1. Avoid Bar Soap at All Costs
A good bar of soap is great for scrubbing below the neck, but its formula isn't designed for the sensitive skin on your face. To avoid irritation and excess dryness, also opt for a specialized facial cleanser instead.
2. Know Thy Skin Type
Not all cleansers are created equal, so you'll want to find a formula that's suited for your skin. Oily skin may call for a cleanser that helps regulate oil production, while dry skin demands more hydrating ingredients. Use this article to help determine your skin type and pick a matching cleanser.
3. Twice Daily's the Ticket
Much like your teeth, your face requires more than a daily scrub and rinse. If you can, always wash your face twice each day: Once when you wake up, and once before bed. The exception is men with sensitive skin: If two daily cleanses irritates your face, feel free to cut back to one.
4. Wash Your Hands First
Before you go to town on your mug, always give your hands a thorough scrub with soap and water. Otherwise, the dirt and bacteria they carry will be transferred to your face, clogging up pores and increasing the risk of breakouts.
5. Watch Your Water Temperature
We hope you know better than to wash your face with scalding hot water. However, it's equally important to avoid cold water as well. Icy cold water can irritate skin, and in time can even lead to broken or damaged capillaries. Instead, go with warm or lukewarm wateryou'll find it feels better too.
6. Always Be Gentle
In practice, the process of washing your face is more chemical than physical. You're helping the formula interact with your skin, not scrubbing tough grime out of dishes, so don't apply too much pressure (you'll risk redness and irritation). Instead, use soft, circular motions to massaging the cleanser into damp skin, and let the product do the heavy lifting.
7. Don't Skimp on Time
As we mentioned above, cleansing comes down to more than removing surface grime: Most products are also formulated to help unclog pores, which doesn't happen in an instant. For best effect, give your cleanser time to do its job: We recommend 30 seconds at minimum, but 1-2 minutes is ideal.
8. Finish with Moisturizer
Even the gentlest cleanser will leave your face a little dry, so always follow your face wash with a daily moisturizer (or if you're shaving in-between, a hydrating postshave balm). Think of the duo as the skincare equivalent of peanut butter and jelly.
Copywriter, cold brew advocate, purveyor of handcrafted birthday haikus since 2009.