We all know that cleansing is a crucial first step in our skincare routines. However, cleansing can be far more than just getting your skin clean.
There are three stages to this part of your routine: cleanse, exfoliate and tone, and they can all be a great foundation for layering your products and solving your skin concerns.
This stage is important for removing the grime of the day from your face before you add new products to your skin.
There are many types of cleanser you can use for this step — you can choose from foaming cleanser, cream cleanser, micellar water or oil cleanser.
You should choose your cleanser based on your skin type, as oilier skin tends to work well with oil cleansers and foaming products, whereas drier skin generally prefers gentler cream cleansers or micellar water.
Double cleansing originates from Korean skincare, and has grown in popularity around the world.
This method involves beginning with an oil-based cleanser, and then following this with a water-based cleanser.
The oil cleanser brings out any oil-based impurities from your skin — this can be sebum, pollutants, or sunscreen. Then the water-based step removes any water-based issues like sweat or dirt.
Using this method is a great way to give yourself a clean canvas to apply products to, and it can help prevent breakouts and other skin problems.
Whilst it is often used as a way for oily skin types to target acne, people with drier skin can also use it — if you have dry skin just make sure you use cleansers that are gentle and don’t make your skin feel tight afterwards.
The benefits of exfoliating are well-known, but doing some research can really help you maximise this step in your regimen by finding the right type of exfoliation.
This step removes dead cells from the top layer of your skin, giving you a brighter complexion and allowing your other skincare products to penetrate better.
There are two main types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation includes brushes and scrubs.
Chemical exfoliation uses alpha or beta hydroxy acids to dissolve dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliators come in many forms: you might choose glycolic acid pads, or from lots of toners and face washes containing salicylic acid.
What exfoliator you should use and how often depends on your skin type. Oily skin types should be able to cope with exfoliating multiple times per week, and can use either physical or chemical products. Normal skin types should exfoliate less than oily ones, but can still use either type.
Those with sensitive skin however would be wise to stick to a mild chemical exfoliant once or twice per week. Scrubs can often irritate this skin type.
After you’ve cleansed and exfoliated, your last prep step before layering your products is toning. A toner should hydrate, refresh and rebalance your skin.
You should choose a toner suitable for your skin type — those with drier skin can use this step to give their skin some much needed hydration, and those with oily skin can choose products that will help control excess sebum.
Making sure all these steps are tailored to suit your skin means that you’ll be setting up your whole regimen well and laying the best foundations for all your problem-solving products to work well.