How Often Should You Really Wash Your Face?

Rachel Krause
Troels Graugaard/E+/Getty Images

Troels Graugaard/E+/Getty Images

Like some not-so-popular politicians, the idea of daily hair-washing has seen a drop in approval rates over the past few years. Where it was once considered de rigeur, we know now that washing too frequently can lead to a host of unfavorable hair problems, like dryness, breakage, and (seemingly counterintuitively!) hair that’s oilier than it was when you started. The science to back it all up makes perfect sense: Overwashing strips the hair and scalp of its natural oils, which causes it to produce more oil in the long run while also causing dryness.

So if you’re wondering how often you should wash your face, consider the same principle. Washing to rid the skin of everyday grime, like makeup and environmental debris, is still important, but overwashing can mean the difference between a clean, clear complexion and broken out, aggravated skin. Don’t take this the wrong way, but we find that those with oily skin types tend to be the worst perpetrators of this complexion crime: Logic seems to dictate that oil should be done away with, but natural oils are actually necessary for the skin’s ability to maintain balance.

Where should one draw the line between the right amount of washing and what would be considered overdoing it? Here are our top three tips for changing your overwashing habits for good.

1) Save your foaming cleansers for the night time, when your skin has been subject to daily stressors, and use just lukewarm, not hot, water and a soft washcloth (gently!) in the morning.

2) Choose the right cleanser: Anything with harsh, drying ingredients can really mess with your skin. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is our favorite extra-gentle makeup-removing cleanser for even the most sensitive skin types.

3) Don’t wash your face just to get rid of excess oil on the surface. Instead, use blotting papers to absorb grease—they’ll nix shine without drying out your skin. If you’re feeling especially greasy, use a cotton ball soaked in toner in lieu of a full-on cleansing routine.

Read more from Daily Makeover: Can Cleansing Waters Really Take the Place of Soap and Water?