Thoroughly cleansed skin is the key to any look. No matter how much makeup you put on afterwards, you need to get the basics right! And once you've got your skin into tip top condition, you can even brave the outside world makeup free! Many of you may have this routine down, but for those still learning about the basics of skincare, or for lasses who need to treat their tired skin and go back to skincare 101, here's the lowdown...
Exfoliating is a key element in your cleansing routine. It works to remove congestion that can build up in pores (caused by dead skin cells and day-to-day dirt and grime) and really helps remove any residue left behind by makeup, especially if you use products with SPF, or primers, as these can really stick to your skin - great for what they're supposed to do, not so good for when you want to remove them! Exfoliating works best when done up to 3 times a week - don't go too overboard. There are a few different kinds of exfoliants, and the kind you choose will depend on your skin...
The first kind is a manual exfoliant. These are the ones that feel like scrubs - they usually contain tiny little particles to buff your skin and physically slough away at your skin. These scrubs are better suited to younger skin, and skin that isn't susceptible to sensitivity, as the scrubbing motion, even when used gently and with a very refined formula can leave these skin types red and agitated. For younger skin that may suffer from a break out to from time to time, as well as combination skin, try a manual exfoliant, like my personal fave, the U Skin Solutions Clean and Go Exfoliating Gel. Containing calendula and Tea-Tree Oil, plus super small bamboo beads, this manual exfoliant smells like a dream and is instantly refreshing! Another pick? The Be in Awe Samskrta Skin Polish which contains micro jojoba beads for a gentle exfoliating effect.
The second kind of exfoliant is a chemical exfoliant. This isn't as scarey as it sounds! What it means is, rather than using grains or sandy ingredients to buff skin, these exfoliants use a combination of exfoliating ingredients - like fruit acids for instance - to dissolve away dead skin cells, leaving your complexion fresh. One of my top picks for this kind of exfoliant is the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. They contain lactic and glycolic acids, from lemon peel and licorice root leave the skin bright and glowing, as well as cucumber and Indian gooseberry to tone the skin. Because they gently remove dead skin cells, these are perfect for sensitive skinned ladies, who might react to too much scrubbing. Another non-abrasive pick? The Alpha-H Gentle Daily Exfoliant which combines crushed fruit enzymes naturally sourced from papaya and pineapple to refresh and renew.
Next up, is your traditional cleansing step. This step will help you to remove any residue from the day, or, when it comes to cleansing in the morning, removing any excess oil in the skin that's built up over night, or even to remove the residual traces of your anti-ageing or nourishing products from the night before. There are trillions of cleansers on the market, so take a little time considering which one will be right for you. Oily skin? Reach for a cleanser that will help to control your sebum levels. Dry skin? Don't choose a foaming cleanser that will strip your skin further, but a gentle, nourishing one instead. Whichever you choose, remember that leaving your skin feeling tight is not the job of a cleanser - this means it's too harsh for your skin. A few of bb's top all-rounder picks? For all skin types, try the U Skin Solutions Clarifying Cleansing Gel (ace for keeping hydration in whilst cleansing), the Yes to Blueberries Age Refresh Smoothing Daily Cleanser (perfect for mature skin) is another winner and the One Skin System Renewal Cleanse is a good pick for troubled skin that gets blockages easily.
Remove the rest
My final tip for thoroughly cleansing is to remove the rest. Sometimes you may have exfoliated and cleansed your way to pretty clean skin, but there might be a little makeup left over. I love running a cotton pad covered in a cleansing water or a 'makeup' wipe over my face just before toning (more on that another time!) to really make sure I've taken everything off. The new generation of wipes and cleansing waters are so refreshing and nourishing that they actually help you on your way to moisturising. Try the uber popular Bioderma Crealine H20 - a firm favourite at bb! - or the nourishing WOTNOT Facial Wipes which contain all natural ingredients, like aloe, rosehip oil and Vitamin E.