General Question

The_Inquisitor's avatar

Washing face with just water?

Asked by The_Inquisitor (3141 points ) May 25th, 2011

So far… the people who have great complexions seem to be the ones who just wash their face with water! I have searched long and hard for good moisturizers, toners, and cleansers and have seemed to find the one for me, but even then, I always felt that cleansers dried my skin, then only to have moisturizers moisturize it back…

But with just water, my face doesn’t feel dried out, nor over moisturized! It’s the second day that I’m cleanser, toner, and moisturizer free, and so far, it’s going great!

I want to hear from someone who has had a long encountering with just washing their face with water, and how that worked out in the long run. Anybody else hear from people with great skin and just washes their face with water?

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61 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Call me strange but I’ve always removed makeup with a wet towelette with lotion on it and then a wipe down of plain water followed by night cream or sunscreen depending on the time. Toners are a waste of money, in my opinion. I’m in my early 40’s and have had great skin all my life.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

@Neizvestnaya, great to hear! I hope my skin care will prove to be effective as well!

alinore889's avatar

My friend swears up and down that water is all that is needed. This isn’t true, everyone has a different skin type and the people just using water are those who have not had trouble with their skin and never felt the need to venture into products. Just my opinion

The_Inquisitor's avatar

@alinore889, ah I see, that makes sense as well. I’m not sure why I started using products.. I didn’t have any problems with my skin… I think I just thought that products was needed.. But I will continue to experiment with just washing with water and see how well it goes.

WestRiverrat's avatar

When I am camping, I usually clean up in the creek with just water and maybe some sand from the bottom of the creek to scrub with.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Are we allowed to chime in if we have mostly great skin, but feel that it’s really better when we use some soap?

jrpowell's avatar

I used to use all the fancy shit for acne. All of it seemed to make it worse. Then I went to a washcloth with warm water. Cleared me up pretty quick. I haven’t had a pimple on my face for 10+ years. I usually give my face a good warm rub around every four hours. I have a penis, so I’m not sure how my method would work out with ugly-paint on.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs, oh of course! I’d love to hear about other skin care that works for people. I’m always looking to try new routines for a hopefully, a better result. :)

@johnpowell, hahah, that’s awesome! I usually don’t wear makeup, but when I do put on my “ugly-paint”, I’ll probably have to use my cleanser and such. ;D

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@curiouscat I use a bit of Desert Essence as soap, and then Olay’s night creme (the really basic one, nothing age-defying) and sunscreen moisturizer in the morning. My skin is mostly good, but still needs some help getting all the oil and dirt off at the end of the day (and I live in Colorado, which is dry as hell, so not moisturizing isn’t an option for anyone). But the soap is really gentle and natural – just a bit of extra help.

Plucky's avatar

I use just water ..I haven’t used anything else since I was a teen. My complexion seems ok.

Oh, I also don’t wear make-up ..if that makes any difference.

cazzie's avatar

I use mostly water, but I also use my own handmade goat milk soap when I have make up on. I only use toner for spots when I have them and I moisturise (because I live in a climate that absolutely kills your skin) with plain whipped shea butter & rice bran oil. I also use this moisturiser mix for taking off my eye make up. No one ever believes me when I tell them I’m over 40. (if I exercised more, cut out my sugary coffee it would look even better, but I have my vices..) I like a clay mask every once and a while to get the oil and crap out of the pores on my chin and nose. I still have combination skin.

Most liquid skin cleansers are made from a rather harsh detergent, Sodium Laurel (or laureth) Sulfate. (the laureth version is slightly less harsh). It can give your face a very dry, tight feeling and it’s a bit like driving in a tack with a sledge hammer.

Here’s another natural tip for those of you in a dry climate that get flaky skin now and then. A very gentle ex-foliation can be done with a paste of water and baking soda. If that is too harsh, you can take a wash cloth and soak it in milk and place that on your face. The lactic acids in the milk will help remove dead skin cells and leave your skin smooth.

LuckyGuy's avatar

We have covered too many variable here to get a good, clean (sorry) answer: age, skin type, presence or absence of penis, makeup usage, soap chemicals, etc.

How about all of us doing a controlled experiment? Wash half the face with water, half with usual products. If that is not practical then how about your body? Or butt checks? Someplace where the sun don’t shine. Try it for two weeks.

We would all learn a lot – and maybe save some money in the long run.

@johnpowell I’m not sure how to test it on junior. Left side, right side, is too difficult. Head, tail? Got any ideas man?

I just bookmarked this page so I get a daily update.

JLeslie's avatar

Your cleanser does not have to be drying. Try Lancome or Chanel. I agree toner is a waste in my opinion.

