Exfoliating or Cleansing: What Should Come First in Your Skincare Routine?

Posted by Cathie Arpino on

Building a skincare routine can be confusing, and everyone seems to have a different opinion on what should come first, exfoliation or cleansing. Cleansing and exfoliation are the essential components of a healthy skincare routine, and both have similar jobs. Let's take a look at how each one benefits your skincare routine. 

What is Cleansing?

When you cleanse your face, you use special cleaners that help remove dirt and oils from your skin's surface without irritating it. It can remove pollutants and chemicals you might pick up throughout the day. A good cleanser can penetrate deep into your pores and clear them out. A quality cleanser leaves your face feeling clean and refreshed. The Goat-To Creamy Cleanser from Hudson Valley Skincare is made with Goat Milk, Rosemary, Chamomile, and Cucumber Extract to soothe the skin while ridding it of dirt and oils. 


What is Exfoliation?

Exfoliation is a more refined process that scrubs away your skin's top layer. By top layer of skin, we mean all those dead skin cells that clog your pores. It also removes any deeper dirt, debris, or makeup. Your skin cells die by the hundreds, even thousands, every day, and while most of those dead skin cells will come off naturally, some love to linger and need a little help in removal. If they aren't removed, they can end up clogging your pores and causing dry skin or unsightly blemishes. The Goat-To Face Scrub by Hudson Valley Skin Care was created to gently exfoliate your skin using finely ground Walnut and Apricot Shells. 


What Should Come First, Exfoliating or Cleansing? 

This is a tricky question because there are benefits to both ways of using these methods in your skincare routine. Some people prefer to exfoliate first to extract the dead skill cells and follow the cleanser that helps wash those skin cells away. Or cleanse first to clear away impurities before exfoliating the dead skin cells. So, which one is it? Let's look at the benefits of both.

Cleansing First – Using this method will help you get rid of dirt, sweat, oils, and makeup from your skin, allowing a clear path for your exfoliator to dig up any remnants along with the dead skin cell removal. This is helpful for people who wear makeup regularly because sometimes getting off is a little stubborn. It is thought that the exfoliator can penetrate deeper and eliminate even more debris without making its way through the top layer of dirt. This process can also help pave the way for smooth skin for your remaining skincare products.

Exfoliate First – Exfoliating first will help you get rid of those dead skin cells and any hard residues built up by dirt and debris. When you follow through with a cleanser, you pick up and wash away any excess dead skin cells or debris that stuck around on your skin but were loosened by the exfoliator. Exfoliators can also help create dead skin cells, so using a cleanser after exfoliating helps ensure that every last bit is removed.


While there isn't a better way to cleanse and exfoliate, it depends on your preference. Building your skincare routine is about listening to your skin and doing what feels right to you. 

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