Washing your face is absolutely the most basic part of your skincare routine, and everyone should be doing it. Even if you don’t have a skincare routine, you still should be washing your face. And don’t just wait until you’ve dribbled ice cream down your chin or sweated up a storm in spin class (although those are also great times to wash your face) – daily cleansing is crucial to healthy, glowing skin.
How often you wash your face and with which face wash you should use largely depends on your skin type. Once you know your skin type, you can find products and develop habits that will work best for you. To help you out, we’ve broken down the best face washing tips, including advice for each skin type, so that you can keep your skin looking fabulous no matter what your skin’s unique needs are.
How often should you wash your face?
Everyone, regardless of skin type, should be washing their face at least once a day at night before going to bed (especially if you wear makeup during the day). Most people however should be washing their face twice a day: in the morning and at night. But, depending on your skin type there is some flexibility.
Oily skin and combo skin
If you have oily skin or combination skin, you should definitely be washing your face twice a day. During the night your skin still produces excess oil, so it’s important to wash your face in the morning. It’s doubly important to wash your face at night, even if you don’t wear makeup. Dead skin, makeup, oil, and bacteria all build up on your skin throughout the day, and if you don’t cleanse at night, they will likely clog your pores.
Luckily for you, you don’t suffer from excessively oily or excessively dry skin. However, bacteria and dirt can still build on your skin causing breakouts and clogged pores. It’s still best for you to wash your face in the morning and night to keep your skin healthy.
If you have dry skin (which means your skin is underproducing oil), you can get away with just washing your face at night, and using a toner in the morning. Remember that dead skin cells can also clog pores, so you do still have to wash your face, even if being oily isn’t your issue.
How to wash your face
It may seem like a simple task, but washing your face wrong can mean you’re not cleansing enough or you’re cleansing too much. Both of which can lead to skin issues. Here are the best tips for how to wash your face properly.
You may think you need to get in there and scrub to slough off dead skin cells or excess oils, but rubbing your skin too hard can lead to irritation. Gently rubbing your face wash in a circular motion with your fingers for 20-30 seconds is enough to cleanse your face, jawline, and neck without your skin getting red and irritated.
This also means not using a washcloth. The texture of a washcloth can be too harsh for your skin, and it’s not necessary for a thorough wash.
If you are someone that exfoliates, be sure to only do so 1-3 times a week. Exfoliating daily can be too harsh for your skin and strip it of its natural oils causing more harm than good.
Turn Down the Heat
Washing your face with hot water can damage your skin and strip it of its natural oils leaving it extra dry, flaky, and irritated. Instead, use lukewarm water when washing your face. The lukewarm water is gentler on your skin, but will still allow your pores to loosen making your cleanser more effective. Once you're done, rinse your face with cool water to tighten your pores back up!
After cleansing, you have to follow it up with a moisturizer or face cream. Even if you use a gentle cream cleanser or a cleanser with moisturizing ingredients, it still won’t be enough to replenish the natural oils you just rinsed away.
A good moisturizer will put vitamins and nutrients back into your skin, keeping it hydrated, helping to minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and evening skin tone. We recommend following a natural skin care routine that also includes a toner, vitamin C serum, eye cream, and sunscreen in addition to a cleanser and moisturizer.
If you have oily skin or wear heavy makeup, you may want to try a cleansing method known as double cleansing. All it means is that you use an oil-based cleanser to remove dirt and makeup, and then follow it up with a gentle water based cleanser to remove the excess product.
Double cleansing isn’t necessary for everyone, and even those who do it probably only need to do it at night.
Additional face washing tips
- Check for hard water - Hard water is water that has a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium, and it can dry out your skin or clog your pores. You can pick up hard water test strips for less than $10 on Amazon.
- Don’t just use a makeup wipe - Makeup wipes are super convenient, but they’re not great for the environment, and can leave behind a film that needs to be washed off as well. If you do use them to remove your makeup, be sure to use a gentle cleanser afterwards.
