Washing your face is one of those basic beauty routines that you do when half asleep — literally. Rub, rinse, pat dry, and that’s it, right? Well, according to skin-care pros, if you really want to maintain a clear, glowing complexion, there’s a bit more to washing your face than a half-awake rinse.
1. Don’t ignore your hairline.
“Sometimes women don’t work their cleanser close enough to their hairline as they should because they don’t want to mess up their blowouts. You could get acne there if you don’t clean that area,” says Francesa Fusco, MD, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in New York City. Slip on a wide headband to protect your edges and then be sure to massage your cleanser all the way out to your hairline to thoroughly get rid of makeup and gunk.
2. Use the right water temperature.
If your skin feels uncomfortably tight or not quite clean enough after you wash it, don’t be so quick to blame your cleanser. The problem might be your rinsing game. “Stick with lukewarm water when you rinse. Hot water dries out your skin, and cold water doesn’t remove dirt and oil as well,” says Debra Luftman, MD, a dermatologist in Calabasas, California and a Simple Advisory Board Member.
3. Slow Down
For the best results, work your cleanser all over your skin in a circular motion with your fingertips. Start from your nose (where makeup is usually the heaviest) and go outward toward your hairline. Want to turn the whole process into a de-stressing mini-massage? Use an oil cleanser — it feels luxe on the skin and not at all greasy.
4. Give Your Cleanser an Assist
Creamy formulas are great for dry and sensitive skin types, but to whisk away heavy makeup (think stick foundation or an elaborate strobing job), it’s a good idea to follow up with a cleansing water to zap every last trace. Start by saturating a cotton pad with the liquid, and wipe it over one-half of your face. Then flip the pad over to its clean side and do the other half.
5. Rinse the Right Way
For healthy skin, the way you take off your cleanser is just as important as how you apply it — see tip no. 3. “When you’re rinsing, rub your fingers over areas where lather tends to accumulate, like the sides of your nose, your eyebrows, and near the hairline. Then once you think you’ve rinsed enough, splash three more times [for a thorough clean],” says Dr. Fusco.
6. Master the Art of Face Wipes
To avoid redistributing the very makeup you’re trying to get rid of, grab a cleansing cloth and take Dr. Luftman’s advice: “Start with one side of the face, wipe it from top to bottom, skipping the nose. Then turn the towelette over and repeat on the other side. Do your nose last — [but make sure you do a pinching motion as you go down the length of your nose] to avoid spreading bacteria onto your skin.”