My skin and I have a love-hate relationship. Since my early teens, I’ve struggled with oiliness and acne. But this is unsurprising, given that I’m constantly on the go, highly caffeinated, and stressed.
I’ve tried countless products, techniques, and tricks to clean my skin effectively. And while I love the ritualistic process of giving my skin TLC, my skin seemed to hate receiving it.
That is until I realized I was making a major misstep in my skincare routine—and you might be, too.
Step One: Take Your Makeup Off
I’ll keep this one brief because it’s a beauty bylaw we’ve all likely internalized by now: Take your makeup off.
I get it; I’m tired at the end of the day, too. But leaving makeup on overnight can lead to clogged pores, breakouts, and all-around angry skin. Of course, if you’re reading this, you likely already do that—so on to the next beauty blunder.
Waving Goodbye To Old Washcloths
Sometimes life isn’t fair. For example, my partner can wash their face with the same washcloth they use on their entire body with no consequences.
For those of us with sensitive, acne-prone skin, this is clearly a non-option for several reasons.
One, washcloths are fantastic harbingers of bacteria. Bacteria and other microbes feed off the dead skin cells from your face and body (ew) and can multiply by the thousands in just one day (double ew).
Two, some washcloths are just too rough. Your face’s skin is more delicate than your body’s. Overdoing it with that same thin, scratchy washcloth you’ve had since college can do as much abrasion damage as a harsh exfoliant.
And unfortunately, the disposable option isn’t much better.
The Harsh Truth About Makeup Remover Wipes
When it comes to my makeup routine, I’m all about convenience. So, up until recently, I kept a huge pack of disposable makeup remover wipes in my beauty bag.
To my dismay, my skin stayed tight and dry (and then oily and pimply) regardless of how much I wiped (and wiped and wiped and wiped).
As it turns out, wipes do way more harm than good. Not only do wipes simply smear around the makeup, dirt, and oil on your face, but they also irritate the skin due to preservatives and chemicals found in the wipes’ solution.
Do Your Due Diligence And Double Cleanse
Dermatologists and makeup experts (and Tom Cruise) agree—it’s best to double-cleanse. Double-cleansing involves washing your face with two products: an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based one.
The first cleanser washes away oil-based impurities like makeup, sunscreen, pollutants, and sebum. The second takes care of sweat and dirt. Most cleansers only do one or the other.
Healthline offers a handy double-cleansing guide for all skin types. While it might seem like more work at first, you’re really just saving yourself from breakout hassles in the long run.
And if years of experimental skincare have taught me anything, it’s to work smarter, not harder.