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You’ve Probably Been Washing Your Face Wrong

You’ve Probably Been Washing Your Face Wrong

I have acne-prone combination skin, which can be extremely frustrating when trying to put together a skincare routine. One wrong move, and I’ll have a bout of hyperpigmentation that I can’t resolve for six months. Instead of playing Russian roulette with my skin again, I needed to figure out what I should and shouldn’t be doing – from the people who know a lot more about skin than I do: our social media beauty gurus and skincare companies. I watched videos on Instagram and YouTube and did other research online about skincare routines. All of my research all had something in common – I was washing my face completely wrong.

I learned that there is a particular order that you should use all of your skincare products. This was really eye-opening because I thought it was enough to cleanse, tone, moisturize and go. I even had masks and other treatments in my arsenal, but didn’t know when to use them. While my routine was simple, I didn’t see any results. It makes a ton of sense that the way you use products influences the efficacy of a skincare routine.

Well, how are you actually supposed to cleanse your face? Think of your skincare routine as a checklist, and each step needs to be completed properly before moving on to the next product.


Use your preferred cleanser. Nayamka Roberts-Smith (@labeautyologist), LA-based licensed esthetician and beauty guru, recommends gently washing your face for 60-seconds for softer skin.


Toners are super great for removing traces of dirt left after cleansing, and are recommended after cleansing to balance the pH level of skin. I have specific skincare needs that require me to use a toner, and would consider this to be an optional step for some people.

Skin Treatments

Treatments would include serums that contain active ingredients like niacinamide or vitamin C to target skin concerns. NY-based esthetician Sean Garrette recommends applying treatments in the order of thinnest to thickest, to ensure proper absorption into the skin. Use exfoliants no more than 1-2 times per week, but this depends on your own skincare needs.


Hydration and moisture are key to maintaining healthy skin. Moisturizers also act as sealants for skin treatments, and should always be applied after any serums.

Sunscreen (SPF)

Sunscreen is especially important to use every day, according to beauty experts like Dr. Jasmine Obioha. Regular use helps prevent cancers and reduces exposure to harmful UV rays. She recommends mineral sunscreen to protect against sun damage and complete your skin routine.

Now that we’ve covered what a general routine looks like, how should you apply masks and other exfoliants that aren’t part of your daily routine? Beauty experts recommend exfoliating 1-2 times per week to not dry out your skin. Exfoliants should be applied before masks to get the maximum benefit of the product.

Learning how to use skincare products properly is important to ensure that you’re seeing the intended results and maximizing the benefits of your products. While this routine may seem lengthy, it is certainly achievable for anyone who is interested in how to improve their skincare. Plus, who doesn’t love some self-care time?

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