The Right Way to Wash Your Face
When it comes to cleansing, less is more. Follow this facialist's back-to-basics approach for healthy, beautiful skin
It's a common beauty myth that you need 20 products to get a squeaky-clean face, but when it comes to cleansing, less is more. (There's a reason your grandma made do with just a jar of cold cream.)
New York City facialist Diane Higgins has found that a number of products on shelves today are geared toward super-oily skin. And unless you're 13 and snap-chatting this story, she suggests adopting a more back-to-basics approach and using natural, soothing ingredients. Here, she reveals her simple strategies for washing up.
Consider the Cleansing Balm
Soaps and gels have a tendency to dry out skin without removing grime (i.e., you'll still be reaching for the eye-makeup remover after you've sudsed up). "Soap is harsh, strips the skin of very important natural oils and can increase the appearance of fine lines," says Higgins. Balms, on the other hand, have multipurpose ingredients that exfoliate skin, remove makeup and decongest pores. Choose one with nourishing plant-based oils like Clinique's Cleansing Balm ($28). If you're particularly prone to clogging, look for a version that has salicylic acid, like Neutrogena's Deep Clean Cream Cleanser ($6).
Use a Washcloth
"Washcloths offer gentle exfoliation and work cleansing ingredients deep into the pores," explains Higgins. They also help remove makeup and dirt more thoroughly. At night, steep a washcloth (we're partial to Calvin Klein's collection) in warm water, wring it out and apply it to your face, neck and chest to open up pores. Work a cleanser into those areas, and don't forget your forehead and the back of your neck. ("Those places are often overlooked and are prone to deep lines and wrinkles," warns Higgins.) Wipe the cleanser away with the washcloth in a downward sweeping motion.
Eye Cream Is Your Best Friend
The delicate area around your eyes-where skin is its thinnest-benefits from extra love, so eye cream should be applied all day, every day. "I carry a light, caffeine-based eye cream in my purse and apply it whenever I need a little hydration boost," says Higgins. If you're prone to puffy eyes, look for a cream with peptidesand soothing herbal ingredients, like Murad's Renewing Eye Cream ($75). Those with dark circles should seek out products like Neocutis Lumiere Eye Cream ($72), which contains caffeine to help constrict blood vessels. Apply eye cream using your ring finger (it's the weakest digit, so it won't drag at the skin), dotting from the inner to outer corner.
Think of exfoliators as the magic erasers that bring glowing skin to the surface. "I encourage everyone to exfoliate once or twice a week," says Higgins. "Exfoliators work wonders in keeping the skin clean, fresh and better able to receive hydrating ingredients." Pro tip: Exfoliate before you wash your face, so your skin can properly soak up the good stuff in your cleanser and moisturizer. We're suckers for Higgins' Grapefruit Facial Polish ($34), which has glycolic acid to slough away dead skin and smells like summer.
By now you know the importance of sunscreen, but we'll say it again: You need to wear it, every single day, rain or shine. In the daytime, apply a zinc-based product like Coola's organic face sunscreen ($36) over your regular moisturizer (yep, even if it has SPF). "I always tell people to apply more sunscreen than they think they should," says Higgins. "Which is why you need a sunscreen that you'll put on without hesitation. It's that important." Start on the sides of your face and work your way toward the center, without scrimping on your nose or neck.
More from PureWow: