7 Dos and Don’ts of Cleansing

Dirt, sweat, makeup, pollution — your face picks up a lot of grime throughout the day. And, if you don’t want them chilling on your skin and gunking up your pores, you’re definitely going to need to do a deep clean. Other than a daily dose of SPF, washing your face is one of the most important things you can do for a clear and glowing complexion.

However, this isn’t just a lather, rinse, and go situation we’re talking about here. To make your routine truly effective, there are some major elements to consider. For starters, wash your hands before you even think of touching your face, because it’s counterintuitive to cleanse with dirty digits, no? 

Here are seven more dos and don’ts you should implement into your A.M. and P.M. regimens.

DO: Take Your Time

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If you’re reading this, you know that washing your face isn’t just some random arduous chore. But, that being said, it’s annoying to deal with if you’re constantly rushing to get out the door or too tired at night to do anything. Remember this: All you need is a minute to cleanse and refresh your face — think of it as your quick zen moment of the day.

For maximum efficacy, you want to work in a short facial massage while you wash. “Any time you’re cleaning or applying moisturizer, massaging your face is great to do,” says Cynthia Rivas, a medical aesthetician at Monica Halem MD in New York City. “I love doing circles around my eyes to de-puff and I also massage my jawline out towards my ears to help relax muscles and stimulate lymphatic drainage.” Not only will you (and your skin!) feel calm and collected afterwards, but you’ll also get rid of harmful toxins.

DON’T: Underestimate your cleanser

Cleanser might be an essential step for your routine, but the formula often gets written off as not that important, since you rinse it off after a minute or so. But that’s not actually the case. With the Avocado Ceramide Moisture Barrier Cleanser, for instance, you’ll find ingredients that are specifically designed (and have been tested) to remain on skin long after you rinse. For one, it includes ceramide boosters, which not only replenish skin’s levels of ceramides — which fortify the skin barrier, where they help to retain moisture and defend against external irritants — but also improve skin moisture when used twice a day for two weeks. It’s also infused with a sugar-derived moisturizing agent that’s proved to improve the skin barrier after two hours, reducing transepidermal water loss. It’s also proven to hydrate skin after rinsing when used daily for one week. And finally, the formula contains postbiotics that have been shown to stay on skin after rinsing, where they help balance skin and support a healthy microbiome. In other words: Some cleansers, like this one, can do so much more than just cleanse.

DO: Adjust for your skin type

Cleansing at the end of the day is a no-brainer, since you need to remove that SPF, makeup, and more to allow your nighttime skincare routine to work its magic — not to mention keep your pores clear. But depending on your skin type, you might need a little more cleansing in your life. For those with dry skin, cleansing in the evenings only will suffice, since you don’t want to rinse off skin’s precious oil in the A.M. But if you have oil-prone skin, you may want to cleanse morning and night to remove any excess sebum that your skin produces while you snooze. That can keep you from inadvertently overwashing your skin and drying it out.

DON’T: Ignore the Ingredients

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As the great Jonathan Van Ness once said, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) “is the same thing that cleans the car engine in a car.” What the Queer Eye star is so eloquently saying is that SLS is aggressive AF. “SLS is a surfactant,” Rivas says. “Surfactants are used to break down oils and debris The problem with SLS is that it can strip your skin too much, causing irritation and dryness.” And, she continues, dry skin isn’t able to retain moisture, making it easy for bacteria, toxins, and pollution to get all up in there. 

With that in mind, be on the lookout for a cleanser that will refresh your skin without the harsh vibes. Avocado Ceramide Moisture Barrier Cleanser not only actively nourishes skin with a blend of ceramides, pre- and postbiotics, and avocado oil, but it uses makeup removal agents — gentle enough that they’re used in baby washes — to melt stubborn face and eye makeup. And the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser is SLS-free, using coco-glucoside (a natural surfactant with a coconut oil base) to help restore, not ruin, the skin’s moisture barrier.You’ll get that clean feeling with an extra shot of hydration that keeps your outer layer bouncy and radiant.

DO: Embrace the Cold

Believe it or not, water temperature can affect your complexion in a serious way. “Hot water dries out your skin and can cause redness and inflammation,” Rivas say. Although, you definitely want a little heat to help activate dirt-fighting agents. “Use lukewarm water when you wash, then splash cold water [on your face] at the end,” says Rivas. “This helps reduce puffiness and stimulates circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells.”

DO: Embrace the Cold

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Believe it or not, water temperature can affect your complexion in a serious way. “Hot water dries out your skin and can cause redness and inflammation,” Rivas say. Although, you definitely want a little heat to help activate dirt-fighting agents, like the moisturizing microsuds in our upgraded cleanser. “Use lukewarm water when you wash, then splash cold water [on your face] at the end,” says Rivas. “This helps reduce puffiness and stimulates circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells.” 


DO: Ditch the Towel

Nothing undoes a clarifying cleanse quite like drying your face on a germ-infested towel. Because that’s exactly what your towel is hiding as it hangs there innocently in your bathroom. Take it from Glow Recipe co-founder, Christine Chang, whose mother taught her to throw out the towel.

Watch above for her advice!

FYI: Apply this wisdom to washcloths as well, which when damp become even more attractive hotbeds for dangerous bacteria. Rivas says that unless you use a new washcloth every single time you cleanse, they’re not worth the germy risk. You can also use a paper towel to gently pat your skin dry, then toss it — which ensures you’re not transferring bacteria back and forth each time you wash your skin.

DON’T: Forget Problem Areas

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Since life isn’t fair, skin does that thing where it’s dry in one spot but super oily in another. Don’t worry, though, the right face wash can address all your issues. “Whether you have combination, dry, oily, or acneic skin, find the appropriate cleanser for the main concern in your skin,” Rivas says. Or find one that cleanses, restores, and hydrates at the same time, like the Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm that removes makeup, soothes, and gently exfoliates your complexion. Then, if you still have problem spots — for example, your cheeks feel like sandpaper — treat those specific areas with the corresponding masks and serums.

Remember that massage we told you about? Incorporate those circular motions at the start of your cleansing routine, focusing on the oilier parts first (to cut down grime), then slowly move to the dry patches — that way you tend to all problems in one go.

Now that you’re armed with these skin-affirming tips, go forth and cleanse! Remember, these little details can have a huge impact on your skin, as they help delay the signs of aging and keep your barrier nice and strong for a natural glow that lasts.  

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