How to Cleanse Your Face Properly: Tips & Mistakes

How to Cleanse Your Face Properly: Tips & Mistakes

So you think you know how to cleanse your face? Wait until you've read this article. You might have been making the same mistakes most of us make without even realizing it. 

If you believe the whole process is pretty straightforward, experts and dermatologists have a few guidelines that might convince you otherwise. 

If you want to have impeccable skin, knowing how to properly cleanse your face is vital to your skin care routine. Cleansing regularly and correctly can save you from pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and dark patches on the skin. Your best bet is to purchase a cleansing set, like Misumi's Clear Skin Duo Kit or the Complete Clear 3-Step System.

What is Cleansing?


Isn't cleansing just a fancy word for face washing or cleaning? 

Well, not quite. Face washing becomes cleansing when you're using a cleanser, which is a specifically designed product to remove dirt, makeup, oil, and other types of pollutants from the skin.

It's a far more effective way to clean your face. The active ingredients in the product work their way deeper into the skin, removing dead skin cells, impurities, sebum buildup, and debris that are trapped in the pores, bringing them up to the surface. 

If you properly wash your face with water, that's great - but it might not be effective enough and may lead to even more blackheads, whiteheads, or acne over time. On the other hand, using bar soap to wash your face can be really destructive since soaps can destroy the natural acidic mantle of the skin and throw the skin's pH levels way out of balance. 

The best way to achieve healthier skin and prevent common issues is to use a gentle but potent product that works well for your skin type.

To handle this task successfully, you need to know your skin type and second, you need to know the best cleanser type for your skin type.


There are many brands on the market today offering many different product formulations. This can be a little overwhelming, but overall, it's definitely a good thing. You can be sure at least one product will work perfectly on your face. 

Misumi, for example, offers two gentle facial cleansers for oily and acne-prone skin. You have the
AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser, with glycolic acid, rosehip, chamomile, and sunflower seed oil, and, the superstar Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser, made of salicylic acid, lactic acid, and lavender flower oil. Salicylic acid is great at clearing acne.  

Should You Cleanse Daily?


Yes, you should, regardless of your skin type. Whether you have normal skin, dry skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin, or combined skin, cleansing is a must. Just be careful - don't mistake it for exfoliating. Cleanse daily and exfoliate weekly or less.

Exfoliating tackles the outermost layer on the skin's surface to remove damaged and dead cells, promote faster turnover, and uncover new cells. The goal is to peel off the damaged surface and reveal your newly improved complexion. 

The main objective of cleansing is to clean the pores by collecting all kinds of junk and bacteria and washing them away.

This is why you should exfoliate only once a week (maybe even less to leave time for your delicate skin to recover), while you should use a gentle cleanser daily. You can check out our guide on
how to properly exfoliate to avoid the consequences of over-exfoliated skin. 

What Are the Benefits of Cleansing Daily?


Remove Buildup Inside The Pores

If you wash your face daily, you'll stop dirt, debris, oil, makeup, and skincare residue from building inside the pores and clogging them. This can prevent acne, blackheads, and whiteheads caused by clogged pores.

Maintain Hydration

If you thought those with dry skin shouldn't cleanse, you couldn't be more wrong. Proper face washing will help the pores retain moisture and improve hydration. Finish your skincare routine with a high-quality moisturizer to lock in the water, and you'll feel fresh and hydrated, and you'll have glowing skin throughout the whole day. 

Get Clear Skin

Once you start washing your face and cleansing daily, you'll get less frequent blemishes, pimples, and other forms of acne. Your skin's appearance will improve, and you'll get a natural glow and brightness, resulting in the radiant skin you've always wanted.

Are There Any Side-Effects of Cleansing Daily?


There's no such thing as "side effects" from cleansing daily since this is highly beneficial for all skin types. Cleansing is not an optional step in a skincare routine - it's fundamental and essential for everyone to achieve clean skin.

Problems, such as dryness, irritability, redness, itchiness, and an oily T-zone, might occur if you're not washing your face properly - or you're making the same cleansing mistakes most people do. All of the adverse reactions you've experienced can be prevented with the right cleansing tips and steps. 

So, let's go over them.

Tips & Mistakes To Perfect Your Cleansing Regimen


Wash Your Face With a Cleanser

Cleansing is called cleansing because you're using a cleanser to wash your face - not just cold water. Some people use wipes, micellar water, or splash hot water and call that cleansing. But, to see a difference, you need a real facial cleanser, which takes us to our next tip. 

Invest in a High-Quality Product 

Invest time to find the right product. Low-quality cleansers might be high on abrasive chemicals that will strip the skin from its natural oils and overdry it - even oily skin. The pH levels of some products, like bar soaps, is also a major problem.

Make sure you're washing your face with cleansers that have balanced pH levels suitable for the acidic mantle of the skin so you don't disturb the protective skin barrier.

