I know what you’re about to say.
“Cleansing is the easiest thing in the world. You can’t do it wrong. Tell me something I don’t know instead, Gio.”
Well, I’ll tell you this:
You can do cleansing wrong. I did it wrong for years. And, you’re probably doing it the wrong way, too. Or at least you have at some point.
There is a lot more to cleansing than it seems at first. You have to choose the right product. Make sure you don’t overdo it. Keep it safe from bacteria… It ain’t as simple as it sounds.
Even if you’re doing cleansing right, chances are you’re ignoring one or two things that could up your cleansing game.
So, here we go, 6 effective but often ignored cleansing tips you just need to know about to get the most out of your fave cleanser:
1. Choose A Cleanser Suitable For Your Skin Type
When I was a teenager, I thought that uncomfortable tight feeling I often got after cleansing was proof I had done a good job. How naive I was!
Now, I know better. That tight feeling is a tell-tale sign the cleansers I was using were way too harsh for my skin. So many cleansers back then had Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, one of the harshest surfactants (ingredients that help water mix with oil and dirt so they can be rinsed away easily) used in skincare products.
And don’t let me started on bar soaps! Few brands know how to create bar soaps that don’t irritate skin. It’s much safer to just avoid them.
What you should do is choose a cleanser suitable for your skin type. You’ll recognize it when you meet it: it cleanses your skin without irritating or drying it out.
As a rule, creamy and milky cleansers work better for dry skin while gel, foaming cleansers are more suitable for oily and acne prone skin types. If your skin is sensitive, micellar waters are your safest best.
Related: How To Choose The Right Cleanser For Your Skin Type
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2. Don’t Waste Your Money On Fancy Anti-Aging Cleansers
I used to buy exfoliating and anti-aging cleansers all the time. I thought I’d get double the benefits for half the cost. Turns out, I was just throwing money down the drain.
Antioxidants and exfoliating acids (glycolic, salicylic, etc) work wonders… when they’re left on the skin. But, guess what? When you rinse the cleanser off, you rinse them off, too. Before they have time to work their magic.
What a waste!
Oh, in case you’re wondering. Exfoliating cleansers with salt, sugar, apricot kernels and other tiny exfoliating particles can exfoliate skin during cleansing. But, they’re more irritating than exfoliating acids. They also don’t exfoliate skin evenly.
Do your skin (and your wallet a favour) and skimp on your cleanser so you can invest in a leave-in exfoliants or antioxidant serum. Or, better yet, both.
Related: What Are The Best Antioxidant Serums?
3. Don’t Let Bacteria In Your Cleanser
Did you know that bacteria could potentially find their way into your cleanser if you don’t bother to close that tube well after every use?
It’s true that if your cleanser has a good preservative system (natural products often don’t), that lonely bacteria will likely get killed instantly the moment it venture inside. But, why take the chance?
4. Don’t Over-Cleanse
When I was a teen, my skin was way oilier than it is now (thanks, hormones!).
Back then, I would sometimes wash my face three of four times a day. But, it would just make it worse. Drying out your skin simply sends it a message it needs to produce more oil to compensate what it has lost. *sighs*
There really is no reason to cleanse more than twice a day (once in the morning and once at home). Do it more often and you’ll just hurt your skin.
5. Cleansing Wipes? Only On-The-Go
In my early 20s, I would often go out partying and come home in the early hours of the morning during the weekends.
Cleansing wipes were my BFF. I’d pick up one, rub it all over my face, slather on moisturizer, and go to bed. So convenient!
You know what wasn’t convenient? Pimples. Those take ages to go away. But they come so quickly when you don’t remove all your makeup properly.
Those cleansing wipes never took every last trace off. They can’t. And if you’re wearing waterproof and longlasting products, you’d probably have to use two or three to get the job done. All that rubbing can irritate skin.
Not to mention the cost. The more quickly you use them all up, the more often you’ll have to buy them again. In the long run, they’re not such a good investment.
6. Never Wash Your Face With Shampoo Or Body Wash
Run out of face cleanser? No problem, use your shampoo or body wash. They contain the same cleasing ingredients, right?
Sort of. The ingredients may be the same, but their amount is different. Shampooes and body washes contain a bigger dose that may be too harsh for the face. The skin there is way more delicate.
Don’t risk it. Go out and buy a facial cleanser. Your skin will thank you.
Have you got any more cleansing tips? Share them in the comments below.
I have to admit, I sometimes use cleansing wipes at home when I feel lazy. Yeah, I could wash my face, but sometimes I just don’t want to. For me, sometimes it’s the choice between wipes or going to bed with makeup on. I think I’m making the right choice. 😉
Trisha, you are definitely making the right choice! Wipes may not clean as well as a regular makeup remover, but it’s always better to clean your face with those than not at all! 🙂
Number 2 and 4 are definitely good, I think I probably broke out so much in middle school because the lady who sold me cleanser told me to wash my face 4 times a day….luckily I know better now. And I remember seeing a cleanser with sunscreen in it once and thinking how is this supposed to work??
Makeup Morsels, 4 times a day?! What was she thinking?! That’s way too much!
And I don’t think sunscreen in a cleanser is a very good idea at all either…
Really great tips :D. I recommend that you actually massage (very gently) the cleanser into the skin to get off all the dirt rather than a harsh cleanser or just slathering on cleanser and rinsing it off. Or using a makeup-removing cleanser before another one (to rinse off residue).
Janessa, these are wonderful tips! I agree that harsh cleansers are a no-no. Applying a gentler one properly works much better and doesn’t damage skin.
Excellent tips! So many people damage their skin’s protective barrier & it can take months to “repair”. I have several cleansers depending on weather & if it’s a.m. or p.m. In the morning I love using a micellar water. In the evening, cold weather it’s a milk cleanser, hot weather I use a foam.
Icaria, that’s so true. Using the wrong cleanser can really cause havoc on your skin. It’s important to choose the right one for your skin type, taking also into consideration the weather and how much makeup you wear. But whatever product you choose, it must be a gentle one that doesn’t disrupt the skin’s protective barrier. 🙂