How to properly clean your face

You might have the best intentions, but how do you know if you’re cleaning your face properly?
Is your skincare routine helping or hindering your quest for a beautiful complexion?
Here’s our guide to facial cleansing techniques to help you keep your face squeaky clean and blemish-free for longer.

Understanding your skin type

Your skin type will ultimately determine which skincare products will work well for you (and which ones you need to avoid at all costs). Even though you might think you’re taking positive steps towards cleaning your face properly, using the incorrect cleanser could actually make any problems you’re experiencing worse.

The first step to a flawless look is working out whether you have oily, dry, combination, sensitive, or normal skin. There’s an art to this, but generally speaking:

  • If your skin is shiny, it’s likely to be oily
  • If your skin is shiny in your T-zone but not elsewhere, it’s likely to be a combination of oily and normal
  • If your skin is flaky or scaly, it’s likely to be dry
  • If your skin appears red, swollen or inflamed, it’s likely to be sensitive
  • If your skin feels well hydrated and doesn’t present you with any of the above issues, it’s normal

Choosing the right cleansing products

Once you’ve identified your skin type, there are four different kinds of cleansers to consider.

Foam cleansers

Foam cleansers are particularly good at waking up the skin. Gentle yet good at getting rid of impurities, they are a great option for lifting away the dirt, debris and excess oil that builds up on your face. And because most of them come in pump dispensers, they’re simple to use, too. Foam cleansers are usually recommended for people with normal to oily skin, or those who suffer with mild acne.

Gel cleansers

If you can’t get enough of that ‘just washed’ feeling, try gel cleansers! These lightweight products are notoriously effective at getting rid of surface oil, taking away makeup, and banishing all that nasty bacteria that can cause breakouts, particularly in hot weather or after a sweaty workout.

Cream cleansers

The gentle, emollient-rich formulas found in cream cleansers are excellent at hydrating the skin, and won’t strip away its natural oils, either. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to avoid the foaming agents found in foam cleansers, and cream-based products are the perfect alternative.

Oil-based cleansers

Those with oilier skin will often benefit from using an oil-based cleanser to wash away makeup and prepare the skin, then applying a more traditional cleanser (like those mentioned above) in a second step to clear away the last remnants of dirt and sebum. Steer away from an oil-based cleanser if you are prone to spots. If you have particularly sensitive skin, be sure to check the labels for typically inflammatory ingredients, such as exfoliants, sulphates, parabens, alcohol, and fragrances.

Now you know what you need, it’s time to pick your product wisely. We stock a fantastic range of facial cleansers on our website.

Step-by-step face cleaning techniques

Once you’ve got hold of the right cleanser, it’s time to apply it in the most effective way for the best results.

  • Tie back your hair to keep loose strands in place.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly so you’re not transferring any dirt, germs, or bacteria onto your face.
  • Remove your makeup thoroughly. As mentioned earlier, you can use an oil-based cleanser to do this if you don’t have acne-prone skin. Be careful around the delicate eye area.
  • Wet your face with lukewarm water. This will help to prepare the skin for cleansing.
  • Use your fingertips to massage the cleanser across your face in small circular motions, taking care to cover your forehead, cheeks, chin, and the bridge of your nose. (Using a cloth or sponge could cause dragging and irritation, so stick with what nature gave you!)
  • Apply your second product, if you want to double cleanse. Double cleansing is normally only recommended for people with normal skin, as applying this method to dry skin could make it feel super tight. Similarly, double washing oily skin may mean it has to work harder to replace lost oils, resulting in the excessive build-up of sebum.
  • Pat the area dry with a clean towel.
  • Apply your toner, moisturiser, and any other skincare products, as per your usual routine.
  • Repeat this process in the morning, at night, and after you’ve been sweating.

4 mistakes to avoid when cleaning your face

1. Choosing the wrong products for your skin type

You could follow the above process to a T, but if you’re using a product that’s not designed for your skin, you’ll run into trouble.

2. Neglecting problem areas

If you’re experiencing issues with certain parts of your face, it can be tempting to leave them out of your skincare routine. But give them proper attention with the right product, and you’ll soon find that these problem areas will disappear.

3. Not cleansing away makeup properly

If it’s left on your face for too long, makeup will clog your pores, irritate the skin, prevent your skin cells from shedding as they should, and even lead to premature ageing. Make sure you cleanse away every last drop, even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing at the end of a long day or night.

4. Over cleansing

Cleanse too little, and you won’t achieve your desired results – but scrub too much, and you run the risk of irritating and even damaging your skin. Over-cleansing can disrupt your skin’s natural balance and upset its microbiome – and, depending on your skin type, will cause dryness, increased oil production, and/or redness and soreness.

To avoid over cleansing:

  • Choose a gentle, sulphate-free cleanser that’s suitable for your skin type
  • Avoid excessive scrubbing
  • Use lukewarm water to cleanse, as hot water can be drying.
  • If you wear heavy makeup or sunscreen, consider a double cleansing method, using an oil-based cleanser first, followed by a gentle cleanser
  • Listen to your skin – if it feels dry, tight, or irritated after double-cleansing, try single cleansing instead

Additional tips for optimal results

If you’ve mastered how to properly clean your face and want to enhance the cleansing process further, why not consider the below?

Incorporating exfoliation into your routine

Exfoliating regularly will buff away all the dead skin cells that build up on the surface of your skin, revealing the radiant surface that’s underneath. Exfoliation isn’t always suitable for you if you have dry, sensitive, or spot-prone skin, but there are certain chemicals on the market that can deliver the same results without the irritation.

Purchasing a toner

Toners are applied after cleansers, and their main job is to balance the skin’s pH levels. They also act as something as a primer for the rest of your skincare products and will help them penetrate your skin more effectively.

Trying out micellar water

Micellar water is particularly good at removing makeup and excess dirt from the skin. Its particles act as magnets that lift these particles away from the skin’s surface.

Moisturising post-cleanse

It’s an essential step that will rehydrate the skin by replenishing its essential oils and protecting its natural barrier, which will help to keep pollutants at bay.

Ultimately, it’s important to find a facial cleansing process that works for you. We’re all different, and the skincare regime that has worked wonders for your best friend will probably not deliver the same results for you. As long as you can find a step-by-step routine that enables you to clean your face properly, you’ll be all set for glowing skin.

You’re bound to find the perfect facial cleanser for your needs in our huge online range. But if you have explored all your options and you’re still experiencing issues with your skin – be it dryness, excess oil, irritation, or something else entirely – consult with a professional for tailored advice.