Somewhere in between stocking up on bubble (fluffy face, anyone?), getting all technical with and mixing beauty dust (yep, totally a thing) into our morning smoothies, we seem to have forgotten about the most important step in any skincare routine: cleansing aka washing your face.
And nope, we're not talking a quick once-over with a face wipe while catching up on Love Island.
A deep cleanse is never more essential than in the evening, although, it's more than just a way to remove post-work make-up.
Throughout the day, airborne bacteria and pollution is attracted to your skin, and if they aren't washed away properly, they could potentially contribute to ageing, pigmentation and breakouts. No thank you.
The best way to stop this from happening? Doubling cleansing.
If you're not sure what we're going on about, double cleansing involves using a cleansing oil, balm or water to break down make-up, and sebum on the surface of your skin first, then following it with a deeper water-based cleanse.
'This removes sweat, bacteria and old skin cells,' says Dr. Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at the , something Rabbia Aslam, Clinical Director at , seconds.
'A second round of will clean much deeper into the pores to remove any impurities,' she says.
For the first round, it's best to wash your face until there isn't a single trace of make-up visible on the cotton pad. If you wear a lot, this could take three, four or even five goes, but if you've spent time putting make-up on, it makes sense to spend time taking it off, right?
Once you've removed the surface grime, it's time for a fully-fledged water-based cleanse - and that doesn't mean a quick splash.
'Whether you are double cleansing or not, be sure to massage your cleanser in for a minute to thoroughly remove make-up, toxins, pollution and buildup,' says clinical facialist, , something which Dr. Anjali reiterates.
'Taking at least a minute to do a water-based cleanse will ensure you gain all the benefits from your cleanser and its ingredients,' she says. 'On average, most people only spend about twenty seconds on cleansing, which isn't enough time to massage the cleanser in properly.' And just like brushing our teeth, Rabbia even suggests upping washing time to two minutes if you can.
The temperature of the water matters, too. Too hot and you could risk irritating the skin, according to cosmetic surgeon and skin expert , especially if you suffer from acne or skin conditions such as rosacea, so it's best to rinse with water that is lukewarm.
A quick wash and go might seem like the only option at the end of a long day, but according to Kate and Rabbia, if you wear a full face of heavy make-up, double cleansing is the best way to ensure your skin is free from every single scrap.
A quick go with a will do nothing to properly dislodge foundation and pollution particles, and if all of that is left on your skin overnight, you aren't giving your skin cells the best chance at regenerating which means no plump, youthful complexion for you.
'Double cleansing each evening will also brighten any dullness, ultimately lifting the complexion,' says Rabbia, who is an advocate of incorporating a second, deeper, exfoliating cleanse into any regime to slough away the dead skin cells that are sitting on the surface.
This evening cleanse will allow serums, moisturisers and clever night-time leave-on products like retinols to penetrate and work their magic much more efficiently - something Dr. Jonquille seconds.
Double cleansing is especially important if you're a city dweller being exposed to high pollution levels daily, explain Kate and Dr. Anjali. 'Whilst there are no rigorous scientific trials that show the anti-ageing benefits of double cleansing, there is plenty of evidence that suggests pollution and environmental toxins can accelerate the ageing process,' Dr. Anjali says.
'Your need to double cleanse really does depend on your lifestyle.'
There are also so many benefits for those with acne-prone skin - as long as they're using the right cleanser - but more on that later.
'By cleansing twice, you're ensuring that both the first layer of sebum, make-up, sunscreen and deeper layers of pore bacteria, which can all aggravate acne, are removed,' explains Dr. Anjali.
While your skin needs to be cleansed twice a day - morning and evening - a double cleanse isn't always necessary - especially when you wake up in the morning.
What a single water-based cleanse will do, though, is prepare your skin to absorb day creams and moisturisers better, so that you get a lot more out of them. Save the micellar water for the P.M, people. That said...
'We need to be sensible about cleansing,' says Anjali, 'as over-washing can lead to dryness, sensitivity and irritation. The ideal cleanser should be sulphate-free to avoid stripping the skin of it's natural oils, and it's important not to rub the skin too harshly.'
But if you think you might be over-washing your skin, it could be a good idea to change your cleanser before giving up completely. 'You need to select formulas that re-balance the skin,' says Kate.
'Irritation occurs when things like bars of soap are used and they can upset the barrier function of the skin, disrupting the acid mantle. Because of this repetitive cleansing twice a day, the skin doesn't have the time to repair itself to these adverse reactions.'
According to Dr. Jonquille, it's so important to use the right cleanser for your skin type, regardless of if you are double cleansing or not, because when the surface barrier is repaired, the sensitivity is resolved.
The Best Cleansing Duos For Your Skin Type:
Oily and Acne Prone Skin:
- Bioderma Sebium H2O Micellar Water - £10.80
A favourite backstage at Style Week, this cuts through heavy make-up in seconds and regulates sebum to leave skin perfectly matte and free from spots.
- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel - £18
On contact with water, this transforms into a light whip that leaves skin feeling squeaky clean minus the tight and uncomfortable feel.
- Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm - £23
Once massaged into the skin, Clinique's balm-come-oil works super hard to dislodge make-up, daily grime, pollution and stubborn sunscreen.
- Zo Skin Health Hydrating Cleanser - £32
The moisturising and hydrating benefits of Zo's satisfyingly silky cleanser are more or less unrivalled. Skin feels softer and looks smoother almost instantly.
- Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser - £32
Perfect for those who whose skin is easily irritated, this derm-approved cleanser soothes just as well as it dissolves dirt, make-up and face grease.
- Sönd Gentle Daily Cleanser - £22
This calming, lavender-scented cleanser may not lather up but it works wonders to remove the traces of make-up your initial cleanse may have missed. We saw a huge reduction in redness and breakouts while using it.
- ARK Pre-Cleanse & Make-up Remover - £30
Not even waterproof mascara will win against ARK's clever Pre-Cleanse. Omega 3,6 and 9 melt make-up without stripping the skin, while grape seed and avocado oil lend and intense hit of nourishment.
- Dr. Levy Switzerland 3 Deep Cell Renewal Micro-Resurfacing Cleanser - £39
This provides an impressive deep cleanse thanks to the added AHAs, which gently exfoliate dull skin on the surface and work to speed up cell renewal at a deeper level. It also doubles up as an amazing face mask - hello glow!