You might have heard the popular advice to wash your face for 60 seconds, twice per day (morning and before bed). As you know from having to sing the Happy Birthday song twice in order to get in your 20 seconds of handwashing in this day and age, a full minute can feel like a long time to suds up your face!
Still, if you check out the #60secondrule hashtag on social media, you’ll see that this trend was started by Nayamka Roberts-Smith, a licensed esthetician who goes by @labeautyologist on Instagram. Is there any truth to the hype? Let us delve deeper and check it out.
How to Follow the 60-Second Rule
First, it is important to know exactly what Roberts-Smith is talking about when she touts the 60-second rule. It’s simple:
Apply lukewarm water to your face, then use your fingers to massage your skin with a gentle facial cleanser made for your skin type for a full 60 seconds. Rinse off, pat dry, and continue with your regular skincare routine (which should involve moisturizer, even if you are not using makeup).
Some things that the 60-second rule does not include are:
- Using a washcloth or exfoliating pads. Just use your fingers.
- Using salt, lemon juice, or other caustic substances on your skin. Just use a gentle cleanser.
- Applying coconut oil. Follow your cleansing with a moisturizer formulated for your skin type; do not apply coconut oil, which can clog your pores.
To make sure that you wash for the whole 60 seconds, you can sing the ABC song twice or set a timer. Just as people found 20-second clips of songs to help them understand how long to wash their hands to prevent COVID-19, you can also look for songs that take 60 seconds to get through the chorus. Whatever works!
Why Does the 60-Second Rule Work?
When you splash water on your face and lather up for 10 seconds or so, the cleanser is just beginning to work to break down sebum and oils when you rinse it off. This can leave a lot of gook behind on your skin!
The way facial cleansers work is by lathering up to neutralize the grease and oils on your face so they can be rinsed away. Think about when you wash a greasy pan. Swiping around it with a soapy sponge for a few seconds is usually not enough to remove all the oil left behind.
Instead, you need to really work at it for a bit to break up the oils enough for them to be rinsed off the pan. It is the same deal with your skin. As you rub gently with your fingers, you will be getting the lather into your pores, where it can reduce the sticking power of the oil on your skin.
By the time a full minute has gone by, just about all the oils will be neutralized and you will be able to rinse them away easily. This is why moisturizing has to be part of the routine, though. By leaving your skin stripped of oils, you are just asking it to overcompensate and make even more oil next time.
Applying a moisturizer (look for a non-comedogenic one that will not clog your pores) will settle it down and reassure your pores that you are not going to leave them in a dried-out state. This can prevent oil overproduction as well as the irritation and tightness that accompanies too-dry skin.
Is the 60-Second Rule Right for Everyone?
As with anything else involving your skin health (or any part of your health, for that matter), whether the 60-second rule is right for you will really be a question for every individual to answer for themselves. Try it out and see for yourself.
If your skin feels dry and tight afterward, then you know that either 60 seconds is too long for you or you are using too harsh of a cleanser. If you have a lot of extra oiliness afterward, then you know that your skin is reacting to the over-drying by producing more sebum and grease, which is not what you want.
This is a sign to cut down on the time spent massaging the lather into your skin or a sign to look for a gentler, less drying facial cleanser. Do keep in mind that when you change up your skincare routine, your skin will take a little bit of time to acclimate.
So you can consider trying it out for a month or even two before writing it off for good. You can also try to implement this new routine more gradually. If you normally wash for 15 seconds, try raising it to 20, then 30, then 45, then 60 seconds over the course of several days or even weeks. This will give your skin more time to adjust to the new regimen.
More Tips for Beautiful Skin
The goal of the 60-second rule is, of course, to make your skin more vibrant and to reduce acne and inflammation. Here are a few more tips to help you achieve your goal:
- Use products designed for your skin type. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, you will need a different product than your friend who has dry skin or your mother who has eczema or rosacea. Read the labels or, better yet, ask an esthetician or beautician for advice.
- Do not skip out on moisturizing. Yes, you still need a moisturizer even if you have oily skin! Look for one that is water-based and labeled as non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging). If you have dry skin, you will need something a bit heavier, and if you have combination skin, you can look for a combination product or use two different types on the different areas of your face.
- Do not be afraid to seek help. Depending on your needs, you might need a beautician or a dermatologist. If you are struggling with uncomfortable skin or skin that makes you want to hide it under layers of makeup, do not suffer alone. Reach out for help. There are products and, in some cases, medications that can help!
If you try out the 60-second rule, you can share your experiences with the hashtag on your social media accounts. See if this viral trend is right for your skin!