These 5 Super-Simple Steps Have Helped Upgrade My Face-Washing Routine

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One of the best things I've ever done for my skin was to invest time and energy into perfecting my face-washing routine. After all, it's considered a basic and essential skin-care step for a reason. Cleansing helps cleanse your skin from dirt, makeup residue, and excess oil that can clog your pores and helps your other skin-care products (like moisturizers, toners, and serums) absorb easier into your skin and get to work.

Honestly, after I started to tweak my techniques and take my skin type into consideration when choosing a cleanser, my skin thanked me for it in the form of fewer breakouts, less dryness, and far less irritation. Sure, it's still annoying to do before bed when I'm exhausted, but I can tell you that I've never been disappointed at taking the extra two minutes to care for my skin.

While everyone's skin requires different things (and you should take those needs into consideration when establishing your routine!), here are a few of the super-simple face-washing rules I personally always follow.

I Pull My Bangs Back

OK, this one might seem obvious, but pulling my bangs back with a bobby pin or a headband, like the slip Pure Silk Headband ($69), has been game-changing for both my hair-care and skin-care routine. Specifically when I'm washing my face at the sink, they prevent my bangs from falling into my products and allow me to effectively cleanse every part of my forehead — all the way up to my hairline.

I Double Cleanse

Before I bust out my creamy cleansers (which I'll elaborate on next) at night, I use a micellar water and a makeup-removing pad to sweep away all of my makeup. I've found that holding the soaked pad on my eyelashes before gently swiping it off helps prevent bumps and irritation around my eyes. I also try to take my time here to prevent waking up with leftover mascara smears under my eyes.

To make this process a little more eco-friendly, I plan on swapping my go-to cotton rounds with reusable pads like the e.l.f. Cosmetics Cleansing Cloud Duo ($6).

I Choose Super-Gentle, Hydrating Face Cleansers

Because my skin is on the sensitive and dry side, I have to be very careful about what types of cleansers I use. The wrong formula can set me up for even more dry patches and irritation.

Basically, I never want my skin to feel tight or stripped from essential moisture after I'm done washing my face. For both my morning and evening cleansing sessions, I tend to choose gentle, fragrance-free, cream-based formulas that are infused with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides, similar to the e.l.f. Cosmetics Pure Skin Cleanser ($9). This new formula is also enhanced with soothing oat milk and niacinamide to help reduce the appearance of pores. The new line also includes a hydrating toner and a fragrance-free moisturizer.

I Wash My Face Using Lukewarm Water

I'm not proud of it, but I used to wash my face with fairly hot shower water. It wasn't even particularly comfortable, so I don't know why I ever picked up this bad habit. For the record, I haven't done this for years. While I still love a steamy shower (I know, I know . . . It's not great for the rest of my skin either), I now always adjust the temperature to a lukewarm setting before my morning and evening face-washing routine. This helps me avoid further drying out my already parched skin.

I Gently Massage My Cleansers and Pat My Skin Dry

To prevent irritation from aggressively scrubbing and rubbing, I gently massage my creamy cleansers over my damp skin. I use even more delicate movements and less pressure around my eyes, too. How long I wash my face really depends on if I was wearing makeup that day, if I just worked out, and how dry my skin is, but the process usually takes me about 45-60 seconds.
Along the same lines, I never aggressively dry my face with my bath towel. Instead, to prevent irritation and redness (which I'm prone to), I gently pat my skin dry.