Have You Been Washing your Face All Wrong?


For as long as I can remember, I’ve had oily, break-out prone skin and it’s a mystery to even me that I just started focusing more on my skincare regimen this year. In the past I was more focused on finding and using products that produced results quickly, which meant harsh, drying chemicals, instead of using products that were actually good for my skin.

One other revelation I’ve had over the past few months of practicing better skincare is that up until the past few months, I’d been washing my face all wrong.

At the end of the day, I’d splash some water on my face, squeeze some cleanser onto my hands and wash away. I’d remove any leftover eye makeup after I was done and call it a night.

For years I couldn’t figure out why my skin would never fully clear. Sure, my genetics weren’t really in my favor, but I was doing all the right things—I’d invested in a (cheap) skin brush and was using the right products and the dermatologist had even prescribed me a strong topical cream that didn’t seem to be doing much. So, why was my skin still breaking out? Why was it uneven in tone and texture — I was nearly 30 after all, at some point don’t you just grow out of it?

I’m sure some people do, but apparently, I’m not one of them.

So, what’s the right way to wash your face?

Making sure your skin is free of makeup before you wash it. I used to assume that my cleanser would also adequately remove all makeup too. My ah-ha moment came after I had washed my face and was drying it on a white towel, I pulled away and the towel had remnants of makeup. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen this, but it was the first time I stopped and thought, maybe I’m not actually washing my face very well. And maybe, just maybe, that’s a big part of the problem.

The next day, I went to Whole Foods and bought some makeup wipes (these Burt’s Bees wipes are my favorites) and changed up my nightly routine yet again. Now, I start by taking my eye makeup off with Albolene or this Clinique makeup remover, then I gently, but thoroughly wipe my face with the face wipe, folding it over after soiling one side, until my face it totally clean. An oil cleanser, even jojoba oil, works really well too! The oil easily removes makeup without stripping your skin of moisture—perfect for anyone with dry skin!

Cleansing an already clean face results in a much deeper, more thorough clean and for me it’s led to smoother skin with a more even texture, and a lot less breakouts. I can only imagine if I had added this step to my skincare regimen when I was in college!

I still like to use a face brush a few times a week for an extra deep clean. I just got the Clarisonic Mia Fit and I’m obsessed! It cleans much better than my cheaper version and is pint-sized—perfect for travel! Just make sure that you trade out the brushes every month or so as bacteria can grow in the bristles over time.

Twice a week, I exfoliate my face to get rid of any dead skin cells. My esthetician recently told me that St. Ives is one of the worst products you could use for exfoliating your skin, so I tossed my bottle of that and replaced it with this Mario Badescu Almond and Honey scrub that smells like dessert. I’ve also heard amazing things about Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate and I look forward to trying it after I get to the bottom of my current exfoliant.

Maybe this revelation of mine isn’t ground-breaking to you, but it was for me! Even though I wished I had figured it out sooner, I’m happy I did now!

Have you been washing your face the wrong way? What tips do you have for washing your face at night?

BTW, how to curl your hair with a flat iron, and a recipe for a chimichurri steak salad.

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