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Cleansing demystified

Micellar water, glow-giving gadgets… when did washing your face get so complicated? Here’s what you need to know

W

hy cleanse? It might seem like an obvious question, but can’t we just wash our face with water? ‘For healthy-looking skin, cleansing is an essential first step in any beauty regime,’ says Dr Mike Bell, Boots skincare scientific advisor. ‘It helps remove pollutants, dirt, make-up and excess oil, all of which can cause irritation. A clean complexion is often younger-looking, healthier and glowing.’ Plus, there’s another bonus. ‘Cleansing is believed to allow the penetration of active ingredients applied afterwards, so your regime is more effective,’ adds Simple skincare expert Dr Philippa Lowe.

Take the day off

 Most of us know that we should cleanse twice daily (morning and night), but the game-changer is the bed-time cleanse. ‘It’s vital to shift all the dirt, pollutants, sweat and sebum that have been building up during the day,’ says Alice Hart-Davis, creator of Good Things skincare. This de-gunk has the biggest impact, helping refine pores and prep skin to repair as you snooze. Remember, even doing it quickly is better than not doing it at all.

late night hero

Too tired to cleanse properly? Keep Avène 3-In-1 Make-up Remover*, £11.50/1,150 points (200ml), by your bed. This micellar-cream hybrid takes off everything, even mascara – all you need is a cotton pad.

brush skills

‘Whether it’s manual or electronic, using a facial cleansing brush is proven to remove impurities more effectively than hands alone,’ says Dr Bell. ‘It’s particularly good if you’ve got blocked pores, but avoid using it if you have very dry or sensitive skin.’

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Cleansers with benefits

The latest breed can do more than remove dirt. ‘Today’s trend is for active products with a range of ingredients that offer real, visible gains,’ explains Dr Bell. We’re in!

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PROBLEM: Redness

CLEVER BUY: New YourGoodSkin Nourishing Hot Cloth Cleanser , £8.99/899 points (125ml), contains bisabolol (the active ingredient in chamomile)to help soothe skin.

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PROBLEM: Dryness

CLEVER BUY: New Simple Water Boost Micellar Facial Gel Wash, £6.99/699 points (148ml), contains plant extract, which mimics the moisturising factors in your skin.

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PROBLEM: Dryness

CLEVER BUY: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel*, £12/1,200 points (200ml), is paraben-free, and ideal for those who have oily, sensitive skin.

A LITTLE PAMPERING

‘Think of cleansing as a bit of indulgent me-time,’ says Alice. ‘Work the product carefully into your skin, feel where your facial muscles are tight and massage them gently.’

GEL, CREAM, BALM? IT'S UP TO YOU (not your skin type)!

‘Back in the day, your skin type would dictate the sort of cleanser you could use,’ says Dr Bell. ‘But with clever formulating, formats that are suitable for all skins can be developed, so you no longer have to make a choice based on your complexion type.’ For instance, every cleanser in the new YourGoodSkin range works on all skins. ‘Get something you love using – then it may not feel like such a chore,’ he advises.

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MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE

Foaming wash or gel: New YourGoodSkin Refreshing Face Wash £4.99/499 points (150ml), gives a fresh cleanse.

Cream: For a more moisturising product, we love Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Calming Creamy Cleanser, £7.99/799 points (150ml).

Micellar water: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, £4.99/499 points (400ml), is speedy.

Wipes: New Botanics All Bright Cleansing Facial Wipes £3.49/349 points (25-pack), are ideal for late nights.

Balm: No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm £9.50/950 points (150ml), is best
for an indulgent and relaxing cleanse.

Oil: Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Cleansing Oil £12/1,200 points (150ml), is super luxe.

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TREND ON TRIAL: DOUBLE-CLEANSING

WHAT IS IT?

Experts swear by using two products at night to get skin next-level-clean – something oily to attract ‘oily dirt’ (make-up and sebum), then a water-based product for the remaining ‘washable dirt’ (aka sweat).

DO I NEED IT?

Not every night, but it’s great for times when you’ve been piling on the make-up or city commuting.

HOW TO DO IT

1. Use an oil, balm or micellar cleanser to banish gunk and mascara. We love Lancôme Bi-Facil Visage*, £23.50/2,350 points (200ml).

2. Follow with a brand that can be removed with water, such as Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, £8.99/899 points (236ml).

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THE ‘GOOD CLEANSER’ TEST

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‘It should be close to skin-pH to help respect the skin’s barrier and microbiome,’ says Dr Bell. ‘If your face feels tight immediately after using it, ditch it!’

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NEXT BIG THING: BUBBLE MASKS

Hailing from Korea (where else?), these formulas fizz and bubble on contact with air (not water) for a thorough clean. We like the New Clinique Pep-Start Double Bubble Purifying Mask*, £24/2,400 points (50ml).

*Available in selected stores.

Words Kate Turner Jones Photography Chris Craymer/Trunk Archive, Pixeleyes, Stephanie Rausser Photography

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