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Face Cleansing Guide: How and Why You Should Cleanse Your Face

March 15, 2021

Face Cleansing Guide: How and Why You Should Cleanse Your Face

It turns out there’s a lot more to facial skin cleansing than plain old soap and water. If you’re wondering how to keep your face clean or how to clean your skin, we’re glad you asked! 

Welcome to face cleaning 101. 


First things first: if you want to wash your face properly, it’s time to kick these six bad habits for face cleaning:

Mistake #1: Not washing your hands first.

You should always start your routine by washing your hands with soap and water. Throughout the day your hands are covered with all kinds of things you don’t want on your face: dirt, oil, bacteria, pollutants, viruses and other germs. Always wash your hands to remove these impurities before skin cleansing.

Mistake #2: Not removing your makeup first.

This is another #beautybasic, but it’s worth mentioning since all of the things we wear on our skin — sunscreen, serums, hydrators, concealer, foundation — can build up over time. If you don’t remove these layers before cleansing, you won’t be able to properly clean out your pores and may end up with breakouts, irritation, dryness, excess oil, or other skincare woes.

Mistake #3: Only using face wipes.

Time to ditch the face wipes! We know using them is super easy, but most are loaded with harsh chemicals that can strip your skin of its natural oils and disrupt your pH balance. Not to mention the mechanics of rubbing your skin with face wipes — all that scrubbing can leave your skin red, irritated, and inflamed.

This Clean & Calm Cucumber & Blue Lotus Micellar Water is a gentler option that cleanses, hydrates, and brightens your skin without the risk of irritation.

Mistake #4: Skipping the ingredients list.

This is true for ALL beauty and personal care products! Don’t let pretty packaging distract you from the most important part of the label: the ingredients.

When it comes to cleanser, the #1 ingredient to avoid is SLS (or sodium lauryl sulfate), which is a common foaming agent used to give products a foamy, bubbly consistency. SLS can be drying or irritating — and the higher the concentration of SLS, the greater the potential for irritation.

Instead, use a gentle cleanser like the Clean & Calm Gentle Rosehip Foaming Cleanser to gently cleanse and remove excess oil, dirt, and other impurities.

Mistake #5: Harshly scrubbing your skin.

We’ve all been there — scrubbing away at that last stubborn scrap of mascara that just. won’t. budge. But over time, all that pulling can damage your skin — particularly the delicate eye area around your eyes.

Mistake #6: Rushing through your routine.

It can be tempting to rush through your skincare regimen at the end of the day, but try to think of it as an opportunity for self care. After cleansing and applying the rest of your skincare products, spend a bit of extra time to give yourself a facial massage (here’s how to give yourself a spa-level facial at home). This will boost blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, helping to reduce any puffiness in your face. 

Psst: These natural facial cleansers can help you slow down and really enjoy your daily skincare regimen! 


Now that we’ve covered what NOT to do, you’re probably wondering how to clean your skin properly. Much of this comes down to your individual skin type and concerns. Here are some tips to make sure you’re scrubbing up for your healthiest natural glow:

  • If you wear a lot of makeup: Find a hydrating cleanser that will eliminate build up from dirt, oil, pollution, and makeup without stripping the skin of vital moisture. 

  • If you work out a lot: If you tend to sweat a lot, your face cleaning formula should target clogged pores. And always wash your face after sweating heavily, as perspiration can cause irritation. 

  • If you have allergies: Simple, natural facial cleansers may be your best bet if allergies are a concern. Powered by natural botanicals and free of additives like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, the HDB line is curated to feature natural ingredients with options for every skin type. 

  • If you have dry skin: You’ll want to look for a face wash formula with a creamy, moisturizing consistency. The thicker texture will help lock in moisture on your face while it works to cleanse. 

  • If you have oily skin: Gel or foaming cleansers are great for oily skin types. If your skin tends to be oily, your cleanser should also be oil-free and noncomedogenic (i.e. won’t clog pores). 

  • If you have sensitive skin: Sensitive skin types need a skin cleansing formula free from heavy fragrances and additives. Look for a cleanser marked as “gentle” to remove dirt without over drying or irritating your skin.


