It's ironic how even the most basic beauty routines can somehow go horribly wrong. Take washing your face, for example: It should literally be the easiest thing you do all day long, right? I mean, what's so complicated about lathering up and rinsing off? Well, for starters, if you're using your fingers to suds up, you just made a bad move. And then there's prioritizing your blowout over your skin, if you do that (I'm 100% guilty of doing this), get ready say hello to breakouts.
"Most people wash their face with their fingers, and their skin never really gets cleaned. The reason is bacteria can lurk under your fingernails, which then transfers to your face," explains Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board certified dermatologist in New York City. "And a lot of my patients don't like to mess up their blow dry, so they don't wash their foreheads very carefully — and when they do, they lightly use their fingers, which don't offer enough exfoliation." And that's not even considering the fact that simply being too tired or lazy can keep someone from attempting it altogether.
So what should you do? Washing your face is actually pretty easy and quick (you can do it in under 3 minutes) if you follow these steps — so no more excuses, OK?
1. Chose Your Cleansing Tool
Stock up with either cotton rounds, baby washcloths (they're softer than regular washcloths), or a sonic brush cleansing system. The cotton rounds should be 100% cotton, "Many of these are made of rayon, which can be very irritating to the skin," says Jaliman. If you go for a cleansing brush, make sure you stay on top of changing the brush head every 2-3 months to keep bacteria at bay. "Also, make sure to choose the appropriate brush for your skin type (acne, sensitive or gentle)." Try Clinique's Sonic System Purifying Brush.
2. Set Your Water Temperature to Lukewarm
Not too hot, or too cold, this water temperature is just right — and it won't burn, irritate, or sting your skin.
3. Apply Product
Squeeze out a quarter-size blob of cleanser onto your tool (cotton round, baby washcloth, or cleansing brush), then, starting at your forehead, begin gently rubbing the product in in a circular fashion. Work your way down in a clockwise direction, being careful not to pull downwards on your skin. "The entire face shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Think 30 seconds for the forehead, 30 seconds for each cheek and 30 seconds for your nose and chin," says Jaliman.
If you have sensitive skin, look for cleansers with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides. Try CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser), which contains all three. For more oil-prone skin, go for a cleanser with salicylic acid or glycolic acid, like Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser.