Washing your face is an essential step of any skincare routine. But finding the right facial cleanser suitable for your skin type can be a tricky affair. This is especially so when you have aging skin, where you're not only looking to cleanse but also to nourish, encourage collagen production, speed up cell turnover, and protect skin from oxidative damage. Yep, it’s a long list.
And as if hunting down the right facial cleanser wasn’t challenging enough … you must also figure out how to properly wash your face. For instance, should you wash your face in the morning? Also: is double-cleansing necessary? Continue reading to find out how to get the low-down on everyday cleansing.
Why do you need a facial cleanser?
First things first. Why is it so important to wash your face? In short: using a facial cleanser is vital to keeping your skin looking its best. The buildup of sweat, oil, dirt, and cosmetic products on the skin contributes to a dull-looking appearance and clogging of the pores, leading to skin irritation, inflammation, and even acne breakouts.
Facial cleansers aren’t just good at removing daily gunk from the skin, either.
They can also help break down environmental pollutants that play a role in free radical damage and, in turn, premature skin aging (e.g., fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation) (1, 2). In other words: including a facial cleanser in your skincare routine may help you preserve a youthful-looking complexion for longer.
What to look out for in a facial cleanser
Alright. So, a facial cleanser is an indispensable part of your skincare regimen. But what, exactly, should you be looking out for in a face wash in terms of formulation?
Say no to SLS
Well, let’s start with the one ingredient you should avoid at all costs: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is a surfactant that acts as a cleansing agent in skincare. SLS can help a face wash cleanse better or more thoroughly by sudsing up and creating a foamy lather as a foaming agent.
Um, hold up. If SLS encourages a deep clean, why is there a need for you to steer clear of it?
There are two main reasons. The first is that it’s a skin irritant, and the second is that it can strip your skin of moisture. Research shows SLS to thin the epidermis, increase trans-epidermal water loss, decrease corneocyte maturity and size (this compromises healthy skin barrier), and speed up inflammatory activity in the skin (3).
By the way: this is the reason we refuse to formulate our cleansers with SLS. But more on that later. Because now, it’s time to cover what a good facial cleanser for aging skin should look like.
Nourishing active ingredients
One of the most important ingredients to look out for in a facial cleanser is Hyaluronic Acid when you have aging skin. This hydrating superstar helps to bind water to collagen, trapping moisture in the skin – plumping and smoothing out any fine lines or wrinkles, helping you achieve a dewier, younger-looking complexion (4).
Other active ingredients to look out for in your facial cleanser? Antioxidants, like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, botanical extracts (phytoextracts), and Ferulic Acid, that’ll help neutralize free radicals. These are unstable molecules missing an electron. While they’re typically created through normal bodily processes like digestion, your body can also produce free radicals when exposed to excess sun, cigarette smoke, radiation, and artificial blue light.
And that’s worrying because this throws off your body’s natural balance of antioxidants vs. free radicals (5). When this happens, free radicals are free to damage healthy cells – including skin cells – via a process known as oxidative stress. This, in turn, can lead to premature wrinkles, decreased moisture, and hyperpigmentation.
So, by neutralizing free radicals, a facial cleanser formulated with antioxidants could help both reverse and prevent free radical damage. In turn, “fixing” many common aging complexion concerns like uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, and general dullness.
Gel vs. milk face cleanser: does it matter?
Gel cleansers aren’t typically recommended for aging skin because they’re believed to strip skin of its natural oils and moisture. But that’s a misguided belief.
The reality is that gel cleansers are perfectly fine for mature skin – so long as you avoid those with SLS. In other words, look out for a gel cleanser that contains a bubble-free formula.
That said, milk cleansers are always a safe bet for mature skin. Milk cleansers use natural oils and emulsifiers to cleanse the skin mildly. Still, choosing between a gel vs. milk cleanser comes down to personal preferences.
How to wash your face
Here’s a step-by-step guide to properly washing your face:
1. Splash your face with warm water to moisten the skin.
2. Massage the cleanser into your skin.
3. Work the cleanser all over the face – begin on the nose and cheekbones, then work your way outward. Don’t forget about the T-zone and U-zone (around the jawline), as these are the areas people tend to ignore.
4. Aim for 20 to 30 seconds of washing.
5. Rinse your hands or washcloth in running water, then follow the same “cleansing pattern” to slowly remove your cleanser.
6. Pat your face dry with a soft towel (make sure it's clean!) once it's thoroughly cleaned and rinsed.
As for how often you should wash your face, well, twice-daily works for most of us (i.e., in the morning and evening). Just remember that you do need to wash your face after workouts or any other excessive sweating.
So, the maximum number of times you should be washing your face will be three. Too much washing can lead to dry, irritated skin, which, ironically, can cause excess sebum production.
What about double cleansing?
For the uninitiated, double cleansing is a two-step routine in which you wash your face with a cleansing oil, balm, or micellar water first, then rewash with a water- or gel-based cleanser.
Double cleansing is intended to clean the skin more thoroughly – but it's worth noting that it probably isn't the most suitable regimen for aging skin. Once again, over-cleansing can hurt your skin barrier, causing additional dryness and irritation.
Bottom line? Just cleanse your skin with one facial cleanser. That's more than enough.
Find the right facial cleanser for you on Terrakai Skin
Looking for an effective facial cleanser? Then you’ll have to meet two of our facial cleansers most suitable for aging skin:
1. Hyaluronic Acid + Quandong Cleansing Gel: This gel formula sweeps away every trace of the day by gently lifting away dirt, grime, pollutants, and makeup – leaving your skin primed for the rest of your routine. Better still, a unique blend of antioxidants-laced Australian botanicals, Quandong and Kakadu Plum, grants protection against free radicals, restoring bounce and glow to your complexion. Finally, Hyaluronic Acid provides lasting moisture for a soft, dewy finish.
2. Kakadu Plum + Emu Apple Cleansing Milk: Our gently moisturizing cleansing milk formula effectively removes makeup, dirt, oil, and impurities without stripping skin of its essential moisture or radiance. Infused with potent Australian superfoods, Kakadu Plum and Emu Apple, this formula brims with naturally occurring antioxidants that’ll fend off oxidative damage – diminishing fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Hyaluronic Acid finishes off this formula to grant long-lasting, weightless moisture for hydrated skin that’s never irritated.
Oh, and here are some other things you should know about our cleansers. They're 100% botanically powered (i.e., vegan and natural), cruelty-free (i.e., no animal-testing), and free of nasties (including SLS!) Now, what could be better than a guilt-free cleanse?
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