You may not think about it, but as an adult, there are techniques for washing your face properly to get cleaner skin. Life has changed since you were last playing with bubbles in the tub, and obviously, your mom isn’t always around to remind you to wash your face properly.
So, what is the correct way to wash your face? Read on as we share some great advice about the best ways to wash, cleanse, and take care of your beautiful face.
Tip 1: Be Gentle
Your face has sensitive skin, so handle it with care. You should avoid anything that will cause more harm than good. Some cleansers have harsh, abrasive chemicals that cause microtears—or very tiny cuts—on your skin cells.
Also, it’s vital to find the right cleansing solution for your skin and your lifestyle. The average bar of soap isn’t formulated for sensitive facial skin, so look for a cleanser that is specially made for facial use.
Take Off The Makeup
First things first, make sure you’re not wearing any makeup before you start your washing process. That seems like a no brainer, right? But, if you didn’t take it off the night before, you might have residue caked on your face. Use a makeup remover to ensure you’re working with a clean canvas. You can use a cotton swab around your eyes, so you’re not rubbing around such a sensitive area with your fingers or scratching yourself with your nails.
The Cleaning Process
When washing, splash your face with room temperature water. Hot water can dry out your skin, and dry skin is at a higher risk of getting sunburned, so you don’t want that.
Wash your hands beforehand, then use your fingertips to gently massage the cleanser into your face for a minute or two. Don’t skimp on the massaging time, as it’s important to make sure you get your face clean.
A washcloth or glove might irritate the thin skin of your face, especially when you’re just starting to wash more throughout the day. So, stick to your fingers for the gentlest application. And don’t scrub! Scrubbing is another irritant that your face doesn’t need.
Don’t stop at your chin, either. Massage underneath your jaw and down your neck, where your skin is just as sensitive as your face. When you’re performing your daily wash, don’t forget to give your jawline and neck some love, too.
Once you’ve finished, rinse off the cleanser, and pat your face dry with a towel. Don’t scrub, even when you’re drying off.
If you notice that your skin is itchy or you’re worried about it getting dry, use a facial moisturizer afterward. If you have combination skin and are concerned that a moisturizer might cause a breakout, look for products that are labeled noncomedogenic or oil-free. They’ll be gentler on your skin and won’t clog up your pores the way standard moisturizers might.
Besides moisturizer, try a toner. It’s a thin liquid that helps rebalance your skin’s pH after cleansing. If you find one with aloe vera or chamomile, it will help soothe your skin and lock in moisture to enhance your skin’s natural barrier. Just remember, when you apply toner, don’t use your fingers. Put some on a cotton ball or tissue to sponge onto your face after washing.
If you have very dry skin, you can combine toner and moisturizer. That tight feeling of your skin after being washed is a sign of being too dry. After all the work you’re putting in, you don’t want to watch your skin peel and crack.
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Tip 2: Moderation Is Key
The temptation to wash your face multiple times a day may be overwhelming, but do your best to resist the urge. Once in the morning, when you’re brushing your teeth and getting ready, and once in the evening, when you’re winding down is plenty. That’s it for a normal routine, just two times a day.
In the morning, your face needs a little refresh after you’ve been sleeping, mushing your face into the pillow, and maybe even drooling (it’ll be our little secret). In the evening, you’ll definitely want to rinse the day’s gunk off before you go to sleep. In fact, if you want to be super diligent or if you have dry skin, it’s best to only wash your face at night.
However, if you have been sweating a lot, you may want to wash (or at least rinse) your face, even if you don’t have time to hop in the shower. Sweat around the face or in the hairline can irritate your skin as well as cause acne outbreaks. Wash off that perspiration as soon as possible.
This goes double if you have been wearing some kind of head covering because then the sweat has been trapped around your hairline without allowing your skin to breathe. The hairline is a common problem zone that breeds acne for lots of people, so it’s always better to avoid that if possible.
Tip 3: Keep Your Brushes Clean
If you’re going to go to all this trouble to keep your face clean, you want to make sure that the things you touch your face with are also clean, right?
It’s pretty common to forget about your makeup brushes. They get caked with foundation, eye shadow, and everything else you use to contour and amplify your natural beauty. Brushes pick up dust from the air, your own skin oils, dirt, and who knows what else. Without a thorough cleaning, that’s just an open invitation for bacteria, acne, and skin irritation.
So, how often should you wash your makeup brushes?
Dermatologists recommend washing them every seven to ten days. Similar to how you wash your face, rinse the brushes to get residual makeup off. Also, normal soap can dry out the bristles and make them too stiff to apply those expertly thin lines, so use a gentle shampoo. Add about a tablespoon of shampoo to a bowl of water and spin the brush tips around in it.
Massage the brush tips with your fingers to make sure each bristle is clean. Clean them off once more under running water and press the brushes dry with clean paper towels or tissues.
Even if you think you’ve dried them off completely, leave them out to dry instead of putting them away in a drawer. Don’t stand the brushes upright to let them dry because the excess moisture will drip down the bristles and loosen the glue holding the bristle head to the handle.
If you’re having issues with acne, consider laying off the makeup until your skin has a chance to calm down. This prevents accumulation of bacteria, and can stop the breakout from spreading over your entire face.
In particular, you should avoid primer, concealer, blush, and liquid foundation while you’re working on clearing up your skin. Breakouts usually mean that gunk and bacteria are trapped in your pores, and makeup might make things worse.
Just like your makeup brushes, washcloths and loofahs are breeding grounds for bacteria. You should regularly wash them or change them out if they’re disposable. You can use a bleach solution to clean them thoroughly if you don’t want to use your hands to keep your face looking radiant.
Tip 4: Know The Difference Between Washing And Exfoliating
Although some people use these two words interchangeably, washing your face and exfoliating your face are two completely different processes. Exfoliation is a process for deep cleaning, while rinsing or washing is just for cleansing the surface layer of skin cells.
Your skin will naturally exfoliate itself, but there are ways to facilitate that process, either manually or chemically. Exfoliation scrubs off dead skin cells and impurities that might be sitting just underneath the surface.
There are plenty of techniques and products that exfoliate, but that’s a process that you’d only do a few times a week, at most, not every day like washing. If you want to learn more about exfoliation, check out our other blog.
If you decide to go the exfoliating route, be careful not to overdo it. Exfoliating too often can break down your skin’s natural moisture barrier, which protects it from sun damage, dryness, cracking, dirt, and other nasties that would love to get under your skin. Stripping away that natural barrier might lead to breaking out, hypersensitivity, or pain.
Certain cleansers that market themselves as “fine for daily use” actually contain acids, which are powerful exfoliants. Daily use can dry out your skin, totally negating all the work you’re doing to restore your skin’s natural radiance.
Although washing your face seems like a pretty simple process, there are a lot of factors to consider. The actual process is quite straightforward with a little practice, but there are plenty of products to choose from, so it’s good to be selective.
It can be a little overwhelming, so feel free to experiment with your skincare routine to find something that works for your lifestyle and your unique, delicate skin. Determine when it is most convenient for you to wash your face and try different products until you find the perfect routine. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a cleaner face and even more brilliant skin than you ever imagined.
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