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In recent years, the world of skincare has been completely revolutionised by the rise of beauty bloggers and YouTubers. Like never before, the amount of information available to all consumers on how to care for our skin has exploded. From beauty gurus trialing and reviewing endless products on our behalf, to bloggers such as Caroline Hirons and Nadine Baggott who have worked in the industry for years and can offer us their professional expertise with the science to back it up.
With all of this information on what is the most effective skin care routine, what is a fad and what is effective, and how and when to use each kind of active ingredient, it now sounds pretty old hat to revert to the topic of a ‘proper cleanse’. However, now that I look back and reflect on my skin care routine and how different it is from when I was younger, the main thing I am grateful for is the habit of always thoroughly cleansing and giving up on the wasteful and ineffective wipe.
The minute I heard that trying to use cleansing wipes to break down and remove makeup and SPF was actually a pretty futile endeavour, I was put off from using what I had thought was the most convenient and obvious method. Having worked in beauty retail, I had heard that a certain brand admitted to staff-in-training that you really need to use at least 7 wipes to really remove all base makeup –7!
Even worse for me was the knowledge that this ineffective cleansing probably meant that my skincare was not soaking into to my skin and that I was wasting the products that I had invested in. As someone who loves endlessly researching and trying new skin care, I was not at all happy with this revelation and immediately quit the quick and easy cop-out.
Or did I?
The thing is that cleansing with something like a cleansing oil is super quick and easy and is actually no less convenient once you’re in the habit of doing it. It also feels so much better; it’s easier to remove eye makeup, face makeup melts away and there’s a noticeable difference in how well your follow-up skincare ‘soaks in’ to your skin.
I have found that the best way, especially with eye makeup is to use a gel, oil or balm cleanser removed with a damp flannel but you can just as easily rinse away gels and oils as they are designed to turn into a ‘milk’ when mixed with water.
My cleansing kit...
My favourite type of cleanser is a gel-to-oil. The gel texture gives you more to work with as it’s less runny than a straight up oil. Both are fantastic for massaging into your face and before you know it you are instinctively adding the facial massage step into your skincare routine without even thinking about it. At the same time as removing your makeup it’s also incredibly relaxing; you get the feeling that you’re calming the muscles in your face, combined with a pleasantly warm sensation as blood rushes to your skin giving you a plumped-up glow. To reference the iconic Clinque cleansing balm, it really feels like you’re taking the day off. Certainly something you’d never achieve even if you used 8 face-wipes a pop.
Do the cleansers leave your face feeling oily? Absolutely not, even when very gently removing with a flannel, no residue is left on your face at all. It all works perfectly; the oil melts the makeup and lifts it from the face, the water from the flannel turns it into a liquid and the flannel absorbs it all. When I first started using a flannel my instinct was to make it too hot and to rub my skin too much, then I began to notice irritation on my cheeks so I took care to be more gentle. I soon realised this was unnecessarily thorough, just pressing a comfortably warm flannel all over your face, on your eyelids and under eyes to help catch the eye makeup, removes everything effortlessly without the need for any zealous rubbing.
Having fairly sensitive skin, especially around the eye area (my hotspot for allergies) oil cleansing is also so much less irritating than using face wipes, or for that matter micellar water. I would always get a sting in and under my eyes using even self-proclaiming ‘sensitive’ face wipes, and so often felt that they weren’t very good for my skin. Occasionally they would also leave my eye area a little raw, with some wipes being worse than others. However with oil, balm and gel cleansers I’ve never had that trouble, I don’t feel that they irritate my skin at all. I also wear extended wear contact lenses and find I have no trouble removing my eye make up this way. If a small amount of oil does migrate into my eye, it migrates straight out again when I place the warm flannel over my eyelids and leaves no lingering film. Much more comfortable than the liquid from micellar water or a wipe.
All in all, I feel that ditching the face-wipe has done wonders for my skin over the last 5 or 6 years. I’m certain that a combination of massaging and truly cleaning my face so that my skincare products can get in there and do their job has helped to maintain the elasticity and brightness of my skin. So if you still find yourself defaulting to a nightly face-wipe, I urge you to get into your bathroom now and trade them in for a few fluffy flannels.
Do you want fries with that shake?
Here are a few product recommendations:
- Flannel wise, I initially picked up 5 or 6 cheap flannels to get me started, this number has since been boosted with some nice editions after they went on my Christmas wish list. Now I have 10-12, I wash them in a hot wash with the towels and keep a supply in my bathroom in a handy storage bag from The White Company (pictured above).
- Cult classic cleansers include Clinique’s Take The Day Off and Caroline Hirons' Double Cleanse Pixi collab. I’ve never tried either of those but they come highly recommended.
- Another famous oil cleanser is the Body Shop’s Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil which works wonders and is one I have often relied on; and although it has a bit of a scent, it is very gentle.
- My current favourite and the cheapest is the B. Clean Melting Gel Cleanser from Super drug at £6.99 and available here (The one I used in the video below). If you’d like to see my cleansing gel in action I’ve done a very low light video of me removing my make-up here. I’m not sure if this emoji -_- or see no evil monkey is more appropriate here; I find watching myself on video more than a little embarrassing!
- If I was to start wearing very heavy eye makeup and I did want a dedicated eye-makeup remover to get things started before my cleanse I would invest in an old favourite of mine: Lancome’s bi-facial eye-makeup remover. It's much more gentle than many of the high street eye-makeup removers that I’ve tried, and instantly given away to a friend with less sensitive eyes, and is extremely effective; no rubbing required.