The Dos and Don’ts of Washing Your Face

image: Getty

image: Getty

Washing your face…it seems so easy a caveman could do it, right? But turns out, a ton of people seriously screw up their skin over time because they’ve never learned the proper technique. Yep, there’s a right and wrong way to cleanse. From when to wash to how many times a day to do it and the type of water you should be using (hint, temperature does matter!), get schooled in the etiquette of face washing with these pointers from the pros. 

Do Wash Your Hands First

Because washing your face with filthy fingers kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn’t it? To keep dirt, germs, grime and bacteria on hands at bay, board-certified dermatologist Dr. David E. Bank, founder and director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, NY, recommends thoroughly washing them and making sure you get all of the soap off prior to touching your face. “This way, the chemicals from the hand soap don’t react with or irritate the sensitive skin on your face.”

Don’t Use Hot or Cold Water

Instead, the water should be tepid or lukewarm. When water is too hot, it can break blood vessels and capillaries, causing little red marks that are hard to hide on your face, notes celebrity aesthetician and founder of Belle Visage Spa in Studio City, CA Tina Keshishian. “Not to mention, hot water strips your skin of its natural moisture needed to look youthful.” Cold water, on the other hand, is not only unpleasant to wash with, but can actually close up the pores you’re trying to unclog.

Do Wash Your Face Twice a Day

And after breaking a big sweat! Other than that, however, there’s no need to go overboard as excessive cleansing and exfoliating could remove the lipids from your skin that work as a barrier to protect and lock in moisture, points out POPSUGAR’s beauty expert Kirbie Johnson. The result? “Your skin may feel a lack of moisture and the need to overcompensate, creating oily skin. Limit yourself to washing once in the morning with a gentle cleanser and then exfoliate at night,” she suggests.

Don’t Scrub So Hard

Seriously, be gentle; your face will thank you now and later. According to Los Angeles-based celebrity dermatologist Dr. Gene Rubinstein, aggressive scrubbing and washing irritates the skin (not a good look) and can make acne even worse. “Acne isn’t dirt and won’t clear up on its own,” he warns. “It must be treated with products that are specifically designed to address the causes.” So try as you might, scrubbing won’t make it disappear.

Do Remove Your Makeup First

In particular, stubborn eye makeup as the skin around this area is already so delicate. Dr. Bank recommends using a cotton pad soaked with olive oil to get the job done and to allow for a more thorough cleaning. Sleeping in your makeup can cause redness, irritation and the buildup of fungi. “Research has proven that certain physiological skin changes happen overnight, which is when your skin needs oxygen in order to repair itself,” explains San Diego-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Susan Stuart. Forgetting to take your makeup off blocks the natural exfoliating process that occurs and, in turn, can leave your skin looking dull, she says.

Don’t Use a Washcloth

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

They’re a smorgasbord of bacteria, cautions Johnson. While clean hands, a great cleanser and a soft touch can get the job done just fine, for an even deeper cleaning that’s kind to your skin, incorporate Clinique’s Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush ($89.50) into your nighttime routine. It targets your T-zone, around the nose and other hard-to-reach areas, making washing up before bed a total breeze — and it only takes 30 seconds. Combined with Clinique’s 3-Step Skin Care System Facial Soaps, the brush is clinically proven to deliver skin that’s brighter, smoother and has fewer clogged pores. Now, that’s a win-win.

Do Wash Your Face After Your Hair

If there’s one mistake too many girls make, it’s washing their face in the shower before they completely rinse the shampoo and conditioner out of their hair. Why does the order matter so much? Well, because a lot of conditioners contain pore-clogging ingredients that are known to cause acne. Having a filter put on your shower can help you save face as well. “Most shower systems nowadays emit water that is loaded with skin-aggravating chemicals and chlorine, which can distress the skin and further clog pores,” informs Beverly Hills aesthetician Gina Mari of Gina Mari Skincare.

Don’t Apply Moisturizer to Dry Skin

After you wash your face, pat your skin dry and leave a little excess moisture behind, advises Johnson. “When you apply moisturizer to damp skin, it helps trap water on the surface of skin, ensuring your face is hydrated and dewy.” Applying moisturizer to dry skin is just wasteful.

Sponsored by Clinique