Why I gave up fancy face wash

Once an avid user of fancy face washes, a spate of adult breakouts forced Sophie Bew to simplify her routine. And you know what? It works 

Added on

By Sophie Bew on

In life, I’ve found that pretty much everyone I’ve ever met washes their face daily, whether or not they do anything else to it (this is true to the extent that my husband’s beauty regime consists only of washing his face with my shampoo). Face washing is a non-negotiable it seems. I thought the same, until a few years ago. 

For most of my teens I was a diligent face-washer, with normal/combination skin (an oily T-zone and dry cheeks) and a fairly blemish-free life. When I hit my mid-twenties, I started to get frequent and rampant breakouts on my chin even though my cheeks were still dry. Whenever the opportunity arose, I’d ask an expert. And when it didn’t, I’d ask Google. “It’s hormonal” was almost always the answer. Several different facialists suggested that I stop face-washing with the reasoning that by over-cleansing I was in fact drying out my skin and forcing it to overcompensate by producing excess oil. Cue the spots. The idea of giving up my daily Clarisonic and whatever-I-had-in-the-cupboard-cleanser routine was distressing –  won’t my face be dirty? But eventually I gave it a shot. 

My instructions were to remove my make-up with a cleansing water (I use Bioderma Sensibio H2O and I must say it really is the gentlest and most efficient. If you can't get your hands on that then Garnier Micellar water is great too) and follow with a swipe of rose water on a cotton pad (Nuxe Micellar Cleansing Water with Rose Petals, £14, is my winner). I'll finish with my regular serum and moisturiser – I use Embryolisse Lait-Créme Concentré which is great for dry skin, then repeat at night. I was also told not to exfoliate more than once a week. It only took a couple of weeks to see the difference, and I’ve never looked back.


Well, almost. Last month I was given a bevy of new face washes to try and I am (sort of) pleased to say, that almost immediately my chin became red, dry and bumpy. I’ve since returned to the just-rose-water routine and my skin has relaxed again. 

I still get the Clarisonic out once a week – usually before doing a sheet mask (Starskin in Red Carpet Ready for ultra moisturisation). For glowy party-skin I use a fruit peel – Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask is gentle.



I’ve also started on Retinol oils a few nights a week – Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil is pricey but transformative in diminishing large pores and evening out skin texture. 


My new routine has taught me to use everything in moderation: by not constantly stripping and then replacing my skin’s moisture, it has the chance to stabilise itself instead. And though this routine wouldn’t suit everyone, if you suffer from breakouts or dryness, it’s really worth trying. Beauty products just aren’t a one-size-fits-all prescription: your skin is a work in progress and your routine should be tweaked and edited, just like life. 


Sign up

Love this? Sign up to receive our Today in 3 email, delivering the latest stories straight to your inbox every morning, plus all The Pool has to offer. You can manage your email subscription preferences at My Profile at any time

Tagged in:
beauty advice
beauty honestly

Tap below to add to your homescreen

Love The Pool? Support us and sign up to get your favourite stories straight to your inbox