You may think washing your face is a no-brainer. Well, not exactly. You’ll be surprised to hear from the pros that many of us aren’t using the correct product, rinsing properly, or treating our skin with the TLC it deserves. So time to start on a clean slate, tweak your purifying routine, and reveal glowing skin – tonight.
FINDING MR BRIGHT
But a cleanser is a cleanser, right? Hardly (and yes, you do need more than water). Good skincare starts with a clean palette to allow the skincare goodies to sink in properly, but without over-stripping skin’s natural protective barrier and leaving it feeling like the Sahara.
STEP 1: The first step to finding the perfect one for you is to understand your skin type and needs. While we should all get our skin analysed by a pro in the ideal world, you can get a good indication with this DIY test: Rinse your clean face with 10 splashes of lukewarm water, pat it dry and wait 45 minutes. If your face feels a little tight or looks ashy, you have dry skin. If you look shiny all over, it’s oily. If the shine is just limited to your forehead, nose, and chin (the T-zone), you have combination skin. And if your skin is blotchy, stinging or easily irritated, it’s sensitive.
STEP 2: When it comes to cleanser, less is more. Overwashing your face can be just as damaging as not doing it at all – causing irritation to sensitive skin, worsening redness and rosacea, and aggravating breakouts.
Non-foaming formulas (milks, oils or creams) are best for dry or dehydrated combination skin because they have few surfactants (i.e. the stuff that lathers). Try: Warm Vanilla to leave your skin dewy, not tight.
Oily skin tends to do better with a foaming gel wash, which helps dissolve excess sebum, makeup and sunscreen away. Try: Skin Laundry III with natural salicyclic acid to clear acne, comedones and dull dead cells.
KNOWING WHEN IT’S ENOUGH
A dime-sized amount is what you’ll need usually. Lather up the foaming cleanser in clean damp hands first instead of using the cleanser neat, as it’s the suds that’ll do the job.
Proper cleansing technique with a facial cleanser (you may need to use a cotton pad to gently wipe off sticky makeup and cleanser first, before doing a double cleanse with a little more cleanser) is usually enough to remove sunscreen and light makeup. But an extra oil-based makeup remover (or a precleanse) is often required to melt away waterproof eye makeup or thick stubborn foundations thoroughly first to allow your cleanser to reach the skin.
RUB YOUR SKIN THE RIGHT WAY
The best tools for cleansing your face are at your fingertips. Massaging the cleansing ingredients into damp skin with fingertips for about 30 seconds cleans terrifically, and helps stimulate circulation and lymphatic drainage. Be systematic, and don’t neglect corners like the nooks on either side of the nose, neck and along the hairline. The nubby washcloth is often too abrasive for most skin types.
I’m a fan of the SW1 Spa’s ultrasonic cleansing too. I personally think it’s great for intermittent deep cleansing and gently exfoliation.
KEEP THINGS LUKEWARM
Use tepid or lukewarm water to remove your cleanser. Rinsing your face with icy water won’t tighten your pores, but may shock delicate skin. Hot water, though it may feel good, can dehydrate and irritate skin. Lukewarm splashes would be best; and if you have redness, try cool (not cold) water, to help constrict blood vessel.
What many people may not realize is that hard water can really impact your skin and cause irritation over time. Check your supply with a simple water-testing strip from the hardware store if you’re unsure, and fix a purifier on your bathroom sink will filter out some of those harsh minerals.
When drying your face, be gentle and pat your face instead of rubbing it harshly with a towel. Use a dedicated soft, clean towel for your face (not the sebum-smeared hair towel or the germ-infested family hand towel that’s been hanging there for days).
Most experts agree that washing your face in the morning and in the evening is best. Washing at night is especially key as debris builds up on our skin during the day (makeup, oil, environmental pollutants) and needs to be removed so that you sleep with a clean conscience and skincare potions penetrate properly. However, if you find that a rinse in the morning and a thorough cleanse at night is enough to your dry wintery skin glowing, go for it.
For nights when you’re too exhausted to wash your face, keep a box of pre-moistened face wipes in your bedside table.
End your cleansing ritual with a light sweep to toner (or skin softener, as Japanese brands call them) on a cotton pad to balance up your skin’s pH and prep it for maximum radiance.