- Use a separate eye makeup remover - Most cleansers aren’t designed to be used around your eye area, so if you wear eye makeup use a gentle remover like micellar water to remove your eye makeup.
- Don’t over wash - Washing your face more than twice a day can lead to dryness and irritation. If you still experience oiliness throughout the day, try using a gentler toner throughout the day to refresh your skin.
- Read the label - It’s important to read the label to make sure your product is a gentle daily cleanser, free from irritating ingredients, and that you're using it as instructed. Not doing so can mean your using the wrong cleanser or using the right cleanser wrong.
Best face wash
There are all sorts of different types of face wash, and picking the right face wash for you largely depends on skin type. However, everyone should avoid cleansers with harsh ingredients like sulphates, artificial fragrances, parabens, and look for gentle cleansers, like our So Clean! facial cleanser, made for daily use (not exfoliators!). Here’s are tips for picking the best face wash for your skin type.
If you have oily skin, you’re prone to clogged pores caused by excess oil. You want to look for a cleanser that can help balance your skin’s natural oils and unclog your pores. The best ingredients for oily skin include tea tree oil, clays, charcoal, and green tea.
Combo skin has the worst of both worlds, with some dry areas and some oily areas (usually the t-zone). Your cleanser needs to address both issues by using ingredients to help balance natural oils and that won’t overly dry your skin or lead to excess oil. Look for face cleansers that include aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, or tea tree oil.
If you have dry skin, washing your face can leave your skin feeling ultra dry, flaking and tight. Be sure to use a cleanser that includes hydrating ingredients like aloe, glycerin, rosehip oil, or coconut oil. This will help your skin from feeling super dry and tight after you cleanse.
Sensitive skin is prone to redness and irritation. You should avoid harsh products, and look instead for gentle, non-irritating ingredients like squalane, glycerine, and chamomile.
Finding the right routine for you
Everyone’s skin is different, so there are some tips and recommendations that will work great for some people, and not for others. Knowing your skin type and using that knowledge to influence your face wash choices and skin care routine will go a long way to keeping your skin healthy and happy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Washing Your Face
How to wash your face without drying it out
It’s important to use a gentle daily cleanser that’s free of common irritants like sulphates, artificial fragrance. Additionally, be sure to wash your face with lukewarm water – hot water will further dry your skin. Finally, it’s important to follow up your cleanse with a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
Should you wash your face everyday?
Yes! Everyone needs to wash their face at least once a day at night in order to cleanse dirt, bacteria, dead skin cells, and any makeup from their skin. Not doing so can lead to buildup and clogged pores.
Do I need to wash my face in the morning?
Yes – most skin types will benefit from cleansing in the morning. Only people with super dry skin can get away with not washing their face in the morning, and even then we recommend using a hydrating toner, like rosewater, to help refresh your skin.
Is it okay to be washing your face in the shower?
The issue with washing your face in the shower has to do with water temperature. Most of us take hot showers, but hot water isn’t good for your skin (or hair). If you do wash your face in the shower, be sure that the water is lukewarm and not hot. (This is also probably best for the skin on the rest of your body as well.)
Can I just wash my face with water?
If you have dry skin, you can maybe get away with splashing water on your face in the morning, and not using a cleanser. However, you should be using a cleanser at night to effectively remove any dirt, bacteria, excess oil, or makeup. If you have oily, normal, or combo skin, you should probably use a gentle cleanser in the morning as well.
Why does my face feel tight after washing?
When you wash your face, you’re removing the natural oils from the top layer of your skin, which can leave it feeling tight and dry. If you feel overly tight after washing, you may need to switch to a different cleanser that includes hydrating ingredients as well, and doesn’t completely strip your skin. You can also try using a less cleanser when you wash – this can sometimes provide the same level of clean, without the tightness.
Why does my face look better when I don't wash it?
Most likely you’re not using the right cleanser. If your skin is overly dry or irritated after you cleanse, then your cleanser is probably too harsh. You should switch to a gentle, non irritating cleanser that won’t completely strip your skin of its natural oils. It’s still important to wash your face to remove bacteria, dirt, or makeup.