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Dry Cleansing Is the Newest Trendy Way to Wash Your Face

Photo by AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

Thanks (in part) to TikTok, it feels like there’s a new skincare trend every week that folks swear will improve your skincare routine and give you the best skin of your life. Unfortunately, while they can be fun to try, they’re not always dermatologist-approved or safe for all skin types. That’s a bummer. The good news? Dry cleansing is not only an expert-approved method, it’s a surprisingly smart way to wash your face

The newest way to use your trusty face cleanser is being promoted by every skincare and beauty aficionado right now. Instead of the usual cleanse-while-wet routine, we’re switching up the steps, and the results just might be seriously beneficial for your skin type.

Keep reading for the low-down on dry cleansing and to find out if it’s right for you. 

About the Expert: 

Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, is a Miami-based board certified dermatologist with more than 40 years experience and the founder of Dr. Loretta skincare.

What Is Dry Cleansing?

Dry cleansing, or dry washing, is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of wetting your skin and lathering up your cleanser with even more water, this method requires that you rub cleanser on your face in a circular motion onto a dry face, and with dry hands. The addition of warm water or lukewarm water comes after you apply the face wash dry. Sounds a bit strange, right? We know! But it can have big skincare benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Dry Cleansing?

Dr. Ciraldo says she is a “a big fan of dry cleansing, as long as you’re using a beneficial type cleanser for this.” Here’s why. When you add water to a skin cleanser, you dilute the formula. Dry cleansing ensures that doesn’t happen and that you’re getting the most out of your cleanser. “Since you’re not diluting the actives with water, you can get a more concentrated delivery of beneficial actives for better results from the cleanser,” she says. 

You can get an even better clean with just one wash instead of double cleansing. Dry cleansing can help with exfoliating dead skin cells, getting rid of impurities, dirt, grime, and even sunscreen. It can also help your other skincare products absorb better, like serums and lotions. 

Are There Any Downsides?

Washing your face with an undiluted cleanser can also have some downsides, especially for those with sensitive skin. Dr. Ciraldo says that cleansers with “potentially irritating actives like glycolic or benzoyl peroxide” should actually be diluted with water “so you get less redness, dryness and irritation.” This is especially true around the eye area. 

Though dry cleansing should work well on oily skin and even acne-prone skin, you might want to skip it if you’re having an active breakout. Also, those with very dry skin might also find dry cleansing washes their face too well and removes the natural oils their skin needs. 

What Type of Cleanser Should I Use?

“Look for cleansers with skin-friendly and hydrating actives,” says Dr. Ciraldo. For example, her own Gentle Hydrating Cleanser features a marine ingredient that absorbs tiny skin damaging pollutants before they penetrate into skin. Other skin-healthy ingredients include vitamin C, ceramides, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid.

Below are more cleansers that are great to use with the dry cleansing technique. Dr. Ciraldo recommends leaving cleansers on the skin for a few minutes and then rinsing off with “10 splashes of tepid water.” 

1. LAVIDO Hydrating Facial Cleanser 

LAVIDO Hydrating Facial Cleanser

When your skin is dry, it will soak up all the antioxidant-rich carrot extract, vitamins A and C, and pomegranate extract, which hydrate and brighten skin. 

2. BLUME Daydreamer: Gentle Ultra Hydrating Facial Cleanser

BLUME Daydreamer: Gentle Ultra Hydrating Facial Cleanser
BLUME Daydreamer: Gentle Ultra Hydrating Facial Cleanser

This gentle and creamy cleanser contains moisturizing and purifying plant extracts including jojoba, chamomile, lavender, and geranium. 

3. ELIZABETH GRANT SKIN CARE Vitamin C Hydra-Moist Hydrating Cleanser

ELIZABETH GRANT SKIN CARE Vitamin C Hydra-Moist Hydrating Cleanser

Get the most out of your vitamin C-infused face cleanser with dry cleansing. This foaming cleanser leaves skin bright and feeling hydrated.

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About the author
Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated December 7, 2022 12:00 AM