Cleanse According to Your Skin Type 

cleansing according to your skin type

One of the biggest skin care mistakes people make is using the wrong formula. You can choose strong foaming cleansers to soak up all the excess sebum from your face. Or, you can use a gentle formula to ensure you don't irritate your sensitive skin. Or, why not opt for a creamy or gel cleanser that will soothe your dry skin? 

Every skin is different, and you can easily adjust your cleansing methods to suit your skin's needs. Don't repeat the same thing over and over again if you feel like your skin is not reacting positively. You shouldn't be afraid to try new methods and products.

Don’t Use Face Wipes as Cleansing Tools

cleansing towels

As we already said, washing your face with facial wipes is not cleansing. This habit can be destructive if you're replacing cleansing with just wiping your face. 

Don't get us wrong - there's nothing bad with using facial wipes in certain situations. For example, they can be beneficial if you're out and you're sweating, or your face gets exposed to dirt or other pollutants.

Nevertheless, wipes are a short-term face wash solution, and they aren't completely effective at getting rid of excess oil, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts if you're using them regularly.

Cleanse your face with some cold water and a good cleanser. Keep facial wipes in your purse in case you need immediate action.

Additionally, many facial wipes contain fragrances or other chemicals that can irritate. Be careful, and always check the product's label. 

Use a Toner - Maintain Healthy pH Levels


Another common mistake is skipping the toner. Cleansing, when not followed by a toner and moisturizer, can cause problems because cleansers might disturb the natural pH level of our skin

This doesn't mean that cleansing isn't good, but that the ingredients must pass through the skin barrier and penetrate the surface if you want to get everything out of the pores. The cleanser's ability to soak and absorb oils and debris can interfere with the optimal functioning of the skin's barrier. Even gentle cleansers can cause slight disturbances.

It's important to learn how to nourish the skin after cleansing. Toners are specifically designed to fix and bring balance back to the skin's pH levels.

And, of course, you should always moisturize when cleansing. This can come after using a toner or at the very end of your skincare routine. 

Go Easy With The Exfoliating 

Exfoliating and cleansing on the same day might be too much for some skin types. There's no need for both steps at all times. When you decide to exfoliate, whether it's with a homemade scrub, chemical peel, or a professional exfoliating facial treatment, skip the cleanser. Instead, prepare the skin for exfoliating by simply washing your face with warm water and gently tapping it dry with a clean towel. 

Cleansing, followed by exfoliating, can irritate skin, causing redness, inflammation, damage, and sores, especially when dealing with sensitive skin. 

Cleanse daily, except when exfoliating.


Don’t Cleanse With Hot Water

Hot water is the skin's worst enemy. It can irritate the skin, strip it from its natural oils and cause dryness, irritation, and redness due to dilated blood vessels and capillaries. If you combine this with the active ingredients in cleansers that are designed to soak up impurities and oils from the pores, you might end up with extremely dry and irritated skin. 

For the best results, use lukewarm water. Test it on your wrists when the skin is most sensitive. It should feel comfortable and pleasing.

Don’t Use a Washcloth

It's not the worst sin you can do, but experts agree that skipping the washcloth can benefit the skin and lead to better results. 

Instead of drying your face, you should splash water, wait a minute or two and then apply cleanser. Wash off the cleanser completely, wait a few minutes for the water to absorb in the skin, and apply a toner while your face is still damp. Repeat the same procedure when applying a moisturizer. This will maximize hydration and prevent transepidermal water loss. 

If you like to dry your face, always use a soft washcloth and gently tap it. Don't ever rub your face since that can easily cause irritation, redness, and even inflammation.


Don’t Apply Pressure While Cleansing 

This tip almost goes without saying, but let's face it - many of us are not gentle with our skin, especially if we're frustrated by new pimples, more intense blemishes, or never-ending imperfections. 

It's tough love, we know, but it's important to be aware of how much pressure you're applying while cleansing or how fast you're rubbing to get your skin dry. 

Pressing hard won't make the active ingredients more effective. On the contrary, it'll irritate the skin, cause redness, and inflame the pimples even more. If you're dealing with an acute, inflamed acne breakout, pressure and rubbing can lead to infection. 

The cleanser will do its work if you just follow the instructions - apply it gently by slowly massaging it in a circular motion. You can finish off by leaving the water to absorb and dry on your face or gently tap it dry with a soft washcloth.


Double Cleanse

Cleansing is so important that dermatologists recommend you double cleanse to tackle different impurities. 

Still confused? 

Double cleansing is where you cleanse your facial skin twice in one sitting. This is particularly effective for cleansing before bed if you wear makeup. It can also help people dealing with oily and acne-prone skin or those suffering from frequent acne breakouts.

The procedure typically involves cleansing with an oil-based cleanser and continuing with a water-based one afterward. Oil-based cleansers are great at dissolving all of the makeup, dirt, and pollution on the surface of your face.

