Cleanse the day away and drift to sleep with these great skin cleansers

Cleansing is a restorative ritual which can help decompress both the mind and body

From left to right: Skingredients Sally Cleanse; Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil; WISHFUL Clean Genie Cleansing Butter; Uriage Thermal Micellar Water; Curél Foaming Facial Wash.

From left to right: Skingredients Sally Cleanse; Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil; WISHFUL Clean Genie Cleansing Butter; Uriage Thermal Micellar Water; Curél Foaming Facial Wash.

 

I never tire of talking about cleansing. Far from being another ho-hum task on an endlessly expanding list of daily activities which keep you afloat but don’t feel satisfying, cleansing is an oasis in the day.

For me, it triggers the winding down process that decompresses the mind and body for sleep. Of course, you should cleanse your face in the morning too, but that cleanse is more perfunctory; eliminating the crust and crud of hours spent in a mysterious state of un- or semi-consciousness. We come back to life each morning, and before we drag out the to-do list, the obligatory ablutions must be performed.

At night, though, I am elevated by an inescapable sense of the day concluding itself – either because I feel buoyed from having made good use of it, or because I don’t, and have given myself permission to shrug it off and try again tomorrow.

Cleansing is a ritual that gets your hands on your skin, requires some massage and feels restorative (especially watching the day’s murky residue rush down the drain). Just as lovely, it is the single most important skincare step for good, balanced, clear skin, no matter your age or skin type.

If the skin is not completely clean (without being stripped or irritated), it can neither utilise your skincare products nor provide a good canvas for makeup. It will also tend to be patchier, duller and more congested. If you wear makeup or SPF, cleansing twice nightly with cool or warm (never hot – it dehydrates the surface of the skin) water and a fluffy, robust flannel will transform your skin.

An oil-based cleansing balm like WISHFUL Clean Genie Cleansing Butter (€35 at boots.ie) is a dream to cleanse with, melting away all traces of makeup (including mascara) instantly and emulsifying to leave no residue. It also has a wonderfully light texture for a balm. Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil (€19 at caudalie.com) is an oil formulation that also works hard and leaves no trace. It is wonderfully bland, and will not anger or clog the skin.

Skingredients Sally Cleanse (€25 at arnotts.ie) is ideal for breakout-prone skin – I like it best for morning. The salicylic acid in it is clarifying but the formula isn’t at all drying. Another great morning option is Curél Foaming Facial Wash (€17.50 at boots.ie).

I loathe foams in general as they tend to be stripping and dehydrating but this one is especially for dry skin, and produces an abundant, silken creamy mousse that feels beautiful even during the anxious brevity of a morning cleanse. Mine lives happily in the shower.

Finally, if you are too tired or riddled with ennui of an evening to cleanse properly, use a micellar water and some cotton pads to cleanse in bed. I like Uriage Thermal Micellar Water (€14.50 at selected pharmacies nationwide) because it is abundant and very effective. Micellar waters may not be glamorous, but they’re far better for skin than sleeping in your makeup.

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