It seems straightforward: Cleanse, scrub, rinse, and done. But there is a more nuanced method to properly washing your face—and knowing how to do so can make a world of difference for your complexion, both now and in the years ahead. (Spoiler alert: All that scrubbing is giving you wrinkles.)
So from the correct water temperature to how often you should really be exfoliating, consider this Cleansing 101. Keep scrolling to find out how to wash your way to much (much!) better skin.
While it might seem like a silly extra step to wash your hands when they’re about to be covered in cleanser anyway, it’s important to expose your face to as little bacteria as possible. Better yet, try a muslin cloth, like the one included with Eve Lom’s award-winning cleanser.
Let’s say you fell in love with micellar water this summer. The thing is, even though it might be amazing for your complexion now, your skin will be an entirely different beast come winter. The weather and climate have a major impact on our skin, so it’s important to tailor your routine to your face’s current needs. If you’re REALLY a beauty nerd (like us!), you might even change things up depending on how your skin is looking on a daily or weekly basis. One last benefit to this: Your skin also “remembers” products, so using the same thing over and over again will be less effective as time goes on.
Exfoliating too often dries skin out and can even cause broken blood vessels and discoloration over time. Stick to deep scrubbing just once or twice a week, and make sure you’re opting for gentle scrubs with natural particles, like jojoba beads or cleansing grains. Better yet, ditch abrasive exfoliation altogether and give chemical peels a try.
Easy, tiger! One common Clarisonic error is using the brush to scrub your face, which tugs at your skin, leaving it more susceptible to fine lines and wrinkles. The vibration does the trick by itself—just skim the device over your skin for the deepest clean you need. If you’re using a washcloth, a scrub formula, or your fingers, use a gentle circular motion (more on that below). And if your skin is particularly sensitive, just stick with soft, makeup-removing wipes, a cream cleanser, or micellar water.
Skin guru Ling Chan once gave us a wonderful piece of advice: Think of your pores as roof shingles, with their openings facing down. Basically, in order to get any product deep into your skin, you have to apply it upward. To get the hang of it, apply a little bit of cleanser to the tips of your fingers, and brush it onto your face using a tiny circular motion.
Warm water and steam help loosen up the impurities in your pores, leaving them open for your cleanser to get in there and finish the job. Cold water helps tone and contract your skin cells. Wash your face with warm water; finish off by splashing it with cold water. (Or you could skip water altogether, by using One Love’s waterless, makeup-removing balm.)
As tempting as it is to bury your sopping-wet face in the nearest towel, please practice a little resistance. (Remember that face-tugging, wrinkle-inducing action we talked about?) Instead, pat your face dry—and, ideally, make sure the towel is very clean.
Who said class was dismissed? Cleansing just provides a blank canvas for the rest of your skincare regimen. Even if you’re extremely low-maintenance, follow up with a toner (to balance skin tone and minimize pores) and a moisturizer, at the very least.
What’s your go-to cleanser? Tell us in the comments below!