Just how well are you REALLY washing your face? 2 techniques to adopt ASAP!

Woman washing her face

Did you know that the average person takes just 10 seconds to wash her face?

I have no idea where I heard that fact or who even measured it. But I do know these persons have got to be hers—not hims—because when was the last time you ever saw a guy even wash his face? (Specifically, I mean. Like, outside of whatever he does in the shower—because I doubt that even takes 10 seconds. Plus, you just know he’s using some crazy drying thing like Irish Spring all over his body, complexion included. AND YET HIS SKIN STILL LOOKS BETTER THAN OURS. This kills me.)

But I digress.

What I meant to talk about today is the fact that face-washing is a very, very important beauty step that probably too many of us are skipping over in our rush to get to the good, fun stuff. You know, like layering on our 1,000 toners and serums and creams and spot treatments.

But here’s the thing. If you’re not getting all of your makeup off—or sunscreen, which is also a real b*tch—then your fancy treatment products aren’t going to be able to work their magic nearly as well.

What’s that, you say? Oh, you already ARE removing all your makeup? Well, maybe. But maybe not. So I urge you to consider these two techniques if you haven’t already…

The Clarisonic

Clarisonic pink Just how well are you REALLY washing your face? 2 techniques to adopt ASAP!

This is my baby. Yes, she’s expensive. (Starting at $149 for the Mia.) But it feels like it’s been a while since I sang its praises, and I really do believe this is one of those beauty splurges that is totally worth it.

Also? I just found my notes from a Clarisonic press event that I attended a dog’s age ago, and never posted about. So it’s time I shared, right? Here are a few factoids:

1. The sonic cleansing brush (it’s like a sonic toothbrush) is able to remove six times more makeup than manual cleansing with your hands alone. Six times! That’s a lot. I love this image because it really hammers the point home:

Clarisonic before and after Just how well are you REALLY washing your face? 2 techniques to adopt ASAP!

2. It even removes waterproof makeup. (I wouldn’t use it on your eyelashes, of course. Hold tight because we’ll get to those in a bit.) Waterproof sunscreen, too—which is crazy hard to get off, and can be pore-clogging if you leave it in there.

3. It’s gentle enough to use twice a day. Even if you have sensitive skin or rosacea. This one blows me away, because I totally thought it would aggravate those conditions. But it’s the opposite—the Clarisonic actually HELPS them. ‘Tis true: I got this intel first hand from a dermatologist I interviewed months after the Clarisonic event, who told me he recommends it to his rosacea patients. He’s not affiliated in any way with the company either.

4. It can help pores look smaller and wrinkles look less visible. There are two reasons for this. By removing congestion in the pores, it diminishes their appearance. By removing debris (dirt/oil/makeup) that are sitting on top of, and weighing down wrinkles, it helps them look less noticeable too. AND! Like I said at the beginning there, when you have a really clean skin surface, all products that you put on top are going to absorb better. So anything anti-aging or brightening or pore-minimizing will have a better chance of working post-Clarisonic sesh.

Are you convinced yet? Maybe? Okay, here’s another option:

Cleansing oils

Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil Just how well are you REALLY washing your face? 2 techniques to adopt ASAP!

Does everyone know by now about my Oil Cleansing Method tragedy a couple of years ago? OMG it was bad. And that’s why—although I’ve applied botanical oils as moisturizers since then—I’ve shied away from using anything with the words “oil” and “cleansing” on the label. Trust me, you would too.

But in the past few weeks, I’ve turned a corner and I’m ready to do this thing again. Only this time, I’m sticking with commercially available prodz instead of attempting to DIY with castor and olive oils. (Shudder.)

Why, you ask? Well, because the principle behind oil cleansing is still sound. Not only is it an excellent way to thoroughly remove makeup (both waterproof and non, even from the eye area), it’s also way better than traditional cleansers for getting gunk out of your pores. That’s because the best way to dissolve sebum (oil) is with more oil. Basically, what you’re doing is replacing the dirty oil with the beneficial, nourishing, botanical kind.

