Guest Post: Face-Washing 101: Cardinal Cleansing Sins

A lot of us are well aware of how complicated skincare can be. There’s a lot of thinking and researching that goes into selecting an anti-aging regimen. Don’t even get us started on how long it takes most of us to find exactly the right moisturizer for our skin type! Face washing, on the other hand, tends to be something we think of as a no brainer. After all, it’s simple, right? Soap + water = clean face.

In actuality, many people develop bad face washing habits early on in life. As a result, they wind up adding to persistent problems like chronic dryness, oiliness, blemishes, and irritation without realizing it. Here we’ll take a closer look at some of the most commonly made cleansing faux pas and discuss what you should be doing instead.

1. Using the Wrong Product for Your Skin

Not all facial cleansers are created equally. While there are some truly incredible products out there today, it’s important to realize that the market is also saturated with cleansers that are way too harsh. Learning how to tell the difference is one of the smartest decisions you’ll ever make.

A good facial cleanser thoroughly lifts away dirt, pollution, make-up, and perspiration. However, it does not strip skin of the natural oils it needs to remain healthy and stay protected. If you have to wash your face twice in order to get it clean, your cleanser might be too gentle. On the other hand, if your skin feels tight or dry after a wash, it’s too harsh.

Skincare cleansing

2. Not Knowing Which Water Temp Is Best

Yes, there is a correct water temperature for washing your face. No, it’s not simply a matter of preference. To know which one you should be using, you need to understand how your pores work.

Pores do not have muscles that open them or close them. However, they can be opened or closed depending on water temperature. (Hot water opens pores up while cold water closes them.) Many people prefer the soothing feel of hot water, but fail to realize that it can lead to oil stripping and, ultimately, skin that is either too dry or too oily. Always use lukewarm water for best results.

3. Washing Way Too Often

Most people stick to washing their faces once or twice daily. However, others simply assume that the more often they wash their face, the better. They also wonder why they’re dealing with either itchy, tight, irritated skin or skin that’s constantly greasy and blemished.

Give your skin a break and resist the urge to over-cleanse. Consider skipping your nighttime washing if you didn’t go out, wear make-up, or perspire much on a given day. (Splash your face with lukewarm water instead.) If you struggle with chronic dry skin, you might alternatively try washing your face only at night. Under no circumstances should you wash more than twice daily.

4. Not Adequately Rinsing Your Skin

It’s important to make sure you’re rinsing your skin thoroughly enough after a wash. Otherwise, you risk a residue build-up that can lead to redness, dullness, clogged pores, and breakouts. (The jawline and hairline are the most commonly neglected areas.)

Don’t rush through the rinsing stage of your cleanse. It only takes a little bit of extra effort to avoid the consequences of skimping.

Skincare moisturizer

5. Waiting Too Long to Moisturize

Many people don’t realize that it matters when you apply your moisturizer. Product is absorbed most readily and is most effective when applied immediately after a wash when skin is still slightly damp. This goes for products like serums and specialized skin treatments as well.

Waiting too long to apply these products can retard the ability of the active ingredients to penetrate the skin, meaning you’re probably not reaping the full benefits of using it in the first place. Applying such products on completely dry skin can also make skin feel greasy or sticky afterward instead of soft and supple.

6. Rubbing Your Face with Your Towel

Yes, rubbing your face dry after a good wash can feel really good. It’s also really hard on your skin. Rubbing yanks and pulls at your delicate skin, which can lead to wrinkles and sagging over time. Be kind to your face. Gently pat it dry instead.

You should also take care to choose the right towel. Designate a special soft towel just for washing your face. Make sure it’s kept impeccably clean. Otherwise, you risk spreading problem-causing bacteria all over your freshly washed face.

7. Exfoliating Too Often

Skincare enthusiasts know that exfoliation is an essential part of any thorough skincare routine. However, it’s important to make sure you’re not doing it more often than you should. As with washing, more does not necessarily equal better.

Skip the ultra-rough, too grainy scrubs in favor of options that rely on sugar, fruit acid, or similar ingredients. Limit exfoliation to 2-3 times per week as a hard maximum. Be gentle during the exfoliation process. Apply product in a circular motion using your fingers, instead of scrubbing at your face with a washcloth.

Skincare oils

8. Being Afraid to Embrace Oils

Once upon a time, it was considered a major no-no to use oils anywhere near your face. However, expert opinion on the matter is changing in a major way. Oil cleansing can be incredibly beneficial for skin of all types, including skin that is blemish-prone or oily.

Options like almond oil, apricot oil, sunflower oil, or grape seed oil are excellent at dissolving build-up and clearing pores of debris. Just gently massage your oil of choice onto your face and wipe it off with a warm, damp washcloth. As with other types of cleansers, make sure you’re thorough when wiping the oil off of your face.

At the end of the day, excellent skincare is all about understanding your skin and knowing how to treat it with the tender loving care it deserves. This includes during simple procedures like washing that we tend not to consider the way that we should.


Note:  All views expressed in this blog post are the personal opinions of the guest blogger. doesn’t favor any particular skincare brand or take advertising from any of them. Our scientific algorithm is entirely unbiased and based on your skin profile.


Jennifer Links has been writing since 2009 for various travel and beauty publications including My favorite things to write about include beauty, fashion, and healthy living. I love cooking and baking.


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