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Face washing 101: Here’s how to cleanse your face the right way


Social media influencers, and articles might make you believe that including a lot of skincare products is the only way to make your skin glow, the fundamental rule is – simplicity is key. If you’re new to taking care of your skin, or even if you’re a pro who is up-to-date with all available skincare routines (vampire facials, Korean skincare, etc.), let me assure you – skincare is easy! The first thing you need is to be mindful of face washing. That’s right! You might get surprised as to how many people get it all wrong when it comes to washing their faces.

If you’re reading this article, there is a high probability that you’ve already heard of AHA, BHA, niacinamide, retinol, and other fancy skincare jargon. Let’s break down the most basic of all skincare practices – washing your face.

How to wash your face?
What is the right way to wash your face. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to wash your face?

Here are the dos and don’ts of washing your face:

  • Use lukewarm water, as hot water can strip away the skin’s protective lipids, making it dry and irritated.
  • Use a clean towel meant only for your face – most of us are guilty of using the common hand towel in the bathroom!
  • Wash you face only twice a day. Excessive cleaning irritates and damages the skin’s barrier. If you want to wash your face only once, then do it at the end of the day to remove all the sweat, dirt, and makeup.
  • The ideal contact time for a cleanser is 30-60 seconds.

How to choose face wash?

Here’s how to select your face wash depending on your skin type:

For acne-prone/oily skin

  • Foaming or salicylic acid (BHA) based cleanser.
  • No need for a special moisturizer if the cleanser already incorporates a moisturizer (eg – LHA, alpha lipoic, glycerine), or uses a gel/light non-comedogenic moisturizing lotion. This is especially helpful when one is using an acne treatment that dries out and irritates the skin (such as tretinoin, adapalene, and benzoyl peroxide)
  • Use gel-based sunscreen, as acne medication (both tablets and creams) causes photo-sensitivity. Sunscreen also helps in preventing pigmentation from acne marks, for which SPF 30 is sufficient.
face wash
What kind of face wash should I use for acne prone skin. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

For combination skin

  • Non-foaming, non-comedogenic, wash-off liquid cleanser.
  • Use a light moisturizing or cream-based lotion. This is helpful if using other skincare actives or acne treatments dry out your skin.
  • Use gel or gel cream-based sunscreen.

For dry/sensitive skin

  • Non-foaming, cream or liquid moisturizing face wash that leaves a surface film.
  • Use a cream-based moisturizer.
  • Use a cream-based sunscreen.

What’s up with double cleansing?

Does EVERYONE need to double cleanse? NO. If your skin isn’t usually oily or you wear makeup occasionally, double-cleansing every single day isn’t necessary – regular, good old-fashioned cleansing is enough!

double cleansing
Is double cleansing important? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to double cleanse?

  • Apply a cleansing oil or micellar water to dry skin.
  • Use your fingers, a cotton pad, or a soft cloth to massage the first cleanser and remove makeup, excess dirt, and sebum.
  • Wet your face with water and apply your second cleanser (a gentle cleanser as per your skin type, as described above) as you normally do.
  • Rinse off the cleanser and pat your face dry (with your own towel).

In conclusion, finding the correct cleanser and skincare routine depends on trial and error. What works for someone else may not work for you. The best way to know if your cleanser is suiting you is if you don’t have any irritation, breakouts, or a sense of over-drying. All the best for your skincare journey!



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