I’m still experimenting with different brands, although the newest on the market is the Shu Uemura puppy up there. Apparently, it removes makeup 86 percent better than previous formulas—although I’m not sure yet whether it’s going to be too rich for me. (I have practically every version of this oil that Shu has come out with: Brightening, Fresh, Premium, etc. etc.) Dermalogica makes a great one as well, called Precleanse.

Anyway, what you want to do—no matter which oil you’re using—is massage it straight on to your dry face. (I wouldn’t recommend massaging for too long, certainly not more than five minutes, since all of that manipulation probably contributed to my OCM disaster.) Then, add a bit of water to emulsify it—the oil will turn milky white. Massage it around a bit again, and then rinse off!

You will be amazed at how soft, and most importantly, CLEAN, your skin feels.


Woman with oil on face Just how well are you REALLY washing your face? 2 techniques to adopt ASAP!

And here is where I tell you to consider using both methods in tandem.

Double-cleansing isn’t really a new concept—Dermalogica first introduced the idea to beauty eds maybe five or six years ago when they came out with Precleanse. But whether or not you use their product, I think that cleansing twice is kinda like insurance for your skin. Especially if your complexion is like mine, i.e. super-sensitive and you’ve had a bad reaction to oils in the past. I know Shu Uemura (and most oil cleanser manufacturers) don’t say that you NEED to cleanse again afterward… but I’m a nervous Nelly. I just can’t risk a potential breakout from leaving oil on my skin. Even if it’s pretty oil that costs $90 and comes from a fancy department store.

(You might also be wondering why I need the oil if I’m using the Clarisonic. Well, I probably don’t—but I’m experimenting. I’m still ultra-intrigued by the oil-removes-oil benefit, and so I’m hoping to get the best of both worlds by using both methods together. Clean pores forevah!)

Okay, so. The method I’m digging right now is to first use a cleansing oil to get off the bulk of my sunscreen and makeup. And then I use my Clarisonic for the second round (paired with my gentle cream or gel cleanser du jour, such as Boscia or SkinCeuticals).

The result is über-clean skin that doesn’t feel dried out or irritated. And I don’t need to use toners. (Which, frankly, are often irritating on me and make my skin turn red.) Although it’s certainly fun to test how well these methods work—is anything as satisfying as swiping a saturated cotton pad across your skin and finding no trace of anything?! Then you KNOW you’ve done a good job.

Also? If you’ve been diligent in the evenings, your morning cleansing routine can be pretty basic. I don’t double-cleanse then (there’s no need); usually I’ll do the SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser (a cream) either on its own or with the Clarisonic.

And that’s it! Time for you to weigh in:

Am I a crazy skincare lady? (That’s what one commenter insinuated when I shared my hair care routine the other week, so… probably.)
Are you a fan of the Clarisonic? What about oil cleansing?
What’s your skincare regimen as of late?


Friday, August 24/2012 at 12:51 pm

That is the exact method I use to clean my face: cleansing oil then foaming cleanser with my Clarisonic. I wear sunscreen, foundation and waterproof mascara and this is the only way to get really clean. The estheticsians always comment on how great a condition my skin is. Worth every penny and effort!


Friday, August 24/2012 at 2:10 pm

I’m a fan of the 10-second face wash. I wear sunscreen, but very little makeup, so that might have something to do with it. I also have super-sensitive skin, and thus try to keep products to a minimum in all cases. (I can’t even find a decent moisturiser that is both effective and doesn’t break me out/cause an allergic reaction; I’d sooner focus on that that than try to find a cleanser as well that isn’t loaded with unnecessary scent and other stuff.)

Other than Pears, my favourite thing so far is actually micellar water on a pad followed by a quick splash of regular water. It seems to take everything off, and is fast.

I tried oil cleansing (the old-fashioned method) a few years ago; it worked really well on my skin, but I have hard water, and it left the most disgusting residue in my sink.


