8 Common Face Washing Mistakes You Don't Even Realize You're Making
You’ve heard it time and time again: Cleanse your skin morning and night to keep your pores clear of dirt and impurities. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, sort of. There are some not-so-obvious ways you could flub your face washing routine and cause your skin to become upset, dry, or oilier. Heck, some cleansing missteps can even lead to an angry breakout! Yikes. If your complexion still isn’t looking like a million bucks—aka a glowing, dewy masterpiece—it’s worth some further investigation. Are you falling victim to common cleansing blunders? Keep reading to find out eight common face washing mistakes!
Mistake #1: You’re washing your face with dirty hands
If you cleanse your skin with your hands, you must be certain that they’re clean before they get anywhere near your face. Your hands might look clean, but chances are they’ve touched doorknobs and smartphones before arriving at the sink. Give your paws a thorough rinse with soap before using your facial cleanser to reduce the risk of bacteria transferring to the skin. It can make a big difference. Or just follow our lead and cleanse with a Clarisonic. The device works six times better than hands alone so, really, why wouldn’t you?
Mistake #2: You’re using the wrong cleanser
It seems pretty obvious, but all of your cleansing efforts will be for naught if you use a product that’s ill-suited for your skin type. We get it: There are a multitude of cleansers out there and it’s hard to sort through the pack—but you should. Why? Because a cleanser for acne-prone skin will likely be too drying for sensitive skin types, the same way a cleanser for dry, dehydrated skin may be too rich and nourishing for oily skin types. Since the goal is to rid your skin of impurities without irritation, it’s crucial to take the extra time to read the package label. If you’re stumped and looking for some direction, you’re in luck. We’re sharing six amazing cleansers—for every skin type!—that cost less than $20.
Tip: If you’re short on time and need a cleanser in a pinch, your best bet is to choose one that’s formulated for use on all skin types.
Mistake #3: The water temperature is too high
Raise your hand if you wash your face with hot water. Many people do, but it’s not the best practice to follow. Hot water can strip your skin of its natural moisture, and as a result cause your skin to secrete more sebum to combat the sudden dryness. More oil on the skin’s surface is bad news for breakouts. You also run the risk of burning your face with scalding water. Not fun. Moral of the story: Resist temptation to turn up the water to hotter-than-hot temps and cleanse with lukewarm water instead. Your skin will thank you.
Mistake #4: You’re exfoliating too frequently
Exfoliation is a great way to eliminate dead skin cells from skin’s surface and allow new, radiant skin to peek through. However, exfoliating too often—especially with harsh, grainy particles—can cause more trouble and pain than benefits. Depending on your skin type, exfoliate one to two times per week with a gentle exfoliating cleanser, like Kiehl’s Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub. The formula boasts small pieces of pineapple and papaya fruit, as well as finely ground scrub grains, to exfoliate the skin gently.
Mistake #5: You’re skipping a morning cleanse
You never fall asleep without cleansing off makeup and the day’s grime (right?!), but are you following suit in the morning as well? Your skin may not feel dirty right after you snooze, but it still could be. Natural oils build up on your skin’s surface overnight, and if your pillowcase hasn’t been cleaned recently, there’s likely some lingering residue from facial and hair products on there as well. Always make sure to cleanse in the A.M. before you apply sunscreen and makeup.
Mistake #6: You’re applying cleanser incorrectly
If you think cleansing is just a quick rub, rinse and done, think again. There’s a proper method that should be followed in order to see the best results. Instead of assuming you know the best way to use your favorite cleanser, consult the package for the proper instructions.
Mistake #7: You’re rubbing your skin dry
Aggressively rubbing your skin after cleansing with a towel can cause irritation and redness. Treat your skin like the delicate organ it is by gently patting it dry post-cleanse. Also, make sure you’re always using a clean towel to avoid introducing bacteria and dirt onto your skin after all your hard work!
Mistake #8: You’re not immediately following up with moisturizer
While your skin is still damp, immediately apply moisturizer to lock in any lost moisture. If it’s the A.M, use a day cream—bonus points if it has SPF!—like Lancôme Absolue Precious Cells Day Cream. At night post-cleanse, use a night cream formulated with anti-aging ingredients, like retinol or glycolic acid. Vichy Idéalia Skin Sleep is a great choice for normal, dry, and combination skin.