How To Properly Wash Your Face.

How To Properly Wash Your Face

The other day I saw a meme likening skincare to an Olympic sport. It made me giggle, because a) I take my skincare routine very seriously and b) I feel like I’m the only person I know who isn’t (wasn’t? is it over now?) watching the Olympics!

Washing your face is arguably the most important step of skincare. Even if I don’t wear makeup I always take the time to properly wash my face at night. Even if it doesn’t feel dirty. Between SPF and the humidity and sweating and dirt and grime and just city life and being outside (not to mention dead skin cells), you still need to wash your face. Besides “taking the day off” (I feel like that was a Clinique slogan in the nineties?) it also helps to prep your skin for what’s to come: all of those fancy serums and creams.  Properly washing your face prepares the skin and lets your serums absorb more quickly… letting them do their best work!

Two little sidebars!

one – I’m just not a fan of micellar water or makeup removing cleansing wipes. I know not everyone agrees with me here (and that is FINE, I am not criticizing you!) but I personally just need water. I do not feel like my skin is truly clean if I don’t get my face wet!

two – If you properly wash your face in the evening, I personally don’t think you need to do much in the morning (I’ll usually splash my face with water and then go right into serums and creams)

Also: my current skincare routine, and a note: I have very dry skin. So if you have oily or acne prone skin, my advice may not be right for you – skin care depends so much on your skin type!

How To Properly Wash Your Face

Use a soft microfiber cloth.

You don’t want to use a grimy old wash cloth, especially if the texture has gotten rough – that can actually create small tears in the skin. Microfiber is gentle on the skin, gently taking your makeup off without damaging the skin. Also: use a fresh cloth every time you wash your face. Experts say that reusing the same wash cloth will spread around bacteria on your face and nobody needs that. I really really like these and they are super inexpensive. These also look great if you are a “no white face cloths” kind of person.

I love a good double cleanse.

I do not always make the time and can be lazy but nothing beats double cleansing. It feels decadent and luxurious and gets your skin super clean. Start with a cleansing balm (my favorites are below) or a cream cleanser and then use a gel cleanser or foam cleanser afterward.

Don’t Wash Your Face in the Shower.

I know, I know (and sometimes I break this rule but if you like a hot shower, it’s just too much for your face. You really want to wash with lukewarm water. I try to avoid getting hot hot water on my face when I’m showering.

Take your time!

Take your time. Make this feel luxurious. I like to do a little facial massage as I use the cleansing balm. I apply the cleansing balm all over my face and really massage it in using a circular motion. This feels really good but also helps to loosen stubborn makeup and SPF. I do my eye makeup last, that’s where things get messy. And I don’t want to rub my eye makeup all over my face.

Gently Pat Dry.

Don’t rub. Pat. I take a hand towel and just pat my face dry and then begin the rest of my skincare routine. It’s such a small thing but just like using a rough wash cloth, aggressive rubbing can be really bad for your skin.

How To Wash Your Face Skincare routine products

I also wanted to share some favorite facial cleansers!

My favorite cleansers!

I know some people are fine with just a bar of soap but I am not! For a cleansing balm, I love love love the Elemis one (it just smells like the SPA) or the Farmacy one. I will say that the Farmacy one rinses clean whereas the Elemis one leaves behind more of an emollient finish. Because of that, if your skin is really dry I’d say do the Elemis, otherwise you will probably prefer the Farmacy. I like them both but have dry skin!

For a gel or foam cleanser (I like to do this afterward) I love either the Farmacy foaming one (this is especially great for oily types), the Farmacy Clean Bee, or the Fresh Soy Face Wash. Also: it didn’t make it into the photo but I have been using the brand new Biossance gel facial cleanser every day for the past couple weeks and really really like it. It’s super gentle and would be great for sensitive skin.

Steps To Properly Wash Your Face

photography by Clay Austin.

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Leave a Comment


  1. mary says 8.13.21

    I hate washing my face at night so much that I will actually take a whole shower instead, regardless of whether or not I need a full body hose-down. There’s something about standing under a warm stream of water that feels luxurious while standing over the sink basin with water dripping down my neck feels like torture to me. Am I the only one? I am trying to be better about the heat and scrubbing. Thank you for the advice and encouragement to take this chore seriously. : )

    • M. says 8.13.21

      Me too!!! I do turn the heat way down to wash my face. But I 100% relate to this. Rap the water running down your neck.

      If anyone on this earth can tell me how they keep their sink dry and not gross, without using tons of paper towels (my parents are hippies and I can’t bring myself) I will love you forever.

    • MARISSA says 8.13.21

      I’m with you on this one Mary!

    • grace at the stripe says 8.17.21

      Hahahaha this made me laugh and I hear you. I think maybe I never get my face so wet that it’s dripping? I wet it a little, apply cleanser, and then use a hot towel (which I wring out) to remove. Maybe that will help!!!!!

  2. Lisa Autumn says 8.13.21

    You are seriously flawless…

    Lisa |