At night I just wipe my makeup off with one of those premoistened make up remover thingies, rinse it and wipe my face again with the same towelette now basically just soaked with water and rung out. In the morning I wash my face with a cleanser in the shower, or if I run out of cleanser baby soap or a neutrogena that I might have from a hotel stay. Too often I fall asleep with my makeup on.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I started the new washing procedure today. We’ll see what happens.
9:00 AM and all is well. No odors.

emeraldisles's avatar

That’s a good method if you have dry skin because your not overdrying your skin with a cleanser.

ejedlicka's avatar

What I do is use hot water to dampen my face, a simple Dove soap bar with no fragrance and then wash it off with cold water to close my pores. I am 19 so I know acne pretty well and I’ve tried everything but using a simple antibacterial soap is what has worked the best by a longshot.

Its cool because Lady Gaga uses this procedure as well.

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Gabby101's avatar

I have gone through periods where I didn’t even bother to wash my face and my complexion was fine – sure it would get wet when I showered in the morning, but that was it. And yes, I wore makeup. I have also gone through phases where I try very elaborate routines and then I break out. I actually think the more you do to your face, the more trouble you have. I have several coworkers that don’t wear makeup other than mascara and their skin looks fantastic.

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BeckyKytty's avatar

All these moisturizers and things are just $$$ for the cosmetics industry
Some lotion for the body, ok
The face? Well, some people complain of oily patches on the face. I am French/Sicilian and get some areas with more oil. I just moisten my face and eyes, spread the oil around the face and bring the moisture down to the neck and leave it.
Sorta like a kitty cat grooming.
I have a great complexion
Just a wash cloth is all that’s really needed to wipe off the dead skin cells.
If you have dry skin? I don’t know much except try to find something that the ingredients don’t look like a recipe for plastic or something.
lol

efritz's avatar

Cold, cold water, and I try to not ever touch my face. Once in awhile some moisturizer – I hear the French use it to keep wrinkles at bay. I’ll let you-all know in 10+ years if this wrinkle theory has worked.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

UPDATE: 3rd day washing face with just water—>, My sister has noticed the change in my skin, although very slight. My skin before was pretty decent, but i did have pinkish blemishes on my cheek that can be seen if you stare at me up close; those are clearing up… haha… My skin feels great! =)

@efritz, 10+ years? okay, don’t forget to tell me! ;)

LuckyGuy's avatar

Update: 24 hours- 3 showers. (I usually shower morning and evening.)
Hair with normal shampoo but rinse it all off quickly.
Left side with water and wash cloth. Right side with soap and wash cloth. Center line(naughty bits) soaped.

Results : No visible difference, no itching, no “feeling” difference.
This is interesting! I will continue.

Plucky's avatar

Lol this is going be interesting to follow. Maybe I should not wash my face at all and see what happens…

LuckyGuy's avatar

Update 54 hours: 5 showers.
I have had to wash my hands a few time with soap to get off some nasties from the bird feeders.
I have perfected my technique. I start with a clean, dry wash cloth every time. Water on left side. Soap and water on right side. I still can’t see or feel a difference. I’ll keep going.

If nothing else I’m using a lot less water and a lot less soap.

Plucky's avatar

@worriedguy What type of soap are you using?

JLeslie's avatar

@worriedguy Slightly more difficult experiment for women who wear make-up.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Update start of 4th day. I still don’t see or feel a difference anywhere. I’m surprised.
@JLeslie @PluckyDog I am using Suave Naturals Coconut shampoo. And Dove moisturizing soap. My water is unchlorinated, unfiltered well water.

I have shaved 2x and used a little shaving cream on the no soap side but rinsed it off as quickly as possible.

For the women who wear makeup how about observing on one leg, arm, butt cheek and half of side of chest?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Update: It is exactly five days and 9 showers since I started the experiment.
I still can’t see or feel any difference. I’m surprised.
I’ll keep going. Why not? I’m saving on soap.

JLeslie's avatar

I think soap helps cut down the amount of bacteria on the skin, which might be significant if you were to get a cut. Although the asction of washing, even without soap, would disturb the bacteria somewhat anyway.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie depends on what is in the soap. Soaps loaded with Tricolosan and such chemicals will certainly cut down on bacteria, but I NEVER suggest anyone use such soap. Horrid stuff. Soap breaks down the surface of water. It has a water loving side and a dirt loving side and it grabs the dirt and allows the water to have less surface tension to rinse away the dirt. It’s very simple on it’s most basic level.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I honestly thought by now there would be a difference, either in complexion or feel. I’m getting nothing! Both sides are the same. I do take 2 showers per day, I use well water and a wash cloth. Maybe that’s a difference.
I have been using soap on both hands.It was too hard not to.
This is so interesting.

cazzie's avatar

@worriedguy taking two watery showers a day sounds good. I’m sure you won’t notice anything on your face, but you said you’re using soap on the bits that get oily and sweaty (groin and underarms). Most people can get by with using soap just in those areas, but it is important to wash your hands with soap after you go to the toilet and before you cook food. I use my hands a lot with cooking and gardening and soap is an absolute must on my hands several times a day. That is why I have careful with the pH and the cleansing properties of the soap so it doesn’t strip the acid mantle and dry my epidermis. We don’t need all those horrible chemicals.

