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How to cleanse your skin properly

Do you know what the most important step in your daily skincare routine is? Forget serum layering, two-step peels and multi-masking: how you cleanse makes all the difference between a mediocre complexion and fresh, healthy, glowing skin. NEWBY HANDS explains how to do it right


Why good cleansing makes sense

If your face isn’t properly clean, then any products you use afterwards (such as active serums and potent creams) won’t be able to do their job well. “Makeup is made to sit on the skin, while a serum is created to sink into the skin,” explains facialist Joanna Vargas. “If you haven’t cleansed your face properly in the evening, then all those actives can’t get into the skin to help repair and renew it overnight. No matter how premium your products are, they just sit on your skin doing little to nothing.”

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How to cleanse skin properly

Don’t worry about double cleansing or even triple cleansing – just one cleanse, done properly, is enough. Some dermatologists have reported seeing an increase in patients with dry, sensitive skin from overzealous cleansing that strips away both dirt and the skin’s naturally protective oils. “It need not take long – you just want to make sure you clean the city off your skin each evening,” says Vargas. “Get your hair up and out of the way so you can clean into the hairline; during every deep-cleansing facial I do, I have to remove blackheads along the side of the client’s face. Women clean the central part of their face really well but not the sides.”

Like me, Vargas is a fan of old-school face cloths (“but launder them after every use”) because they lightly exfoliate as they clean the skin. “Apply your cleanser to your skin and then massage in with a warm, damp cloth in small circles, as this also gets the lymph moving and so helps to depuff the face.” And if you are using water, make sure it’s tepid – hot water can strip off the protective oils, “which then throws off your skin’s hydration levels,” says Vargas. “Leave the hot water for cleaning your floor, never your face.”

Where you need to cleanse

Do as your grandmother told you and always clean behind your ears (it’s amazing how much scent and foundation can stay hidden there) and the back of your neck. Remember that the sides of the neck often show discoloration and aging sooner than other areas – plus, if you wear your hair up or tied back, everyone else gets a clear view of the area behind your ears and the nape of your neck.

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The A-lister beauty tip

“The water in most cities is so hard today, with high levels of chlorine and minerals, that I always encourage my clients to use bottled water on their face when they travel,” says Vargas. “This tip is not just for celebrities – it makes a real difference. And get a water filter for your home – it’s amazing for your skin.”

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The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.