Remember when jumping in the pool counted as a shower? Or the hours spent outside shamelessly sunbathing? Then our brazen youth blossoms into a self-conscious state, and we adopt some more stringent bathing rituals (hopefully!) and line up for society’s norms. Perhaps the most unified rule of growing up is that you should be washing your face twice a day. I still remember dropping my jaw in disbelief as my college roommate told me that she only washed her face with water, no soap. Shit, I’m still in disbelief! How did she ever manage to get eye makeup off without a facial cleanser?

Your Facial Cleanser deserves the Medal of Honor

For the rest of us, your facial cleanser is arguably the most important item in your skincare arsenal. How often you decide to wash your face will depend on your skin type, but for the majority, wash at least once a day, and always after a workout. Can you imagine the germs and bacteria manifesting during a sweat sesh, likely straight from work, with some makeup on? Recipe for disaster.

The point I’m getting atthe world is dirty. Even if you made it through the entire day without sweating, touching your face or getting a smear of ketchup on your mouth, you would still need to wash your face because we don’t live in a bubble.

I’ll stay off my treehugger soapbox (har har) but research has shown that pollution is now so dense that the miniscule particles from pollutants are being lodged inside our pores, destroying our skin’s natural barrier. These free radicals are then munching on precious collagen, causing cell damage, aging, redness, oh and, these particles create their own shield on our faces to then prevent any of our (helpful) products from penetrating into pores. The audacity. According to the WHO, 80% of people living in urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organization limits. So if you’d like to fight antigens, avoid wrinkles, and you live in the world of internet, wash your face every single night.

And if that didn’t drive it home; every single day you shed about 50 million dead skin cells. If you aren’t washing your face, that layer of dead skin will get thicker over time, creating a zombie-like field of free radicals.

How to Wash Your Face

Everyone should be washing their face with a cleanser at least once a day, preferably at night to wash away the world’s worries (literally). If you wear makeup, remove it before you wash. I love a good oil-based cleanser to dissolve and break up sunscreen, stubborn eye makeup or stickier foundation, but you can also use a traditional makeup remover or wipes. However you remove your makeup, consider this a precursor step to facial cleansing.

Wet your face. Hot water is too harsh and irritating for facial skin, something more in the lukewarm to cool range is best. Now use circular motions to wash and massage the facial cleanser. This should take around 30 seconds, but if you have any trouble spots that require extra love, like an oily t-zone, factor in some time to really get into the nitty gritty. If you are in camp acne, you’ll want to be using a specific formulation with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid on your t-zone and ensure that you’ve given the products at least a minute to work their magic.

You might also use a different cleanser for day and night. The world is your oyster. Regardless, rinse with lukewarm water and gently pat dry with a clean cotton towel.

Now, very quickly, use this precious pore-open time window to moisturize. There are 1000’s of moisturizers, but the common denominator is that all help seal in water. Therefore, it is critical to apply your moisturizer routine right after washing with water.

What to Buy From the Drugstore

For the 52 percent of consumers (66 percent of men and nearly 40 percent of women) use bath wash or hand soap to cleanse their face. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Get your shit together man! Facial cleansers don’t need to be fancy, pricey or found in specialty shops, the local drugstore variety will do the trick. After all, you are sending these suds down the drain. Save retinols or specialty ingredients for topical application when you’re sealing in all of that clean water goodness. It’s also worth noting that a facial cleanser should be soap-free, paraben-free and fragrance-free to avoid irritation. With that… I’ve outlined the top drugstore facial cleansers that won’t break the bank and are work for various skin types.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Ideal for normal to dry skin types, this drugstore classic is the definition of gentle. It is fragrance-free and contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides, both of which enhance the moisture levels in our skin naturally.


Hydrating Facial Cleanser 12 oz (Pack of 2)

$26.63 $24.84

Eucerin Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Dermatologist approved for even the most desperately dry skin, this is also a gentle cleanser that lathers into a milky, moisture-rich lather. It is soap-free, fragrance-free and won’t block pores.


Sensitive Skin Gentle Hydrating Cleanser 8 Fluid Ounce (Pack of 3)


Cetaphil Daily Cleanser

Chances are you’ve heard about this multi-generational, award-winning, super silky cleanser. It’s made of only eight ingredients, and seems to have stood the test of time. Also touted as being gentle, this is great for eczema and rosacea sufferers.


Daily Facial Cleanser, for normal to oily skin, 16.0 -Ounce Bottles (Pack of 2)


La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

Formulated with Prebiotic Thermal Water, Ceramide-3, Niacinamide, and Glycerin, this is the best bet for normal to dry skin.


Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Wash Cleanser for Normal To Dry Sensitive Skin, 13.5 Fl. Oz.


Simple Micellar Cleansing Water

Perfect for all skin types, this is an advanced and gentle facial cleanser that is tough enough to remove makeup and still leave your skin hydrated.


Water Boost Micellar Cleansing Water for Sensitive Skin Twin Pack


Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil

Crafted from coconut and argan oils, this is more of a cleansing oil, that will remove debris without adding extra oil or interfering with the skin’s ecosystem. Best suited for those with normal to dry skin.


Cleansing Oil with Coconut & Argan Cleanser, 6 Ounce


Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Scrub.

This oil-free wash will give current blemishes a dose of salicylic acid acne medicine and help prevent future breakouts. Great for combination skin.


Oil-Free Acne Wash Scrub, Pink Grapefruit, Value Size, 6.7 Ounce


Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

Oil-free with only 5% benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid, this is a gentle yet effective cleanser to treat acne and exfoliate the skin.


Daily Deep Cleanser- Deep Cleans with the power of Maximum Strength Benzol Peroxide But with less Irritation and Dryness


Personally, I’m a double-wash gal. I lead with an oil-based cleanser, and then follow up with a water based cleanser. As I have dry and sensitive skin, I stick to the gentler brands, which admittedly are less exciting since they usually don’t foam up or tingle. Eucerin is my top drugstore pick, CeraVe and Cetaphil have their own cult followings, but I feel that they are a bit too milky and don’t give enough of a wash-off feeling. At this price point, give yourself the freedom to explore which brand suits you best, and remember that consistency is key. Wash off the city grime every night, no matter how tired, drunk, or amazingly straight your eyeliner was.

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