Clean up your act: Flannels are making a comeback. But what's REALLY the best way to get your skin glowing
22:08 GMT, 29 April 2012
After years of being out of fashion, face flannels are making a splash again. The former beauty must-have — loved by Hollywood sirens from Marilyn Monroe to Elizabeth Taylor — is being restored to its former glory thanks to a campaign launched by Debenhams.
The department store claims flannels are more effective for removing make-up, dirt and grime than the now popular muslin cloths because they retain heat for longer — and also points out that they are cheaper and more eco-friendly than disposable face-wipes.
But does the way you wash your face make that much difference to your skin According to Dr Nick Lowe, consultant dermatologist at London’s Cranley Clinic, the answer is yes.
Refresh your skin: How you wash your face can make a difference in preventing premature ageing
‘Most people are either too slapdash or too aggressive,’ he says. ‘Poor cleansing can leave behind a damaging residue of grime and make-up, but being too vigorous can damage your skin barrier — the layer of oils and proteins which maintain the skin’s moisture and protect it from impurities. Stripped of this, your face is at risk of breakouts and premature ageing.’
We asked Dr Lowe to rate the flannel against other popular cleansing products to discover the best way to get your skin glowing.
SOAP AND WATER
Soaps can break down your skin barrier and dry out skin. Choose an unfragranced one that contains glycerine, as this helps skin retain moisture.
Use lukewarm water to rinse your face — never steaming hot, as this dries skin further. And while it’s a myth that finishing with a splash of cold water tightens pores, it won’t harm your complexion and does feel fresh.
CLEANSING CREAM AND COTTON WOOL
Cream and milk cleansers which you apply to dry skin and wipe off to remove make-up can gently tackle grease and soothe skin. Choose one with plant extracts because they contain antioxidants, which can fight the signs of ageing. Cotton wool is just as effective as muslin cloths or flannels in removing make-up and grime, and more hygienic as you throw it away.
FOAMING FACE WASH AND FLANNEL
Foaming cleansers are excellent for removing excess oil from your T-zone. Apply, massage in, then soak your flannel in lukewarm water and wipe your face to remove make-up. While flannels are just as good as cotton wool or muslin cloths at removing grime, there is no evidence they are any better. Wash flannels after each use to prevent bacteria spreading.
These are fine if you’re away for a weekend, but I wouldn’t recommend them all the time. Disposable wipes can contain alcohol which can make skin feel tight and dry, even if you moisturise afterwards. However, they do remove make-up and grime — and they are hygienic.
CLEANSING OILS OR BALM WITH A MUSLIN CLOTH
Oil-based cleansers nourish dry patches and stop the over-production of oil. Choose one with soothing and moisturising ingredients, such as glycerine.
Use a fine muslin cloth to avoid leaving an oily residue, but again, don’t be too aggressive. Rinse your cloth thoroughly after every use and put it in the washing machine every couple of days.
FIVE GREAT CLEANSERS
Dove Cleansing Soap Bar, (47p, Boots).
This contains more moisturising cream than other soaps so is less likely to dry out your skin.
Soap & Glory Peaches And Clean Deep Cleansing Milk, (7, Boots).
Includes peach extracts with skin-smoothing fruit acids.
Simple Kind To Skin Cleansing Face Wipes, (1.29, Superdrug).
Effective on waterproof mascara and far less drying than most wipes as they don’t contain alcohol.
Origins Foaming Face Wash, (20, John Lewis).
Contains organic aloe leaf and olive oil to soothe skin as it lifts off dirt.
Eve Lom Cleansing Balm, (55, evelom.com).
This best-selling skin-nourishing balm is expensive but lasts for months and cleanses, tones and exfoliates all in one.