The Most Common Face-Washing Mistakes You Can Make

It seems straightforward: Cleanse, scrub, rinse, and done. But there is a more nuanced method to properly washing your face—and knowing how to do so can make a world of difference for your complexion, both now and in the years ahead.

So from the correct water temperature to how often you should really be exfoliating, consider this Cleansing 101. Keep scrolling to find out how to wash your way to much (much!) better skin.

Mistake: Your Hands Aren't Clean

While it might seem like a silly extra step to wash your hands when they’re about to be covered in cleanser anyway, it’s important to expose your face to as little bacteria as possible.

Mistake: You Aren't Switching Up Your Products

Let’s say you fell in love with micellar water this summer. The thing is, even though it might be amazing for your complexion now, your skin will be an entirely different beast come winter. The weather and climate have a major impact on our skin, so it’s important to tailor your routine to your face’s current needs. If you’re REALLY a beauty nerd, you might even change things up depending on how your skin is looking on a daily or weekly basis. One last benefit to this: Your skin also “remembers” products, so using the same thing over and over again will be less effective as time goes on.

Mistake: You're Exfoliating Too Often (or the Wrong Way)

Exfoliating too often dries skin out and can even cause broken blood vessels and discoloration over time. Stick to deep scrubbing just once or twice a week, and make sure you’re opting for gentle scrubs with natural particles, like jojoba beads or cleansing grains. Better yet, ditch abrasive exfoliation altogether and give chemical peels a try.


Mistake: You're Scrubbing Too Hard

Easy, tiger! One common Clarisonic error is using the brush to scrub your face, which tugs at your skin, leaving it more susceptible to fine lines and wrinkles. The vibration does the trick by itself—just skim the device over your skin for the deepest clean you need. If you’re using a washcloth, a scrub formula, or your fingers, use a gentle circular motion. And if your skin is particularly sensitive, just stick with soft, makeup-removing wipes, a cream cleanser, or micellar water.

Mistake: You're Applying the Cleanser Wrong

Think of your pores as roof shingles, with their openings facing down. Basically, in order to get any product deep into your skin, you have to apply it upward. To get the hang of it, apply a little bit of cleanser to the tips of your fingers, and brush it onto your face using a tiny circular motion.

Mistake: The Water Temperature Isn't Right

Warm water and steam help loosen up the impurities in your pores, leaving them open for your cleanser to get in there and finish the job. Cold water helps tone and contract your skin cells. Wash your face with warm water; finish off by splashing it with cold water.

Mistake: You're Wiping Your Face Dry

As tempting as it is to bury your sopping-wet face in the nearest towel, please practice a little resistance. Instead, pat your face dry—and, ideally, make sure the towel is very clean.

Mistake: You Wash Your Face… and That's It

Cleansing just provides a blank canvas for the rest of your skincare regimen. Even if you’re extremely low-maintenance, follow up with a toner (to balance skin tone and minimize pores) and a moisturizer, at the very least.

1 comment

  • This was a good article. We think we know so much, and then we are reminded to do things in a better way. Thank you for the info!

    Penny Gudel

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