Once, there was only cold cream when it came to cleansing. Then Estée Lauder and Helena Rubinstein, two ambitious Eastern Europeans with new-fangled ideas about skincare, arrived in Manhattan and beauty routines were never the same again.
But now the cold cream comeback is in full swing. Kate Somerville, a Californian beauty therapist who founded her skincare line after battling with eczema, has just launched a version that would blow our great grandmothers away with its featherweight texture (£41 ).
The very name, cold cream, sounds therapeutic to me. I love the idea of sitting down at a dressing table at the end of the day and coolly wiping away the misdeeds of the previous 10 hours. I love a heavy texture too, as it feels nourishing. But that’s me.
There are a multiplicity of cleansing options and that’s to the good. My reassuringly thick and creamy is your cloyingly gloopy. So it’s handy to acquaint yourself with the various genres in order to get the best out of your routine.
Many contain surfactants and purists often seek to eradicate these from their regime, because they can be drying. But if you equate that with efficacy then one of the gentlest in class is JurlÍque’s Replenishing Foaming Cleanser with essential oils (£20, lookfantastic.com).
Counter-intuitive I know, this idea of clearing away sebum (your own oil) with more oil, but it works. Stick to high-quality organic ones if you can. Your skin will look dewy and plump.
Unless you’re one of the unlucky few who react to oils (although I wonder whether this isn’t due to using them incorrectly: you must scrupulously steam-remove the oils with a hot flannel, which should only touch your skin once it’s cooled a little). There are many lovely oils to choose from, but Votary Rose, Geranium & Apricot (£45, spacenk.com) is a favourite round these parts.
The creamy lotions
So many wonderful formulations these days that turn a chore into a pleasure. Use these as your first cleanse and then, when necessary, follow up with an oil or a balm. Alexandra Soveral’s organic Awaken Cleanser with lavender (£45, alexandrasoveral.co.uk) and Romilly Wilde’s Light + Energy Serum Cleanser (£54, romillywilde.com) are two of my favourite vegan, high-performance creams but there are others, including de Mamiel, Bamford and Tata Harper and I urge you to explore them.
For those of us who grew up on The Body Shops’ Japanese exfoliating grains, scrubs may seem an essential skincare step. People: use them if you must, but only on your feet or upper arms (even then a foot file and skin brush should suffice). If you’re cleansing your face properly, a flannel and gentle brushing – with bristles designed for the face – is far better. You can buy brushes cheaply on amazon.
‘Jelly’ that becomes milky or oily on contact with water is the new thing. Not sure why… That said, Glossier’s pH-balanced Milky Jelly Cleanser (£15, glossier.com) has surprised me by how non-dehydrating and pleasant to use it is. Well worth a try.