Dear reader, before you roll your eyes at me for writing about a topic as “simple” (*cough* boring *cough*) as a face wash routine, please hear me out: Yes, we all know how face cleansing works, but trust me when I tell you there’s a right and wrong way to wash your face! If you don’t believe me, let’s make a bet that I can teach you something new by the end of this article 😉
Facial cleansers should leave you with smooth, soft, refreshed skin
First of all, it doesn’t matter what type of cleanser you use, the end result should always leave you with smooth, soft, refreshed skin—never dry, tight, reddened, or dull. That is bible. So, if your skin does not feel the way it should after your cleansing routine, let’s quickly go through the steps of how to wash your face correctly!
How to clean face properly?
With your cleanser (either gel, cream, or lotion texture, doesn’t matter) — do the following:
- Wet your face with lukewarm water (never hot).
- Dispense a fair amount of cleanser into your palm and rub your hands together.
- Apply to face using gentle, vigorous, circular strokes. Do this for 20–30 seconds, longer if you wear heavy makeup. Avoid pulling your skin as much as possible to prevent sagging.
- Rinse your face until no more cleanser is left on your skin, and pat dry with a clean towel.
(And if you use a micellar water, all you need to do is apply the liquid cleanser onto a cotton pad and gently stroke over the face (avoid pulling skin to prevent sag) until all makeup is removed. However, always follow with a mild rinse-off cleanser or simply wash your face again with water.
Now that we have covered the right steps to washing your face, let’s dive deeper. These are the Do’s and Don’ts of face cleansing that could possibly explain why you might still be experiencing skin irritations:
DO: Wash your face (or neck) for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
The most common reason why people still get breakouts or other irritations despite a full skincare routine is because they did not carefully get rid of all the dirt and impurities from their face! Simply put, if washing your face only takes you 10 seconds, you’re not doing enough, and it’s time to change this behavior forever. According to numerous dermatologists, it should take AT LEAST 20 – 30 seconds to wash your face every morning and evening. If you are wearing heavier makeup, a longer and more thorough cleanse is necessary. And last but not least, if you tend to blend your makeup into your neck, then make sure you wash your neck as well!!! Because if you don’t, not only will you start growing acne, but you also risk the chance that your neck may become a whole shade or two darker than your face!
DON’T: Let your skin feel tight after washing.
Did you know that about 40% of people think “clean” skin means your face should feel ‘tight’ after washing? The misconception that ‘tight’ and ‘dry’ feeling equals clean is not only completely wrong, but your skin is actually suffering from dryness as it has just been stripped of all its natural oils! What your face should actually feel is light, soft, and supple, and using nomel’s Tender Face Cleanser will leave your skin feeling exactly that (and trust me, I don’t even care about the shameless plug because I’m not exaggerating at all).
DO: Watch the temperature of the water.
Make sure to use lukewarm water when washing your face! Water that is way too hot for your face can strip the skin of oils, causing dryness, irritation, and inflammation. You want to be careful about this especially if you prefer to wash your face while in the shower! Although you may enjoy a steaming hot shower during the winter months, it does no good for your facial complexion.
DON’T: Over-exfoliate your skin.
Once in a while, exfoliators can do fucking magic on our skin (excuse my french), giving us that silky smooth, baby complexion. But the keyword that’s underlined and highlighted in that sentence is ‘once in a while’, because when our skin comes into contact with harsh and stripping ingredients too often, it damages the skin barrier and causes the skin condition to worsen.
DO: Skip the post-work out face wash.
This might feel and sound a little gross, but dermatologists believe that sweat is your body’s most natural cleanser! If you work out and become drenched in sweat, it’s actually the best thing you can do for your acne, rosacea, dry skin—all your dermatitis. That’s because sweating helps your body heal and cleanse, creating radiant skin in the process! However, if you really can’t take it, just do a quick rinse with cool or lukewarm water.
DON’T: Wash your face with soap.
I sincerely hope most of my readers already know this rule, but if you truly didn’t know, those traditional soap bars that you use to wash your hands should NEVER touch your face. They’re basically your acid mantle’s worst enemy. The acid mantle works as the skin’s protective layer, so any sort of damage or disruption to it causes dryness, redness, or acne. Our acid mantle maintains our skin’s pH, which should be between 4.5 to 5.5 when healthy. Yet, the pH of most soaps (even the pH-balanced ones too) are usually around 7 to 9, which is just way too alkaline to promote skin health.
DO: Wash your face in the morning.
I always say, the first thing you should do every morning is drink water and wash your face. The morning cleanse is just as important as the one at night. You may not realize it, but your skin can get quite dirty during those eight hours that you were asleep! This is because your bed isn’t always totally clean, and sometimes you might sweat during sleep, so after 8 hours, your skin has accumulated quite a fair amount of impurities and pollutants. So, be sure to use a gentle cleanser to wash away any unclean matter or leftover skincare product for the new day ahead.