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How Often Should You Wash Your Face? A Guide

woman washing her face

Knowing when and how frequently you should wash your face is tricky. Partially because there are so many opinions circulating the internet that it’s difficult to just get a clear answer.

If washing your face was like washing your hands, you’d likely have a clear set of rules: wash frequently and thoroughly, before and after mealtimes, or after being in a crowd, after using the bathroom, and since 2020, probably twice that! But, the face is a different ballgame.

First Thing’s First

Regardless of what type of skin you have, washing your face is absolutely an essential part of your skincare regimen. With something so important to your routine, you’re going to want to make sure you’re washing your face in a way that is representative of your skin type.

While washing with a cleanser, you will shed unwanted dead skin cells, excess oils, bacteria and general gunk left behind on the skin. But, over washing your face will strip the protective natural oils your skin creates as a barrier to bacteria.

When you wash your face too frequently, your skin will become especially tender, potentially raw and in general more prone to a breakout.

Some basic face washing rules are as follows:

  • Wash at least once a day, but aim for twice.
  • Moisturize after and be sure to wear SPF.

In the most basic sense, washing your face daily is the answer. Just like washing your hands as mentioned before, you’ll want to apply the same technique. We don’t mean washing your face with hand soap though — that is a definite don’t!

Give Your Face A Thorough Cleanse

We do mean that cleaning your face isn’t just a quick rinse, but is also an important area to take your time cleaning.

Similar to singing your ABCs while you wash your hands, you want to make sure to wash your face for the same duration. You should wash your skin for a complete one to two minutes to help cleanse your skin of gunk and oils.

Remember that using lukewarm water when washing your face is your best bet, regardless of how tempting a hotter splash might seem. Using hot water will strip away oils in your skin, leaving a harsh, dry and sensitive surface.

Start using your cleanser at the top of your face, working your way down to your chin and neck. Gently massage your cleanser onto your face in this pattern for a full one to two minutes before rinsing it off. As you age, it’s best to go from the bottom to the top to help prevent dragging or sagging skin.

When you are done rinsing, you will then end your face washing session with your go—to moisturizer. If you don’t have one, consider taking our online skin quiz to find the products that will fit your unique skin needs.

Using Hands vs. Using Cloth To Wash

Most people wash their faces with their hands. But, using a cloth is an option. If you do opt for a cloth, you need to ensure that it is soft and skin—approved and won’t be something abrasive that will further irritate your skin.

If this method suits you better, make sure you wash your washcloths regularly and only wash your face with a clean one. It might seem excessive, but you’ll need to use a fresh cloth every time.

Putting a dirty washcloth back on your clean skin will completely set in reverse motion the work that washing your face just accomplished.

Should I Wash Once or Twice a Day?

The biggest question we get when it comes to face washing is: once or twice? Well, get ready to finally have a definitive answer.

While washing your face only once a day will get by, washing your face two times a day — one time in the morning, one time at night — is by far the preferred amount.

If you're washing your face at night, it might seem redundant to wash it immediately in the morning after only a night's sleep in between. But, what you may not take into account is the bacteria that builds up during the night. Basically, bacteria don’t care if you’re sleeping or not — it’s going to build up either way!

Washing your face in the morning with a cold splash of water is a really refreshing way to wake up, and it doubles as a way to remove the buildup of bacteria that accumulated on your face during the night.

What About Washing More Than Twice?

Washing twice is definitely the standard when it comes to face washing. Washing once a day is absolute, but washing twice is highly recommended.

That being said, there are a couple of situations where washing your face more is appropriate. Particularly if you are in an excessively hot climate, or are otherwise sweating excessively. In general, washing your face after working out or after sweating in the sun is a good idea.

If you live a life or in a climate that requires washing your face more than twice throughout the day, the main thing to keep in mind is to choose a cleanser and moisturizer that will help prevent your skin from drying out due to the extra wash.

Washing Your Face After Wearing Makeup

Washing your skin after wearing makeup is an absolute non—negotiable. Products such as foundation, and in general products that are powder—based, lead to clogged pores and excess bacteria or oils on the skin.

While we recommend getting your glam on and being the showstopper you are — with, or without makeup — we also cannot emphasize enough the importance of washing your face after a day of wearing it.

Taking off your makeup before bed is pretty important, especially before applying moisturizer or serums to your face.

Double cleansing is a great way to ensure you won't be left with any residual makeup.

Washing Various Skin Types

Though there are many different skin types, each one requires that you wash your face twice a day. The great thing about skin is that it will tell you what it needs just by reacting to what you’re doing to it.

If you’re not sure where to begin, try starting out with a solid two face washes a day, and see how your skin reacts.

Pro-tips for washing include:

  • Washing your skin once a day is a must, but washing twice is recommended.
  • Use warm water and a gentle cleanser, such as our LacticGlow .
  • Listen to your skin. If your skin is drying out, then try cutting back and only washing once a day.
  • There are many types of skin, but washing is essential to all of them, so determining a cleanser for your specific needs is essential.
  • Consider taking our online skin quiz or booking a consultation to further determine your skin type and what products will lead your skin to a glowing, bright, healthy complexion.

How Do You Know If You're Over Washing?

As mentioned above, overwashing can damage your skin’s barrier, making it feel irritated and tight.

Overwashing can also:

  • Cause red or flaky skin
  • Strip away natural moisture
  • Cause more acne due to excessive sebum production
  • Lead to rashes

If you have fallen victim to overwashing, you can try the following things to get your skin back on track:

  • Try a more gentle alternative.
  • Toss out exfoliation for a while and trade it for something more gentle like a salicylic acid treatment.
  • Make sure to moisturize after every wash to help strengthen your skin’s barrier Wear SPF!

Summary

It can be tough to determine the best routine for your skin type specifically when it comes to washing your face. However, face washing is an important step for all skin types, and a process of trial and error can help you hone in on the routine that works best for you and your needs.


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