- Monique Alexander
The Essential Cleansing Guide
Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Are you cleansing your skin correctly? Consistent morning and evening cleansing with a suitable cleanser for your skin's current condition is fundamental to maintaining your skin's microbiome and achieving healthy skin with an optimally functioning barrier function. The biggest cleansing related mistake I see in clinic are clients using overly abrasive products, incorrect cleanser usage for their skin condition and not cleansing consistently. Cleansing correctly is key to skin that functions well - get this step right and you will be maintainating the microbiome of your skin and have an optimally functioning protective skin barrier - two elements that are essentail for healthy skin.
The correct cleanser will remove make-up, debris and grime build up , sebum and maintain the pH of your skin. Cleansing should leave your skin with a hydrated feeling rather than the squeaky clean feeling that leaves your skin feeling thirsty for an instant moisture boost.
A single cleanse is sufficient for the morning whilst a double cleanse (you can use the same cleanser twice or mix it up with a balm cleanser as the first cleanse and a gel cleanser as your second cleanse) is recommended for the evening to thoroughly remove make up and SPF.
Cleansing is a ritual and I particularly love this part of my skin care routine - sometimes it is the only time in the day I can take time out for myself. So get cleansing .... your skin will glow all the better for it!
The main categories of cleanser are:
Gel Cleansers: There is a gel cleanser suitable for all skin types, these cleansers are excellent for a thorough cleanse that will remove impurities and control excess sebum without stripping the skin of its protective barrier. These are generally emulsified with water to create a gentle lather. A few of my top picks are the Osmosis Cleanse 200ml £38.00. Cosmedix Benefit Clean 150ml £37.50
OIl / Balm Cleansers: My favourite category of cleanser! Cleverly formulated, nourishing and luxurious, these are a great addition to a cleansing regime - if you are double cleansing - an oil or balm cleanser is perfect for your first cleanse. Gentle but very effective at removing make-up and SPF. Great for multi-tasking and using as a massage medium during your facial cleansing regime. Suitable and gentle enough for all skin types. These can often be emulsified with a little water to form a light milk and best removed with a clean, damp flannel. I use and recommend Cosmedix Purity Solution 100ml £37.50, Osmosis Lift Away 75ml £38.50, REN Rosa Centifolia No 1 Purity Cleansing Balm 100ml £24.00
Acid based AHA / BHA / PHA Cleansers: Containing a low concentration of Alpha Hydroxy acids (eg. lactic acid, madelic acid and glycolic acid), Beta Hydroxy acids (eg. salicylic acid) and the gentler Poly Hydroxy acids (eg. lactobionic). These are great for a deeper cleanse combined with a mild exfoliating action. The perfect choice for skin prone to breakouts and congestion. I am not a fan of over exfoliating the skin so these should be used with caution and not necessarily on a daily basis as they can be abrasive, dehydrate the skin and cause sensitivtity. A firm favourite (that can be used daily) that is so gentle but very effective at deep cleansing the skin without being abrasive and has the added joy of being a multitaker if used as a mask is the Cosmedix Purity Clean exfoliating cleanser 150ml £37.50
Enzymatic Cleansers: These dual purpose cleansers both cleanse and gently exfoliate the skin by dissolving the bonds between the surface skin cells. These are a great addition for skin in need of brightening and for a deep gentle cleanse. My favourites are IS Clinical Warming Honey 120ml £36.00, Osmosis Purify 200ml £38.50
Foaming Cleansers: Becoming popular again - foaming cleansers have newer formulations compared to the older foaming versions that tended to have harsh foaming agents that dehydrated the skin. More suited for normal to oily skins Cera Ve 236ml £9.50 is a good choice.