Coming Clean: Commit to these Skin-Cleansing Commandments
Ditch your skin’s dirty little secrets and start making the most of your time at the sink.
Think something as seemingly straightforward as washing your face is as simple as soap (eek!), water, rinse, and repeat? This otherwise simple step in your skincare routine is the face-freshening fundamental that unequivocally sets the stage for the rest of your skincare regimen. Here’s how to clean up your act and make every second at the sink count.
Skip It or Suds It?
So, it’s the undying dirty dilemma that pervades derms’s social media platforms – does it really matter whether or not you keep your face a wash down in the morning? To cleanse or not to cleanse, is the question these days. As with most every other part of your body, listen to your gut and use common sense. How does your skin feel when you awaken? Categorically, if your skin type is more on the drier end of the skin spectrum, then usually a lukewarm/cool splash is enough to kick start your regimen. Remember, that over-washing can exacerbate already dry skin, making it drier and more prone to redness, flakiness, and irritation. You can also prep, prime, and wake skin up with a refreshing morning mist of Evian Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray ($10-$20) to balance, beautify, tone, and hydrate the skin without summoning the suds. Simply mist entire face and neck and let dry or dab dry after a few minutes. Then, proceed with the rest of your skincare, i.e, serums/treatments, moisturizers/creams, sunscreen, make-up, etc. However, if you normally awaken in the am and see a shiny complexion staring back at you in the mirror, a morning face washing is a non-negotiable. But, since you thoroughly cleansed your skin the night before (right?), you won’t need to employ the double-cleansing system, just a simple, light washing using a foaming gel cleanser will send excess serum down the drain.
Also, as far as different times of the day go, if you’ve just singlehandedly drenched yourself in sweat from a success spinning sesh, please, we beseech you, wash your face. If it feels dirty, grimy, or greasy, it probably is, so no skipping the suds.
Make a Clean Break Before Bedtime with These Face-Freshening Tips and Tricks
So, here’s how to get the freshest face possible every single time – and enjoy a cleaner, clearer, calmer, beautiful complexion. When your face is free of the day’s dirt, debris, excess sebum, sunscreen, and make-up, all those pricey potions and lavish tubes of anti-aging products, dream creams, and other in-the-moment skincare must-have’s will absorb that much more deeply and work that much more efficiently. So, in essence, you’re actually getting more bang for your beauty buck when you clock in some serious cleansing time.
- If you wear make-up, you have to start the skin-cleansing process by completely removing ALL your make-up first –and your go-to facial cleanser won’t cut it, literally. This is where you’ve got to pull out the big beauty guns, like a make-up -melting cleansing oil or oil-based cleansing balm. If you wear very little make-up, such as a tinted moisturizer or BB/CC cream and some sunscreen, then a cleansing oil will suffice. If you normally wear a full face of Insta-worthy war paint, including full-coverage, high-definition foundation and lots of thick, triple-coated mascara, black liquid, winged eye liner, and other camera-ready eye make-up, then it’s balms away for you. Choose wisely. We love REN Rosa Centifolia™ No.1 Cleansing Balm ($32) with stress-relieving rose oil and calm-inducing Roman chamomile oil for a tranquil, therapeutic cleansing experience.
- Whether you use a cleansing oil or cleansing balm to remove the war paint, finish off by saturating a soft, cushiony muslin cloth in hot water (but, not too hot) and lay over skin until cooled, then wipe away taking remaining dirt, make-up, oil, and other pore-clogging gunk with it.
- Now, second step. There’s a reason our Seoul sisters have breathtaking beautiful, blemish-free faces. They take it ALL off! It’s a little beauty modus operandi known as the art of double-cleansing. If you’ve got oiler skin, opt for a light, gel cleanser for your second cleansing step. This will rid skin’s surface of any remaining residue, while beautifully balancing your complexion. It’s like starting with a clean slate. If you’re more of a drier skin type, go for a ceramide-rich, creamy cleanser that moisturizes as it cleanses.
