10 Things No One Ever Tells You About: Washing Your Face

Victoria Moorhouse
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Getty Images

It’s a seemingly simple beauty task that’s been with you since the very beginning, but washing your face is more than a quick scrub with soap and water. Believe it or not, when you wash your face the wrong way (yep, that’s a thing!) with a product that doesn’t jive with your specific skin type, you could actually be setting yourself up for breakouts. Of course, it doesn’t have to end this way! Perfecting a face-washing routine is one of the best things you can do for a glowy complexion—and the prevention of countless concerns including blemishes and dry, flaky skin. Get the facts straight, start washing wisely, and read up on this list that highlights 10 of the things that no one ever tells you about washing your face.

1. The temperature of the water used to wash your face matters—a lot. It goes without saying that scolding hot water splashed on your face isn’t a good idea, as a temp too high could cause uncomfortable burns on your face. Similarly, water that’s too cold could cause irritation to your skin or even lead to broken capillaries. Stick to a lukewarm water temperature to be safe!

2. Don’t use a bar soap! This is where the whole “wash your face with soap and water” thing leads people astray. That bar soap might be OK for the rest of your body, but this type of cleanser is generally too harsh and dehydrating for the sensitive skin on your face. Stick to a cleanser that’s made specifically with your face in mind.

3. There isn’t a tried and true rule for how many times a day you should wash your face. If you have skin that’s extremely oily, maybe washing your face morning and night is a good idea. If your skin is already on the dry side, you should consult a dermatologist before you jump on the twice-a-day bandwagon. However, you should practice washing your face after workouts and always take off your makeup before heading to bed.

4. Scrubbing shouldn’t be done vigorously. Going to town with a washcloth and vigorously scrubbing your skin could lead to irritation, redness, and while it seems totally contradictory, even breakouts.  You don’t want to completely strip your skin of the oils that keep it at its balanced state. Use a washcloth or your hands to gently wash your face in small circular motions as opposed to up and down.

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5. Don’t overuse a washcloth. You would never actively wipe a cloth that was ridden with germs across your face. And just because it’s been coated with cleanser doesn’t mean it’s sanitized and free of bacteria. If you must use a washcloth, pick a gentle fabric and wash it often. It’s recommended that you use a new washcloth after every use or clean it after every use.

6. Sometimes you need another step to properly unclog your pores. Warm steam can open up the pores on your face, making it easier to remove the dirt and makeup trapped instead that can lead to infection and breakouts. Before you start to wash, lay a warm washcloth over your face or carefully angle your face over steaming water to open up your pores.

7. Wash your hands before using them to wash your face. It’s counterproductive to apply a cleansing product with dirty hands. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before you start the process.

8. Take off your makeup before you wash your face, as many cleansers aren’t designed to specifically remove these products, especially those that are advertized as waterproof. And, like we already know, vigorously scrubbing to get it all off isn’t doing you any favors.

9. Washing your face with a facial wipe isn’t the most effective way to cleanse your face. While washing with cleanser and water works to remove dirt and bacteria, using a facial wipe could end up just moving around the dirt on your face.

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10. Washing your face can really dehydrate your skin, so be weary of the formula that you choose to cleanse with. If you have skin that’s prone to dryness, look for a cleanser that’s made with moisturizing vitamin E and is fragrance-free. In addition, you should always apply moisturizer or a toner after you wash your face, as the process sometimes tends to strip our skin of essential oils and upset its natural pH level.

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