by CLEF Skincare on Jun 01, 2021


Cleansing is one of the most important fundamental building blocks of a skincare routine. As with all things basic, we tend to either overlook it or feel very confused by it. In this article, we’ll be tackling eight of the Internet’s most burning questions about cleansing. Read on to take your skincare game to the next level!

  1. How long should I wash my face for?

Cleansing should take about 30 to 60 seconds. According to LABeautyologist’s Nayamka Roberts-Smith, that’s how long it takes for cleanser ingredients to really penetrate the skin.

Lather up with your hands (more on how to do that later). Start by cleansing the T-zone first - as it is the oiliest - before moving on to other parts of the face. Avoid spending too much time on the eyelids and lips, as they are more vulnerable and sensitive. Cleanse with an upward circular motion and gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Finally, rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a clean towel.

  1. Are cleansers really that important? They get washed off anyway.

If you have a cleanser that’s wrong for you, it may feel fine at first save for a tight sensation. But at some point, you may start to experience issues such as rapid aging, pore enlargement and excess sebum secretion. In the long term, cleansers are crucial for good skin.

Additionally, cleansing preps your skin for better absorption of subsequent products, thereby maximizing the effects of all your follow-up efforts.

  1. Is it bad to switch cleansers all the time?

Some people don’t have a go-to cleanser, and that’s totally fine - unless you have sensitive skin. Generally, experts say if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it: if you find a cleanser that works for you, there’s no reason to swap it out and risk aggravating your skin as it attempts to adapt to a new product.

  1. Is cleansing sufficient to remove sunscreen?

Cleansing alone is sufficient to remove your sunscreen if

  • It has an SPF of 15 or 30
  • It is not waterproof
  • It does not offer any coverage / it is not tinted

However, you’ll need a makeup remover to really get rid of your sunscreen if

  • It has an SPF of 50 or higher
  • It is waterproof
  • It offers coverage / it is tinted

  1. What’s the ideal water temperature for washing my face?

Warm water dissolves sebum, cold water closes pores, whereas hot water disrupts the skin’s natural protective barrier. As such, wet your face with warm water that measures at about 35°C, then rinse your cleanser off with cold water to tighten the pores.

  1. Do foaming cleansers cleanse better?

Technically, yes. However, foaming cleansers tend to be higher in pH (soap is alkaline), which could strip your skin’s moisture barrier and cause dryness in the long run. Sodium laureth sulfate, a common foaming agent used in these cleansers, has also been found to be an irritant and incredibly sensitising.

So, if you prefer foaming cleansers, it is pivotal to lather up with your hands first. If applied directly to your face in high concentration, you risk damaging your skin. Pump a sufficient amount of cleanser onto one hand; with the fingers of your other hand, rub vigorously until it foams.

  1. Should I cleanse multiple times a day if my skin is always oily?

Over-cleansing is actually one of the biggest culprits behind excess sebum and frequent breakouts. It damages your skin’s lipid barrier, stripping it of natural oil and prompting it to secrete more sebum. Ideally, you should only cleanse up to twice a day. If necessary, try double cleansing in the evening with a micellar water and cleanser combo. Micellar water effectively rids your skin of sebum and impurities while hydrating it. With consistent use, it helps get your sebum secretion under control, which is a more sustainable way of reducing oiliness.

It may seem counterintuitive, but oily skin is not unlike dry skin in that they’re both caused by dehydration. When the skin is too dry, it generates more sebum to compensate. Seeing as hydration is the key to mitigating oiliness, remember to moisturise after cleansing.

  1. Are expensive cleansers better?

Not necessarily. Suitability is your number one concern when it comes to skincare products, everything else comes after.