Face cleansed, now what?

Skincare steps between cleansing and moisturizing

What is the best way to dry your face after washing it? Should you air dry your face, or use a towel? Find out the pros and cons of each method plus why we recommend moisturizing your skin quickly after cleansing.

In this article, we will review the following:

  1. Air drying your face VS towel drying after cleansing
  2. Why we think you should moisturize quickly after cleansing
  3. Tips for cleansing your skin in the best way

Air drying your face after cleansing

When we talk about air dry, we don’t just want you to wash your face and then walk away, we mean that after rinsing your skin, use your hands to “push” off as much of the excess water into the sink. When you stand back up, pat a towel at your neck under the jawline to stop water from running down your face and into your shirt. A minute or two later your skin will be dry.

Why is air drying your skin a bad idea?

The only way I would think air-drying your face can cause any harm is if you are letting your skin completely air dry for too long after cleansing and before applying a moisturizer. In this case, your skin will possibly get too dry and lose some deeper hydration that you want to retain (keep reading to learn how to fix that).

The right way to air dry your face after cleansing is to wipe the water into the sink and be cautious about letting your skin get too dry.

Towel dry your face after cleansing

If you’re going to use a towel to dry your face, do it gently. Get a clean, lightweight, cotton towel (without a rough surface) and pat your face dry.

Why is rubbing your face with a towel a bad idea?

  1. If you have acne, rubbing could be spread germs and aggravate the pimples so that they are red and won’t heal well.
  2. You are also exfoliating your skin when you rub it with a towel, and could potentially be too aggressive and cause damage and irritation.
  3. Rubbing tugs at the delicate facial skin and can contribute to wrinkles.
The right way to towel dry your face after cleansing is to pat your skin dry, using a soft clean towel.

The conclusion: Should you let your skin air dry or towel dry?

I mentioned the advantages of each way, and I guess you are wondering- what is the best way to dry after cleansing? The truth is, it really depends on you. Some people like to towel-dry, while others benefit from air-drying. As with most things in life, there’s no one correct answer! The important point I would like to make is- whatever way you choose to dry your skin after cleansing, please do it right. Be gentle to your skin and keep it from over-drying. Which leads me to my next point- don’t wait too long after cleansing, before you use a moisturizer. Here’s why:

Moisturize your face quickly after cleansing

I always say that every skincare routine starts with the basics: cleanse – moisturize – SPF. As you advance through your skincare journey, you will add on steps, discover fun things to do occasionally or every night. But I really don’t want anyone to skip Cleanse – Moisturise – SPF.

After cleansing, either towel dry or air dry, or combine both. And here’s the important transition to the next step: while your skin is still slightly damp, apply a moisturizer. Try not to wait over a minute after cleansing before moisturizing.

The moisturizer will prevent the evaporation of more water. When applied in the first minute after cleansing, it is much more effective in keeping your skins hydration.

The timing of your skin-care steps can make a big difference in how effective they are. Waiting too long after cleansing, your skin may lose more hydration then you intend it to. The dry air can “pull” water from on top of your skin but if you wait too long, it can also pull from deeper layers of your skin, which are harder to recover.

Moisturizers often contain both humectant ingredients (which draw water into the skin) and occlusive ingredients (which help seal that hydration into the skin).

On skin that’s too dry, if there’s no moisture from water cleansing left on top of your skin, the humectant ingredients can even draw moisture from deep within the skin, this is lost hydration that is harder to make up for.

So, applying your moisturizer while your skin is still a bit damp from cleansing—not fully wet—helps keep even more of that moisture in.

Skincare tips – Face cleansing

A couple of other face cleansing tips:

  1. Choose the right cleanser for you – gentle and not too drying.
  2. 60-sec rule by Nayamka Roberts. I love this! In short- it says that if you are using a cleanser with good ingredients, cleanse (massage) for at least a minute to allow them to work and to allow the cleansing to break the dirt.
  3. Water temperature is important – cool or lukewarm water will be more beneficial than using hot water on your face.
  4. Cleanse every night. Never go to bed without removing makeup and cleansing your skin. At least that.
  5. Remove heavy makeup before cleansing, to enjoy an effective cleanse. Use a gentle makeup remover, avoid wipes (bad for you and the planet)
  6. Don’t rub/tug your skin – it can spread acne, cause irritation and help wrinkles appear.
  7. Use a clean towel that’s only for your face.
  8. Don’t forget to use a moisturizer quickly after cleansing
  9. Never skip SPF. Just don’t.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion on everything that happens after cleansing, and before moisturizing 🙂 Send any question you have for us by clicking here.

Happy cleansing!