We know: You’re used to washing your face in the shower along with your body. But you should stop! Here’s why.
There’s truly nothing like a hot shower to wind down after a long day. But hot water strips away natural oils from your face, disrupting your skin’s moisture level.
“Hot water can dry out both facial and body skin, which can compromise the barrier functions of the skin,” says Sue Ann Wee, a dermatologist with the Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York. “It’s important to cleanse face gently with tepid water—not hot water—and to be gentle when cleansing. This means avoiding physical irritation from scrubbing or placing the face directly under the shower spray.”
Personally, I find that my skin immediately begins to lose moisture as soon as I shut off the water, so by the time I’m done towel-drying my body, my face is dry and red. Even though I’ve yet to give up hot showers entirely, here’s what I do to make sure that at least the skin on my face is hydrated and protected from irritation throughout hot showers.
Double cleanse and moisturize before you get in the shower.
First, I remove any eye and lip makeup using a makeup remover. Once that’s done, I double cleanse to remove any face makeup, SPF, and impurities sitting on my face. Since hot steam from the shower will open up my pores, I want to make sure that there’s no makeup and gunk sitting on my face when that happens.
After I double cleanse, I use a facial oil to moisturize my face. This creates a protective barrier on my skin and prevents moisture from escaping during and after the hot shower. I take 3-5 drops of an organic, cold-pressed oil I got at a health food store, rub it between clean palms, and gently press it onto my face. I focus on areas that wrinkle or tend to dry out as we age, such as the eye area, forehead, and cheeks.
I love rich oils like avocado oil, but light oils like jojoba or argan are great oils to start with if you’re new to using oils on your face. If you have oily skin, no need to shy away from using oils altogether—just try using 1-2 drops.
Since I began cleansing and prepping my skin with oil, I’ve noticed that my face is significantly less dry after I shower, even if I accidentally had shampoo runoff on my face and had to rinse off with hot water in the shower. When I walk out of the shower, my skin is practically glowing without feeling overly sticky.
Stand facing away from the shower head.
When I’m in the shower, I stand facing away from the shower head the entire time and keep my chin up about 45 degrees to prevent shampoo and hot water from running down my face. If I need to bend down to pick up a body wash or a razor, I lower my body while keeping my chin lifted. As you can imagine, this looks a bit ridiculous, but the bright side is that nobody sees me do this because I take my showers solo. Minimizing your skin’s contact with piping hot water will help prevent dryness and irritation.
Cleanse again after you shower.
I try really hard to avoid having shampoo and hot water run down my face, but sometimes, runoff is unavoidable. I don’t like the feeling of my facial oil and shampoo runoff mixing and staying on my face, so depending on how icky I feel when I step out of the shower, I go back to the sink and do a partial or a full-on cleanse.
If I had a lot of shampoo run down my face while I was in the shower, I take a gentle, water-based foam cleanser, like the Neogen Green Tea Cleansing Stick, and quickly cleanse my entire face and neck. The idea isn’t to use a hardcore cleanser or double cleanse again but to do a quick cleanse to remove any remaining shampoo residue. If I feel like I did a good job avoiding shampoo runoff while I was in the shower, I cleanse just my hairline and T-zone, which are areas prone to breakouts. Lastly, if I feel that I don’t need an extra cleanse, or I feel too lazy to do an extra cleanse, I head straight back into my bedroom and use a cleansing water (or at least a toner with a cotton pad) to catch any remaining residue. Then I do the rest of my normal skin care routine.
This might all feel like a whole lot of steps, but as with routines, you’ll eventually get used to it and wonder how your skin survived your old routine. Skin care can be as much about exploration as makeup, and you might be surprised by how trying out something new like this pre-shower skin care routine can completely transform your skin.