Whoever said “dirt won’t hurt” was definitely not BFFs with their face. When oils, grime, and environmental pollutants team up, they can stir up some pretty icky situations for our skin, which is why washing your face is so important. But when it comes to cleansing, how much is too much or just too little? Let’s get down and DIRTY with this hot topic so we can smash our skin cleansing game once and for all!
IN A NUTSHELL
Main Takeaways: Whether or not you wash your face once a day, twice a day, or more depends on your skin type and your daily activities.
Good to Know: Be sure to dry your face with a fresh towel to avoid getting bacteria from the towel on your freshly washed face.
When we talk about face washing, we’re not just referring to a splish-splash of unadulterated H2O, but rather the application (and ultimate rinse and removal) of some sort of cleanser. Facial cleansers come in a variety of forms and are often sold as loose gels or creams. Some even contain exfoliants, like microbeads, sugar, or certain chemicals…. more on that later! With a bajillion cleansers on the market, choosing the right one for you can feel like a daunting task. There are tons of formulas out there, many of which claim to offer various benefits – things like acne-fighting, tightening, moisturizing, and the list goes on.
Staying away from sulfates and other detergents is also majorly important, as these can be too harsh on the skin. Here at Fleur & Bee, we prefer to side with simplicity and advocate for the use of gentle, naturally derived ingredients to properly nourish and revitalize your skin (to see what we mean, check out our fan-favorite facial cleanser, formulated for all skin-types, So Clean!). But is using a proper, well formulated cleanser twice a day enough? Is even that too much?
Should You Cleanse Your Face Once, Twice, or Three Times?
The truth is, answering the big question of how often to cleanse is not so cut and dry. Many professionals advise incorporating this step into one’s routine twice a day, starting with once in the morning. This initial cleanse removes dead skin, oils, lingering night time products, and even impurities and allergens that may collect on your pillowcase and be transferred to your face while you sleep. Who knew!?
The second wash in this dual-cleanse plan should take place just before bedtime. This will help bid farewell to everything that comes in contact with your face throughout the day (things like makeup, sunscreen and other products, oily buildup, dirt, bacteria, viruses, environmental pollutants, etc.).
But even with all that stuff, which seems totally important to remove, others maintain that even that is too much, alternatively suggesting a one and done approach. The timing here is critical, however; when one opts for a single wash, nighttime is the right time!
Finally, and in some circumstances, claims are made for the benefit of an extra, potentially third cleanse (if one is already a morning AND night-er, that is). But how does one decide whether to be once, twice, or three times a washer?
Deciding How Often to Wash
You’re an OG, baby! Every face is one of one, so there’s no one size fits all approach. A number of factors may be at play here; when deciding how often to wash your inimitable mug, you may want to consider the following:
- Skin Type. With a properly formulated, gentle cleanser, like our So Clean! cleanser, those with oily or breakout-prone skin may benefit from washing twice a day. This dual cleansing ritual minimizes oils and bacteria that could join forces to make for a not-so-cute cocktail. It can be a whole different ball game, however, if you have dry skin or are prone to irritation. One nighttime cleanse, followed by the rest of your regimen may be just enough to wash off the day, prep your skin for sleep, and ultimately ready you for your no-cleanse morning routine.
- Locale. Those who live and work in more urban environments, where pollution levels are undoubtedly higher, could be faced with more skin stressors, even at night. This makes a strong case for that morning cleanse and can better help set the stage for a fresh new day. But if you’re located in a more rural environment with cleaner, ambient air, sleeping on a fresh pillowcase may help you successfully evade a morning cleanse.
- Lifestyle. Those who have an active lifestyle or engage in midday workouts might be wise to tack on an extra wash, even if they already engage in a twice-per-day routine. While breaking a sweat offers a number of benefits for your skin, it does so by purging pores of oils, bacteria, and other impurities, which if not properly washed away, can potentially wreak havoc on your skin. So, while that dewy post-gym, glazed doughnut-look may feel like a badge of honor, you may still want to score a face-cleanse asap.
It’s easy to see that the decision of how often to cleanse is an individualized one. It isn’t necessarily a matter of right vs wrong, but rather an opportunity for you to experiment a bit and ultimately customize your routine for your specific skin and its needs.
Other Ways to Keep Your Skin Clean
It’s important to note that there’s more to keeping your skin clean than just using the proper cleanser at a certain frequency. If you routinely wear makeup, starting your nighttime skincare routine with a remover may help make the most of your cleanser, allowing it better access to pores.
Exfoliating is also super important for sloughing off dead cells and other pore clogging impurities, but it should be done separately from cleansing, as exfoliating every time you wash can wear at the outer layers of our skin and cause dryness, irritation, and even possibly lead to premature aging. Instead, opt for a separate exfoliant, appropriately formulated for your skin, and limit your use to 1-3 times per week.
You may also want to consider amping up your cleansing routine with a mask - like our detoxifying Prince Charcoal. This “spa in a jar” naturally draws out stubborn impurities, radically cleanses pores, and proactively provides added protection against environmental stressors with a variety of antioxidants.
Finally, after working so hard to keep your pores squeaky clean, the last thing you want to do is smudge ‘em up with a bacteria-laden cloth. Similar to the clean pillowcase thing, one can’t over-estimate the power of a fresh towel. Don’t use the same one for each wash and be sure to refresh yours regularly.
So, how often do you wash your face? All the thoughtful consideration in the world is truly no match for practical application, so try switching from once to twice per day, or vise-versa. Throw a post work-out wash into the mix, if you are not currently doing so, and see what happens! But no matter how often you cleanse your kisser, be sure to do so naturally and with great care. You only get one face, so keep it clean!