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How To: Wash Your Face

How To: Wash Your Face

You’ve been washing your face since before you knew what pores, laugh lines, or blackheads were. It’s a no-brainer, right? Yes. No. Maybe. Cleansing isn’t as straightforward as you might think, and the way you wash your face can have dramatic effects on your skin. Read on for tips from celeb dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz, plus our favorite cleanser game-changers.

Back to Basics

Dr. Schultz advises to always start with a damp face, then massage your cleanser all over using gentle circular motions. It’s not rocket science, but the key is to make sure that you’re only massaging for about 10-20 seconds. Rinse with warm (not hot or cold) water, which helps skin retain moisture, and pat (don’t rub!) skin dry with a clean, soft towel.

Less is More

The most common mistake people make is over-scrubbing their face. While you want to remove dirt, makeup, and oil, too much washing can irritate your skin and strip its natural oils. This can trigger breakouts and dryness. Dr. Schultz always tells patients to take the “less is more” approach. For a deep-clean that won't strip your skin, try Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser and Michael Todd Charcoal Detox Deep Pore Gel Cleanser.

That said, never skip...especially at night. Make sure to remove every trace of makeup before bed. One of our favorite nighttime rituals is using the balm-like EVE LOM Cleanser to melt away what's left from the day. Read on for more on committing the cardinal sin of beauty!

Don't Skip Washing

We know some women who swear by only washing their face at night, and then just splashing with water in the morning. While your face may require more attention at night to remove makeup and dirt from the day, it’s also important to cleanse in the morning. Overnight, dust and dead skin clog pores while you’re sleeping and can make your skin look dull. If you’re concerned that your cleanser is too strong to use twice a day, reach for a more gentle, creamy option like Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser in the morning. Pillowcases can also be secret sources of pore-clogging particles, so make sure you’re washing them frequently.

Customize Your Routine

It may seem obvious, but your cleanser should be chosen based on your skin type. "The right wash helps you achieve and maintain normal oil and water balance in your skin," says Dr. Schultz. To find your ideal product, first determine your skin type: dry, normal/combination, or oily. A good way to do this is to look at your face a few hours after cleansing. Dull and tight? It’s probably dry. If it’s already shiny, you’re probably oily. Most people fall into the normal/combination category. In general, creams tend to be less drying than foams and gels, but there are always exceptions.

Switch up Your Cleanser Seasonally

You already know your skin reacts differently in summer and winter. It's important to switch up your cleanser accordingly. Use moisturizing options in colder or less humid months, and lighter formulas during warmer months.

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