10 Weird Things You Never Knew About Your Face Cleanser

Aly Walansky
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Your daily facial cleansing routine may appear to be the simplest and easiest part of the beauty routine, and if done correctly, it can promote a healthy glow. Finding the right cleanser for your skin type is very important but that is only the first step. Equally important is knowing how to properly cleanse your face.

1. Time matters.
Many people are very quick with their cleanser, says Kim Grustas, founder of Good For You Girls Natural Skincare. They must slow down and allow the cleanser to work into the skin to break up the oils and sebum. The cleanser “lifts” dirt out of pores, but only if you allow it time to grab the grime.

2. It works best when you start with clean hands.
Keep bacteria and dirt from hands off your face by washing hands, and then be sure to rinse all of the soap off before moving on, so that chemicals from the hand soap do not react with the sensitive skin on your face.

3. Choosing the right cleanser is determined by your skin type.
You may also want to consider the time of year that you’re using a particular cleanser, because your skin changes with the seasons. “Usually skin is oiler in the summer and drier in the winter, so I suggest changing your cleanser from season to season. When choosing the right cleanser, consider what you truly need from the right one. Do you want something anti-bacterial? Are you cleansing skin that is acne-prone or eczema-prone? Don’t stress too much over choosing the right cleanser as it’s only on your skin for less than a few minutes with each cleansing, twice a day (hopefully), as opposed to a moisturizer or night cream which stays on the skin for at least eight hours or more,” says Dr. David Bank, a dermatologist and author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age and founder and director of The Center For Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, NY.

4. It’s possible to overdo it.
Tempting as it may be to scrub your skin imperfections away, this can worsen acne, says dermatologist-dermatopathologist and founder of VMV Hypoallergenics Dr. Vermén Verallo-Rowell. Instead choose a light, non-irritating scrub, and think “gentle massage,” not “scour my sins away.”

5. Your face does not end at your chin.
Cleansers should be used on your neck, chest and shoulders.

6. There’s an order to cleaning the face.
Work fingertips in a circular motion along the face and neck. It is important to be gentle so that skin does not get irritated. By rubbing in a circular motion, you massage the face, stimulating the blood and oxygen, says Dr. Bank.

7. Rinsing may be the most important step.
Rinse cleanser off by splashing lukewarm water on the face. Always rinse off your cleanser, never tissue off, says celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau. “Cream-based tissue off cleansers aren’t as commonly found these days as they were years ago, but I never recommended them, because the residue that’s left behind when wiping off with a tissue provides an unnecessary residue that will prevent the important ingredients in your serums and moisturizer that follow from properly absorbing into the skin,” says Rouleau.

8. Cleanser can also be used to clean makeup brushes.
Makeup brushes harbor bacteria. At least every two weeks you should clean your makeup brushes with your facial cleanser, so you are not depositing bacteria back onto your face. A facial cleanser as opposed to a harsh cleanser will care better for natural bristles, says Grustas.

9. It probably contains salt.
Table salt (sodium chloride) is a common ingredient in shampoo, bubble wash and facial cleansers (anything that foams). These products are made by combining specific surfactants (which act as foaming agents) and usually involve salt to reach to a level of viscosity (thickness of the product), says New York-based facialist Cecilia Wong.

10. …and sea gunk.
Diatomaceous earth, also known as dead algae, is commonly used in facial cleansers and exfoliators. It’s green and slimy, something you would find on the bottom of a fish tank, says Wong.

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