Beauty, Shopping + Style

The Art of Washing Your Face

Tips, Myths, and Products.

Elizabeth Dehn How To Wash Face
Video by Mark Fischer

Washing your face doesn’t need to be complicated, but there is a right way to do it depending on your skin type and amount of time you want to dedicate. Step up to the sink, please.

To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse

If your skin feels taut or dry even after you moisturize, chances are you don’t need to wash it in the morning. In fact, unless you have oily skin or no AC in August, you’re better off skipping the cleanser and preserving the natural moisture barrier.

The Oil Cleansing Method

While it might seem counterintuitive to wash your face with oil, the right ones actually provide a deeper cleanse than any foaming cleanser without using harsh chemicals or stripping the skin dry. The key is to look for plant oils, which won’t clog your pores. In fact, I’m such a fan of this method that I made my own (Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil from, and it also happens to be gently exfoliating!

Do This if You’re Extra Dry

Similar to oil cleansers but even more moisturizing, cleansing balms break up dirt and makeup without the need for water; you can just tissue or buff away with the shammy that usually comes with them. They leave skin dewy with a nice trace of moisture. One to try: The Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser ($69), from Prischmann Facial Plastic Surgery, 5201 Eden Ave., Ste. 170, Edina, 952-567-7151,

Put Down the Washcloth

It’s the oldest method in the book, but cleansing with a washcloth can get dicey quickly as the damp, dirty cloth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. I’m excited about the all-natural Japanese konjac sponges that are popping up stateside. They rinse clean and dry quickly, are reusable for up to two months, and target a variety of skin types. One to try: The Japanese Konjac Sponge ($11), from

I Exfoliate, Therefore I Am

Sound familiar? I’m with you. And I’ve found that one of the best ways to prevent over-exfoliation is to replace some of those gritty scrubs and super-strength peels with a Clarisonic. This rotating cleansing brush has garnered a cult-like status for good reason: It magically cleanses and tightens pores, refines skin texture, and feels like a mini-facial every single time. To buy: Clarisonic (starting at $125), from Sephora and Nordstrom