beauty

Public service announcement: You're washing your face wrong.

Image via iStock.

It’s the beauty habit that comes as naturally to us as cleaning our teeth, but according to the experts, we’ve all been doing it wrong. We’re talking about washing your face. Yes, that seemingly simple task has just been turned on its head.

A member of The Glow team was having her makeup done recently when her makeup artist casually mentioned that washing your face twice is obviously best practice for healthy, clean skin. Boom – life changed.

RELATED: The top 7 myths about skin. Busted

If you’re like me and are wondering when this Double Face Washing Memo was sent round (and how on earth you’ve managed to miss it for the past 30 years) we decided to find out whether you really do need to bother with the whole “rinse, lather, repeat” mantra.

How did I miss this double washing memo? Image via Mean Girls.

"Washing your face by cleansing should ideally be performed twice in the morning and twice in the evening or immediately after exercise," explains Dermalogica's Education Manager of the Dermal Institute, Emma Hobson.

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Due to just how much product we put on our faces (whether it's a full face of makeup or just sunscreen), a single cleanse apparently isn't enough to fully wash away the day's grime.

Research by the International Dermal Institute has found that women typically spend just three seconds washing their face.

"It's usually a quick rub round with a cleanser, a splash of water and that's it," Hobson says.

Dedicating just a minute more to your cleansing routine will be of enormous benefit, she promises.

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"Cleansing removes the dirt, grime, dead skin cells, excess skin oils, makeup and sun screen off the surface of the skin, preventing congestion, breakouts, dull, rough textured skin and even in the long term, premature ageing," Hobson says.

"By cleansing the skin, you ensure it remains healthy, clean and smooth and you have a fresh surface to apply your skin care products."

In case you're now questioning your entire cleansing routine (please tell me I'm not alone here?!) this is exactly how you should be doing it.

 How to properly cleanse

The first cleanse

The first cleanse is all about removing dirt and makeup. Image via iStock.

For the first cleanse, Hobson recommends a cleansing oil as they 'power through' to remove the initial surface makeup, sunscreen, dirt and oils.

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"They work on the principle that 'like attracts like', so the oil in the product attracts and 'grabs' the oil on the skins' surface as well as any dirt and makeup like stubborn lipstick, heavy oil-based foundations and waterproof mascara," she says.

"As a result, when you wash off the cleansing oil, you will thoroughly wash everything away with it, and allow your second cleanse with normal cleanser to work to its full potential to leave skin 'squeaky clean'."

The second cleanse

The second cleanse is where your skin becomes 'squeaky clean'. Image via iStock.
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"The second cleanser needs to match your skin type," Hobson says.

"If you have oily skin you need a cleanser with a stronger degreasing agent that does not strip the skin of oils. These normally come in the form of a clay-based cleanser or a gel facial wash."

"If you have dry skin, you will need to use a milder cleanser, often a milky, creamy one," she says.

"For those with combination skin, you can use a light milky cleanser or a gel facial wash."

"If you experience sensitivity, choose a cleanser with no known skin irritants (free from artificial colours and fragrance) and that has calming, anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients," she says.

What you need to use

Hobson believes there are three key products needed for an effective cleanse.

1.  A good cleansing product. "A cleanser needs to match your skin type to be the most effective at cleaning the skin without being drying or sensitising," she says.

2. A cleansing cloth. "These are great  as they facilitate the removal of the last bit of makeup and cleanser," she says. "Ideally choose a cleansing cloth over a face cloth as they are normally made out of bacterial resistant material and dry quickly, reducing the incidence of bacterial formation."

RELATED: What happens when you stop using cleanser?

3. A cleansing brush. "You can use cleansing brushes to assist in the cleansing process as they help to increase the circulation and dislodge dirt and oils. You can choose between either battery operated or manual," she says.

Hobson also advises to use 'tepid water' that is not too hot or to cold to ensure you don't over sensitise the skin.

 Ingredients to avoid

Traditional soap just won't cut it. Image via iStock.
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Step away from the bar of soap.

Apart from the artificial fragrance and colours that most soaps contain, the actual core ingredient is also damaging to your skin, Hobson warns.

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"Most soaps are made from animal fat and caustic soda (or lye) which are highly alkaline and literally strip the skin by dissolving the skins protective lipid barrier, which is your skin's defence against infection," she says.

"It can cause increased skin sensitivity, dehydration and environmental damage."

Other ingredients she recommends avoiding: facial washes that are merely liquid soap, contain SD alcohol, mineral oil, artificial fragrance or are comedogenic.

 And one more thing.

You should be washing your hair twice too.

According to Barney Martin, owner of Barney Martin Hair Surry Hills, the first shampoo is to remove any build up of product, while the second is to actually clean.

"Also don't forget to give the scalp a gentle massage on the second shampoo to remove excess oil and dead skin," he says.

As for the weekly frequency of shampooing, Martin advises shampooing a maximum of every second day to avoid dehydrating the hair.

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"Excess shampooing stimulates sebum and can make your scalp oilier, which results in oily roots and dry hair," he says. Using a shampoo specifically for dry hair like Clairol's Professional Deep Moisture Shampoo ($13.95) works well for regular shampooing without leaving your hair overly oily.

"For a second day fix, use dry shampoo." We recommend Cedel Dry Shampoo, $8.99

A legitimate excuse to spend extra time singing in the shower? I'm all for it.

Inspired to get serious about your skincare game? Here are some of our favourite local skincare products.

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