in praise of laziness

Those poor old repressed Victorians may have got it risibly wrong when it came to ankles, rights for women and the like, but on one matter they were, for my mind, absolutely on the money: “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. My zeal for a clean face is second to none; it astounds me beyond measure that women are prepared to spend scandalous sums on a cream or serum, and yet apply that precious tincture to an unprepared base. It is the very kindest thing you can do to your skin, to perform a hot-cloth cleanse every evening, with a muslin or flannel, a sink-full of hot water and a cream- or oil-based cleanser (the original Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish is currently available in four delicious limited editions). The ritual is every bit as pleasing as the resulting plumped-up glow, and will see you do away with the need to exfoliate, to boot.

However, even I will concede that there are those evenings when, frankly, anything more than a ‘tired and emotional’ wipe in the right direction is ambitious. You know the evenings I’m talking about. And yet, the guilt niggles at me. Going to bed with a dirty face is, along with brassy highlights and running out of money at the end of the month, something I’m happy to have consigned to my twenties. So what to do? This is when I turn to my new favourite, not-so-secret weapon: a micellar cleanser. Popular with les beautés de Paris since the 90s, these non-rinse, non-sticky solutions are simply applied with a cotton wool pad and wiped off, leaving behind a skin that is actually properly cleansed, without getting within twenty feet of a sink. There’s a whole gamut of them on the market, but here are three of my favourites, in three different formulations.

Bioderma Sensibio H20: The original, and much beloved by beauty insiders. As low maintenance a cleanse as you will ever find, it’s formulated for sensitive skin too.

Vichy Pureté Thermale Beautifying Cleansing Micellar Oil: Enriched with Camelia Oil and Vitamin E, this is perfect for skin prone to dryness. Rub the oil in, spritz with a mist (we love Chantecaille’s rose water), and wipe off.

La Roche-Posay Rosaliac Micellar Make Up Remover Gel: La Roche-Posay is a sensitive gal’s best friend, and this no-rub formula is designed to reduce redness, too.