This is the first post in what will be an occasional series for this blog – back to basics. Sometimes it’s just important to review and discuss those daily skincare steps that we may take for granted. I’ll kick things off with talking about how to properly cleanse your face. I’ve addressed this issue before in my blog; see “my related posts” below for my other posts on this subject. This particular post was inspired by something I read in the book Heal Your Skin by Dr. Ava Shamban (see my review of the book here).
Properly cleansing your face is an essential step for everyone, not just for those people who take their skincare routines seriously. Clean skin is something to everyone needs and benefits from. Think about the first steps of any facial – it’s always a double cleanse.
I’ll start with Dr. Shamban’s advice since her book inspired this new series (page 32):
How to Wash Your Face
This section may seem obvious, but a good technique for skin cleansing is just as important as your choice of cleanser. To wash your face:
1. Pull your hair back so that it’s easier to clean your whole face and neck. This way you won’t transfer hair products to your clean skin.
2. Wet your face by splashing it gently with room temperature water.
3. Put a dollop of cleanser about the size of a medium (14 mm) to large (18 mm) pearl into the palm of your hand. Rub your palms together to spread the cleanser evenly. Gently massage the cleanser into your face, avoiding the eye area. Be sure to apply the cleanser about a quarter inch into your hairline to remove built-up hair products and to address any acne that may be present in these areas. Don’t forget to cleanse under your chin and the back of your neck.
4. Rinse thoroughly by splashing your face or by using a clean, wet washcloth.
5. Pat – don’t rub – your skin dry with a clean cotton towel. If your skin is particularly dry or sensitive, leave your skin damp. Applying moisturizer to skin that’s slightly wet improves absorption of active ingredients and seals in moisture.
In the evening, remove your makeup before cleansing. Use a premoistened pad or a disposable wipe formulated for gentle makeup removal and tailored to your skin type. Don’t leave behind any waterproof mascara that might irritate your eyes. And remember, when you are in the shower, wash your face last – after you have rinsed off any shampoo or conditioner.
Though Dr. Shamban recommends using a disposable wipe or premoistened pad for make-up removal I suggest using either the gentle cleanser of your choice (which you then have on hand to wash your face with in the morning since most people just need a gentle cleanser in the morning) or an oil cleanser such as this or this or this or this. I always find that I have spend a little of extra time removing my eye make-up; I use 100% pure jojoba oil to remove eye make-up. (For more information about jojoba oil please see my post)
Make sure you have a separate towel just for your face. This is particular crucial for those people who have issues with acne, and try to wash your face towel frequently.
It’s very important to remember to double cleanse your face in the evening; as a matter of fact it is essential if you use make-up and wear sunscreen (and I hope all my readers are using sunscreen everyday). Skin Inc. explains the importance of cleansing twice in the PM:
The problem is that consumers are using heavier oil-based moisturizers and more water-resistant makeup and sunscreens that are not adequately removed with water-based cleansers. Combine this with how quickly average individuals cleanse their skin and too many people are walking around with dirty skin.
For this reason, always recommend a second cleansing to thoroughly remove oils from the skin. As a matter of fact, even if the skin is cleansed twice with a water-soluble cleanser, there still may be some oil-soluble substances that remain.
… When a cleanser is applied to the skin, surface active agents provide the primary cleansing action. During the initial cleansing process, the surfactants are emulsifying the fat or lipid grime, such as sebum, makeup, environmental hydrocarbons and sunscreens, allowing them to be solubilized in the rinse water. Meanwhile, the water-based portion of the cleanser solubilizes the water-soluble debris, namely sweat and some environmental pollutants. Considering the amount of material that potentially collects on the skin, it’s not surprising that this initial cleansing will only remove superficial debris and is not adequate for a thorough cleansing.
Just a splash of warm water and a single pass with a sudsy gel or milky cleanser—even a good one—is not enough. In fact, a light oil-based solvent should be used on the skin first as an initial step. This should not be mineral oil, although in generations past mineral oil and oily cold creams did perform the task of dissolving makeup. Today, there are nongreasy, microprocessed oils that do not require an alcohol-based toner to remove them. The methodology here: Like attracts like. Oils applied to the skin attract the oils produced by the skin for an ideal, nonaggressive cleansing. Water added to the mix allows the combined, released oils to be rinsed away.
(From Keep It Clean)
Lastly, don’t skimp of the time you take to wash your face. Be sure to massage your cleanser into your face for at least 30 seconds, even up a minute if you have the time and patience.
Bottom Line: Proper cleansing is the backbone of any good hygiene and skincare routine and doesn’t take a long time to execute. Make proper facial cleansing a priority and your skin will thank you.
Back to Basics: How to Cleanse Your Face by Hanah Tetro is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.