How to Wash Your Face With Soap

You need to wash your face to remove oil, bacteria, makeup and dirt, and keep your pores unclogged. Washing your face with water alone removes only about 65 percent of oil and dirt, according to the Canadian Edition of Skin Care Guide, so you should use soap when you wash. When used incorrectly, however, soap can lead to skin irritation, dryness, itching and other side effects. Learn how to properly wash your face with soap designed for your skin type and specific skincare needs.

Soap breaks down dirt, oil and cosmetics. (Image: sunabesyou/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Pull your hair away from your face with a headband or hair tie. This will keep your hair out of your face and enable you to wash your entire face, including your hairline.

Step 2

Wet your face with lukewarm water. Hot water dries the skin and can lead to tissue damage and broken capillaries.

Step 3

Rub the soap directly onto your clean hands, and then use your hands to apply the soap to your face. Be very careful not to get any soap in your eyes.

Step 4

Massage the soap into your skin for a maximum of 30 seconds, using small circular motions. Press gently with the pads of your fingers when washing your face. Rubbing too hard will irritate your skin and may cause tiny tears in the delicate tissues around your eyes and nose.

Step 5

Rinse your face with lukewarm water until it is completely clear of soap. Do this by cupping your hands and splashing clean water directly onto your face with your eyes closed. Do not use cold water to rinse your face, because it's less effective at removing soap than warm water.

Step 6

Use a clean, soft towel to pat your face dry. Do not rub your skin. Feel your skin for any traces of soap residue, which can dry your skin or trigger acne breakouts if not rinsed away.


Choose a soap specifically formulated for your skin type. Avoid harsh soaps and cleansers that contain perfumes or alcohol; these are drying and can cause skin irritation. Choose a skin cleanser labeled as non-comedogenic or oil-free to prevent triggering acne breakouts.

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