How To Correctly Wash Your Face

Angela Christiansen|February 13, 2015

young girl washes with clean water

Washing your face is the most basic step for any skin care regimen. However, the simple details of this task can trip you up. In order to make the most out of your skin care routine, it is necessary to understand how to wash your face effectively. If you don't, the other steps of your skin care routine may be futile.

The purpose of washing your face is to remove dirt and grime that may clog your pores.  Cleansing also helps to remove dead skin. When your skin is clean your skin care products will penetrate your skin better.  The team here at Dr. Bailey Skin Care wants to empower you with the correct information and the right skin care products to keep your complexions healthy and attractive.  The first step is to reinforce the very foundation of your facial skin care routine which is your facial cleansing step.

Dr. Bailey's Steps to Wash Your Face Effectively

1. The Temperature of the Water

The water temperature that you use to clean your skin is really important. When it's too cold it won't effectively remove oily grime and debris in clogged pores.  Water that's too hot  may remove too much skin oil leaving your skin overly dry and irritated. You want the water temperature to be just right, as Goldilocks would say. The "right" temperature for face washing is warm or tepid water.  A warm temperature is sufficient to help unclog pores but preserve your skin's natural hydrating oils. To find this temperature, you may want to test the extremes of your water faucet and choose something that feels in between. Your hand should not want to pull away as if it is burned, but feel comfortable and pleasantly warm.

Retinoid products and facial cleanser for sensitive skin2. The Right Facial Cleanser for Your Skin Type

If you are not using the right facial cleanser for your skin type, you may be exacerbating your skin problems.

Dry skin types should avoid harsh cleansers, especially if they are designed to remove oils. Instead, find mild cleansers that combine both cleansing and moisturizing ingredients. You should also avoid foaming cleansers with sodium laurel sulfate that irritates the skin. For example, Toleriane is hypoallergenic cleanser without sodium laurel sulfate that contains glycerin to nourish your skin as well.

how to get rid of blackheads glytoneOily skin types need a stronger cleanser but still need to avoid overly harsh ingredients. Even though you want to remove the oil and grease from your skin, you still need some to prevent your skin from becoming irritated and over compensating with an excess production of oil. If you have combination skin, you may use multiple cleansers for the different parts of your face that are dry vs. oily. Glytone Mild Gel Wash is a great balance of utilizing powerful ingredients (glycolic acid) in lower concentrations to not irritate the skin and still effectively remove oils.

For more tips on finding the right  cleanser for your skin type, read Dr. Bailey's in depth skin care advice section in the links provided below.

3. The Amount of Time Needed to Wash Your Face

In our fast paced world, we often rush through the steps of our morning routine. However, take the time to wash your face effectively, Consider it as a time to both care for your skin and as a moment to nurture yourself. Methodical washing can be meditatively therapeutic, as you rub your cleanser in circular motions around your face. Generally 30 seconds to 1 minute is sufficient time to cleanse your face. This is partly why cleansing tools, such as the Clarisonic, are so effective. The Clarisonic helps you to properly time your facial cleansing.  You can adjust  the timer depending how deeply you wish to cleanse your clogged pores. Consider timing you facial cleansing, you may be surprised to find that 30 seconds is longer than you thought.

4. Properly Removing All Soap Residue on Your Face

Another aspect of the morning rush is the incomplete removal of your facial cleanser. If you find you are breaking out along the edges of you face, you may not be properly removing all the soap residue from your face washing routine. Soap has some similarity to an oil or fat, which is why it is capable of loosening oily debris in clogged pores. If you leave soap residue on your face, you are leaving oily debris.  Plus, the soap residue can irritate your skin and even inflame your pores.

Be sure to rinse your skin well after lathering with your cleanser.  Rinse your skin with water multiple times until soap is no longer visible and you no longer feel a soap film on your skin. You may want to use warm water, since it dissolves soap better than cold water. Many facial cleansing routines call for cold water to be used at the end of facial cleansing to close your pores. While this step may or may not be effective, it doesn't hurt to add this step after using warm water to remove your facial cleanser.


These are the basic steps to wash your face correctly. As you can see, understanding the nuances of facial cleansing will really improve the removal of dirt from your pores while maintaining your essential skin oils. If you have any other questions on how to wash your face effectively, let us know in the comments below. We'd also love to hear any tips or tricks you have for facial cleansing techniques - please share!

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