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If you’ve been wondering about the correct way to use a facial cleanser, I’m here with answers. Cleansing is the most crucial part of a skin care routine. It sets the foundation for achieving healthy, glowing skin by removing any excess oils or impurities and giving us a fresh start. However, many of us just aren’t using our facial cleansers effectively.

The keyword here is: effectively. In fact, this post isn’t so much about scolding you for not doing things the “correct” way. This post is going to teach you the most effective and efficient ways to utilize your facial cleanser. Sure, you are likely rubbing a bit of cleanser on your face already but is it the right amount? Are you covering the appropriate areas? Is your frequency of use too much or not enough?

This post is important because your skin care budget happens to be directly linked to the correct way to use a facial cleanser. Your body, it turns out, happens to be the most expensive thing you own. Ready to learn the correct way to use a facial cleanser? Read on.

Your Facial Cleanser Covers More Than Your Face

If when you wash your face you’re just covering the top of the forehead to the tip of the chin, you’re missing out on some crucial areas. Your facial cleanser can (and should) be used for the face, neck, décolleté, and ears. A lot of people forget about the ears! The majority of the products in your routine should cover these same areas as well with minor exceptions for exfoliants. So when reading through the rest of the post, keep in mind the surface area we’re covering.

Also keep in mind how frequently you will be using your cleanser. Is it used once per day? Twice daily? Every couple of days? This will determine the true cost of your cleansers as you may find yourself needing to repurchase too frequently.

Texture Sets the Tone

A quick and easy way to determine how much of your facial cleanser you should be using is by the texture of cleanser itself. There are 5 main types of facial cleanser textures: gels, foams, milks, creams, balms, and jellies. These primary 5 textures are put into two categories: sudsy and low/no-suds. Other textures include scrubs and clays but those are not for everyday use so we’re going to skip over those for now. The texture of your cleanser is important because it will dictate how much of the product you need to use.

With gel and foam textures, you will likely use less product. Sudsy cleansers are heavy in surfactants that just need a little bit of water to create suds and get your face clean. Low/no-suds cleansers need equal amounts of product and water to create the right emulsion for a thorough cleanse.

Size Matters

The correct way to use a sudsy cleanser is to to dispense a dime-sized amount for most gels and one full pump for most foams. Some people may need to use a little bit more to cover the face, neck, décolleté, and ears but you certainly won’t need to use any less than that.

For the low/no-suds cleansers, a nickel-sized amount works best. This can be 1 1/2 pumps of product or enough product to fill the tip of your thumb. Everyone has different hand sizes though so it’s probably best to stick with the 1 1/2 pumps for now.

But the size that matters most is the size of the bottle your cleanser comes in. Product size is how you know if it’s too expensive for you or not. The average size of a facial cleanser bottle is a little over 5 ounces. Indie and small-batch skin care brands tend to sell their cleansers in 4 ounce bottles (and sometimes 3.38 ounce bottles). Drugstore brands are sold in 6.7 ounce bottles but you may also find an 8 ounce bottle here and there.

A 4oz. gel/foam cleanser that is used twice daily will likely need to be repurchased every 4 months. A 6oz. low/no-suds cleanser that is used twice daily may need to be repurchased every 4-6 months.

An even easier way to think about your facial cleanser’s repurchase cycle is to remember that you will use 1oz. of cleanser per month. Low/No-suds cleansers have a shorter repurchase cycle because we tend to use a little bit more product to cover our surface area. So let’s say you buy a 6oz. bottle of a gel cleanser to use twice daily in January. You shouldn’t need a new bottle of cleanser until June. If you find yourself needing a new bottle before then, you may be overusing your product. Also keep in mind that if you are just using a cleanser once per day, you will have it for much longer.

So… are you using your facial cleanser the correct way now?