4 Signs You’re Not Washing Your Face Properly
The Spot

4 Signs You’re Not Washing Your Face Properly

By: Tyler Guitroz


Washing your face can seem quite trivial. Something we're told to do every day, twice a day with seemingly little-to-no benefit because it's so, well... automatic. However! For some of us, there can be a steep difference between properly and improperly cleansed skin. Here are 4 signs that you could be doing it better...



A breakout from an unwashed face can manifest in a number of ways depending on a number of elements. Primarily, you can identify skin-hygiene breakouts with a test: washing your face. If you notice that you start to exhibit fewer breakouts with constant use of a skin-compatible cleanser, twice a day. 

Another way would be if you notice that you often get pimples in the same place you most consistently touch your face. These tend to be like one or two pimples in almost the exact same place. In the short-term, you can use products like KILLA KIT or GOO GETTER (depending on the type of pimple) to take care of these spots, but ultimately you’ll want to take a look at both your cleansing habits and unconscious touching of your face to help mitigate this type of breakout.


Your makeup keeps peeling or cracking 

An unwashed or improperly washed face can render anything from excess oil to excess dryness to uneven texture and more. What this means for makeup is that any makeup that you put on your skin after having improperly cleansed or uncleansed face has to sit on top of and compete with the pigment and ingredients in the makeup. For example, if you are wanting to use a matte, oil-free foundation and you have not cleansed your oily/acne prone face, then that oil-free foundation then gets introduced to your skin’s natural excess of sebum causing your makeup to break down.


Always super dry or super oily skin

You may notice that after you wash your face your skin feels really tight or is already oily! Like how?! Generally, when this happens, you have not chosen the proper product to wash your face - a fundamental step to skincare and skin health. 

When you are choosing your cleanser, you should focus on the active ingredients to ensure that they are both compatible with your skin-type and complementary to the other products in your skincare routine. Pro-tip: In choosing your skincare products, not all need-be just for your skin-type. They can also be chosen for your skin concerns or just because they feel nice on your skin. More specifically: an oily skin-type may feel that they do not become oily until the end of the day, and are otherwise normal. This suggests they do not start off with dehydrating skin, but throughout the day, they become dehydrated. So perhaps they choose a hydrating cleanser and then a purifying toner and pair it with a hydrating cleanser.


Makeup residue when you apply cotton pads

Perhaps you had a long day, and just want to get to bed ASAP. Perhaps, you just wipe off your makeup with a cleansing wipe and think “hmm, good enough”. Then the next day, you wake up with a little texture on your cheeks, cleanse your face, and apply your toner with a reusable cotton pad. You look down at your cotton pad and see the color of your foundation noting, you have not yet applied your foundation. Enter sadness…

Fret not, my friend. Skin maintenance as a makeup user can be quite tricky. Think of it this way: Think about the many layers it takes to accomplish your go-to look. The layers seeping into your pores. Now, remove those layers with one or two face wipes… Oh? Not possible, eh? Of course not. The same care that is required to get those beautifully blended pigments on your face should be absolved with the same effort. Ergo, a makeup cleanser and (at least) a face cleanser. This is part of the philosophy behind Korean 10 step skincare wherein oil cleansers remove oil-based products and debris (like most makeup) and water-based cleansers remove the water-based products and debris. And no, you do not need to utilize 10 products in your skincare regimen to maximize efficacy, however the sentiment stands: the surface of your skin is a sum of the types of skincare elements used on it.


How to cleanse properly:

Clean with clean cleansers

Well, let’s think about this… What are the main components of a clean and healthy face? To start, use clean products including your hand. That means you should wash your hands before you touch your face. In fact, it is recommended that you should never touch your face without clean hands in general, however difficult the task. That also means that if you blot your skin with a towel, that towel should also be clean itself. The same is true of your skincare products. Imagine how much dust and  bacteria can collect on the surface of your cleanser bottle or even inside your moisturizer! We should take extra care to make sure our skincare products are properly cleansed before application. It may even mean opting for a pourable moisture over a jar, or using a moisturizer spoon. 


Cleansing for your Skin Type

Next, we should be sure that we have the proper skincare products. This means skin type- appropriate products with the proper compatibility for your skin and the major ingredients. 


Dry/sensitive Skin 

Focus on products that support your moisture barrier as well as products that encourage renewal. Take ZitSticka’s PRESS REFRESH: BHA and AHA exfoliation get rid of the dead skin, dirt, and oil your face and within your pores, while also encouraging cell turnover for renewed skin. Where niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and allantoin brighten, hydrate, and replenish the skin!


Combination Skin

Combination skin can be quite tricky to maintain. What is important in combo skin is to distinguish which parts of your skin are balanced and which are oily. The most common manifestation of combo skin is an oily/acne prone t-zone with dry cheeks. Though, the reverse and many other combinations are also possible. It is generally best practice to focus your product choice on the skin-type that is most represented throughout your skin. In the first example, that would be dry cheeks. In this case, you would use the lighter version of products that encourage a healthy and moisturized oil-barrier (for the dry skin), in combination with some products that encourage hydration (for the oily skin). You can utilize products like KILLA KIT or GOO GETTER to combat those breakouts you may have in the t-zone.


Oily/Acne Prone Skin

As much as your focus, likely, is on controlling your oil and unclogging pores, you should also consider how much these products take away, as well. If you are washing your face with an oil-ridding cleanser, then also exfoliating, your moisturizer should not  (contrary  to popular  belief!) be an oil-free moisturizer that provides no hydration. The trick to achieving a more balanced skin type is, indeed, balance. Focusing inward can also be helpful here, as well. Supplements like SKIN DISCIPLINE have vitamins, minerals, and  probiotics that can help regulate oil and minimize breakouts from the inside out. 


Balanced Skin

For balanced skin, you can base your products on maintenance and not using overly drying ingredients or too many moisturizing products if you don’t need them! Keep doing what you’re doing, friend!


Getting clean and keeping it clean

Finally, similar to touching our faces during the day, we should be mindful of the items around us as we sleep as well. Maintaining clean pillows, bedsheets, and spreads can also be the difference between a glass-skin day and a small, yet annoyingly convenient breakout. 



It’s like this: you can clean the surface of your laptop all you want. That may keep its appearance nice and clean, and keeps the keys from sticking, and that is all good and nice. BUT if you don’t clean the fans properly, they will still run slowly, and if you put them on a dirty table…it’s going to get dirty again.


Maskne still living on your face rent free? Click here for tips from a savvy + licensed esthetician.