Friday, August 24/2012 at 3:08 pm

Well your cleansing routine isn’t really crazy lady still high maintenance as far as cleansing routine’s go. But I’m guessing that if you write about your ENTIRE skin care routine two cleansers with a grocery payment tool, toner, mask, serum, hyrdroquinone, ce ferulic, retin-a, moisutrizer etc then yeah it might start to look slightly extra…. :) But so what, if you like it I love it.

I double cleanse though it’s the old school way, cold cream to remove makeup if worn, then soap( cold process true soap no sulphate based cleansers for me, soap in a bar all day). Big fan. There may be something to the fact that guys do very little and still have great looking skin.

All subjective of course but as far as drugstore bar soaps go Irish Spring is actually one of the least drying. We( by we I mean my family) were arguing about which drugstore soap was best with the girls ended up contributing the irish spring the boys one of the new gylcerine based Dials. Irish spring won. btw Dove was excluded as it’s technically not a soap, it’s a sulphate based cleansing bar.


Friday, August 24/2012 at 7:21 pm

Haha oh dear sorry for calling you a crazy hair lady Michelle!! I meant it in a good way (kinda:P). My make up artist friend once told me you should always cleanse once to wash the make up or whatever else off your face and then again to actually cleanse your skin! So I think there is definitely value in the double cleansing idea. And I think most women would love to try the Clarisonic bbut it’s a bit pricey.


Nomadic D
Friday, August 24/2012 at 8:57 pm

Interesting…. very interesting. I’m intrigued by this cleansing oil concept and would love to hear what brands you’re trying out. I too have super sensitive and break-out prone skin that I am reluctant to try new things on, but I can’t help but get excited about new stuff anyway. I currently use the bioderma mycellar solution:


And it’s been really good to me. I use my beloved clarisonic with just water in the shower, and when I’m just “washing my face” I just use the sensibio. But I am definitely intrigued by the oils here, and love the idea of the double cleansing method.



Friday, August 24/2012 at 9:13 pm

I have been double cleansing for a couple years now! I think it really helps to keep my skin super clear.. Besides those annoying flareups at that time of the month, my skin is pretty clear and I no longer have millia :) my fave is Boscia’s MakeUp BreakUp (the American counterpart of the Japanese brand FANCL which is a pretty big deal in Asia). I follow up with Cetaphil because its gentle and Boscia leaves nothing behind anyways. I use NeoStrata’s toner as the last step. This toner allows me to go without moisturizer! I still use moisturizer in the morning though.


Friday, August 24/2012 at 11:39 pm

I used to cleanse my face as much as you (aka semi crazily ;)) but after I realized that guys really don’t do anything and their skin looks perfect; well, I had a revelation. I cut my skincare down to Retin-A 0.1%, an oil-free sunscreen, an olive oil/water mixture to remove makeup, and a homemade tea tree oil toner 2x daily.
I did have a weeny transition period of about two days where I got drier skin. But now my skin is amaazing!!


Saturday, August 25/2012 at 4:47 am

I agree with Denise and Jasmin.
I really believe that it’s possible to overclean the face. Too much cleansing just irritates the skin and I don’t want to destroy it’s natural barrier.
When I was 15 my dermatologist told my that too much cleansing can trigger a panic response and send the oil glands into overdrive.
I don’t like cleansing oils or products that make me feel there’s still something left on my skin. My washing routine is simple. I don’t use 60 Dollar products, my cleansers are all drugstore (Nivea, Garnier). I do use a little silicone facial brush, very similar to this one: http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j00qBQtZOoRlnbw/Silicone-Facial-Brush-Face-Clean-Brush-Makeup-Brush.jpg but not every time.


Sunday, August 26/2012 at 9:46 am

Hi Michelle! I have to agree that the oil cleansing method isn’t for everyone (although it never did me any harm), but I always found olive oil great for taking off eye makeup (and also, eliminating the need for eye cream afterward!). But that’s beside the point. You say that toners haven’t worked well for you in the past. Have you tried any of the Pai toners? I’m combination/oily/sensitive (and I think you’re somewhere around there yourself if I remember correctly), and I’ve been using their rosemary toner for the past little while, and if anything, it’s made things better!


