It might seem like the most uncomplicated part of your skincare routine, but if you're not washing your face right, you may as well not even bother with everything that follows. Here's where you might be going wrong and exactly how to fix it.
Pick the right one
Considering this is the make or break moment for the rest of your routine, you want to get it right. "If you have combination or oily skin, you should be using a gel based formula", says dermatologist, Dr Sam Bunting,"get one that lightly foams if your skin is very oily." Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser, £15 contains Imperata Cylindrica Root and Lemon Fruit Extracts to dissolve dirt, plus the sulfate-free formula leaves your skin clean without over-drying, is paraben-free, silicone free, perfume free and oil free!
If you have dry skin, go for a moisturising cream or mousse to soften and hydrate your skin, while retaining the natural hydro-lipid barrier as you wash. Johnson's Daily Essentials Refreshing Cleansing Lotion, £3.99, cleanses, tones and moisturisers in one swipe.
Know your method
Don't simply splash water on your face, quickly foam up and then rinse it off. Different cleansers require different methods.
Gels and foams go onto wet skin and should be left to sit on the surface of your skin for a minute to allow the ingredients to work. But, if you're using a creamy lotion, apply it to completely dry skin and rub it in for a few minutes like you would with a moisturiser. This gives the cleanser a chance to break down the oil and dirt in your skin before applying a small amount of water with your fingertips to emulsify the product.
Skip the washcloth
A) A damp washcloth is a breeding ground for bacteria. B) They're abrasive and too harsh for your skin. If you must use one, go for a baby washcloth or muslin and make sure it's been freshly laundered every time.
Turn down the heat
Washing your face with hot water feels nice, but it can also mess with your skin's natural oils leading to over-drying and subsequent excessive sebum production. Turn on both taps and wash with lukewarm water instead.
If you wipe out, rinse off
They might be convenient, but a substitute for face washing, wipes are not. Instead of taking away the day's grime, most of them simply move it around. If you absolutely have to use them, try This Works In Transit No Traces, £17. The pads are drenched in rose water and water mint to keep your skin calm - but remember to rinse your face after you use them.