Chances are you think you know how to remove your makeup and wash your face. But guess what? You might just be doing it all wrong. Here are 11 ways you're cleaning your face incorrectly.
1. You're not removing your makeup at all. By now you know that skipping this step can wreak havoc on your skin since overnight, the makeup will mix with sweat and bacteria on your face and brew blemishes. Not to mention that makeup can dry out your skin, leaving it dehydrated. To avoid unnecessary breakouts and dehydrated skin, always remove your makeup before bed. Even if it is a huge pain in the ass.
2. You're not washing your face after you use a makeup wipe. I get it, washing your face is a hassle as it is, and sometimes you only have the strength to sweep a wipe over your face and fall into bed. But using a makeup wipe solo isn't going to cut it all of the time. Instead, make sure that after you remove your makeup with a wipe (if that's your jam), you wash your face with an actual cleanser to clear away any dirt or grime left behind.
3. You use the same wipe to remove all your makeup. Using one wipe for your whole face won't give you a thorough cleanse for two reasons: (1) You risk transferring your eye makeup on your face or vice versa, pressing it into your pores and possibly clogging them, and (2) there could be leftover makeup residue left behind on your face. That's why it's a good idea to use two wipes—one to remove your makeup and another to pick up leftover residue—before actually washing your face, celebrity makeup artist Jill Powell says.
4. You're not fully removing your eye makeup. Not thoroughly taking off your eye makeup can lead to an eye infection, which nobody wants. So take the extra time to remove your eyeliner or mascara—even if you have to blow through six wipes to successfully do it. For a speedier removal, use eye makeup remover pads. Hold the pad against your eye for a few seconds, allowing the formula to saturate the liner and mascara before you gently wipe your makeup away.
5. You're not using the right remover for the makeup you're wearing. If you're heading out of the house with a lightweight BB cream or concealer only where you need it, a micellar cleanser or cleansing water will do the trick when you're removing your makeup. But if you have a full face on (foundation, contouring, mascara, a bold lip — the whole works), then you need to use a formula that is a bit heavier hitting when it comes time to wash your face.
6. The water you're using to wash your face is too hot. Fact: Hot water strips your skin of its moisture. Instead, treat your skin with some TLC and use lukewarm water to wash and rinse your face.
7. You're using the wrong type of cleanser for your skin type. If you have yet to nail down your skin type (normal, oily, combination, etc.), make an appointment with your dermatologist to figure out what your exact needs are. Then, based on what your dermatologist says, use a cleanser that will meet your skin's needs so you continue to have the clearest, most hydrated skin possible.
8. Your cleanser doesn't have the right pH levels. Healthy skin has a naturally acidic pH of 4.0 to 5.5 and to keep it that way, you need a slightly acidic cleanser (often cleansers are too alkaline and can strip your skin's moisture barrier) to keep your acid mantle intact. Your acid mantle is a thin, protective layer on your skin's surface that helps control pH and protects it from the outer elements (dirt, bacteria, pollution,etc.), inhibits bacterial growth (Bye, acne!), and helps your skin stay firm and elastic. If it's compromised, skin can become imbalanced, break out, become pink and inflamed and even dry and flaky.
To keep your skin's pH levels neutral, look for a cleanser that falls between the 3.0 to 3.5 range.
9. Your scrub is too harsh for your face. Rather than opting for a scrub with harsh, sharp exfoliants (like crushed seeds or nut shells), reach for one with synthetic, non-abrasive spheres that slough away dead skin cells effectively without doing any damage.
10. You're exfoliating your face with your towel. Sure, your bath towel could provide added exfoliation, but that's not what it's there for, so don't use it to scrub away last night's makeup sins. Instead, apply an exfoliator that's subtly gritty yet still soft and won't scratch your face. Use circular motions to massage the exfoliator over your skin and you'll slough away flaky, dead layers.
11. You're rubbing your skin with your towel to dry it. Stop what you're doing and pat your face rather than rubbing it raw. Again, you should have exfoliated it with your scrub, allowing it do the work, so there's no need to be rough and rub it to death.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.