Heavy-Duty Ways to Clean Your Face

Sometimes your skin needs more than a basic wash.

For a day-to-day routine, some simple face wash will do you right. But sometimes your skin needs a helping hand. When your pores are looking extra dark, your teenage acne is making a comeback, or you're looking shiny from excess oil, it's time to bring out the big guns.

Exfoliating Face Washes

This route is nice and simple: wash your face more aggressively than normal, scrubbing away dead skin and clearing out whatever gunk is lingering inside your pores. There are a few different routes you can take, but whichever you choose, don't go overboard. You only want to do this three times a week or so to avoid beating up your skin.


This one isn't exactly rocket science: it's face wash with coarse ingredients added, which rough up your skin just enough to clear away the dead cells and excess dirt and oil. But be careful, since some of the extra aggressive ones do way more harm than good. You want something that feels just slightly coarse, not something so rough that it scratches the hell out of your face.

Chemical Exfoliators

This is similar to your normal face wash, in that you just pour a little bit onto your fingers and rub it around your mug. The difference is that this stuff is chemically formulated to slough off dead skin and get deep down into your pores without needing to aggressively scrub against your face, which is more forgiving on your skin.

Face Brushes

These are the MVPs in the grooming game. It's like an electric toothbrush, but for your face — they're made to scrub in a very precise way that's most effective in clearing out your skin. The real top tier ones will run you a hundred bucks or more, but you can find some lower priced options that'll do the job nicely. If you're serious about revitalizing your skin in the long term, it's worth the cash.

Face Masks

Yes, this is that stuff your girlfriend uses that looks like warpaint. Plaster some onto your face, watch some Netflix while the ingredients work their magic, and then rinse off. You'll look and feel like a new man. There are all kinds of formulas for different skin types and specific aims, but it's mostly just marketing. Essentially, there are two types:

Clay Masks

As you may have guessed, these are made from clay. Their aim is to soak up the gunk from excessively oily skin, which is great if your skin tends to look a little too shiny. As it dries, the mask sucks out all the excess moisture and grime from your pores, so when you wash it all off your skin looks smooth, soft, and clean.

Hydrating Masks

These aim to restore moisture to your skin, rather than getting rid of it. Use them if your skin is itchy and dry, and daily moisturizer isn't cutting it. But unless you have naturally dry skin, you probably won't need this stuff.

Pore Strips

Like waxing, but for your pores. You wash your face like you normally would, and then when your skin is still damp, you stick one of these onto your nose and/or forehead. Once it dries, you peel it — along with whatever gunk is hidden in your pores —off.

The trouble with these, though, is that they can be very hit-or-miss. You might find that they work for you, in which case the results can be spectacular — the peeled-off strip will be covered in spots of grime that were pulled out from your pores, and your skin will look sparkling clean. Or you might find that your pores look pretty much the same, and the strip didn't pull off much of anything.

But if they work for you, they'll really work for you. To help, take a steamy shower and wash your face like you would normally. Then, when your skin is still damp and warm, put the pore strip on, making sure it's lying flat against all of the parts of your nose you want to deeply clean. Wait for it to thoroughly dry, then peel it off very slowly.

Give any of those a shot the next time you're feeling a bit rough around the edges. The deep clean will make your face look like a million bucks, and you'll be ready to tackle the next day with plenty of confidence.

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