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Facial Cleanser Basics: Here's How to Wash Your Face

Skin Care Concerns

Facial Cleanser Basics: Here's How to Wash Your Face Facial Cleanser Basics: Here's How to Wash Your Face Facial Cleanser Basics: Here's How to Wash Your Face

With a million types of facial cleansers on the market—and even more instructions on how to use them—finding out which facial cleanser is most beneficial for your skin can feel daunting. When it comes to washing your face, there are lots of questions that can pop up. How many times a day do you really need to cleanse? What skin care ingredients (such as glycolic acid) should you look for in a facial cleanser? What temperature should the water be when you rinse? It quickly becomes clear that there’s way more to washing your face than you might have originally thought. Which begs the question: What really is the right way to wash your face with a facial cleanser? Below, we explain how to wash your face along with our best facial cleanser picks.


If you have soap and water you’re all set, right? Wrong. While washing your face may seem like a no-brainer, there are a few things you definitely want to keep in mind during the process. 

1. Choose your facial cleanser wisely

When you select a facial cleanser, it’s important to look for a formula that’s specifically designed for your skin type. For example, dry skin may benefit from using a cream facial cleanser, while oily skin may be better suited to a clay facial cleanser.

2. Read the label on your facial cleanser

Although you might think all facial cleansers are the same, some skin care products require specific application (hello, micellar water), so be sure to familiarize yourself with the instructions. This will give you the best chance at achieving the intended result—clean skin! 

Reading labels is also a must so that you can understand what makes up the formula of your facial cleanser. Do you want a paraben-free cleanser? Are you interested in one that’s formulated with glycolic acid or nourishing oils? Maybe you want to try a cleanser with a trendy skin care ingredient in its formula. Regardless of what you’re looking for, make sure you are looking. There are also certain ingredients you may want to avoid based on your skin type—for example, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends avoiding alcohol-based toners if you have dry, sensitive skin—so make sure you are doing your due diligence.

3. Turn down the temps

The hotter the water you wash with, the more likely it is to dry out your skin. To ensure your skin doesn’t end up being stripped of essential oils, turn down the temperature and use lukewarm water to rinse.

4. Be mindful of how you apply your cleanser

Think about it like this: You’re using a cleanser to help replenish your skin, so don’t tamper with the process by applying it too roughly. Instead, gently massage your facial cleanser onto your skin using your fingertips. Think of this process as a mini facial massage and you can make cleansing a more enjoyable experience!

5. Pat your skin dry

The same way you shouldn’t be aggressive in applying cleanser, you also shouldn’t be harsh when it comes to drying your face. So, where you once might have thought rubbing your face with a towel was a good idea, from now on simply pat away excess water after rinsing off. You can even use a clean cotton T-shirt or soft micro-fiber cloth as gentler options for drying off.

6. Don’t over-wash

While washing your face should be an essential step in your daily skin care routine, it is possible to over-wash. It’s best to keep your cleansing routine to twice daily (once in the morning and once at night), plus after any intense sweat sessions. Cleanse more than that and you’re likely to dry out your complexion!

7. Always moisturize after using a facial cleanser

Once you’ve washed your face, it’s time to reach for a moisturizer. Seriously, don’t skip this step! Choose your moisturizer match based on your skin type. Have your pick from the L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Normal to Oily SkinL’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Normal to Dry Skin, and L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Extra Dry Skin, all of which are formulated with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera water to help provide long-lasting hydration. Pro-tip: Smooth whichever moisturizer you choose on while your skin is still damp to lock in hydration.


Now that you have the face washing process down pat, you can kiss your old skin care routine goodbye. To put the tips we’ve shared to use, all you need now is the best face wash for you. Below, we’re outlining four face wash options we love.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Cleansers: Your skin may be dirtier than you think. Just going about your normal day, dirt, oils, and pollution—ick—can build up on the surface of your skin. Thankfully, you can wash all of that away with the right cleanser. Formulated to seamlessly transform from clay to mousse and remove everyday impurities from the surface of skin without over-drying, the facial cleansers in this line can be used to purify the surface of your skin of dirt, oil, and pollution. Each of the three cleansers—the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Purify & Mattify CleanserL’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser, and L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliate and Refine Cleanser—is formulated with pure clays, which as you know are majorly trendy in the skin care world.

L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser: Does your uneven skin tone have you feeling less than radiant? With this exfoliating cleanser formulated with glycolic acid and gentle micro-pearls, you can buff away dead skin cells and impurities from skin’s surface to help reveal a smoother, more refined texture. Just make sure to take sun protection measures after using this cleanser—including applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher as directed, limiting your amount of time in the sun (especially during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), seeking shade, and covering up exposed areas with long sleeves, pants, a broad-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses—as alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid may increase your skin’s sun sensitivity.

L’Oréal Paris Ideal Clean™ All Skin Types Foaming Gel Cleanser: When you really want that squeaky-clean feeling, a foaming cleanser is the way to go. This foaming facial cleanser formula can help purify the skin while helping to minimize the look of pores. It gently removes makeup and buffs away impurities like dirt and oil from skin’s surface.  

L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser: Imagine this: You need to wash your face, but you’re nowhere near a sink. What’s one to do? Well, that’s why no-rinse cleansers like micellar water exist! And lucky for you, we have formulas suited for all skin types: The L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser - Normal to Dry Skin hydrates and soothes, the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser - Normal to Oily Skin purifies and mattifies, and the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser Waterproof – All Skin Types intensely purifies. With their ability to gently lift away makeup and dirt from the surface of skin in one step, we have a feeling micellar water is quickly going to become your newest facial cleanser obsession.

For more tips on choosing a facial cleanser, read How to Find the Right Clay Cleanser for Your Skin Type.