Do You Exfoliate Or Cleanse First?

by Degrees of Vanity Team
Published: Last Updated on
Do You Exfoliate Or Cleanse First?

By now, we’re sure that you’ll have already heard of the importance of having your very own skincare routine, and if you haven’t – where have you been?

Keeping on top of your skincare will help to keep you looking and feeling your best, so it’s important to make sure you’re doing it right.

Whether you’re currently planning on revamping your skincare routine or perhaps starting your very first one, you might currently be wondering about whether or not you should exfoliate or cleanser first.

The answer will depend on your skin type and what you want to achieve with your skincare routine. In some cases, exfoliating before cleansing can be more beneficial for your skin. However, cleansing first is generally recommended, as it helps remove contaminants from the surface of your skin, which can increase the efficacy of your exfoliator.

The great news is that, when it comes to skincare, there really is no one way to go about it. You could opt to buff your face with an exfoliator and then cleanser, or switch it up and clean your skin of debris and then slough away dead skin cells – it all depends on your preferences and what works best for you.

Nevertheless, if you’re interested in making sure that you’re correctly using all of your skincare products (including your exfoliator and cleaner) then there are a few guidelines you can follow to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your routine – read on to discover them! 

Why Does Exfoliation Matter?

Why Does Exfoliation Matter?

In order to help you understand which order you should cleanse your skin, you’re going to need to make sure that you understand what both types of products are, and how they can each benefit your skin. 

For starters, exfoliation is a very step to include in your skincare routine because it is the step of your skincare routine that will be able to ensure that all of your skin’s dead skin cells have been removed from the surface of your skin (including other dirt and debris) to ensure that your complexion isn’t congested, as well as helping to make sure that your pores aren’t clogged from exposure to pollutants (particularly if you live in a city). 

With regular exfoliation, your chosen exfoliant product(s) will be able to help reveal a more radiant and youthful complexion that is free from built-up debris, oil, and dead skin cells.

On top of that, exfoliation can also help to lift away any excess makeup leftover from the day, which is one of the main reasons many people debate as to whether or not exfoliation should come before or after the cleansing step.

In addition to this, it is also worth noting that, unlike cleansing, exfoliation is not a skincare step that is required to be used on a daily basis but is instead usually something that you should do one or two times a week.

This will ultimately depend on what type of skin type that you have, as well as any other additional factors that may be causing your skin to need a little bit of extra clarifying help (such as experiencing more oiliness due to it being that time of the month or having a heavy, full-coverage makeup week

Need a recommendation? One of the most popular exfoliation products currently available to buy is the Paulas Choice Skin Perfecting Facial Exfoliant, which can be used alongside your cleanser around once a week and is especially effective at helping to rid the skin of blackheads.

Do You Exfoliate Or Cleanse First?

Alternatively, the Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub is gentle enough to be used each day and is ideal for all skin types. 

Do You Exfoliate Or Cleanse First?

Why Does Cleansing Matter?

Why Does Cleansing Matter?

Similar to exfoliation, cleansing is another hugely important skincare step that should be consistently maintained.

Unlike exfoliation, cleansing is a skincare step that is designed to be part of your everyday routine (as it is not as abrasive as an exfoliator) and is generally designed to be used as the first step in order to gently lift away all of the dirt, makeup, dead skin cells, and additional debris across your skin’s surface, as well as deep down into your pores. 

In need of a recommendation? If you’re someone who likes to wear makeup each day, then a foaming facial cleanser such as the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser is a great option to consider. Because it is designed for both makeup removal and for cleansing.

Do You Exfoliate Or Cleanse First?

Alternatively, for sensitive complexions, the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is an awesome option to go for.

Do You Exfoliate Or Cleanse First?

Should You Use A Cleanser Or Exfoliator First?

So, which skincare step should you carry out first? Generally speaking, that decision will likely come down to your own preferences, as only you know your skin best.

Nevertheless, you are most likely going to discover that the best order you should put these two steps in is to cleanse first, and then exfoliate after you have finished cleansing. 

The biggest reason that we recommend cleansing first is so that you will have made sure to remove the bulk of makeup and dirt on the surface of your skin.

Once you have done that, it then means that you will be able to go in with an exfoliator to slough away all remaining dirt and dead skin cells in order to help reveal a more radiant and glowing complexion.

Another reason why you should consider using your cleanser first is to raise the overall efficacy of your exfoliator, as you will be applying it to a clean, bare face. 

Plus, if you happen to find that exfoliation is a little too abrasive for your skin, then why don’t you consider using a cleansing product with a cleansing brush?

Do You Exfoliate Or Cleanse First?

Similar to exfoliation, a cleansing brush will be able to help lift away dead skin cells and debris, but thanks to the soft bristles and the fact that it will be used with your cleanser, it means that you’ll be able to enjoy gentle exfoliation that will be safe enough for everyday use.

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