We asked top experts to share common cleansing missteps—and the easy ways to improve your wash
You know the basics: You diligently wash your face every night before you go to bed and every morning when you wake up. But what if your skin still doesn't look as fresh as you'd like it to? We have all of the secrets to scoring that healthy, smooth glow. It starts by avoiding these common mistakes.
USING THE WRONG CLEANSER
Choosing the correct sudser for your skin type is a make or break moment in your skincare routine. As a general rule of thumb, those with normal to dry complexions should opt for a more hydrating, creamy cleansing lotion; oily or combination types can use foaming or gel cleansers.
APPLYING CLEANSER INCORRECTLY
It’s not just a matter of slapping some water on your face and adding a dollop of wash. If you’re using a cleansing lotion, make sure to apply it on completely dry skin and rub it in for a few seconds, as you would with a moisturizer.
SKIPPING A MORNING CLEANSE
You may be diligent about washing your face before you hit the hay, but what about in the a.m.? Even if your skin doesn’t feel dirty, don’t forgo a morning stop at the sink.
CRANKING UP THE TEMPERATURE
While it may feel nice to wash with hot water, the results aren’t quite as pleasing. Heat dilates the capillaries and blood vessels under your skin, making you appear flushed and red, especially if you have a condition like acne or rosacea. Stick with lukewarm temps to fend off an unwanted blush.
It’s okay to use a washcloth—with a few major caveats. Do opt for a baby washcloth, which will be softer and less likely to irritate your skin. But don’t ever (ever!) scrub your face with it. And always, always use a freshie every time you wash. A damp washcloth is a breeding ground for bacteria.
LEAVING SKIN BARE
Once you’re clean and dry, make sure to slather on a serum or moisturizer within 60 seconds.
RELYING ON WIPES
Cleansing wipes are insanely convenient, but sadly, they’re not a substitute for legitimately washing your face. If you just can’t give them up, they’re best suited to help remove stubborn eye makeup (but always follow with a wash).
Daily sloughing is not only unnecessary, it can do more harm then good. A weekly exfoliating session will be enough to keep you glowing. Since most face scrubs and chemical exfoliants are based in a cleansing agent, there’s no need to make this a separate step; just swap out your regular cleanser for an exfoliating option.