How To Use Cleanser: 6 Tips & Tricks

Facial cleanser is a vital part of any skincare routine, especially for folks who practice their routine twice per day as is recommended by dermatologists.

However, it is important to use your cleanser properly if you want to see positive effects and avoid irritating your facial skin.

If you're just starting out with a new facial skincare routine, or you've never used a cleanser before, you've come to the right place.

Let's break down six tips and tricks you can use the next time you apply facial cleanser.

What Role Does Cleanser Play?

Facial cleansers are the first products used in a skincare routine. They clean away dirt, impurities, and grime and open the pores of your face, allowing toners, serums, and moisturizers to be more effective.

By opening up the pores on your face, those excellent skincare products can provide vitamins or moisturizing elements directly to the deepest layers of your skin, helping it feel and look healthier and more moisturized than before.

However, note that a cleanser generally does not fully replace exfoliation products. Exfoliation products are designed to get rid of dead skin cells by buffing the skin. You should only use exfoliation products about twice per week at maximum, and potentially even once per week if you have sensitive skin.

Choose a Non-Abrasive Cleanser

Firstly, be sure to pick a non-abrasive cleanser, specifically one that doesn't contain astringents like alcohol. Astringents are irritating, drying compounds that can tighten the skin cells on your face and causes the pores to close up. This is a bad thing for a few reasons:

  • It may make your facial skin feel irritated and itchy.
  • By closing up your skin pores, stringent or alcohol-based cleansers make it harder for other nutrients, like the vitamins found in serums, to reach the deeper layers of your skin and provide extra benefits.

Instead, you should use organic and healthful cleansers made with gentle ingredients and soothing elements like peppermint extract.

Hope Health’s Cleanse facial cleanser contains antioxidants for a gentle and soothing means of keeping your pores clear.

This is even more important if you have naturally dry or sensitive skin. If you have a sensitive skin type, be sure to do the “dab test” no matter what. This involves dabbing a small amount of your new cleanser or other product on a small patch of your skin first to make sure your skin doesn’t have an allergic reaction to a fresh product.

You can check the back of any cleanser product to see a detailed list of its ingredients. Reading this list can help you avoid accidentally applying an allergen or irritant all over your face.

Apply Cleanser After Rinsing Your Face

Rinse your face with lukewarm water and avoid soap entirely. Pat your face dry with a soft towel and avoid rubbing too roughly, as this will irritate your skin.

When you rinse your face with water, you help get rid of the topmost level of dirt and debris. This can make it easier for your cleanser to get deep into your pores and clean out harder to reach dirt or dead skin cells.

Basically, it makes your cleanser more effective since you don’t waste the cleanser product on stuff that water can get rid of by itself.

Make sure not to use hot water when washing your face, however. Hot water, like astringent ingredients, can close up your facial pores or irritate your skin.

Rub Cleanser in Correctly

When the time comes to apply a cleanser, be sure to massage it into your face gently. You should squirt a little cleanser onto your fingertips, then start at your cheeks. Rub the cleanser into your skin using small, concentric circles.

Making these circular motions applies the face wash roughly equally across your facial skin cells without causing irritation.

Generally, you only need about a dime-sized amount of cleanser for your entire face. However, you can experiment with the perfect amount of cleanser for your unique needs over time.

Remember, the purpose of your cleanser is to clean away dirt, debris, and a limited amount of dead skin cells. Don’t spend too much time on cleansing, though, since you also need to apply a moisturizer, serum, and potentially a toner product.

Warm the Cleanser Bottle in Your Hands

Before you squeeze the cleanser onto your fingers or hands, hold the cleanser bottle or container in your hands for of few moments. This may be especially helpful for cream cleansers or other thick formulations.

When you do this, your body heat is transferred to the cleanser, softening it up and making it more easily observable by your skin pores.

This is even more effective if you keep your cleanser in a cold environment, like a cold bathroom cabinet. You generally don’t have to hold the bottle for more than 20 seconds or so, especially if you’ve just exited the shower or bath.

Use Fingertips To Apply Cleanser

Some newcomers to skincare simply apply a bunch of cleanser to their palms, then use their palms or other areas of their hands to rub the cleanser into their faces.

Instead, you should exclusively use your fingertips to apply cleanser to your facial skin cells. We also recommend using your ring fingers specifically.

Why? Your ring fingers are the weakest fingers you have, including your pinky fingers.

But that just means your ring fingers are perfect for gently rubbing cleanser into your facial pores without causing irritation.

Only Use Cleanser Twice Per Day

It's also a good idea not to overuse your facial cleanser, even if it's a gentle product with organic ingredients. You should only use a cleanser twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening, even if your face gets dirty regularly.

Using your cleanser at night is doubly important since, as your body sinks into a melatonin-induced slumber, your skin pores won’t become overly clogged, and your skin cells will have the time to regenerate healthily.

If you use cleanser or scrubs too frequently, you risk irritating your skin by rubbing away dead skin cells along with some young, healthy skin cells.

Overwashing your face can potentially cause other problems, too, like dryness and sensitivity. If your workplace or general environment causes your face to become dirty frequently, consider washing your face with water alone, and only using your cleanser a maximum of twice per day.

Be sure to apply a moisturizer after washing your face to counteract any dryness and irritation that may come with a rinse. If you have dry skin, your cleansing routine should also include more moisturizer as needed.


Whether you have acne-prone skin, combination skin, normal skin, or any other skin type, your skincare regimen can benefit from a great cleanser formula. Use a cleanser on your chin, forehead, and everywhere else, and you'll likely see (and feel) the benefits in no time.

That’s doubly true if you get a cleanser made with organic, healthy ingredients: the same kind of ingredients we prioritize at Hope Health. Our skincare line includes a cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, and spot treatment — all of which contain healthful ingredients to help reveal glowing skin.

Our range of organic supplements, bath and body products, and other offerings are each made with care and never utilize harsh chemicals. Check out our online store today.


The effect of a daily facial cleanser for normal to oily skin on the skin barrier of subjects with acne | NCBI

How Do Astringents Work? - Uses, Side Effects, Drug Names | RX List

Hot showers can damage skin during winter |