How to properly cleanse your face

This post has been sponsored by Cetaphil*

By now it has been preached high and low that cleansing your skin is super important. The better question is whether you are actually doing it right. How do you choose a good product and what about a pre-cleanse, toner or brushes? How long should you be washing, and how often?

Over the years I have picked up a few tips and tricks from professionals in the industry on best cleansing practice. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Start with a good cleanser

You don’t have to spend a fortune on a cleanser – often it’s literally money down the drain. Instead, look for something that won’t cause damage. Formulations high in Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (used to create foam), fragrances and drying alcohols can strip the healthy oils from your skin. This can damage your protective skin barrier and even over-activate your oil glands, leading to oilier skin.

I prefer a gentle cleanser with moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, urea, Shea butter and lactic acid. I have been trying out the Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Lotion for the last few months and I’m very happy with it. It’s not fussy or fancy but in this case I prefer simplicity. The formulation is fragrance free and super gentle, and it cleanses without drying my skin out. At R179,95 for 250ml this is also a bargain buy.

Should you be double cleansing?

Most cleansers won’t take makeup off on the first wash. You can cleanse twice, or I prefer to loosen makeup and daily dirt with an oil-based makeup-remover, followed by my cleanser. Take care to wash properly along your hairline and jaw.

Turn down the temperature

The common myth is that hot water will open up your pores. In reality, pores are not doors – they don’t open and close. Warmer water does help to loosen dirt and oil but it doesn’t have to be scorching. Hot water can over-stimulate your oil glands, causing oilier skin on the long run. Luke-warm water is sufficient and much gentler.

What about cleansing brushes?

Over the last few years a bunch of brands released cleansing brushes and mostly I like them. Do look for one with soft bristles and make sure you let them dry properly between uses to prevent bacteria from colonizing it. Yeah, gross.

Keep in mind that most of the time cleansing brushes also act as mild exfoliators so use a light touch and maybe skip it when you use an exfoliant. And replace the brush head every few three or so months.

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Rinse properly

Cleanser that remains on the skin can cause irritation so make sure you rinse properly. We often miss the spots around our hairline, nose and jaw.

Pat dry

Gently pat off moisture instead of rubbing your skin, which causes friction and pulling.

Should you use a toner?

I could never really understand the point of a toner. Many brands have simply thrown a toner into their routine as an extra sell, telling you it helps to refine your skin tone. Personally I find a good scrub and serum works better for that.

So does that mean all toners are bull?

No. In some skincare lines the toner is there to bring the pH level back to 5.5. Sometimes a cleanser will be acidic, with exfoliating ingredients like glycolic or salycilic acid. In that case you need a toner that will bring the pH back into balance, which is super important.

Other times a brand will have a toning mist or liquid that has a good blend of antioxidants. I personally like these, but if you are already using a good antioxidant-rich serum it is not necessarily needed. Up to you.

I personally don’t like toners with astringent ingredients like alcohol or witch hazel, which can dry out your skin. I also prefer toners without fragrance, which can potentially cause irritation.

If you don’t feel like using a toner, make sure your cleanser is pH balanced.

Moisturize directly after cleansing

You want your skin to absorb as much of your skincare ingredients as possible so don’t wait too long before applying your moisturizer.

How often should you wash?

Rule of thumb is twice a day, morning and evening. If your skin is very dry you might want to skip the morning cleanse. Try using a micellar water in the mornings instead to freshen up.

You should wash your face after exercising to remove sweat. Cleanse as soon as possible after your workout.

Any tips to share? Please pop them in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you. 


*This post has been sponsored by Cetaphil: I have been given freedom to choose my favourites from the Cetaphil brand and write about my experience. While this post has been sponsored it has not influenced my opinion; my review of the product is still honest. I do not affiliate myself with brands and products that I do not believe in and I will not endorse something that I am not happy with. Promise.

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