Are You Washing Your Face the Right Way?

Top dermatologists and a celebrity facialist weigh in on cleansing for my latest article in ELLE Canada
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Michelle Villett
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Top dermatologists and a celebrity facialist weigh in on cleansing for my latest article in ELLE Canada

Every once in a while, I get to work on a really juicy, sink-your-teeth-into-it magazine story (am I conjuring up too many meat references here?). The kind where I get quality time with the top dermatologists and estheticians—a.k.a. my very favourite activity—and steal all their best, but maybe not so well-known, tips. That's exactly what happened for my latest piece in ELLE Canada on cleansing (slightly rejigged for web format, but you can also find it in the mag).

How to wash your face

Sometimes I forget to share with you guys what's happening in my other, magazine life, but this article was so packed with tips that I couldn't wait for it to come out so I could finally talk about it.

Here are a few of the most interesting things I learned about cleansing:

  • You don't need to over-wash (or in fact wash at all!): Both derms I spoke to said there's no medical reason that you must clean your face. It's generally a good idea to get rid of potentially pore-clogging dirt, oil, sunscreen and makeup, and to slough off some of the dead skin cells... but once or twice a day, max, is sufficient. If you wash too much, you can strip away your skin's protective oils—so consider whether you really need cleanser in the morning, or if your skin might be better served with just a splash of water. (Really! I got this from a derm, promise.)
  • There's a no-'poo movement for your face: Speaking of NOT cleansing, did you know there's this trend called "Caveman Cleansing"? Where people say their skin looks better when they don't even clean it all, even with water? Maybe there's something to it... loads of guys never really wash their faces, right? But then again, you'd have to give up makeup and that's not happening.
  • It's okay to wash your face with Bioderma: You know those micellar cleansing waters, like Bioderma's Sensibio, that are getting popular in North America lately (via France)? Totally okay if you want to make them not just your makeup remover but your regular cleanser—and never touch water at all. Maybe those Caveman people should try that.
  • The best cleansers are generally soap-free, pH-balanced cleansers: That's because they're the least likely to strip or irritate. But oilier types can get away with foaming and gel cleansers.
  • Dry your face with paper towels if you get spots: Great little tip for acne. Unless you're using a clean one every time, fabric towels can harbour and transfer bacteria back and forth to your face.
  • Lymphatic drainage massage can help with acne AND dry skin: Make light circular motions on your face as you cleanse; the facialist I interviewed swears that moving in a downward direction from forehead to chin helps acne-causing toxins to be expelled. Moving upward from chin to forward helps bring nutrients to the skin to aid dryness. Anyone tried it?
  • The Clarisonic might not be everything: One derm I spoke to loves it; the other thinks it's purely marketing hype and possibly too vigorous a cleanser. A gentler option if you do want a cleansing tool is the Foreo Luna (which I'll be writing about in more detail soon).

You can read the rest of the article here, plus my list of 10 cult favourite skincare products here.

And then lemme know what you'd like to talk about! There's never space in a magazine story to actually use all the great intel you get, so I'll be drilling down with more detail in future posts.