Why? What? How?
Do you remember someone sitting you down, explaining how your skin works and what you need to do to look after it?
Even what I learned 20 years ago in college has been updated and replaced, as our knowledge of skin science improves and new products arrive on the scene.
So let’s take a look at a misunderstood cornerstone of skincare- the cleanse.
Eve Lom is known as the Queen of the Cleanse. She released her iconic cleansing balm and 7 step cleansing programme, now available at Space.N.K, as the foundation of good skin. I learned a lot about skincare while working for Eve, but I never forgot her telling clients that they wouldn’t polish the floor without first cleaning it (the ladies-who-lunched and appeared regularly in Tatler would nod understandingly in feminine solidarity).
Clean skin has clearer pores, fewer spots and is slower to show signs of ageing; by removing pollution, oils, sweat and makeup from the skin there are fewer free radicals and bacteria causing damage and inflammation. A study by the clever folk at SkinBrands reported that the skin ages seven times faster if left uncleansed overnight.
How & What
There are tons of cleansers on the market. You can spend a fortune quite easily. My preference is for a soap-free cleansing facial wash. Apply with damp hands or to damp skin over the whole face, neck and decollete, massage for a minute, remove with muslin cloth or bamboo cleansing pads.
If you’ve had a full face of make-up, or been in a highly polluted or dusty area, roll out the double cleanse. Unless I’ve been full on gothing it, I just do 2 cleanses with my Nimue Cleansing Gel. If I’ve had serious levels of eye make-up on, I bring in my Bimble Anti-War Paint cleansing balm, as it will obliterate heavy eyeliner and mascara without dragging the delicate skin around the eyes.
In the morning, I take a muslin cloth into the shower with me, cleanse with my Nimue Cleansing Gel again, and remove with the damp cloth. Please don’t stick your face directly under the shower. Most of us will have calibrated the shower temperature to what feels good on our body, and that level of heat won’t do your face any favours!
Dry your face after cleansing, if you leave it to air dry that’s when a lot of the dry & tight feelings appear.
Cleansing wipes- Emergencies Only! If you are using these day in, day out, your skin will not be happy. A lovely layer of sweat, bacteria, dead skin cells and make-up is left on the skin and in your pores. I compare them to letting my dog lick a plate clean : Sure, it LOOKS sparklingly clean, but it’s definitely getting a proper wash before it gets used!
Micellar water- A decent morning option, if you’ve not been sweaty overnight. Still something I’d prefer to use following a proper cleanse.
Cleansing balms- love an oil based cleanser! Some people think these shouldn’t be used on a oily skin, but they are ace for deep cleansing while being gentle, just make sure you’re removing thoroughly.
Exfoliating cleansers- Often a wash with “bits” in it. Not a fan. Exfoliating takes a bit of effort, whatever product you use. Washing your face with these will not magically make your skin smooth. Just get a cleanser.
Soap- Please don’t. Your skin has an acidic barrier and soap will damage this barrier, making your skin more prone to redness, irritation, dehydration and dryness. Think how dry your hands went during Covid when you were washing them lots!
Eve Lom Cleanser. The first solid oil cleanser, absolutely ground breaking for it’s time. Available from Space N.K.
Nimue Cleansing Gel. A soap free cleanser with 1.4% AHAs to improve skin health. There is a Cleansing Gel Lite, without the AHAs but with PHAs to aid skin repair. Available only from qualified and trained Nimue therapists, like myself.
Bimble Anti-War Paint. Lovely coconut oil based cleanser, handmade here in Leeds by another female led small business. Available online from bimble.co , and stocked here at Natural Balance.