The Best Thing I've Done For My Skin Is Stop Washing It

Photographed by Ruben Chamorro.
I've done a lot of experiments in pursuit of good skin this year. I changed my entire diet, drank a gallon of water a day, and even gave up cheese. But, without question, the best thing I've done is stopped washing my face.

You're probably thinking: Isn't Thou Shalt Wash Thy Face Morning & Night the number one skin-care commandment? Let me explain.

For the past three months, I have been cleansing my skin only with micellar water — avoiding regular old sink water whenever possible. For those unfamiliar, micellar water has long been fabled as the French-girl secret to beautiful skin. Instead of scrubbing your face with soap and tap water, you apply the micellar to a cotton pad and then gently sweep said cotton pad all over your dry skin. The formula contains highly purified water mixed with micelles (which are a cluster of fatty-acid esters), which dissolve impurities on the skin. Once you're done, there's no rinsing — you just move on to the next step.

Micellar water is key for those with sensitive skin, as it reduces hard water from your skin-care routine. (The damn shower will get you every time.) “Hard water especially has a high mineral composition, containing heavy metals like iron, copper, zinc, and nickel that can lead to redness and irritation, leaving the skin itchy and inflamed, Dr. Julie Russak, MD, a Manhattan-based dermatologist, says. And unless you pump your own water from a highly purified well, chances are your tap water is hard water.

I don't have sensitive skin — actually, not many people truly do — but my combination skin is highly reactive in that it will stay red for longer than is considered normal if irritated. The difference was immediately apparent when I stopped washing with water. My skin felt more supple, my zit count went down, and there was an overall glow I didn't have before.

And while micellar is definitely a game-changer in my skin care routine, the rest of the products I use help its cause. Curious as to what I use? Click through to see my entire routine from top to bottom.

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