There are a few daily routines that are so ingrained in our lives, that we are basically on autopilot when doing them: showering, shampooing the hair, shaving, etc. We rarely stop to think about the process and question whether or not we’re going about it the right way. This is very much the case with face washing. This daily ritual seems so basic: You splash on some water, apply cleanser, lather up the face, rinse and go about your day. However, according to skincare experts, there is so much more to this basic routine and the wrong approach can mean a less-than-pristine complexion, as well as bacteria and dirt build up (yuck!). We asked skincare pro Stacy Cox to give us the rundown on the right way to wash up and how to make sure your mug is squeaky clean!

wash your face the right way

1. Begin my splashing lukewarm water on the face. While water temperature may seem like a trivial factor, Cox is adamant about its importance in the face washing process. “The only temperature you should be using is lukewarm,” she says. “Exposing your skin to extreme hot or cold temperatures can lead to broken capillaries.”

2. Using circular, upward motions, apply the cleanser of your choice to the entire face and neck. According to Cox, there are five vehicles you can use for lathering up that face: hands, washcloth, sponge, manual face brush or electric face brush (like the Clarisonic Aria). “Whichever one you choose, make sure to use gentle motions and never scrub too hard or pull down on the skin,” she warns. Also, Cox adds that choosing the correct cleanser is crucial. “Have a conversation with yourself and figure out what type of skin type you are,” she explains. “Dehydrated or mature skin types should opt for a cream-based cleanser, sensitive complexions should try oil-based and oily or acneic skin makeup should go for gel-based.”

3. Rinse the face with a lukewarm, wet washcloth or your hands. “ If you’re finishing up a day of minimal makeup, one wash should suffice,” says Cox. “However, if you’re cleaning up from a night out and you have a lot of makeup on, go for a second wash to make sure you face is completely cleaned.”

4. Pat the face dry with a towel — don’t rub too hard. Remember, gentleness is key when you’re dealing with your skin! “The skin is the thinnest and most sensitive organ of the body,” says the skincare guru. “You need to protect and love it!”

5. Last but so not least, apply toner! “Toner is like your ‘checks and balances’ with cleansing,” says Cox. “It helps make sure you get everything off. It also sets the stage for targeted products like anti-aging serums and moisturizers.” For a mild-yet-effective toner that won’t dry out your skin, try Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner.

What’s your method to getting your face perfectly pristine? Fill us in in the comments below.

Photography: Joshua M. Shelton
Model: Kassie Rosales

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