How To Use & Apply Cleanser: Tips to Using Facial Cleanser

If you’ve ever suffered the wrath of acne or blackheads on your face, then you’ve probably used a facial cleanser to wipe out the impurities. 

And while scrubbing away at imperfections might always feel like it’s getting the job done, there might be a reason other than the cleanser itself that’s impeding your progress.

There is a delicate science behind exactly how you apply cleanser to your face in addition to the exact product that you use. And if it seems like your cleanser isn’t working, read about how to correctly apply it before you decide to ditch your face soap.

How Does Facial Cleanser Work?

Acne and other blemishes can occur anywhere on the body, but they are most common on the face. These are areas that have the most sebaceous, or oil, glands that produce a substance called sebum.

Excess sebum on the skin can clog pores and cause either whiteheads or blackheads. Whiteheads occur when the hair follicle wall bulges. Blackheads occur when excess oil and bacteria in the pore become exposed to oxygen.

Facial cleansers are designed to remove dirt, sweat, and sebum from the surface to help prevent these breakouts from occurring. Additionally, they can help lift these substances out of the pores to reduce the appearance of existing breakouts. 

Not to mention, cleansers can aid in the skin’s natural exfoliation process to remove dead skin cells and reveal a fresh layer of skin.

Cleansing your face is essential throughout life to maintain good hygiene, but it’s especially important during periods of major hormonal change such as puberty or menopause. Let’s face it: it’s a necessary part of your self-care routine.

How to Properly Apply Facial Cleanser

Many people throw soap on their faces without overthinking the actual practice behind it. And while doing something is better than doing nothing, you can maximize the effectiveness of your product by making a few simple changes to the way you apply.

1. Wash Your Hands

Before you wash your face, it’s essential to wash your hands. This is because you don’t want any dirt or grime from your hands to end up on your forehead, nose, or cheeks. That’d defeat the purpose of cleansing entirely!

And sorry, rubbing the face soap between your palms and fingers before applying it to your face doesn’t count as washing your hands ahead of time. You’ll want to use a mild hand soap that won’t irritate your skin on either your hands or your face.

2. Wet Your Face

Applying face soap to a dry face is awkward as well as less effective. Splash some lukewarm water to your face before you start applying the cleanser to ensure that the soap runs smoothly and evenly across every section.

3. Apply the Cleanser

If you’re using a liquid-based cleanser, squeeze a dime-sized amount onto your hands and apply it evenly to every area of the face. This includes your T-zone (forehead and nose), cheeks, jawline, hairline, and even your neck.

If you’re using a mist cleanser, saturate a cotton pad and gently wipe it over every section of your face to remove make-up and impurities. To remove eye make-up, just close your eyes and hold the pad over your eyelids for a few seconds.

4. Massage the Cleanser Into Your Skin

This is a step that often goes overlooked by even the most hardcore self-care fanatics, but it might be one of the most important. After you’ve applied the cleanser to your face, use a small circular motion to get the cleanser into the deepest portions of your pores.

Continue to do this for about 30-60 seconds to allow the active ingredients to take effect and work their magic.

5. Rinse

After you’ve given yourself a nice, relaxing face massage, it’s time to rinse everything away. Splash some lukewarm water onto your face to get all of the soap off. Be sure to thoroughly rinse, as any missed residue can cause even further breakouts.

Additionally, make sure you don’t use water that’s too hot. Hot water can dry out your skin or irritate sensitive skin types.

6. Dry

Finally, pat your face dry with a clean towel. It’s important not to rub or pull your skin, as this can be abrasive and lead to other impurities besides just acne.

Other Tips and Tricks

Applying your cleanser properly is just one part of a larger whole when it comes to the best skincare routine. There are some other aspects to keep in mind that will only amplify your routine to a whole new level.

Frequency Matters

There’s nothing better than the feeling of a fresh, clean, and light face after your nightly routine. It feels so good that you probably want to wash your face every second of every day.

However, you may do more harm than good by washing too often. If you have oily skin, you may be tempted to wash it whenever you feel excess sebum on the surface. But over-cleansing can cause oil-production overload as your skin may try to produce more oil to compensate for what it’s lost.

In general, you should wash your face twice a day -- once in the morning and once at night. If you have drier skin, you’ll probably want to go for a gentle cleanser that cleans your pores without depleting any natural moisture.


Especially if you have oily skin, you may skip the moisturizer every day because it can feel thick and heavy on your skin. And while some moisturizers can lead to more breakouts, it’s all about getting the right ingredients for your skin type.

Water-based moisturizers tend to be better for oily and combination skin, as these will help to hydrate without contributing to excess oil production. Dry skin types can typically have a bit more freedom in their choice of product.

Our Replenishing Daily Deep Sea Moisturizer stands out from run-of-the-mill alternatives with ingredients such as wakame extract or cryoprotective marine actives. These can help boost collagen production and promote skin elasticity, which can make your skin look younger and acne-free.

Research Active Ingredients

There are so many different types of cleansers on the market that it can be challenging to find the best one for your skin type. However, if you do a little bit of research into active ingredients, you’ll get a better idea of which types of products tend to be best.

There are two components of skincare ingredients: inactive and active ingredients. Inactive ingredients are non-medicinal components that don’t bring any relief to the given ailment. 

A common inactive ingredient might be water or some form of fragrance.

Active ingredients, on the other hand, work to provide a tangible medicinal effect. An example might be salicylic acid, a common ingredient in facial cleansers that works to remove excess oil to alleviate acne.

Sometimes, active ingredients are harsh, abrasive chemicals that will only hurt your acne-filled skin rather than help. And even though the FDA is supposed to monitor what’s going into these products, the laws in place are meager at best.

For the best results, go with products that use natural, sustainable ingredients. Not only are these safer for you to use, but they’re sourced ethically, so you don’t need to worry about animal cruelty or other inhumane practices. 

Your skincare should feel good inside and out.

In Conclusion

Knowing how to apply your facial cleanser is just as important as using the right one. Properly applying a face soap can help to detox impurities and lift debris even more effectively.

First, wash your hands thoroughly before evenly applying a small amount of the cleanser to every face and neck area. Then, gently massage the product into your pores with small circular motions. After that, rinse off the product with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel.

To maximize your routine and keep acne at bay, you can also make sure you’re washing your face the appropriate number of times a week. 

Additionally, keeping your skin moisturized and assessing the quality of active ingredients can help to rejuvenate your complexion beyond belief.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re already on the right track towards more effective skincare. All it takes is a few simple adjustments to make sure acne never comes back.



​​Acne - Symptoms and causes | The Mayo Clinic

Sebum | DermNet NZ

Face washing 101 | American Academy of Dermatology Association