We've all been there, stumbling into bed after a big night out or rolling into our duvet during the winter months without taking off our makeup.
However, if there's one part of our beauty routine that we should all take extra care over, it's washing our face. Scrubbing off the residue of a day in the city or simply soaking away sleep in the morning is the quickest (and easiest) way to guarantee clear and glowing skin.
We've therefore consulted the experts, including dermatologists and professional makeup artists, to bring you these golden rules of washing your face.
And the best part? It only takes five minutes max.
1. Wash twice a day
Just like brushing your teeth, the experts recommend that you wash your skin twice a day. Washing in the morning will refresh your skin ready for the day ahead while washing in the evening will sweep away the makeup, dirt and other impurities that build up on your face throughout the day.
It might also be worth giving your face a quick wash after a sweaty workout, as recommended by dermatologist Rebecca Tung.
However, be careful not to wash your skin too excessively. Dermatologist Dr Alexis Granite says, "Avoid over washing your face as dry skin may lead to increased oil production and trigger breakouts." Therefore, those with really dry skin might want to stick with just an evening cleanse.
2. Avoid soap
Your granny might swear by it, but soap can actually be harmful to your skin, particularly in the colder months.
Dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall says, "Avoid soap in cold weather. Soap is alkaline and will strip the skin barrier which is the first defence against harsh conditions".
Instead, opt for a gentle facial wash that doesn't include fragrance or parabens. If you have dry skin, go for a wash that has added moisturisers, such as shea butter. If your skin is more oily, choose a foaming wash.
3. Use a flannel
Washing your face with just your hands won't cut it - to really clean the skin and wash away impurities you need to use a cloth, such as warm flannel.
Beauty expert Sali Hughes recommends using a "hot, wet, wrung-out flannel". She says, "Rinse the flannel a couple of times during the cleanse and repeat the cleanser application if it’s not completely clean. Your skin will look immediately brighter, your skincare will work better, you’ll see a dramatic reduction in spots, dullness, dryness."
Aim to wash your skin for around 30 seconds to really let your face wash or cleanser sink in and work its magic.
4. Use warm, but not hot, water
One of the biggest myths surrounding skincare is that hot water will open your pores during a cleanse while cold water will close them after a cleanse. However, the pores on our skin don't actually open and close, and using hot water can be both damaging to the skin's surface and cause irritations such as redness or rosacea
Professional Makeup Artist Michelle Phan recommends using warm water only when washing your face. She says, "Unfortunately, washing with hot water can be drying and harsh to the skin, so it’s best to start your wash by rinsing your face with lukewarm water. This will still break down some of the dirt and be soothing to the skin. Throughout the wash and rinse, continue to use lukewarm water."
Steam can also be beneficial to the skin as it helps to rid pores of excess oil. Wash your skin in the shower to see the benefits (and shave some precious time off your morning routine).
5. Pat skin dry
Once you have completed your wash, gently pat skin dry using a clean towel. Be careful to avoid rubbing the towel over your face as this can stretch the skin and cause wrinkles.
If you are applying a serum or moisturiser after your wash, be sure not to dry your skin too thoroughly. Dr Granite adds, "The best time to apply moisturiser is after a shower or bath while the skin is still damp".
6. Exfoliate in moderation
It can be beneficial to incorporate a regular exfoliation into your washing routine.
Dr Hextall says, "As skin becomes dryer we often get a build up of dead skin cells. I recommend gently exfoliating skin once or twice a week."
You can exfoliate gently with a facial scrub or opt for a powerful tool, such as a Clarisonic, to help remove dead skin cells. Dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams says, "the Clarisonic brush removes harmful pollutant build-up better than manual cleansing, and helps active skincare penetrate better when applied afterwards."