Thorough cleansing is absolutely necessary for optimal skin health. In my opinion, cleansing, alongside exfoliation, are the two steps that outweigh all others in terms of importance (save for sun protection) in a skincare routine. They are the ones that make the most difference. You don’t need the $70 floral water spray, and you don’t need the $150 moisturizer, but you do need to wash your face properly. Twice a day, every day. If you skimp on cleansing but splurge everywhere else, you’re wasting your money. Also, mixing face wipes with a high-tech serum just sounds wrong, doesn’t it?
I am an unwavering devotee of the hot cloth method. To quote Sali Hughes (icon!), simply put, it is “the correct way to cleanse.” Although I follow up with a chemical exfoliator in liquid form after, the hot cloth method does provide a mild degree of physical exfoliation. To use, you will require three things: a fluffy face cloth, a balm/cream/lotion/milk cleanser, and hot water. Start by soaking the cloth in hot water (hot water, but not third-degree-burn-causing hot water) and holding it over the face for a few seconds. Repeat this a few times. The steam from the cloth will soften the skin, and loosen the dead cells of the uppermost layers that make your complexion look grey/dull. At this point, the skin shouldn’t be wet, but it should be slightly dampened and warm from the steam. Apply the cleanser—a generous quarter-sized amount for cream/lotion cleansers, or the tip of a cosmetic spatula for balm cleansers—to the skin, and work it in with massaging movements. Soak the cloth in hot water again, and wring out. Fold the cloth into a square or diamond shape to retain the heat inside it. While the cloth is still hot, gently wipe away the cleanser. The cloth should be hot at all times while doing this—once the heat is gone, run under hot water again, and wring out. This might take a few times before all the cleanser is removed. Splash the face with warm water to finish the cleanse, and pat dry with a clean towel. If you’ve never done this before, give it a go—you will be hooked. Please note that this does not work well with liquid/gel/foaming cleansers. I reserve this method for creams and balms only, which just so happen to be my preferred texture in a facial cleanser.