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At MECCA, I get to pose all my most pressing skin care questions to specialists, dermatologists and brand founders, and while opinions vary on acids, active ingredients and exactly how many steps a routine should have, there is one subject they all agree on: cleansing. “There’s no point doing anything else if you’re not cleansing,” Omorovicza cofounder Stephen de Heinrich told me. Similarly, Tammy Fender, who believ es in simplifying our regime, still maintains the importance of “a good evening cleanse”. It’s the one step even people with no skin regime do. But because it such a building block of skin health, it’s not one we put a lot of thought into. That’s something that became crystal clear to me when talking to another inspiring brand founder, Mila Moursi.
Moursi is a skin care legend, with a client list full of Hollywood legends and a carefully curated lineup of products, but true to her aesthetician roots, she’s all about technique. When I asked her to talk me through how she applies her routine, she lit up. “The first thing I like to talk about is cleansing,” she said, beaming. “It’s so, so important.” What came next was solid advice that made me realise I’ve been washing my face absentmindedly and also incorrectly for years. To save you from the same lazy-girl mistake, here’s Moursi’s advice for doing it right and reaping the glowing rewards.
“You need a full minute for proper cleansing,” said Moursi, pointing out that cleaning properly is paramount because all the amazing serums, essences and moisturisers in the world aren’t going to do anything if you haven’t established a clean slate. “Enjoy it, don’t rush it,” she added.
Moursi recommended use the tips of your fingers—rather than the flats of your hands which are for tapping in serums—and to work in a circular motion. “Go in and think about the makeup and dirt your cleanser is removing and dissolving. Really work it.”
“I like a double cleanse once a day,” she said, recommending her makeup removing Cleansing Milk for wash one, which addresses sweat, bacteria and old skin cells, followed by something that will deep cleanse the pores for wash two. For the latter, she suggested a gel cleanser.
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Rather than sticking your head under a steaming shower head, which is never a good idea since hot water is drying, Moursi advised removing the cleanser with a level of dedication equal to how it was applied. “Remove the cleanser slowly, again in a circular motion, using with a warm washcloth,” she said. To avoid bacteria, make sure to use a clean washcloth each time. “You want to lift the product off your face.”
While toner seems to drift in and out of fashion, Moursi is strictly in the yes camp. “It’s amazing to me that people cut toner because it really completes the cleansing,” she said. “Even if you’ve removed your cleanser with a washcloth, there is still leftover residue and toner gets that off.” Moursi’s other defence of toner is that it’s a delivery product. “Toner makes the skin receptive to what you put on next. After toner, your serums and creams penetrate deeper and do more, which if you think about it is saving you money on those serums and creams.”
When I told her that this was earth-shattering advice, and that I was now a cleansing convert, she smiled wisely. “Being an aesthetician, these are the things you learn. You realise how important this first step really is.” Amen.
Words by Alexandra WhitingOctober 2018