One of the most vital of all skincare steps is cleansing. This should always be your first step, whether you are doing your morning or evening skincare routine (and yes, you should have a morning and an evening routine). Cleansing is important because your skin needs to be clean before you go to sleep and before you put makeup on in the morning in order to help the makeup go on well and to prevent skin issues such as breakouts. Even if you don’t wear makeup, you still need to take care of your skin, so cleansing is essential. Cleansing will remove all makeup, dirt, oil, and other impurities from your skin. Even if you don’t typically wear makeup, it is still important to thoroughly cleanse your skin because oil and dirt will clog your pores. Cleansing your skin will help prevent acne, skin complexion problems, and clogged pores.

It is important to cleanse your skin with a product that is right for your skin type. If you have dry skin, look for either an oil based cleanser or a cream one. Combination skin types should use gel or foaming cleansers, and people with oily skin should use a foaming cleanser. If you find a cleanser with microbeads or some other rough texture, save it to use only as an exfoliator, which will be covered in the next chapter.

How to Cleanse Properly?

Before you begin cleansing, you should remove your makeup with a standard makeup wet wipe or liquid makeup remover. You can skip this step and move straight on to the cleanser, but your cleansing step will be more effective if you go ahead and get some of the makeup out of the way. Use a wet wipe or a cotton pad soaked with liquid makeup remover to gently swipe the makeup off of your eyes. Swipe over your face as well to remove the top layer of foundation or powder. You want to be extra careful while cleansing around  your eyes; they are very delicate. With the top layers of makeup out of the way, you’re ready to cleanse. You want to cleanse your skin thoroughly, but you also want to be gentle. If you cleanse too roughly, you run the risk of developing early signs of aging. You can also damage your skin beyond repair. Cleansing with a washcloth can actually be more damaging than you might think. Most women tend to scrub roughly at their skin with a washcloth and a cleanser, but there are more effective ways. A washcloth will pull at your skin too much, making it easier to develop wrinkles and uneven texture. Instead, you should consider using your fingers or purchasing a gentle face tool. Using your fingers has some advantages. For starters, it’s free! You don’t have to worry about replacing cleansing tools or ensuring that your tools are clean. Fingers are great for distributing a cleanser around your face, but they aren’t the most effective at cleansing deeply. You’ll really only get at the surface dirt if you use your fingers. You may want to consider getting a cleansing tool, such as a Clarisonic or a Luna. Both of these tools are gentle on the skin and use vibrations to help loosen the dirt and makeup trapped in the pores. You can cleanse your skin much more effectively with a cleansing tool. You can also purchase little silicone cleansing pads. These are relatively cheap and are also gentle on the skin. They are also easy to maintain and you don’t have to replace them very often. Most importantly, you want to avoid using a washcloth or any abrasive cleansing materials on your face. Look for gentle silicone or vibration based products—avoid all face brushes that use rough bristles! All types of cleansers mentioned above, except for oil cleansers, can be used the same way. Foaming, cream, and gel cleansers should be spread over a damp face and rubbed into the skin with your finger or a cleansing tool. Most types of face washes should lather. Spend around 2 to 4 minutes cleansing your face, then rinse with warm water and pat dry with your hands. Don’t use a towel to dry your face! It has the same type of effect that a washcloth does! Oil cleansers, on the other hand, operate a bit differently. These cleansers are best for people with dry skin; however, anyone can use them. They are very hydrating and work to gently break up the makeup and dirt on your skin before you even begin washing. They’re one of the gentlest types of cleansers. Oil cleansers have been available in Asia for quite some time now, but recently, a few Western brands have released their own oil cleansers. To use an oil cleanser, you want to start with a completely dry face. If you removed your makeup first, allow your skin time to dry. Also, ensure your hands are dry. Use about two pumps of the oil and warm it up in your hands first. Then,  spread it evenly over your face. Massage the oil for one to two minutes. Next, wet your hands with warm water and emulsify the oil on your face. Adding water to the oil on your face will cause it to  turn milky or white in color. Don’t put too much water, or you will wash it off! Use just enough water to make it white, and continue massaging for another 2 minutes. You should feel the dirt and dead skin start to break free from your skin. Finally, rinse the oil and all of the dirt off with warm water and pat your skin to dry. No matter what kind of cleanser you choose to use, it’s important to remember to cleanse your skin twice a day. Cleansing your skin regularly is necessary for healthy, radiant skin. Remember to be gentle!