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5 Steps to Properly Cleanse Your Face
by Emily Linehan on January 03, 2020
Updated December 22, 2022
While it may sound obvious, washing your face is a crucial part of any skincare routine, regardless of skin type. You’re probably well aware of this already, right? Facial cleansing has been a staple of your skincare routine for years, it’s practically second nature at this point, but the question is… are you cleansing your skin properly?
Whether you have your skincare routine down to a science or are ready to level up your routine, read on to learn how to properly cleanse your skin.
Step 1: Wash Your Hands
Whether you’re typing on a keyboard, touching your phone, driving, or anything else, your hands help carry you throughout your day. Unfortunately, they also carry a lot of germs. That being said, washing your hands before cleansing is crucial to avoid transferring any unwanted bacteria or irritating chemicals to your face.
#EmmeTip: Contrary to what you may have heard, your hands are the best and only tool you should use when it comes to cleansing your face. Although they’re marketed to “deep pore cleanse”, skin brushes have no place in your cleansing routine! To learn more about skin brushes and other tools, check out my blog ‘Are Skincare Tools Worth It?’
Step 2: Cleanse Away Makeup and Sunscreen
Removing makeup, sunscreen, or any other traces of a long day is so important, which is why the first cleanse is aimed at doing this. Our Gentle Cleanser is extremely effective at removing impurities, excess oil, and makeup without stripping or drying the skin, so it’s a great option for all of your cleansing needs!
However, if you’ve heard about “Double Cleansing” online, you may be tempted to reach for an oil cleanser. Although they may appear to remove makeup effortlessly, I don’t recommend oil cleansers because they leave behind a residue that is very difficult to remove. Additionally, some oil cleansers can also block the absorption of your treatment serums, so you will likely not get the same results or benefits from them. As mentioned above, our Gentle Cleanser is very effective, however, if you are looking for something closer to the experience of an oil cleanser, our Foaming Cleanser may be a great option. Not only will the gentle lather effectively dissolve the day away, but it won’t leave behind any difficult-to-remove residue as oil cleaners tend to do.
Whichever cleanser you chose, be sure to massage it on the skin for 30-60 seconds, then rinse the cleanser off with lukewarm water.
Step 3: Cleanse… Again
You may have already heard about double cleansing as it has become increasingly popular over the last few years for obvious reasons. This tried-and-true method isn’t as daunting as it may sound and is extremely important for effectively cleansing your face. “Cleanse 1” removes makeup/SPF, while this second wash focuses on cleaning the skin itself. For this step I recommend using our best-selling Gentle Cleanser and similar to the first cleanse, massaging it into the skin for 30-60 seconds. Giving the product a proper amount of time is crucial to remove all the oils, dirt, and other remnants of your day.
Once thoroughly cleansed, you’ll want to rinse your face with lukewarm water. Water that is too hot can damage the skin or lead to dryness, while water that is too cold can result in your pores tightening up and potentially trapping unwanted debris.
#EmmeTip: Since I have lash extensions I don’t want to get them wet every time I wash my face. To avoid this, I use fragrance-free baby wipes as disposable “washcloths”. So, after massaging the cleanser on the skin, I will take a baby wipe, get it wet, wring it out and wipe the cleanser away. Then rinse the baby wipe and repeat! Please keep in mind that makeup-removing wipes and facial cleansing cloths do have pore-clogging ingredients so stick with fragrance-free baby wipes!
Step 4: Pat Away Dripping Water
The skin on your face is very delicate, so, similar to how skin brushes can cause micro-tears in the skin, aggressively rubbing a towel on your face can lead to irritation as well. Instead, make sure you gently pat your face with a clean towel to remove any excess/dripping water (but don’t completely dry).
#EmmeTip: Don’t completely dry the skin! Allowing the skin to fully dry after cleansing means the moisture is evaporating off of the skin, which can actually lead to dehydrated and irritated skin.
Step 5: Tone
Immediately after you’ve cleansed and dried your face, apply your toner to a cotton round then gently wipe the face. This will help remove any residue and restore a healthy pH balance, which is crucial to ensuring that you get the maximum benefits from the rest of your skincare products. It also helps to remove residue from the tap water which is especially important if you live somewhere where there is hard water or if you have a water softener as both can be drying and irritating to the skin.
Once you’ve properly cleansed, you’ve paved the way for the remainder of the products in your arsenal to effectively do their job and are ready to move on with your routine!
Unsure about what your routine should be? You aren’t alone. Although proper cleansing techniques are recommended for everyone, skincare isn’t one size fits all. If you’re ready to feel the difference of personalized skincare we’d love to hear from you – start your free consultation today.