Sidra Vitale
Monday, August 27/2012 at 10:04 am

I started double-cleansing just recently and have noticed a difference. I use cold cream to remove makeup, then cleanser #1 (either the sea salt facial bar from Batty’s Bath or Dr. Perricone’s nutritive cleanser), then #2 (Yes to Carrots nourishing exfoliating cleanser). My pores just seem cleaner.


Monday, August 27/2012 at 2:35 pm

I agree with the others; guys do a lot less to their skin than we do! My guy has beautiful skin, and he washes in the shower with whatever soap I put in there. Luckily, I put good soap in there now. But I’m not giving up makeup, so I accept that I need to do a bit more work to clean.

With my uber dry/sensitive/allergic skin, I’m still using oat flour mixed with a few drops of sweet almond oil (my idea) & enough water to make a paste. This is amazing. I use just the SA oil to remove my eye makeup.

Sometimes I do double cleanse, with SA oil to remove my makeup & then a gentle From the Meadow oatmeal soap to remove any residue. This feels really gentle. The oat flour is too, but it it lightly exfoliating (which I need constantly), and sometimes my skin feels a little sensitive for that. Sometimes I just use the SA oil, if I’m exhausted. Rosewater for toner before cream, misted on.


Wednesday, October 17/2012 at 12:20 pm

OK, I need to recant a bit on this one. Apparently, when I was using sweet almond oil as a makeup remover, I was a little over-inspired by the oil-cleanse part of the article? Anywhoo, I think I was massaging too long, and essentially lifting the makeup & massaging it into my pores. I was starting to clog a bit. I hadn’t been doing it long enough when I wrote before… shouldn’t have posted, sorry!

However, my skin was starting to dry with the Fall weather, so I tried just using organic honey as a cleanser. Wet face, half teaspoon of honey, massage on… awesome. Now, a couple of times a week, I add a bit of baking soda to exfoliate, then, once my face is CLEAN, I massage in the SA oil. My blackheads & full-er nose pores look amazing!

One caveat, my skin definitely did a little bit of a purge first. So, it broke out a little bit, but when it cleared up, it was & stayed really clear! This is why I do any natural products for at least 2-3 weeks before I judge. Unless, of course, I have a bad reaction, but that’s usually easy to tell.


Tuesday, August 28/2012 at 12:16 am

Read this: http://www.cosmeticscop.com/the-oil-cleansing-method-for-oily-skin.aspx

I love beautypedia.com for all things makeup and skincare related. I’ve learned so much about beauty products and even things like why most toners make my face irritated and angry.


Nomadic D
Tuesday, August 28/2012 at 10:37 am

I agree! I bought Paula’s book years ago and have used it as a reference bible ever since. I used to subscribe to the website but now it’s free for everyone to use, and I’m always surprised more people don’t take advantage of it. It has made a huge difference in my skincare routine, and also in my wallet!



Lisa MacDougall
Tuesday, August 28/2012 at 9:51 am

I love your post on cleansing your face! I think everyone, at some point in their lives, is confused about the “best” way to cleanse. I am 48 and STILL have oily skin. I have been searching for the best way to cleanse all my life.

I have tried virtually every major brand out there over the years, though new advances in skincare make it hard to keep up with all the new stuff. I have, also, tried many bits of advice over the years – you know the stuff – cleanse only with your fingers; use a washcloth; don’t use a washcloth; double cleanse; oils for makeup removal; do any of you remember the Buf-Puf – I cringe; scrubs; natural products; name brand products – you get the picture, right? My advice, find what works for you – remembering that your skin may change with age and seasons. (Mine sure hasn’t changed with age!)

Currently, I double cleanse with Clinique products. I use the Wash Away Gel Cleanser to remove makeup and then wash with the liquid soap for oily skin. I use Clinique Gel Dramatically Different Moisturizer – a step I was hesitant to take on but find it really helps

The one thing I have not tried is the Clarisonic – though, I admit, I’ve been curious. After reading your post, I feel like picking one up on my lunch hour. I’ve also been thinking it would be a good present for my daughter for Christmas too!

