Melbourne-based dermatologist Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan agrees cleansing is arguably the most important step, but says duration isn’t necessarily key, rather she recommends focusing on the quality of your cleansing method.
The case for the two-minute cleanse
Vivian says a two-minute cleanse twice a day ensures skin is properly prepared for any products we use throughout the day.
“Cleansing breaks down the oils and dirt present and is a great way to resurface and re-texturise the skin,” he says. “You are also giving your face a massage, stimulating the lymphatic system and bringing new fresh nutrients and blood circulation to the skin. That will leave it buzzing, plump, stimulated.”
Try cleansing in the shower (being careful the water isn’t too hot) or playing your favourite song to pass the time.
As with all new routines, it’s important to monitor your skin’s reaction.
“If your skin is not responding positively to the two-minute cleanse fairly instantly, then pull back on time, pressure and frequency. Your skin may need to build up over time, or find another technique.”
What about over cleansing?
Dr Gunatheesan warns that cleansing too much can lead to increased sebum or oil production. She recommends only cleansing at night, and splashing the face with water in the morning followed by actives such as niacinamides, vitamin c and antioxidants that help to act “synergistically” with any night-time actives you may be using.
As well as over cleansing, Vivian explains there is also danger in using too much product. Before adding additional products like serum or exfoliator to your skincare routine, he suggests getting your cleanser, moisturiser and SPF right.
Technique, temperature and tools
Vivian says your own (sterilised) fingers with a skin-type appropriate cleanser are the best tools when it comes to cleansing your face. While Vivian isn’t opposed to cloths and devices, he says it is important they’re cleaned regularly, or you could be asking for trouble. As for the duration? Whether you choose a 30-second or two-minute cleanse, be sure to monitor how your skin reacts – everyone is different, and you want to avoid over cleansing for the reasons stated above.
Tie your hair back first to ensure you are reaching around the hairline where congestion and make-up linger. If you are wearing make-up, Vivian recommends a double-cleanse for 30 seconds to a minute first. Then with spread apart fingers (to cover more surface) move in a circular upwards motion across your face, particularly the T-zone, and then down to your chest around the neck and behind the ears.
“Use clean hands and firm pressure and focus on areas of concern or build up with intention,” he says.
Water temperature should be warm to ensure you are loosening daily grime by opening your pores, and not inflaming and dehydrating the skin, particularly if you have rosacea and acne concerns.
After you have dabbed your face with a clean towel, move on to your other skincare products.
“In the morning apply ingredients that protect your skin, mainly SPF and antioxidants, and at night apply rejuvenating ingredients to repair and restore like vitamin a and alpha-hyrdroxy acids,” says Vivian.
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Nicole Economos is an online producer for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.