As licensed estheticians, we know that choosing the right cleanser and knowing how to correctly use it at home can be a little bewildering so we’ve put together a guide that walks you through it step by step. Let’s get to it!
Step One: Choose a non-foaming cleanser
The right cleanser can make or break your whole skincare program just as the wrong cleanser can be the culprit behind a variety of chronic skin issues.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, cleansers that foam can strip your skin of its natural ability to protect and regenerate itself. Your skin’s barrier function is a marvel of biology, expertly designed by nature to seal moisture in and keep contaminants out.
No matter how you slice it, foaming cleansers are still soap which means they’re made using surfactants, detergents, or both – neither of which are good for your skin.
Even if the foaming agents used are made from 100% unicorn tears and sparkly rainbows they can still compromise your skin’s barrier function
So choose a non-foaming oil, milk or gel cleanser every time.
Step Two: Apply to dry skin
This may seem completely counter intuitive but the fact is, applying your cleanser to dry skin allows it to perform more as a lint roller vs. a washing machine.
Remember, our goal here is to keep your skin’s barrier function in a state of happy, coddled bliss, not shake it down like a schoolyard bully
When you apply cleanser to dry skin, the lipids in the product bind with the lipids on the surface of the skin (and anything else clinging to the surface of your skin) to gently lift away makeup, dry skin cells and pollutants.
Imagine a wave moving over wet sand, sweeping anything on the beach out to sea, and you get the idea
Step Three: Rinse with tepid water
There’s zero benefit to blasting your skin with water that’s either too hot or too cold, so walk the center line when it comes to water temperature.
Water temp is a Goldilocks scenario, not too hot, not too cold
You’ll likely be tempted to skip the process and going back and forth to get the right temp – we get it – but extreme temps of water can cause problems. In particular, sensitive skin, rosacea-prone skin or skin that has a tendency to be couperose (with visibly broken capillaries or excess redness) really doesn’t like extremes of temperature. Go easy here no matter your skin type. Test water temp on the inside of your wrist and adjust accordingly.
Step Four: Pat your skin dry
Be gentle when you dry your face and for the love of God, please use a clean towel, every freaking time.
Do not rub your face dry, you’re not at a car wash, people
Wet skin is vulnerable and tugging at it can cause
- sagging over time or
- the spread of a breakout if you are acne prone
Again, use a clean towel, please. It doesn’t take long for a used, damp towel to sprout a crop of bacteria – which is not something you want to push around on your clean skin.
Step Five: Apply serums and boosters
Your freshly cleansed and slightly damp skin is now primed to rapidly and effectively absorb any product you may care to apply post-cleanse. Use this window of opportunity to get the most bang for your buck from the investment you’ve made in your boosters and serums.