The proper way to wash your face.

Irving penn
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The best cleansing ritual for healthy, spotless, glowing skin.

Beautiful skin begins with a clean, clear canvas. And the best way to get that is to start from beginning – cleansing.
This is by far, the most important and underrated step ever.
Cleansing does so many things – it removes dirt, pore-clogging sebum (oil), makeup, sunscreen – and we often spend less than a minute on this step.
So if you want skin that’s healthy and glows from within, you need to spend a good 3-5 minutes every evening on this step, and honestly, that’s not asking for too much!

1. Double-step cleansing method.

Perfect for all skin types, double cleansing adds moisture to dry skin, is gentle on sensitive skin, and balances out oily skin.

Step 1: Cleansing Oil.

Baard Lunde

Ever noticed how using just a face wash doesn’t completely remove your sunscreen, oil and dirt? You actually need a cleansing oil to do a more thorough job. Most people think that a cleansing oil is only to remove makeup. It’s actually the most important step in cleaning your skin (whether you have makeup on or not). It’s super thorough and gentle and takes off all oil-based impurities such as makeup, sunscreen, and pore-clogging sebum, which is difficult for water-based cleansers to do.

If you have oily skin, all the more reason to use a cleansing oil. Oil attracts oil, which is why it can attract, dissolve, and easily lift off sebum and anything oil-based, like makeup and sunscreen. It may sound counter-intuitive, but the cleansing oil actually melts away pore-clogging sebum and dislodges blackheads to make your skin cleaner and clearer. Just find one that’s meant for oily skin. I swear by Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Fresh. Check out my review.

How to use it: Just take a dime-sized amount of oil in your palm, and use your fingers to spread evenly over your face, gently rubbing it in circular motion so as to ‘melt away’ all the makeup, sunscreen and grime. Let the oil ‘sit’ for a minute to work its magic. Then wet your hands and once again, gently rub all over your face to emulsify the oil. The oil will turn into a milky fluid. Now simply rinse it off with tepid water. The indicator of a good cleansing oil is that your face feels, clean but not oily or dried out after.

It’s amazing to literally watch your whole day come off in front of your eyes.

Step 2: Water-based cleanser (Facewash).

After the cleansing oil, re-cleanse your face a second time with a water-based cleanser. Most facewashes are water-based.

In this step, the facewash removes any remaining sweat, dirt, oil or makeup that’s not been removed in Step 1.

You just need a tiny amount of a gentle facewash as all the heavy-duty cleansing has been done by the oil cleanser. Don’t use cleansers that foam too much. Yes, they make you feel like you’ve really cleaned your skin, but in reality, they just contain strong sulfates that strip your skin of essential lipids. While you want to remove excess sebum, you don’t want to remove the lipids that make up the Barrier Function. I’m hooked onto Purity Made Simple by Philosophy. It removes all the gunk and leaves my skin feeling clean and plump.

Tip: I like using my facewash with a facial brush at the end of the day. I’m a Clarisonic loyalist. I just add a bit of product on the Clarisonic and massage it over my skin in a gentle circular motion. That way, I get the cleansing and exfoliation done in one step.

2. Rinse like a pro.

Move From Hot to Cold: Warm water helps to open your pores as well as build a foam – so use warm water to wet your face and while lathering your facewash. Just don’t go too hot as it can burst your capillaries and cause those horrid red marks usually found around the nose and cheeks.  When it’s time to remove the cleanser, use cool water as it helps to remove the cleanser better as well as close the opened pores.

Take your time: Did you know that you should be rinsing your skin for at least 2 minutes to get every trace of cleanser off?! Soap residue will clog your pores, dry out your skin, and possibly even affect your skin’s natural pH. So rinse, rinse and then rinse some more. When you think you have removed every trace of cleanser, just splash 5 more times. Now you’re actually done.

3. Exfoliate:

Dirk Bader

Exfoliation can do wonders for your skin. You just have to be very gentle and not get carried away.

What you are actually doing is removing the dead cells that form on top of your skin that are responsible for making it look dull, uneven and rough. Which is why when you exfoliate, your skin instantly looks brighter, feels smoother and the overall texture is improved.

With regular exfoliation (thrice a week), you not only unclog pores, but you also prevent fine lines and even speed up the fading of acne scars, spots and other discolorations. Also, whatever products you use after exfoliation are absorbed far better by the skin and are therefore a lot more effective.

Use a facial brush every night. That way you remove every trace of oil, dirt and make-up, while also exfoliating and massaging the skin – all in one step.

Try an at-home-microdermabrasion thrice a week. It sloughs off the top layer of your skin to reveal the healthy layer beneath. Just don’t forget to slather on a serum and moisturizer immediately after to protect the new skin.

Tip: If your skin is sensitive, use a washcloth along with a mild facewash to gently remove dead skin cells. And stay away from scrubs and microdermabrasion, which can really irritate your skin.

4. Tone and soften your skin.

justin cooper

So now that you have removed all the bad stuff from your skin, it’s time to start adding the good stuff. So what exactly does a toner do and is it a step worth missing? You decide.

A good toner (based on your skin needs) does quite a few things:

  1. It balances the PH of your skin after cleansing.
  2. It acts as a pre-moisturizer and starts the hydration process in your skin.
  3. It preps your skin so that the products that will follow, will be absorbed quickly by the skin.
  4. It leaves you refreshed with a nice dewy look.

Change your technique. Forget the cotton ball method. Instead use your finger to gently ‘pat pat pat’ the toner onto your skin for 30 seconds for better absorption and circulation.

Ditch a toner if contains alcohol. Especially if you have oily/acne-prone skin. Toners containing alcohol over dry your skin, causing your skin to overcompensate and produce more oil.

Think of a toner as a softener. It should contain ingredients that nourish your skin, not strip it.

Tip: Try green tea as a toner to combat break-outs. It’s pretty impressive. Prepare a cup, pour in into a bottle or spritzer and store in your fridge for no more than 3 days. Use and see your skin clearing up.

Try these simple steps every day for a month, and watch your skin literally transform before your eyes. You’re welcome!

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