They’ve done clinical trials in hospitals where nurses use alcohol based detergent on their hands, resulting in various degrees of contact eczema. Even after washing their hands with this alcohol solution, their skin was so cracked and damaged that it harboured more bacteria than non-washed hands. (Anyone for a good dose of MRSA?)

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie I did not mean antibacterial soap. I would never use that in the shower, I barely use it at all. I just meant the soap lifts away bacterias, something with the lipids.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie Absolutely, it will remove dirt and what ever is in that dirt and oil, but it’s not necessarily out to kill bacteria. There is an incredibly surprising array of life on your skin and it shifts and changes all the time, but what we’ve discovered is that 99% is harmless and, although there haven’t been comprehensive test yet, we believe that it is actually helpful and essential to our health.

Lipids is referring to the fats on the surface of our skin? We excrete sebaceous oils from our skin. We also secrete sweat. Bacteria and other microbes… including yeasts and fungi, grow on our skin, especially in different areas, using our excretions as food. Sometimes they become problematic and require treatment with anti-fungals, antibiotics. Generally we control the colonies of microbes when we bathe but soap helps. Especially in the case of bacteria. Simple soap with none of the crazy added Triclosan rubbish, will wash away the surface dirt that is caused by (mainly) bacteria eating the sweat and excreting the waste that creates the smell we know as body odour. ( Foot odour is another case as is some smells from the vaginal flora. )

LuckyGuy's avatar

Eight days and I’m still doing it. No difference! What the?

The_Inquisitor's avatar

My skin is just the same now, only the first day it became slightly better. My skin was already pretty clear according to some people, and the little that it changed, I’d think that most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I now also put moisturizer too. Perhaps there will not be a difference for you.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@curiouscat Wow! I didn’t realize anyone else was doing this experiment. I thought I was the only person on the planet doing the half and half test. I will continue.

Be careful. If Kimberly Clarke or the Dial Corporation find out we’re doing this our lives might be in danger. ;-)

cazzie's avatar

@worriedguy be afraid of Unilever…. be very afraid.

Plucky's avatar

@worriedguy and @curiouscat are our test subjects. This is a very important study. It could change the world!

LuckyGuy's avatar

Still doing it morning and night with a new wash cloth. Both sides look and feel the same to the touch. But, the soap side is starting to feel a little “itchier”. Maybe.
I will continue with this important research. Unless Unilever gets me.

augustlan's avatar

@worriedguy I admire your dedication. If the itchiness on the soap side continues, I might just give this a go. As someone with chronically dry and super-sensitive skin, less itching would be awesome for me. I wonder if it makes a difference as to what kind of soap you use, though. I use Dove for sensitive skin, so maybe it’s not really drying me out in the first place?

The_Inquisitor's avatar

I use to use aveeno foaming cleanser. Now I just wash completely with water..I know that for me, just water is better. My skin seems to dry out when I use any sort of products. Whether it be dove sensitive soap or foamy cleanser that’s not too harsh. I’m done experimenting now, and seem to have found the best routine for me. :P

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LuckyGuy's avatar

I had to abort the test today. I was working outside and was totally sweaty and stinky from cutting branches and burning brush. I washed completely and man, did it feel good!

I will restart the test tomorrow.

@curiouscat You are my hero/heroine!

Plucky's avatar

@worriedguy Are you still itchy?

I boycotted Unilever years ago ..lol.

cazzie's avatar

@worriedguy I can teach you to make your own soap, and you’ll never use anything else.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

@cazzie, teach me too!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

I wasn’t really itchy. I simply felt like there was a difference. That feeling is gone now. I started the test again today – Wednesday afternoon.

cazzie's avatar

@curiouscat I’ll teach whoever wants to learn.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Friday afternoon. Have to start over again. I lit another brush fire and now smell like Springerville Arizona. Soon I’ll smell like Dove.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Darn it! I have to start over again. Yesterday was another physical day and I smelled like smoke. I’ll start this evening. (Tuesday)

JLeslie's avatar

@worriedguy That you have to start all over again now and again, doesn’t it show you do need soap at least every once in a while?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@JLeslie Yes it does. After I burn brush I smell like smoke from head to toe. I need soap.
My neighbor said it looked like I was trying to save Arizona with the backfire blaze I set yesterday.

cazzie's avatar

I´m on holiday so I can´t send anyone soap. Sorry. But if anyone is in the New Orleans area the next two weeks, I´ll show you how to make it yourselves.

JLeslie's avatar

That is so wierd I was just think about going to NOLA.

Plucky's avatar

@worriedguy Maybe you should put off the experiment for now. Wait until the burning season is over, perhaps.

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AskZilla's avatar

What you are doing is rinsing, or refreshing. You’re not washing. Rinsing will not remove unwanted caked on dirt, makeup, oils. You can always replenish ph balance with a good quality lotion. There are good quality facial cleansers out there, but they’re expensive. I like Aveda’s products

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