|Milky cleansers generally won’t suds-up like this.|
How should I be washing my face?
Knowing how to wash your face may seem obvious. But year after year I have clients who really aren’t quite sure about this process. It is of course not a difficult process but it is the first in a series of important steps that will help keep your skin looking and feeling its best. Read on in order to clear up any confusion, then you can go forth and wash your face with confidence.
A few things first: I highly recommend using pH papers to test any and all of your skin care products, including your cleanser. Below is an article that gives you that information and coming soon will be a more detailed account of exactly what to do. Regardless, it is an easy process once you have the pH test papers. It is essential to know the pH of your skin care products, and many cleansers are unfortunately in the alkaline category. And no matter how much you may love a certain cleaner, if it is alkaline you do not want to use it.
Next, I am basically against the use of washcloths on your face. (See the link below to get a better understanding of why I feel this way.) It won’t be the end of the world if you use one, but using your hands to apply or remove products from your face is always my first choice.
Finally, what cleansing product to use is also a frequent question I get asked. There is a thorough explanation of what a cleanser is and what to look for in this essential product in the article linked below. Read up on what to use and what not to use to help you make a good decision when it’s time to purchase your cleansing products.
How to wash your face:
- Put a reasonable amount of product in the palm of your hand. If you have a milk cleanser, use about the size of a quarter to a half-dollar. With foaming cleansers, you’ll only need half as much
- Put your palms together so the cleanser spreads evenly on both hands
- Gently go over your entire face and neck. You are not rubbing hard, your hands are merely gliding over your face
- Massage the cleanser onto your skin (this should only take 10 or 15 seconds)
- Remove the cleanser by splash-rinsing with tepid water. Never use hot or cold water on your face!
- Pat your skin dry with a towel (again, no rubbing), and you’re clean and ready for Step 2: Toning
Don’t forget to get the cleanser in that ridge between your earlobe and cheek as well as behind your ears. Dirt and debris tend to collect in these odd places, and you want to clean them daily, too.
Many skin care regimens get picky about exactly how to do each step, like “splash 15 times with water captured in your basin” or “only use counterclockwise circles when applying products.” Instead of focusing on which way your hands are moving across your face, my main concern is getting you in the habit of using your cleanser. As long as you don’t pull the skin, use circular motion or whatever feels most effective.
You may be wondering if you should add water to your cleanser or if you need to apply the cleanser to an already wet face. The effectiveness of the cleanser is not contingent on how wet or dry your skin is. In this instance, let your personal preference be your guide. Some people like to put cleanser on a wet face, either in the shower or at their sink. You may prefer to apply it to your dry skin. Personally, I choose to add a little water to my cleanser, which allows it to glide across my face.
No matter your preferences on how to use your cleaning products, do use them—at least morning and evening (and in between if you have produced significant sweat)—and then go on to your toning product (hopefully in a spray bottle) and then your pH balanced moisturizer. I recommend reading The Basics if you are unsure about these 3 key steps to proper skin care.
For more information, see:
- The Basics 1-2-3 Program for proper skin care
- Questions about pH and pH papers—this will give you information on how to test your products. Coming up there will be a more detailed article about using pH papers
- Is it OK to use a washcloth on my face?
- CLEANSERS 101: What IS a cleanser? What to look for and what NOT to use—updated