When it’s late at night and all you want is to cuddle with your pillow, washing your face can sound like torture. Even when you do manage to drag yourself to the sink, the act usually involves smearing some cleanser around your face, a few splashes of water, rubbing dry with a towel, and slapping on some lotion.

If this sounds familiar, I promise you are not alone. Prior to becoming a licensed esthetician, I, too, was guilty of slacking when it came to properly washing my face. However, I now understand why it’s worth the extra effort to spend a little more time on your skincare routine. It doesn’t matter what your current skin issues are. From wrinkles, to acne, to maintaining that youthful glow, the proper cleansing routine can help everyone achieve their desired results.

Makeup wipes are great, but they only do exactly what they promise: remove makeup. Removing your makeup is a great first step, and it’s definitely better than doing nothing at night. However, if you are truly trying to achieve your best face, you must also cleanse your skin.

Did you know that only 5% of the products you apply after cleansing are absorbed into the skin? When dirt and debris are left on the face, that number becomes even smaller. This means that in order to see any positive change in your skin, you must stop relying on the wipes and start washing twice!

Cleanse, Rinse & Repeat

Your nightly skincare routine should start by washing your hands (do you know how dirty your hands are after a night out)? Next, emulsify a cream cleanser (the best type for breaking up oil, debris and makeup) between your fingers, and then gently massage it into the skin. You should always start at the center of the face and use large upward circles to move outwards. This motion helps push out the dirt and oils for easier removal.

For the second wash, pick a cleanser specific to your skin type (dry, normal, oily) and condition (acne, wrinkles, sunspots, etc.). Massage this second cleanser into your face in the same way as the first.

Never use bar soap for either cleanse, as the harshness will strip your skin of natural oils that are needed to nourish the face. Without two cleanses you are just moving around dirt on your face, which can cause makeup buildup and lead to lines, wrinkles and breakouts. And let’s be honest: if you’re not trying to avoid those, why wash your face in the first place?

Now that you have a squeaky-clean face, pat your skin dry. Never rub dry, as rubbing breaks down elastin, which is what keeps your face plump and wrinkle free.

Power Up Your Products

Your dirt-free face is now a clean canvas for optimal product penetration. You should always apply your products from the lightest to the heaviest. A great beauty hack to save time is to cocktail your face serums together, and then press them in to the skin all around the face and neck. Apply your eye cream separately with your ring finger and pat it in around the whole eye (yes, top and bottom) until it is absorbed. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a little eye massage here, as this will increase blood flow and stimulate the skin to tighten, which in turn erases the look of tired eyes.

After your face absorbs the serums, you should apply your gels, followed by a moisturizer containing retinol if it’s evening or sunscreen if it’s morning. The goal is always to protect during the day and rejuvenate at night.

Sound tedious? Trust me, I get it. But, I guarantee that with all the correct product applications you will be able to have your 29th birthday over and over, and over. Never underestimate the power of proper skin care. Now, go wash that face again!

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