7 Cleansing Habits of the Skincare Savvy You Need to Adopt RN
K-beauty fans know all too well that washing up isn’t as simple as it once used to be. From makeup removal to exfoliation, we do what we can to go the whole nine yards. For those of us who mean well when we wash up, here are seven good cleansing habits that the most savvy of skincare devotees practice on the daily that make every cleansing session count. Trust us, you’ll want to make these part of your ritual stat.
For most Korean beauty lovers, gone are the days of cleansing our face with whatever, whenever. We carefully figure out which cleanser best suits our skin type and diligently perform the double cleanse even when we feel like passing out in bed with our full face on.
Cleansing is, after all, a crucial step of our skincare routine. Doing it wrong can have a devastating impact on our skin — breakouts, blackheads, and premature aging, no thank you. On the flip side, doing it right really gives us a head start in our pursuit of better skin.
Besides the obvious steps of double cleansing and exfoliating a couple times a week, there are small but hugely beneficial cleansing habits we can adopt to ensure we’re really doing the best we can to get our skin into its cleanest condition possible. Here, we reveal seven cleansing habits of the most skin savvy — because if we’re making an effort to wash up anyway, we might as well do it as perfectly as possible.
Habit 1: Remove all traces of heavy makeup before oil cleanser
Upgrade your double cleanse into a triple cleanse, and trust us, the benefits will outweigh the pain of spending those few extra moments.
It’s common practice to remove your makeup during the first step of the double cleanse, before you reach for a foam cleanser. Oil cleansers melt away oil-based impurities like SPF, makeup, and excess sebum, while the foam cleanser whisks away sweat and everything else water-based.
Sure, the double cleanse is way better than a single cleanse, but there’s no denying the ick factor that while you’re massaging away the day with your oil cleanser, you’re also spreading all that makeup gunk all over your skin and even coaxing it into areas that it never touched to begin with. Think black eyeliner all over your cheeks, pink blush on chin — that kind of thing.
To solve that problem, erase your heavy or “point” makeup on your eyes and lips with a makeup remover (or even an oil cleanser) before starting your double cleanse. Treat this more like a “spot cleanse” and swipe away the makeup without tainting the other areas of your face. Then move on to double cleanse your entire face and neck.
Getting your most stubborn makeup out of the way not only prevents you from rubbing dirty eye makeup into your cheeks, but it also gives your oil cleanser more room to function. Now it can more effectively erase SPF, excess sebum, foundation, concealer, and other facial makeup.
Habit 2: Spend at least a minute on the oil cleansing step
We know cleansing is just the first step of many in your daily routine, but still. Slow. It. Down.
Why a minute? You can spend more if you’d like, but 60 seconds ensures you didn’t just rush through this crucial start and that you’ve spent enough time melting away the resistant makeup and impurities that got too cozy on your skin. It also ensures you treated your skin to a nice, circulation-boosting massage. Oil cleansers are like a 2-in-1 product: Besides the obvious removal of oil-based junk, most make for awesome massage oils as well.
Oil cleansers have a texture similar to that of massage oils, and most are super gentle on the skin. Formulated to keep skin’s natural moisture intact, they’re also infused with skin-lavishing ingredients that make them great contenders as massage oils.
So take advantage of this step and treat yourself to a mini facial massage while you’re oil cleansing. More bang for your time, if you ask us!
HABIT 3: Pat face dry with your hands, not your towel
Wiping your freshly cleansed face dry with a towel is pretty counterproductive if you think about it. For starters, used towels are dirty. Unless you bring out a new, clean towel for each washing session, towels are a breeding ground for germs. They likely have been used on other parts of your body, then hung in a bathroom where germs and bacteria flourish in the damp fibers of the towel or in the moist air.
The force of wiping your face with a towel also may be too aggressive on the skin. There’s tugging, pulling, and even scratching involved that can cause wrinkles or exacerbate existing conditions like pimples and inflammation.
The safest way to dry your face post-cleanse is to air dry with the aid of gentle patting with your hands. After washing up, shake the excess water off your hands then smooth away excess water from your face and neck. Lightly pat until skin is just damp enough where water is not dripping down but skin isn’t completely dry.
Truth be told, this manual method does take quite some time. Our editor-in-chief @annapark speeds up the process of skin going from soaking wet to damp by lightly patting a paper towel on her face to soak up the excess water. This way, she’s not spending a lifetime waiting for water to dry nor is she using a dirty towel on her face. Genius!
