I know I have said this before but cleansing the face every morning and night is an absolute must for healthy skin. FULL STOP! And by this I mean a thorough cleanse - as opposed to just moving the dirt and grime over the face with a face wipe or cloth. No better time to for a fresh start - with Spring soon to spring and the daffodils waiting to burst open....
There is absolutely no point in spending money on beautifully packaged serums and creams unless you are working from a clean slate. Aside from the fact that other products won't penetrate effectively if the skin is not clean, imperfectly cleaned skin is also a fertile breeding ground for bugs etc (think spots and more). Skin wipes may suffice once in a while but they are not up to much....
Further, lack of time is no excuse either as an effective cleanse only takes 2-3 minutes (depending on if you are single or double cleansing. Balm cleansers are far and away my favourites especially during the colder, drier months when my middle-years skin needs all the nourishment it can get. They are gentle yet thorough and my skin feels soothed and nourished, rather than stripped and tight. During the summer months I use a mix of cleansing balms, creams and gentle exfoliators.
AS you know there are many great brands on the market - and even more very average to poor ranges. For double cleansing - you absolutely can't beat Pestle & Mortar Erase and Renew (more on this here) - this is far and away my favourite. This boutique brand is ethical (which sadly is not the norm these days), all of their niche products really do what is says on the packaging and they are Irish (I'm always keen to support our own).
My other favourite cleansers are Alexandra Soveral iconic Angel Balm (of course!) which also doubles up as a soothing balm for lips, dry patches and cuticles, Aromatherapy Associates Gentle Rose Exfoliator (a great wake-up call for my skin) and Liz Earle great for every skin - especially great for teenagers starting out on their skincare journey (see more here). use exfoliating types (AA - lIz Earel - a couple of times a week to wake up my skin - as long as noy harsh....should also be hydrating....clean fresh and with a hint of that vital glow...
I like to use a facecloth or muslin (these are now included with many cleansers) especially for my evening cleanse. I rarely use my fingers as to me they just pat the skin's surface, always wipe off with warm (not hot!) water (I have been reliably informed that hot water can in fact damage the out layers of the skin - I stand to be corrected on that though?). It goes without saying that you should only use a clean cloth held under a warm water tap. Then rinse and repeat until all traces of make-up and grime are removed.
Our Skin and Circadian Rhythms
Research has shown that as our skin synchronises with the body’s natural circadian rhythms evening skin healing and repair can start as early as dusk, with the skin moving slowly into repair mode as the sun goes down. It makes sense then to remove the day’s grime and thoroughly cleanse the skin as early as possible in the evening to maximise skin repair through the night.
Another worth checking out is Ilapothecary's Powerful Purifying Face Scrub - the brainchild of the hugely passionate Denise Leicester, founder of the beautifully natural, ethical Ila range and while I haven't yet tried this scrub, I'm sure it is a wonderful for and on and skin as everything else Denise puts her creative genius to.
Exfoliation & Skin Peels
A word of warning about over-zealous exfoliation and skin peels (think peel pads, peel enriched toners, AHAs etc). The are hugely popular now and while they do have a role, many of these are harsh and can strip the skin of all its goodness, leaving it thin and fragile with the outer protective skin barrier scrubbed to nothing. Yes, peels have a place but not everyday and not on every skin type – stop scrubbing - be gentle. For specific advice ask your dermatologist.