The second cleanse removes any lingering dirt and deep cleans your pores. You're ensuring you've removed everything your skin could've absorbed during the day (makeup, sunscreen, grime, and dirt). 

While double cleansing can be a lifesaving tip for people with oily and acne-prone skin, it might be too much for people with dry or extremely sensitive skin and cause skin irritation. 

Don't push it. Observe how your skin reacts, and learn how to give it the treatment it deserves.

towels bath

Cleanse After Showering 

It's likely the water in the shower will be too hot for your face, and you'll need to do something to prevent its damaging effects. Cleansing with lukewarm water can be a good balance. 

Additionally, dead skin cells, debris, impurities from the hair, makeup and skincare residue, and excess oils can stay stuck on certain areas of the face. This is why it's a good idea to continue with your skincare, focusing only on the face. Cleanse, tone, and moisturize.

Cleanse Twice A Day 

We talked about how you need to cleanse daily, and now we're going to talk about how you need to cleanse twice a day. 

It's a common mistake to think that cleansing in the morning after waking up is enough, but this is completely wrong. If you choose to cleanse only once a day, it's more important to do it before bed. 

During the day, your delicate skin suffers a lot of damage. It faces pollutants and endures skin care products and makeup applications. You don't want to leave all that on your skin for eight hours - it will only clog the pores and lead to new breakouts. 

Cleanse your skin at night, before going to bed, and again in the morning before applying more skin care products and makeup.

heart soaps

Don’t Use Your Cleanser To Remove Makeup

Not all cleansers might not be effective in removing waterproof makeup. It’s important to use a gentle makeup removing wipe, micellar water, or an oil-based eye makeup remover before you wash your face. Using just a makeup remover is also wrong since they mostly consist of oil, water, and a preservative. Makeup removers won't be effective in deep cleaning your face and removing all impurities. 

In short, everything has a purpose. Use a makeup remover to remove makeup, and then use a cleanser to clean your facial skin completely.

Change Your Physical Cleansers Regularly

Physical cleansers are basically cleansing mitts, cloths, and sponges. They are considered cleansing agents because they work to remove impurities from the skin's surface. But, unlike other types of cleansers, physical cleansers provide mechanical exfoliation of the skin's surface.

Personally, we don't like physical cleansers because they can be irritating to your outer skin layer and cause redness. However, they can also provide a cleansing advantage when used in combination with a chemical cleanser, boosting product absorption and circulation. 

The biggest disadvantage to physical cleansers is how easily they can work against you if you're not using them properly. Cleansing mitts, cloths, and sponges need to be cleaned often, if not every time, after using them. All the debris that's not washed away will stay on the cloth. With time, impurities build up, and your sponge becomes the perfect environment for growing bacteria.

washing soap 

Don’t Skip the Ingredients Label on Your Chemical Cleansers

Cleansers come in all shapes and sizes. From cleansing oil to foaming cleansers and face wash, there's a multitude of products to try.

Just because it says "gentle cleanser" on the bottle, that doesn't mean it'll be good for your skin. Alternatively, if your friend has this really great face cleanser that makes her skin look radiant, it doesn't mean it'll have the same results for you.

We're all different, and even though good reviews indicate the product will likely be good, you should always check the ingredients before buying. You might be allergic to something, or it might not suit your skin. Also, the specific formulation of the product might cause adverse reactions on your skin. 

The good thing is you'll learn which ingredients your skin loves with time and which you need to keep out of your cleansing routine.  

Don’t Cleanse With Dirty Hands

Should we really go over this? 

Let's go over this, just in case. It's self-explanatory, but you should never cleanse your face without first cleaning your hands. It's not just ineffective, but it can also be dangerous and cause infections.

Our hands carry the most bacteria. We touch everything with our hands. They might be immune to the bacteria living there, but our face isn't. Plus, the cleanser will only open the doors for the bacteria to penetrate deeper into the skin and cause additional complications. Cleanse with a cotton ball or pad if you can.


How to Properly Cleanse Your Face

We've made a little summary with a few guidelines on how to go about your cleansing routine twice a day. 

Step 1: Clean your hands. Pull your hair back (tie it in a ponytail or use something to keep your hair away from the face) and wash your face with cool or lukewarm water. Wetting your skin before applying cleanser will help the product slide more easily across your skin (unless your cleanser's instructions say otherwise).

Step 2: Apply your cleanser. Put a small amount of the cleanser on your hands and apply it to your face by gently massaging in a circular motion, ensuring each spot is covered. Gently cleanse for about 30 seconds to one minute. This will ensure a thorough cleanse.

Step 3: Splash warm water (not hot water!) on your face to remove any cleanser residue that hasn't been absorbed into the skin. 

Step 4: Let the water dry on your face before continuing onto a toner, or gently pat it dry using a soft towel. 

Step 5: Apply a toner and continue with your regular skin care routine.

Back to blog

Items You May Like