    Cleanser is essentially the foundation of your skincare regimen. Before you apply your facial serum, moisturizer, eye cream, makeup, or any other skincare products, you need to cleanse your skin to remove the dirt, oil, and other impurities from the surface of your skin. A good cleanser will also help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores to prevent breakouts and blemishes. 

    Since everyone’s skin is different, what works well for one person may not work for another. But knowing how cleanser works on your skin can help you understand the complexities of the cleanser world and empower you to choose your very own skin cleansing soulmate! 


    We’ve put together the following information to help you find the best cleanser for your skin type:

    Foaming cleansers

    Best for: those who prefer a light, foamy texture that gently cleanses and removes oil and residue on the skin.

    Skin type: combination or oily, acne-prone skin. 

    Gel cleansers

    Best for: those looking for extra hydration. A good cleansing gel provides lightweight hydration while removing light makeup and other impurities from the surface of your skin.

    Skin type: normal, combination, or oily skin.

    Cream cleansers

    Best for: those who prefer a silky, creamy texture (similar to a lotion). Cream cleansers can remove most makeup, but you may need to use a separate makeup remover if you use waterproof products.

    Skin type: normal, dry, or sensitive skin. 

    Oil-based cleansers

    Best for: those who need to remove heavy makeup or prefer to double cleanse (more on this process below!).

    Skin type: all skin types. 

    Water-based cleansers (AKA Micellar Water)

    Best for: those looking to remove water-based impurities (like dirt and sweat) from their skin. If you wear makeup, you may need to double cleanse with a second product to make sure all residue is fully removed.

    Bonus: some water-based cleansers can also be used as a toner or one-step cleanser — no need to rinse!

    Skin type: all skin types. 

    Cleansing balms

    Best for: those who want a deeply nourishing cleanser with a thick, almost solid consistency. Made with higher amounts of hydrating ingredients, cleansing balms are typically more moisturizing than other types of facial cleansers.

    Skin type: normal or dry skin.

    Remember: whatever your skin type, your cleanser should be the first step in your routine to target your concerns! 


    Generally speaking, most people should wash their face morning and night. Of course, this doesn’t always happen in real life.

    If you’re only able to manage one face cleaning per day, opt to cleanse before bed. This way, you can remove all of the excess oil, dirt, and makeup residue that’s built up throughout the day.

    If you’re more of an overachiever when it comes to your skincare regimen, you may have heard of a popular beauty technique called the “double cleanse.” The process is as simple as it sounds — use one cleanser right after the other for a more thorough skin cleanse.

    But does everyone really need to wash their face twice? Not necessarily. Double cleansing makes the most sense for people who wear heavy or transfer-resistant makeup and/or mineral-based sunscreen. The second facial skin cleansing will help ensure that both makeup and sunscreen are completely removed, allowing the products that follow (serums, moisturizer, eye cream) to work their magic.

    So, back to our original question… should you wash your face everyday? The short answer is: Yes. Twice.

    For most people, cleansing once in the morning and once at night is ideal. But if you sweat heavily at some point during the day, you may need a third skin cleanse. 


    Once you’ve found your perfect product, follow these simple steps to make sure you never find yourself Googling how to cleanse face again! 

    Step 1 - Make sure your cleanser is free of alcohol, as the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) suggests it should be. 

    Step 2 - Always use lukewarm water, never hot or cold. Hot water may feel nice, but it can strip the healthy, natural oils from your skin too quickly. Cold water, on the other hand, won’t effectively remove the daily residue that can clog pores and cause irritation.

    Step 3 - Gently apply the right cleanser for your skin. Not all cleansers are created equal, and finding the right match for your skin type will help keep your skin healthy and glowing.

    Step 4 - Rinse with warm water and pat dry.  Emphasis on pat dry, don’t rub. Rubbing or tugging at the skin can cause redness, irritation, and over time — wrinkles.

    Step 5 - Apply a good moisturizer right after cleansing to help your skin stay properly hydrated. Don’t wait too long too long — moisturizer and any other special treatments should be applied immediately (while the skin is still moist) to maximize their effectiveness.

    P.S. Still not sure where to start? Check out our lineup of natural facial cleansers!

    Shop Natural Face Cleansers from Herbal Dynamics Beauty