HABIT 4: After cleansing, leave skin slightly moist before applying toner
Damp skin absorbs products better than dry skin, so it’s a little skincare hack to keep skin moist (but not uncomfortably dripping wet) before applying toner. Active ingredients soak into skin more efficiently when the surface is moist.
Consider a dry, brittle sponge versus a damp one. When you place each under running water, the latter absorbs water faster. Same goes for our skin.
If you accidentally dried your skin too much or time accidentally slipped past and your skin is dry before you can reach for your toner, spritz some facial mist to dampen skin again.
BTW this concept applies not only to toner but to almost every skincare product. So don’t wait until skin is completely dry before moving onto each step of your skincare routine. The only exception would be mineral-based sunscreen, which is designed not to penetrate into skin but to stay on the surface of skin. On damp skin, mineral SPF will get runny and look chalky.
Habit 5: Cleanse every morning
You all double cleanse at night, right? Right?! (If you don’t, you need to get on it stat.) But what about double cleansing in the morning?
Some say a water-based cleanser in the morning is sufficient. Some feel that a morning double cleanse is too drying and forgo a cleanser altogether. (Check out what contributing editor Coco discovered when she started skipping her morning foam cleanser in favor of just a swipe of hydrating toner here.
And then there are others who think that not only do you need to wash up once your alarm goes off, you need to double cleanse. Of course, your skin is probably cleaner when the birds are chirping than it would be by the end of a full day of exposure to the outside air and pollution. That doesn’t mean your skin doesn’t need a good cleanse, though.
According to AM double cleansing proponents, while you slumber, skin goes to work repairing and regenerating itself, which leads to the secretion of sebum, toxin, and oil-based impurities. Many of the products we use in our evening routine, such as heavier creams and facial oils, are oil-based and therefore are most thoroughly removed the next day with an oil cleanser. As you sleep, skin also comes into contact with the invisible dirt, bacteria, and allergens hidden on your bedding and floating in the air. Not to mention, your nighttime skincare just isn’t as fresh come morning, since it’s been oxidized and in contact with your skin overnight.
Doing the double cleanse first thing in the morning takes extra effort, no doubt, but if you use oil-infused products before bedtime or sway on the oily side, your skin may feel extra refreshed and moisturized from a double cleanse, and the new layers of skincare products you apply may perform more effectively after washing away the dead skin and oil that accumulated overnight.
A safe way to determine what kind of morning cleansing regimen is best for you is to consider your skin type, current skin condition, and beauty products you’re using. Just remember that whether Team PM or Team AM&PM, skincare aficionados wholeheartedly agree that skin does need to be cleansed somehow in the morning!
HABIT 6: Cleanse your face and neck before & after a workout session
It’s common knowledge that we should clean our face or keep it as bare as possible while working out. Hitting the gym with a full face of makeup clogs pores and promotes bacteria buildup, leading to breakouts and premature aging. Plus, runny mascara just doesn’t go with your cute gym getup. But just as key is washing up post-perspiration.
Of course, sweat does our skin some good. Besides the healthy flush and glow we get after a good sweat sesh, sweating naturally removes impurities from skin and produces an anti-microbial called dermcidin that shields skin from bacteria.
But the problem occurs when we let sweat sit pretty on our face. Like, you know, when you decide to stop by Pressed Juicery for a post-workout refueling. When we perspire, the gunk that’s been clogging our pores, excess sebum, and other impurities get caught in the mix. So if we don’t wash up right after a workout, we’re just letting all that dirtiness mesh with our skin. The result can be breakouts, blackheads, rashes, and other irritations.
That’s why it’s crucial to clean your face immediately after your reps are over. Your sweat already started the dirty work of washing out some buildup. Do your end by cleaning off the sweat.
When that’s not possible, reach for cleansing wipes as a temporary fix before you can really go wash up or just rinse your face with cool water to not only splash away the bacteria and sweat but to also calm skin.
HABIT 7: Thoroughly wash your hands with soap before cleansing your face
We saved the most “duh” for last because if you don’t get this part right, there’s really no point in picking up a lot of these good habits.
Our hands are exposed to millions of germs on the daily, whether we’re at home, work, or school. Transferring these germs to our face leads to breakouts, clogged pores, and more serious skin conditions that would render pointless all the effort we put into our double triple cleanse and skincare regimen.
The most effective way to clean our germ-ridden hands is to physically wash our hands with soap and water by rubbing them together and getting in between fingers for a sufficient amount of time. Only then can we prevent transferring a lot of the dirt and bacteria from our hands to our faces.
These good habits may require extra time and effort, but they can make a dramatic difference in your skin. Which of these cleansing habits do you already practice? Any other good ones you’d like to share with us?