Cleansing is the most important step in your skincare routine. It is the one we tend to be shoddiest about – using facial wipes (which might as well be laced with gin) to dissolve only some of the make-up on the surface, and horribly dehydrating skin in the process. Make-up residue from inadequate cleansing congests the skin, leading to dullness and breakouts. If your skin isn’t prepared, that expensive serum isn’t doing much at all.
The best cleanser for all skin types from dry to very oily is a balm or oil cleanser. The oil spends little time on the face before being rinsed, dissolves make-up without stressing the skin, and doesn’t panic it into producing more oil as drying products do. A great cleanser is nowhere to cut budgetary corners. Always cleanse twice with a flannel or muslin cloth to keep skin in prime condition.
Pixi Nourishing Cleansing Balm (€24): A big tub of sweet almond oil and cocoa seed butter goodness to melt off even stubborn eye makeup. It won't emulsify (turn milky and disappear without residue) though, so I always use it as a first cleanse.
Boots Botanics 97% Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm (€13.49): Like most affordable cleansing balms, this doesn't emulsify and disappear, but it cleanses beautifully with its blend of shea butter, rosehip and jojoba oils. Follow with something that emulsifies.
Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil (€50): With months of daily use, this oil removes all make-up incredibly effectively even on sensitive skin. The texture is lovely.
Vivderma Comforting Gelee Cleanser (€41 at vivderma.com): This looks like a honey-tinted jelly, massages like a balm into the skin, and turns milky on contact with water only to disappear, taking make-up with it.
Super Facialist by Úna Brennan Vitamin C + Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil (€14.49 at Boots.ie): Unlike almost all other affordable oils, this emulsifies and leaves no trace. It has a sunflower and olive oil base, but is silky and excellent overall.
Oskia Renaissance Cleanser (€41.50): This gel massages into skin like an oil and contains pumpkin enzymes to promote cell turnover as well as removing make-up beautifully. Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm (€45): A cleansing behemoth, this balm is as good for rubbing into dry cuticles and elbows or wearing as a face mask as it is for cleansing. It washes away to leave skin feeling wonderfully comfortable.
NUDE Perfect Cleanse Clarifying Cleansing Oil (€38): Omega-rich Pomegranate and cranberry seed oils (among many others) cleanse away every trace of grime and make-up. A little water will turn this into a delicate milk consistency that disappears without a trace of oiliness.
Laura's product of the week: Tom Ford Cream Colour for Eyes in Sphinx (€37): The scent of summer is in the air, and rich metallics suddenly seem less fanciful. This regal gold cream shadow would work as a highlight on tanned skin, but is an eye look all by itself. Simply majestic.