Beauty and the beast: obsessed with cleansing

Following all the nice comments on my last beauty post, I figured it might be a good idea to bore you with another. If there’s ever anything you want to ask me about, hair and beauty-wise, then feel free to send me an email or leave a comment. It may not come across in my often illiterate ramblings, but it is what I get paid for.

Today I want to share the joy of double cleansing. It’s an ancient practice but barely anyone seems to do it in Europe — and no, using a baby wipe to get your mascara off does not count. I first got in to double cleansing a couple of years ago after one of the International Dermal Institute‘s always  fascinating lectures. Despite knowing it would be perfect for my skin type, I didn’t actually get round to doing it regularly until this year as I’m a lazy fucker. I started in earnest in January and am pleased to report marvelous results. [Short version for the tl;dr crowd: fewer blackheads, zero zits, no greasy goon face.]

Here’s the theory. It’s really simple, but I’m probably going to make it sound tediously complicated. Basically, if you have oily skin or wear facial makeup, your cleanser has to cut through that before it can get to your skin and do the real dirty work. That’s not to say your normal cleanser isn’t working, but it could probably be working better if it didn’t have all that shit to deal with first. My Liz Earle is great at getting makeup off, but the cloth gets coated in a thick layer of fake tan and black mascara before it can really start working in earnest and if you’re short on time it can be easy to look down at the grubby cloth and assume the work is done. Using a pre-cleanser or oil cleanser will get all the makeup and oil off your face so that when you go in for the kill with your actual cleanser, it’s going to get deep down and dirty straight away and really make a difference. Makes sense?

As you probably know, I’m a Liz Earle devotee and using Cleanse & Polish definitely improved my skin by about one million percent, but I was still prone to hormonal breakouts (those ones around the jaw) and blackheads. Since I started double cleansing with oil, I don’t. For real! Coincidence? I don’t know. My hormonal breakouts used to be so predictable. Without getting too disgustingly TMI, gross red spots on the jaw would appear literally down to the hour that my period came. GROSS I KNOW SORRY.

So my technique goes something like this. I use one or two drops of Nude Cleansing Oil and massage it in really thoroughly. Eyes last because who wants to smear black crap all over their face? Nude smells amazing. Secretly I sometimes just sit and smell it to calm myself down. On another fascinating course I did with work I learnt about aromatherapy and jasmine is great for anxiety and stress so… there you go. Anyway, you massage it on to dry skin and then rinse off with warm water. I pat my face dry, then crack out the Liz Earle and cleanse as usual. That probably sounds like it takes ages but the whole thing takes me about three minutes and you only need to do it at night anyway.

I know oily-skinned folk like myself freak out at the concept of using oil to cleanse and I totally get why, but the fear is unfounded. Think back to science class or to those (s)wanky bottles of olive oil where you have two different types sitting on top of each other. ‘Like’ dissolves ‘like’ and one of the best ways to get rid of oil is by using another oil, it’s just a matter of using the right type. I.e., a cleansing oil designed for your face, not a bottle of Bertolli. Excessively stripping oily skin of all its oil with harsh products will only make your body produce more anyway, so being gentle and keeping skin well oiled is actually a smart idea.

Double cleansing with oil has made a huge difference to my skin, got rid of a lot of my blackheads and I can hand on heart tell you that my skin is definitely not made more oily by using it. I hate to say it, but my complexion verges on radiantly healthy these days. I can’t rave about Nude enough, but it’s the only oil cleanser I’ve tried. I know a lot of people have had huge success blending their own, but I’m too lazy to attempt that and have Nude stockpiled so… If the idea of using something called straight-up oil freaks you out too much, there’s always Dermalogica’s best-selling PreCleanse, which you can read about it in more detail here at

Anyway, this is just my experience and of course everyone’s skin is different. It’s also worth remembering that as with any skincare, you won’t see results straight away. It usually takes a month for changes to happen, but in some cases it can be much longer. For me, it’s amazing what a difference this one product has made. I haven’t been for a facial in months but I have one coming up and I’m interested to hear what my dermatologist says about my skin condition now. I’ll report back!

You can read more about oil and double cleansing here! and here!.