions, such as acne, as well as contribute to premature aging.
- As important as the cleanser you use is the rinsing afterwards. All traces of soap or cleanser must be thoroughly rinsed off otherwise the residues can clog your pores. You cannot over-rinse your face, provided the water is at the right temperature, so rinse several times and then rinse again, paying particular attention to your hairline, the area around your ears, nose, eyes and lips, as well as under your chin.
- Pat your face dry using a clean, soft, non-abrasive towel or paper tissues. Again, do not rub.
- Tone your face with an alcohol-free toner, either applied with a cotton ball or spritzed on the face. It should leave your skin feeling smooth and refreshed. If you have excessively oily skin, you may like to look for a toner containing a gentle astringent or glycolic or alpha-hydroxy acids, as these can help to reduce your skin’s pore size. However, they can be very aggressive so choose carefully and apply with care – and try to switch to a more gentle product as soon as possible.
- Finally, apply a moisturiser appropriate for your skin type as you will need to replenish any natural oils that have been lost in the washing process. This is an essential step and one of the most important factors in maintaining youthful-looking skin. A good quality basic moisturiser, which contains key ingredients such as Vitamin E, will do as good a job as an expensive luxury brand – the important thing is finding the right product for your skin type and moisturising consistently. Try to find a product with as little chemical additives as possible.
- Exfoliating at least once a week is extremely beneficial and will help to remove the top layer of dead cells, thus enabling your skin to glow. It will also help any moisturisers and other treatments penetrate deeper and work more effectively. Always make sure that you wet your face with water before you start exfoliating and only use products designed for the face – scrubs for your body can be too abrasive and irritating to your face, causing more damage than good. Avoid any exfoliating products which contain pumice. It is best to choose facial scrubs with small particles which feel gentle on the face. When applying the scrub, use small, gentle circular motions with the tips of your fingers and avoid the area around the eyes as the skin there is very thin and fragile. Rinse very thoroughly, pat dry and if you wish, you can apply a moisturiser containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids which will help to continue the exfoliating process. Always moisturise your face well after exfoliating as regular scrubs will cause the skin to dry out even more.
Most of all, NEVER, EVER go to sleep without removing make-up and cleansing your face. No matter how tired you are, make the effort to go through the basic steps. Your skin will thank you for it and you will be grateful when you continue to have clear, youthful skin for many years.