The Right Way to Use Face Cleanser
Assuming you’ve retired plain old soap and water to wash your face, you’ve likely (hopefully!) moved onto a facial cleanser. The best formulas wash off makeup, dirt, and oil without stripping the skin or leading to irritation. While applying facial cleanser may seem like the simplest step in your routine, there are a few ways to slip up in the process. So, what’s the best way to achieve the perfect cleanse? Ahead, we’re sharing six easy face-washing steps to follow to help you learn the right way to use face cleanser!
Step 1: Read the instructions on the label
You’ve got your cleanser handy and you’re ready to roll. Before you reach for the faucet, take a quick peek at the instructions listed on the product label. Why? Because some cleansers (ahem, micellar water) should be applied onto dry skin rather than wet, and it’s crucial to know this before you start splashing around. We share more reasons why those instructions on your skin care products matter here!
Need help picking the right formula for your skin type? Check out our ultimate guide to facial cleansers.
Step 2: Wash your hands
You don’t want any dirt, oil, germs or bacteria silently lingering on your hands making it onto your face, do you? Didn’t think so. Before you place your paws anywhere near your complexion, give them a good wash with soap.
Step 3: Wet your face with lukewarm water
Got your ammo? Now’s the time to splash some tepid water onto your skin. (If the label on your face wash instructs you otherwise, skip this step.) Make sure the water is not too hot as it can be drying and damaging. To maintain the integrity of the skin, room temperature water is your best bet. Next, squeeze a dime-sized amount of face wash onto your fingertips and lather up.
Step 4: Massage in gentle, small circles
How you apply your cleanser is equally as important as the product, the water temperature, and the tools! Using your fingertips, gently—we repeat, gently—massage the cleanser into your skin in small circular motions with light pressure. If the formula feels tight, wet your hands a bit more as you caress your face. Do this for about 30 seconds to a minute. Remember: You’re washing your face here, not your tires. Don’t be vigorous and aggressive with rubs and tugs; it’ll only leave your skin worse off.
Step 5: Rinse with lukewarm water
Turn the faucet back on, wait for the temperature to reach lukewarm, and splash some water onto your skin to remove the cleanser. Residue can hide around your jaw, nose, ears, and hairline, so pay close attention to these areas using your fingertips if necessary. You may have heard that wetting your face with cold water is better for “closing” your pores, but that’s just a myth. Pores do not open and close like a door, so always use lukewarm water on your skin. It’s the right option.
Step 6: Gently pat dry with a clean towel
You’ve made it to the finish line! After washing, dab—don’t rub—your face with a clean, dry cloth or towel. Aggressive rubs can irritate, stretch, and potentially cause wrinkles on the skin over time if done regularly, essentially undoing all of your hard work. Keep in mind that towels are a breeding ground for bacteria, especially when stored in a damp place, so make sure to hang yours in a dry area between uses. If you prefer not to use a cloth or towel, you can air dry. Follow up with the rest of the products in your routine—toner, serum, eye cream, moisturizer and what have you—once your skin is dry or, even better, still slightly damp. And that’s all she wrote!
Editor’s tip: To take you’re cleansing routine to the next level, try using a Clarisonic! Depending on the brush you buy, it works six times better than hands alone to keep your pores clean. Total game changer.