TikTok is a wealth of wisdom when it comes to mastering the basics of cleansing. Some tips you can probably pass on, like decanting seawater into a bottle to wash your face at home, but there’s also something quite cathartic about watching someone wash their face.  That’s not to say that one person’s advice can quickly be disproved by another.

A facialist recently told me cleansing was the most important part of any regime. As she explained, cleansing is what best prepares the skin for how you want to treat it (i.e. for the actives and serums you’ve invested your hard-earned in to make your skin look like a glazed doughnut!). Cleansing gets rid of any grime and excess sebum, and will ideally rehydrate at the same time. It’s essential for all skin types, from oily to dry (though no skin types needs harsh, skin-stripping style cleaning), and the cleanser you choose will depend on what your skin needs.

Melanie Grant, go-to facialist and skincare expert (who has just released a book with so many of her secrets titled A Modern Guide to Skin Health) agrees cleansing really is essential.

“Cleansing is crucial because it sets the foundation for an effective regime, both morning and evening. Ensuring you’ve removed sweat, dirt, grime and pollution and freed the pores of impurities will help the actives in your serums and creams to penetrate more effectively, and will prevent any build up from disturbing the skin’s own innate functions of regeneration and repair,” she says.

As for a good night and day cleansing routine, Grant says it should definitely be geared toward ramping it up in the evening.

I’m a firm believer of a good double cleanse in the evenings, first with a gentle milk or oil to break down sun care, makeup and oil and then with a more active formula that incorporates AHAs or enzymes to really deep clean the pores. If you’re strapped for time or are opting for a more streamlined approach, you can always cleanse twice with the same formula, for ease,” she says.

“In the mornings, you don’t need to be as thorough—just a simple splash of tepid water, a gentle milk or gel formula or even a quick swipe of micellar lotion should suffice to remove any residual product from the night before, along with sweat and oil, refreshing the complexion for the day ahead.”

As Grant notes, you can definitely under-cleanse, and over-cleanse too, and there are consequences for both.

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