I don’t know who needs to hear this but… you’re washing your face too much.
As someone who hasn’t washed their face with any sort of soap consistently since 2014, I can tell you that the face wash of your teenage years (orange Neutrogena Face Wash anyone?) or using face wipes each night is probably doing more harm than good to your skin.
Let’s break it down: After I graduated from college and started working in the city, I started breaking out for the first time in my life. I had cut out beer (mostly), and went from eating greasy late night food to living on Juice Press, yet my skin had never looked worse. I choked it up to the stress of a new job, working out more (and therefore sweating more), wearing makeup more often… and so on… and continued on my usual face washing both AM + PM routine.
Then one day, during my time at MAC, I picked Cleanse Off Oil out of our PR closet, and started using it to remove my makeup each night. You just massage the oil in, and remove with water – no soap needed. Using an oil to wash my face was completely foreign: Didn’t I want less oil on my face? But the results were immediate. My breakouts backed down and my skin looked better than it had in a long long time. That’s when I gave up face wash – and I haven’t looked back since.
Here’s the Deal: Oils Won’t Make You Oily
It seems counterintuitive, I know, but just hear me out. When you’re constantly going to war against your skin using harsh ingredients all over your face, like face washes loaded with drying salicylic acid, you’re actually stripping skin of its natural oils. Its response? Go into oil overdrive to compensate, which then leads to breakouts and extra oily skin. If you’re keeping your skin balanced, moisturized and hydrated, there’s no reason for skin to combat dryness.
Plus, you know that horrible feeling of getting soap into your eyes? And let’s be real, when was the last time a foamy face wash was able to remove your mascara? Using a cleansing oil (or micellar water) gently removes all makeup without irritating.
If you are acne-prone, choosing cleansing oils sans comedogenic oils (aka oils that cause acne) is key. One commonly used oil that is actually comedogenic (and you should avoid putting on your skin) is coconut oil, which I avoid like the fucking plague.
Makeup Remover Wipes are NOT Cleansing Your Skin
If you’re high key addicted to face wipes (every time I see an influencer promote Neutrogena’s wipes, I kinda die inside), I’m here to let you know that they’re not cleansing your skin properly and are often filled with drying ingredients. Face wipes don’t totally get rid of the grime from the day (especially if you’re living in a busy, populated, dirty city!) and often are packed with preservatives (that leave you dry) and surfactants (which draw oil away from the skin) – exactly what we’re trying not to do here.
Oh, by the way – you should always avoid pulling and tugging at your skin (and instead, pat it dry) – and what exactly do you have to do to get a face WIPE across your skin? I digress.
I’m all about a face wipe moment at 3am after a long night out (it’s better than nothing, ya know?) but it’s just not going to cut it as a means of cleansing your skin on the daily.
The Benefits of Using Cleansing Oil (or Micellar Water) > Face Wash
💛 Using a cleansing oil or micellar water helps to break down makeup
💛 Oil attracts oil – so cleansing oil is a magnet for the oils in your makeup and any oil buildup from the day
💛 Eliminates your need for a makeup remover (since it does that job, too)
💛 They’re gentle (as long as there are no harsh ingredients in the formula, like synthetic fragrance or alcohol) and leave skin feeling baby soft
Oils Don’t Have to Be an Investment
If you’re still afraid of oils, and aren’t ready to invest in making the change away from face wash, try using olive oil (which you likely have in the pantry!) to cleanse skin for 1-2 weeks.
Here’s How I ‘Wash’ My Face (and What I Use)
Because I’m a big believer that your body sort of does what it’s meant to do when you let it be, I try to be as gentle as possible with my skin and let it do the rest on its own.
Each night, the second I walk in from work, before I do anything else, I remove my makeup with a cleansing oil or balm (I’ve been testing Caudalie’s Cleansing Oil, which does have a bit of fragrance), and follow with micellar water to double cleanse.
I pump 3-4 drops of the cleansing oil into my palms and rub together to warm up before applying. Starting with the center of my face, I massage the oil in and outwards, and I always make sure to cleanse my neck as well. I focus in on my eyes, too, since I tend to wear a ton of mascara. I keep it as gentle as possible on the eye area to avoid tugging. Then, I rinse with room temperature water.
After, I go in with a cotton round (or two) soaked in micellar water to get the perimeter of my face specifically (aka the hairline), my ears, and more of my neck. You don’t need to rinse your micellar water off with water – it may leave behind a ‘residue’ but it’s one that’s good for your skin!
Questions about cleansing oil and not washing your face? Tell me in the comments.