It was reading Caroline Hirons’s skincare blog that got me into double cleansing in my early 20s, and it made the single greatest difference to my skin of any topical change or product.
Within a week of cleansing nightly with an oil or balm cleanser, and then again directly after with a lighter one to remove every whisper of makeup and SPF, you will notice your skin looking brighter, becoming less congested, and being more responsive to products you apply after cleansing, like serums.
If you only have time to make one major change to your skincare routine (provided you are wearing SPF – for the love of God, don’t forgo that), it must be a proper double cleanse. Without it, you might as well be rubbing your expensive serums into your couch rather than your face.
The new Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser with Bamboo Booster (€33 at Space NK and cultbeauty.co.uk) is the perfect first cleanse. The oily balm melts every trace of makeup, including eye makeup, and flannels away to leave the skin feeling in no way tight, but deliciously clean and fresh. The bamboo booster is an added exfoliant option, best used when the skin has no makeup on it.
Follow up your oil or balm with any good quality cleanser you like. However, it makes sense to choose a different texture – normally something a bit lighter. Alpha H Balancing Cleanser (€29.95 at cultbeauty.co.uk) is creamy and effective, and also works beautifully as a morning cleanse. Just massage it in and remove it with a damp, warm (not hot – this dehydrates the surface of the skin) flannel.
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Balm is an iconic first cleanse, but the brand has just released Emma Hardie Moringa Light Cleansing Gel (€47 at marksandspencer.com). It contains no different ingredients to the balm, but fewer of them, and has the same signature fragrance, but with a much lighter texture. The gel to oil to milk texture is perfect for younger skins, men, and anyone who enjoys a lighter consistency.
Similarly light is The White Company Super Balm Gentle Daily Deep Cleanser (€33 from the White Company on Grafton Street in Dublin and thewhitecompany.com). The White Company's founder, Chrissie Rucker, started as a beauty journalist, and teamed with Deciem, known for cult skincare brand the Ordinary, to create this gorgeous capsule collection of skincare, which is unjustifiably not widely known. The Cleanser is also a gel to oil to milk, feels sensational on the skin, and is perfect for facial massage.
I follow it with Lixir Electrogel Cleanser (€29 at fetchbeauty.com), a gel-cream cleanser that swiftly dissolves makeup and leaves the skin feeling impeccably, comfortably clean.
The White Company Face cloths (€20 for a set of three from the White Company on Grafton Street and thewhitecompany.com), which are double sided, are new to me, but I'm a convert. I mistreat my face cloths thoroughly – constant, hot washes wear down feebler specimens, but these tolerate the abuse and remain structurally intact and fluffy.