You would think that, with all the technological advances, we would know how best to wash our faces. Just looking at the number of articles/blogs/products – well, it’s obviously complicated.

Best of luck!



Tuesday, August 28/2012 at 12:15 pm

I really enjoyed this post.. I’ve tried out the double-cleansing method recently and found it really helpful for days when I wear heavy makeup (which, let’s face it, happens pretty often).
One thing that has been bugging me in the comments (and I hear this a lot outside this blog as well) is when women talk about what guys do (or don’t do) and how their skin is perfect. Men and women have totally different skin and hormones. Men also usually don’t wear makeup. So to say that what works for them will give you clear skin is just inaccurate!


Wednesday, August 29/2012 at 9:59 am

OMG I’m so proud of myself because I already use both these babies!! :D I am pretty certain the Shu oil cleanser removes makeup than ANYTHING else out there, and I think that the process of application really makes the experience feel luxurious. When Shu releases the artist-collaborated bottles, it feels like even more of a pleasure. As for the Clarisonic, it’s really one of those things that you realize you need when you go without it for a while… I went travelling for a few weeks and decided it was too bulky to bring, so I left it at home. Halfway in, despite religious cleansing in the regular way, my skin remembered what it was to be congested and spotty! I was meeting someone from home partway through the trip and I begged them to bring my Clarisonic. Washing with it again felt SO GOOD. While the Shu oil cleanser is a nice thing to have, I attribute my Clarisonic for the best skin I’ve had in literally years. :)


Wednesday, August 29/2012 at 1:45 pm

I double cleanse every once in awhile. I haven’t tried using an oil cleanser every day, but I’ll do it once or twice a week–in particular, a day or two after I used a mild chemical peel or mask. This way, the gunk in my pores has been loosened up a bit. Then, when I massage my skin with a bit of oil, I can work out quite a few blackheads and other nasties without going through trauma with an extractor. I follow it up with a mild enzyme cleanser.


Saturday, September 1/2012 at 6:29 pm

I’ve tripple cleansed for years; oil (precleanse or dhc) to remove makeup, foam wash with salcylic acid to wash the face then use a gentle exfoliant. I’m 36 and still get ID’d when I buy booze. :)


Elizabeth Washington
Wednesday, October 17/2012 at 6:21 am

I am addicted to the Dermalogica double cleanse routine! I started using the pre-cleanse about a month ago. I had written it off as being a Dermalogica ploy to get more money from us but I was pleasantly surprised. The pre-cleanse really cuts through all the dirt and grime on you face and takes off your make-up properly. After toning, I apply serum, moisturiser and sunscreen, primers and then my make-up, so there are a lot of layers to get through! I follow the pre-cleanse with my prescribed Dermalogica cleanser (dermal clay cleanser for my oily / combination skin) to avoid leaving oils on my face. My skin has never been clearer. I really want to try the Clarisonic but I’m not sure I can part with that much money. The image above has tempted me. Maybe I’ll add it to my Christmas list…..


Monday, December 17/2012 at 7:16 pm

You know what works great too? When my skin feels like it needs some extra cleansing, I also use the double-cleansing technique, ut instead of the Shu-oil-kind, I apply organic olive oil to my skin. Then I wipe it off with a cotton pad. Then I use the Clarisonic with a “normal” cleanser. Works GREAT. And alot cheaper :)


Sunday, April 7/2013 at 12:32 pm

I use Dermalogica’s “preclense” and it has changed my life. It really works. Along with their “Daily Microfoliant”. If you use both of these products, you won’t need to use a clarisonic. I took mine back to the store!


Monday, July 15/2013 at 10:04 am

The clarisonic is way too expensive for what it is. You can get much cheaper and equally well-made alternatives, although vibrating, rotating brushes are unnecessary for cleansing anyway, at least on a daily basis. Also, why would you trust the information put out by the product? That is illogical, the “studies” they do are barely scientific and designed in order to sell a product…


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