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This is how you’re actually supposed to wash your face

This is how you're actually supposed to be washing your face

Skincare products at Mikura, a skin and acne care business in Lawrence. Naomi Kurata, owner of Mikura, and other experts share tips that will help you enhance your skin care routine. 

I hoard skincare products. If you open up my bathroom cabinet, there are three large boxes completely filled with things I’ve purchased, been given, or have just magically appeared. Although I have as many skincare products as a Kardashian, I have zero idea how to apply them. To be honest, I rarely even read the instructions.

It seems I’m not alone. According to a study conducted by CeraVe, almost 80% of Americans wash their face incorrectly. A little less than half of men and women only use hand or body soap, and 54% don’t even wash their face.

We can do better. And CHALK is here to help. We spoke with skincare gurus and experts on how you are actually supposed to wash your face.

Matthew Buxton, a dermatologist at Free State Dermatology in Lawrence, says you should wash your face once or twice a day, in the morning and evening or at bedtime. “[Washing it] more often can be irritating for some, especially if they suffer from any sort of inflammatory facial condition,” Buxton says.


1. When you wake up in the morning, begin by washing your face with a mild cleanser using a washcloth or other type of pad, Buxton says.

2. If you have oily skin, apply a toner to your face. “For those who tend to have dry skin, using a toner, the sole purpose of which is to remove excess oil, is not necessary,” Buxton says.

If you have dry skin, try applying a facial essence, says Naomi Kurata, owner of Mikura, a skin and acne care business in Lawrence. “You need something to replenish the skin after you cleanse all of whatever was left on overnight,” says Kurata, who is a licensed esthetician and certified acne specialist. 

3. Apply a light moisturizer to your face.

4. Put sunscreen on, even if it’s not sunny out.


1. If you're wearing makeup, use a makeup remover.

2. Wash your face with an oil cleanser to remove any additional makeup or residue. “Oil attracts oil so you get everything off,” Kurata says.

3. If you wore makeup that day, wash your face again with a sudsy cleanser. Or you can use the oil cleanser again, because you really want to remove everything before going to sleep.

4. Every three to four days, exfoliate your face using a silicone brush or facial spin brush, says Erin Dellasega, a makeup artist and University of Kansas senior from Pittsburg, Kansas.

“It’s important to not exfoliate with any makeup left on your face,” says Dellasega, who’s studying visual arts.

5. Apply moisturizer.

Products to try

Dellasega says she uses all Clinique skincare, and recommends these products for breakouts: Sonic SystemAcne Solutions Clarifying LotionDramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, and Anti-Blemish Solutions, All-Over Clearing Treatment.

She also recommends the GINZING Oil-Free Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer. “I like gel moisturizers because I tend to have oily skin,” Dellasega says.

For a face wash, she enjoys using the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser to take off her makeup and generally wash her face.  

Kurata encourages anything with antioxidants or Vitamin C. Additionally, ingredients with ceramide and hyaluronic acid are beneficial, and if you’re acne prone Kurata recommends something with willow bark extract or salicylic acid. She says she is a fan of Roccoco Botanicals because of their variety. 

For your exfoliant, Kurata recommends using one that contains enzymes. “Enzymes are my favorite way to exfoliate because they’re not a grainy texture, so it’s not like you’re rubbing sandpaper on your skin like most scrubs,” Kurata says.

Products to avoid

Specific ingredients to avoid are usually only applicable if you have an allergy, Buxton says. “Which ingredient, out of many in most products, is the problem can be difficult to determine on one’s own and avoiding reuse of an offending product is the best one can do without seeking expert advice from a dermatologist,” Buxton says.

However, Kurata recommends you avoid products with sulfates.“[Sulfates are] very destructive to the skin, and even if you wash a cleanser off; if it has sulfates it actually remains in the skin, so that can cause irritation in the long term.”

She also recommends avoiding night creams. “You don’t really need something at nighttime, for most people,” Kurata said.

Avoiding makeup remover wipes is something Dellasega recommends. “Not only are they bad for the environment, but they don’t fully take the makeup off, they kind of just move it around,” Dellasega says.

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