8 Most Common Cleansing Mistakes

8 Most Common Cleansing Mistakes

5 minute read

Washing your face is one of the most important steps in your skin care routine. Here are 8 cleansing mistakes I see too often in my practice, along with the right way to wash your face.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why cleansing is so important
  • Cleansing mistakes to avoid
  • How to properly wash your face

Cleansing your face is critical

Cleansing is one of the most important steps in your skin care routine. Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as it may seem. In my skin care practice, I’ve seen the best and worst ways women wash their face. Let me debunk some common myths and help you make washing your face easy and enjoyable!


I say it all the time and I’ll say it again - washing your face is key to aging smart. It’s easy to use the wrong product or use the wrong technique that can completely ruin the rest of your skin care practice.

Cleansing in the morning removes dead skin cell buildup and sweat from your sleep, along with any debris that your face has picked up from your pillow. Cleansing in the morning also ensures that any exfoliating acids or retinol used the night prior is removed. The only time you may want to skip cleansing in the morning is in perhaps the winter months when your skin is feeling tight or dry or if you know you’ll need to wash your face after your mid-day workout.

Cleansing at night removes sunscreen and makeup along with oil and debris from your day. Failing to cleanse in the evening can prevent your skin from regenerating effectively and congest your skin while you sleep.

There is a right and wrong way to cleanse your skin. First, let’s look at the most common cleansing mistakes I’ve seen in my skin therapy practice.


Not cleansing at night

So I’ve alluded to the first big cleansing mistake - not cleansing at all! Although it might sound daunting when you’re super tired, cleansing before bed is so important for skin regeneration and repair. If you’re prone to acne, you’re contributing to the problem if you’re not cleansing at night.

Failing to wash hands first

It’s so easy to forget! Make the conscious effort to wash your hands before washing your face. Otherwise, you’ll be transferring dirt and bacteria from your hands to your face which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

Cleansing with hot then cold water

Contrary to popular belief, your pores cannot open and close depending on the water temperature you use. Exposing your skin to extreme temperatures promotes dehydration and sensitivity. Always choose warm water when cleansing and always make sure it’s not too warm!

Pressing too hard

Many new clients come to Skin Discovery with highly sensitized skin. Their skin is pink, red or warm to the touch and often it’s due to HOW they are cleansing. Treat your skin with featherlike pressure, not aggressive scrubbing action! Use circular motions using gentle pressure always. Slow down and notice how you’re caring for your skin.

Cleansing too often

You have approximately 2,000 microbes living on your skin that make up your skin’s microbiome. Washing your face more than twice a day can disrupt your skin flora which can lead to sensitized skin and increased acne. 

Improper application

Not all cleansers are used in the same way but they should all be applied with clean, wet hands. Oil and cream cleansers should be applied to dry skin whereas gel and foaming cleansers should be applied to damp skin.

Drying incorrectly

Firstly, your face deserves it’s own towel! Invest in soft cotton face towels and make sure you have enough for a clean one every day and night of the week. After washing your face, the tendency is to press the face towel into your skin. This will only press the dirt and debris back into your skin! Instead, your face towel should assist removal by using long sweeping movements.

Not removing makeup first

If you wear makeup and reapply sunscreen throughout the day (which you should), you’ll need to cleanse this first. This is a critical step if you have acne-prone skin. Cleanse first with a fragrance-free micellar water or cream cleanser and a second time with a gel or foaming cleanser to thoroughly remove dirt, oil and flakes from the surface of your skin. 


Watch my facial cleansing demo on YouTube that walks you through how to double cleanse effectively using a cream cleanser on dry skin, followed by a foaming cleanser on wet skin.

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