Why Washcloths May Be Your Best Exfoliating Trick Yet

washcloths for exfoliation
Washcloths are great for exfoliating the face and body. Getty Images: PhotoAlto/Sandro Di Carlo Darsa and IAN HOOTONnd

There are many great ways to exfoliate your face, but my favorite one is to simply use a washcloth.

Washcloths are naturally great at exfoliating because the fabric rids face of excess oils, dirt and build-up. Simply apply cleanser, massage it into your face in a circular motion and then rinse off with a warm washcloth.

Don't miss 10 Great Beauty Uses for Your Average Washcloth.

Why Exfoliation is Necessary

If you only cleanse and moisturize skin but skip the weekly or bi-weekly exfoliation, the dead skin cells on your skin's surface are likely building up, causing your skin to not only look dull, but older.

Proper exfoliation is key to a smooth, bright complexion. Plus, foundation will smooth over your skin perfectly and you'll find your moisturizer soaks in better.  I recommend exfoliating in the morning because the skin repairs itself at night. You can invest in facial scrubs or the Clarisonic Mia (read my review and buy from Amazon), or you can spend a few dollars on a stack of really nice washcloths.

See How Much Should I Exfoliate for more information. 

Softer is Better

I find soft washcloths are better for the the face than cheapie, thin ones which can tear at the skin. I actually use my toddler's super soft bamboo washcloths when I wash my face (you can buy from Amazon.com), because they are small and perfect for the face, unlike the really large basic washcloths most people buy for the home. Using my son's washcloths means we have more than a dozen. They aren't cheap, but they last forever.

I also read great things about these Brooklyn Bamboo Everyday Adult Washcloths (buy from Amazon). According to the reviews, which are very good, people love to use them on their faces.

One thing to consider with bamboo: I find they take a long time to dry because of their thickness, so be prepared to run them in the dryer a few minutes longer.

Don't Use Them Over and Over Without Washing

You don't want to re-use a washcloth too many times (my friend Laura keeps a stack of washcloths on hand and uses one a night -- good for her, bad for the environment). Wet washcloths can harbor mildew, so use it a couple times and between uses, wring out the excess water and hang to dry.

Make Your Exfoliation Even More Luxurious

I like to treat myself with a warm washcloth every once in awhile (the warmer the washcloth, the more spa-like the cleansing). You can even get fancy with special peppermint oils. A quick nuke in the microwave and that scented washcloth will make you feel like you're in a Sedona, Arizona spa, getting pampered for $1,000 a day.

Don't Skip the Scrubs, Though

I don't recommend using only washcloths to exfoliate your face. To get a truly good scrubbing, combine the use of the washcloth with a store-bought scrub (see my list of the best facial scrubs) or make your own with brown sugar and oil (see my homemade facial scrub recipes).

Where to Buy

You can buy baby washcloths at Target and Wal-Mart, but they tend to be cheap and scratchy. I recommend buying online. You can return them if you don't like them. Here are my favorite brands:

For more information on exfoliating your face or body, don't miss How to Exfoliate.