- Now, if you’re not a wearer of make-up, then a single step is usually all it takes to get skin squeaky clean, fresh, and fab. If you’ve got dry skin, try a facial cleansing oil; for oily skin types, go with a gel, salicylic-infused cleanser. A double-cleansing routine is only needed when there is make-up and other extra circular skin activities involved, otherwise this K-beauty –inspired cleansing craze can strip skin. So, only double-cleanse when you need to remove make-up first. Otherwise, stay at single-step cleansing and save time – and face!
- Once you’ve applied no more than a dime-sized of cleanser to wet face, gently massage over every area of your face, working up a rich, luxurious lather (if using a cleansing oil, you’ll be working up to a milky foam). And, don’t neglect the hairline, jaw line, neck, and near ears. These areas are most often forgotten, which is why they most often suffer from pesky pimples. Continue massaging entire face for about 30 seconds.
- For those who want to take their cleansing next-level, use silicone-based Foreo ($30-$249) or brush-based Clarisonic ($99-$249). Incorporating any one of these legendary, get-gorgeous gadgets into your skincare routine is like “cleansing on crack!” Not only are you getting a deeper, more effective clean than you would with just your fingertips alone, you’re getting the added beauty bonus of mild exfoliation in one super skin-cleansing step. Plus, these high-tech devices are timed to shut off when your cleansing routine is finished to avoid over-cleansing and stripping skin of its protective, natural lubrication.
- Rinse entire face and neck of cleanser by splashing skin with a few blasts of lukewarm to cool water.
- Gently pat dry with a soft, cotton towel that you want to use for your face ONLY. Don’t use your tub towel or shower towel or hand towel that hangs alongside the sink as these can all transfer blemish-causing bacteria to your face. Keep your towels separated for different body parts.
- As far as applying toner goes, the verdict is still out, according to the beauty authorities. Most of today’s cutting-edge, multi-tasking cleansers balance and beautify the skin during their 30-second sudsing seshes, so toners are quickly becoming things of the past, simply proving to being nothing more than a gratuitous step in your skincare regimen. However, if you swear by using one and it really gives your skin a sense of vigor, make sure it’s completely devoid of glycols, chlorides, and, most importantly, alcohol, as these can send your skin to sandpaper status in seconds. Honestly, we completely recommend avoiding them altogether, but it’s up to you.
- Next, apply any high-performing anti-aging serums/special skin treatments tailored to your skin’s individual needs, now that your complexion is a clean canvas and at-the-ready for drinking up all the goodies you want to send its way.
- After applying all serums, wait two to three minutes for full optimal absorption before drenching skin with your moisturizer or night cream. Note: If you don’t normally apply any serum, apply moisturizer/cream IMMEDIATELY following your cleansing step, as skin’s pores are more dilated and ready to receive the much-welcomed moisture. If you wait longer than two minutes to apply your moisturizer once you’ve finished cleansing, the skin’s surface has already begun to dehydrate. So, get it in while it’s hot!
- Slip tired tootsies into your toasty-warm Kashmere Kollections Plush Slipper Socks and it’s light’s out! Nighty-night!
If this is the morning, apply your daily sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher. And, remember to re-apply, re-apply, re-apply (every two hours)! Finally, if applicable, make-up.
Don’t Commit These Cardinal Skin-Cleansing Sins
If you want celeb-status skin, you’ll want to be sure to forgo the following face-washing faux paux at all costs:
- Never exfoliate more than 1-2 times weekly to avoid stripping skin of its essential oils and lipid layer lubrication. You risk compromising the skin’s inherent functionality. You know, too much of a good thing…
- If you’re doing a weekly mud/clay/sheet mask, do NOT cleanse your face afterwards – cleanse BEFORE. Once your masking is complete, let skin soak up all the supercharged ingredients. If you cleanse your skin afterwards, the entire masking process would have been all in vain.
- A make-up remover wipe does not constitute a full-cleansing routine. Sorry, nice try.
- Don’t heavily rely on those in-vogue, ubiquitous micellar waters that tout cleansing the skin sans H2O. While most really do effectively work at getting rid of everything (after like 10 saturated cotton rounds worth), they should only be used in near-emergency situations. Like when it’s 4am and you’ve got to be at your desk in like 4 hours and you like really need to crash NOW. Although very innovative and time-saving, don’t make these an every-night habit. Instead, make miraculous micellar waters your lazy girl go-to tonic when sleep is NOT an option.