Should I Cleanse Or Exfoliate First?

When you’re not paying close attention to the terms, cleansing and exfoliating can seem like the same thing, but they serve very different purposes. And if there’s one thing that we’re learning through new techniques in skincare, it’s that order matters. So if you’re going to exfoliate and cleanse, which do you do first? And does it matter? Let’s find out.

What is Exfoliation?

Before we get into it, we have to know what exactly exfoliation is and how it differs from cleansing. Both processes are aimed at cleaning the skin but they differ in how they do it and to what extent.

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells and deep debris from the surface of the skin and pores. Exfoliants can be either physical or chemical. Chemical exfoliants use mild acids and other compounds to dissolve the skin cells, oils, and dirt that accumulate throughout the day or week, whereas physical ones use scrubbing action to physically slough away these compounds. Physical exfoliants often use ingredients like sugar, sand, or ground nut shells to provide a more balanced and effective scrubbing action.

What is Cleansing?

Cleansing is generally a more mild process than exfoliating. It involves mild soaps and surfactants to gently lock onto and rinse away the surface oils, makeup, and accumulated debris that can become lodged in pores but may not necessarily be stuck that deeply yet. There are many different levels of cleansers out there, and Epicuren’s catalog of cleansers runs the gamut from highly effective for oily skin types to rich but sensitive for sensitive skin:

Benefits of Cleansing First

In the vast majority of skincare routines, people should cleanse before exfoliating. You may have come to that conclusion on your own, knowing that the distinction between cleansing and exfoliating is essentially “clean” vs. “deep clean,” respectively, but here’s what makes cleansing a commonly better choice.

First, cleansing frees your skin from a lot of the day’s oil buildup, not to mention makeup, that would otherwise clog up and hamper the exfoliant from doing a good job. Not only that, but many of our exfoliators are really good at opening up the pores to then be infused with our high-quality serums, especially those like our Instantlift Tightening Serum.

Keep in mind that each cleanser, serum, and exfoliator has its own instructions for proper use, so make sure to use your products as directed and not over- or under-exfoliate for the best skin routine.

When to Exfoliate After Cleansing

Most people should not exfoliate every single night. Most of Epicuren Discovery’s professional formulas are designed to be potent enough that they should only be used once or a few times per week. Check your product label for instructions on how best to use your given exfoliant.

Professional Exfoliators and Cleansers from Epicuren Discovery

You want your skincare routine to be as efficient and customized to your needs as possible, which is why Epicuren Discovery is here to help. Our cruelty-free formulas and sustainable sourcing for our formulas make us a guilt-free option for incredibly potent additions to your regimen. Check out our catalog of cleansers and exfoliants by browsing our site or take our Skin Quiz to get matched to products that fit your skin type and goals.

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