While establishing a face-washing routine can feel like a chore at times, it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do for your skin. In my last blog post, I mapped out the basics for establishing and maintaining an effective routine, the stuff you should be doing every day. Here, we’ll get more granular and learn how the details can make all the difference.
Cleansing and exfoliating shouldn’t be consolidated
We live in the age of 2-in-1 beauty products: shampoo and body wash, deodorant and antiperspirant, face cleanser and exfoliant. But, unless you’re trying to manage acne with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, you shouldn’t be using an exfoliant every day. And even if you are, there are better cleansers that will be kinder to your skin.
Both chemical exfoliants (think salicylic acid and glycolic acid) and physical exfoliants (scrubs, motorized brushes) can be very effective at removing the dead skin cells, dirt, and various pollutants that can clog our pores. But when you rely on them too much, they can disrupt the delicate skin barrier that protects your face and keeps it hydrated.
Unless a board-certified dermatologist advises you otherwise, try not to exfoliate more than a few times a week. If you have sensitive or dry skin, do it even less often, like once or twice a month.
Moisturizer is more effective when you use it right away
Timing is everything when it comes to skincare. Most moisturizers contain both humectant ingredients (that draw water into the skin) and occlusive ingredients (that seal that hydration in). So, ideally, you want to apply your moisturizer while your skin is still a little damp from cleansing – not soaking wet. That will help keep much of that moisture in.
By waiting just a few minutes, the cells on the surface of your skin dehydrate and become harder to moisturizer.
If your moisturizer doesn’t have a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, apply your moisturizer first and then your sunscreen.
Cleanser alone might not be enough to remove makeup
If your makeup contains mineral SPF ingredients or oil, a gentle cleanser alone may not be enough. Instead, try a gentle makeup-removing wipe, micellar water, or a makeup remover before you wash your face, especially if you’re dealing with smudge-proof or waterproof makeup.
If you haven’t used makeup wipes before, you’re going to love them. So much so that you’re going to have to resist the urge to make them your whole cleansing routine. Yes, they’re great at removing dirt and makeup, but they’re also made with lots of preservatives that enable them to have a long shelf life without growing bacteria or fungus. Those preservatives also leave behind a residue that needs to be removed.
A dirty towel can undo your hard work
If you keep a washcloth or small towel next to the sink specifically for patting your face dry after you cleanse it, you could be undoing all your hard work. Using the same washcloth or towel day after day spreads bacteria to your face, which can contribute to acne.
Instead, use a fresh washcloth or towel each time. If doing the laundry isn’t your favorite chore, you can buy cheap washcloths in bulk on Amazon. That way, you’ll only have to do the laundry once a week.