How to take your makeup off

Skin care routine – makeup removal

I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “cleanse, tone and moisturise” it’s the three things that stick with most of us from an early age when it comes to skin care and skin health. It’s definitely a brilliant guideline to go by but nowadays there’s SO much more to the three steps and SO many more products than the traditional cleansing milk, toner and basic moisturiser. Now there’s a target product for every possible “issue” on your skin.

In this post, I’m going to break down cleansing and removing makeup followed by a few tips on the toning and moisturising steps.

Double cleanse

First off, a double cleanse is always recommended, especially if you wear makeup.

Ideally start by removing your makeup with a cleansing balm or oil such as dermalogica pre cleanse or Cliniques take the day of cleansing balm.

Massaged in light circular motions over the face and eyes, these formulas wil break down the makeup or dirt from the day. Remove with a warm damp face cloth or Muslin.

Quick tip: micellar waters such as the one from bioderma are superstar makeup removers for stubborn makeup or if you are in a rush.

Second cleanse

For this stage, your skin should be bare and ready for a deeper, targeted cleanse, by targeted I mean using something specific for your skin type.

If you are dry and sensitive, a creamy cleansing milk will feel comfortable on your skin and if you are oily, a more gel based formula will help clear and balance excess oiliness. Try to avoid very foamy products as they dry out the skin.


This step can be done 2-3 times per week depending on the product and you can use a physical scrub or an acid based toner such as the glycolic acid from “The Ordinary” (amazing)

Cleansing hacks when in a pinch

  • Baby oil and Vaseline are fantastic makeup and eye makeup removers, just rinse very well and don’t make a habit of using these regularly because they aren’t designed for this purpose and could end up blocking pores
  • Baby muslin squares are just as good as the expensive face ones we are told to buy
  • A good face cloth/flannel will also be good and help gently exfoliate 

Cleansing mistakes to avoid!

  • Very foamy cleansers,
  • Heavily fragranced products
  • Rubbing your skin hard
  • Hot water
  • Products not suited to your skin
  • contrary to what I just said… avoid the wipes as your main cleanser. They aren’t great for the skin and bad for the environment  (although brands are bringing out some biodegradable options now) in the same breath they can be handy after a night out or in a major rush.

When it comes to toning and moisturising, a light toner with a main ingredient being glycerin or a rose water will suit most skin types and help balance the ph after cleansing. There are also acid toners which also serve as exfoliation products and help to get the skin turning over new skin cells and renewing. Be careful to research acid toners that are right for your skin before you buy one. Sunday Riley and and The ordinary have amazing options.

Your moisturiser should finish off and complement all the products you have use before so that all products work in harmony to give your skin the best care and result. This does not mean you have to use all products from the same range. I am loving the Espa range which can be found from the new spa at The Corinthia Palace!

Keep it clean and your skin will thank you! Especially when applying your makeup.

Kim Kiernan

Makeup Artist & Beauty Columnist

Kim provides professional makeup services in Malta for any occasion, working in all areas of makeup including Bridal, photographic, television, film and special effects as well as teaching makeup lessons one to one and to groups. With over 10 years experience, Kim has worked with the biggest and most sought after brands in the industry, internationally with MAC, Smashbox and Estee Lauder in Dublin and Toronto and most recently, heading the MAC Cosmetics brand in it's launch in Malta.

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