Washing our face always seems to be such a tedious yet necessary task. We lather our favorite cleanser onto our face, move it around a bit, and rinse, all in the hopes of smooth, radiant skin. Turns out that it’s not as straightforward; even the temperature of the water could be wreaking havoc on our complexion. Knowing the right steps and techniques can help our skin look better than ever. Below, we talk to the experts for their best tips on cleansing for a clearer, brighter complexion.

1. Always Remove Your Makeup Before Washing: Before you even reach for your cleanser, wipe away all of the stubborn makeup from the day. “You can use towelettes and wipes to gently sweep over the affected areas of your skin, but make sure they’re alcohol-free to avoid excessive drying and irritation,” says Dina Began, board-certified dermatologist at Bobby Buka MD Dermatology. “A few drops of toner can be used on a cotton pad to remove makeup.”

2. Know When to Double Cleanse: “Double cleansing is a technique of doing exactly what it says: washing your face twice and it is the backbone of many skin care regimens especially Korean beauty routines,” she says. “It can be done with an either an oil cleanser followed by a gentle cleanser or gentle cleanser then an exfoliating or foaming cleanser. The benefit of using oil-based cleansers is that they are excellent at dissolving makeup so using a two-step process for washing your face may be great for those who wear foundation or heavier makeup.”

If you have acne or wear little to no makeup, Marchbein recommends skipping an oil-based cleanser.

3. Temperature Matters: Stick to cold to lukewarm water to protect your skin.

“Hot water can be abrasive and strips the skin of natural oils and can leave your skin feeling even dryer – especially when the air is already dry,” says Shereene Idriss, NYC-based dermatologist of Union Square Laser Dermatology. Marchbein also notes that rinsing your skin with water that is too hot can lead to acne flares, breakouts and skin irritation.

4. Start the Timer: If you rinse your skin squeaky clean for minutes on end, stop this bad habit ASAP. According to Began, you shouldn’t wash your face for more than 30 seconds to a minute.

5. Wash the Right Way: “Apply cleanser with your fingers, and with gentle circular movements, massage the cleanser in,” says Stalina Glot, senior esthetician and creator of Facialiates at Haven Spa in NYC. “Wash everything off with warm water.”

6. Pat — Don’t Rub — to Dry: “Keep it soft and gentle,” says Began. “Use a soft cotton cloth or towel, and remember to pat dry.”

7. Keep Exfoliation to a Minimum: You should never exfoliate your skin daily. Instead, Began suggests that normal to dry skin types should exfoliate two to three times per week to polish away flakes and impurities.

8. Never Wash More Than Twice Per Day: Although Marchbein says that the amount of times you should be washing your face everyday depends on your skin type, avoid cleansing more than twice a day to prevent over-stripping of the skin’s natural oils. “For those with dry or sensitive skin, washing once a day at night is likely enough whereas for oily skin, washing twice daily is better,” she says. “What products you apply to your skin during the day is also important to take note of. If you are using a night time acne routine, you would want to make sure to rinse those products off in the morning with a gentle cleanser.”

9. But Always Lather Up at Night: “If you are going to skip one, it is better to forego the morning rather than the evening wash,” says Marchbein. “It is extremely important to remove makeup, dirt, and pollutants that have accumulated on your skin during the day, before heading to bed. And, sleeping with makeup on, or forgetting to rinse your face before bed, is a big no-no as it can cause major acne breakouts including painful cysts.”

10. Moisturize After Washing Your Face: Replenish your skin’s hydration with moisturizer morning and night. Even if you’re using a gentle cleanser, your skin is stripped away of its natural oils during the process of washing. “In the morning, a moisturizer with broad spectrum SPF 30 is best,” says Marchbein. “In the evening, use a heavier moisturizer.” She prefers CeraVe Moisturizing Cream or Simple Water Boost Skin Quench Sleeping Cream.

RELATED: How to Wash Your Face According to Skin Type

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