We are the Queens of Clean – always have been – but we know many, many women who are so bored by cleansing that they skimp (and even occasionally skip) this important part of the anti-ageing ritual. You can spend hundreds of pounds on an anti-ageing cream (if you really must…) – but it’s money down the drain if you aren’t cleansing properly.
The reason is simple: unless you’ve got rid of the daily build-up of dead skin cells, your anti-ager is just going to sit there. Doing not very much at all. Quite expensively…
Cleansing in this specific way – as espoused originally by Eve Lom and now many, many happy and fresh-faced followers – is, in our experience, the most effective way to swoosh away the day and ‘prep’ skin for everything that comes next. (A new favourite, meanwhile, is the Dizzolv’It MakeUp Melt, which Gill has introduced us to – the first cleansing balm we’ve been able to recommend to friends, like Gill, who suffer reactions to essential oils. And darned effective it is, too.)
Step 1 Massage your cleanser into dry skin – balm, lotion, cream, whatever your preference. (Ideally at this stage in life you will have progressed from foaming cleansers, which in general are too drying for mature complexions. And if you’re still using soap and water? Stop. Right. Now.)
Step 2 When we say massage, we mean massage. Ideally, use a pressure-point massage, making firm, small circular movements starting at chin-level and working up the cheeks to the eye zone, then shifting along the jaw-bone towards the ears (a distance of around 1.5 cm.), mid-cheek, cheekbones. And then the same on your forehead. Sweep your fingers more gently around the eyes in a circular but outward directions.
But – important BUT – if you can’t be bothered to follow that precise prescription, just general firm massage of your face using circular movements will work wonders for melting make-up, improving circulation, and decongesting the skin. You can do this for as long as you like. We recently talked to a Frenchwoman who explained that in France, it’s not unusual to spend ten minutes on cleansing. We award ourselves Brownie points if we manage two, but really, the longer you knead your face with your fingertips the more it will reward you for it.
Step 3 Take a hot, wet cloth –a muslin cloth, or a flannel (Sarah prefers that). Press onto the face to remove the first load of cleanser and debris. Rinse under hot water (warm-to-hot water if you are prone to broken veins), then be a bit more vigorous as you swipe away more of the cleanser. (NB Never rub at areas where you have those aforementioned vein problems.) Repeat, until you feel you’ve swooshed away all remaining cleanser.
Step 4 Rinse the cloth again and wrap a corner of the flannel or cleansing cloth over the tip of your index finger. Rub at areas where skin and make-up build up – particularly in the crease around the nose, the cleft of the chin, and the sides of your face. If you do this, you may never need to use a specific exfoliator. (We rarely do.)
Step 5 As a final step, try swishing the flannel/cloth in cool water and press it on your face. (Jo does this while imagining the day and all its stresses is trickling away down the plug-hole. It isn’t compulsory, but she finds it a relaxing technique…)