Should I cleanse my face in the morning (and other pressing questions about cleansing)



Scrub your face with soap and water, preferably under the hot shower, or replace this with face wipes, said no sensible skincare user in their right mind! And that is because soap, hot water and wipes are some of the most damaging yet painfully common cleansing faux pas. If you wonder why, just keep reading.

So should I cleanse my face in the morning?

Presumably you already removed your make-up and thoroughly cleansed your face the night before, then you might have applied your treatments – an acid toner, a retinol cream etc. Shouldn’t your face be pretty clean in the morning after such an elaborate routine? Yes it is clean of debris, make-up or pollution, but not clear of dead cells, sweat and sebum accumulated overnight. Nighttime might be your downtime, but your skin is working hard to regenerate, and the “glow” that you might experience upon awaking is just a nice layer of oil and sweat. A simple, gentle cleanse is just what your skin needs to start the day right.

What is double cleansing and do you really need it?

You might have heard the not-so-recent rumours about a new wave cleansing procedure that has taken over the internet. I believe that Shiseido is one of the major brands that contributed to making double cleansing popular in the western world. Inspired by Japanese skincare rituals, double cleansing was initially performed by geishas when removing the white paint on their faces using oils, the only products that could dissolve thick stage make-up, followed by a foaming cleanser to clear out any oil residue. We might not be wearing paint-like foundations anymore, but the need for double cleansing is still valid. Based on the idea that oil attracts oil, the first step is an oil-based product, such as a balm or a cleansing oil (even raw coconut oil for a minimalistic approach), meant to dissolve make-up, sebum and SPF creams, while the second step is a water-based milk, lotion, gel, foam or even clay, removing sweat and environmental pollution. If you’re one of the lucky few who live in the pure mountains of Switzerland, then you might not need double cleansing at all. Otherwise, get yourself an oil and a milk, together with a bunch of flannels/face towels, and start double cleansing every night.

Double cleansing step by step:

  • Start by removing your eye make-up with a micellar water/eye make-up remover. Alternatively, if your eyes can tolerate it, use the oil cleanser to cleanse the make-up.
  • Massage a couple of drops of the oil-based cleanser onto dry skin, working all over the face with your fingertips to dislocate any sebum, cream or foundation particles. You can emulsify and rinse with water, or wipe with a flannel dampened in warm water. Only use clean, running water.
  • Apply the water-based cleanser, massaging into the skin and removing with the same flannel, after having rinsing the residue from the first step. And you’re all set to continue your skincare routine!

What is so bad about cleansing wipes?

I know they’re meant to be the quick, easy and convenient way to cleanse anywhere and anytime (especially when you’ve had one too many glasses of prosecco and all you want is to jump into bed). But unfortunately wipes don’t work as they are advertised to do, and they end up just dragging debris all over your face without removing much of the harmful substances and even adding some extra chemicals that end up irritating your skin. Give yourself just five minutes to do a decent cleanse and your skin will thank you in the morning.

Why can’t I just use soap to wash my face?

The best quality soaps, enriched with natural extracts and moisturisers, promising not to ever ever dry your skin? They’re all lying! Soaps are based on sulphates, which are essentially detergents that you find in your washing liquid, so would you treat your skin with the same products as you use for your clothes? The drying effect of sulphates can hardly be compensated with the addition of moisturisers, plus soaps can only work when they have a high pH, which is the perfect environment for bacteria to form. And another downsize of soap-induced dryness, especially for oily/problem skin, is that stripping your face of its natural oils makes your skin overcompensate by increasing the sebum production.

Can I cleanse my face in the shower?

Absolutely! But make sure the water is not too hot as it can dry and irritate the skin.

Do I need a cleanser just for the eyes?

Only if your facial cleanser is not suitable for the eyes or if you have sensitive eyes that need delicate care. In these cases, a good micellar water should do the trick – I personally have been using Bioderma Micellar Water for almost 10 years and I can’t live without it.

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