If you’re anything like us, you put a lot of thought into washing your face. Maybe you found a Holy Grail cleanser that isn’t too drying or too oily, or maybe you rely on the double-cleansing method to fully remove makeup and sunscreen. But even if you have the cleanser part down pat, you might be undoing all of your hard work by washing and drying your face with a towel that’s too harsh or — if you use the same towel for your hands and the rest of your body — by introducing grime back onto your face. We spoke to two dermatologists and an aesthetician about their favorite facial washcloths for all types of skin.
Best silk washcloths
We’re already believers in the skin benefits of silk pillowcases, and dermatologist Patricia Wexler says raw silk works wonders as a cleansing cloth as well. “It’s soft enough to be good for any skin type, but loosens up dead skin cells, toxins, makeup, and anything you want to get rid of.” She explains that sericin, a protein found in silk, helps with “cellular regeneration, cellular repair, and skin hydration.” All natural and reusable, silk cloths are environmentally-friendly, too.
Wexler recommends looking for raw “noil” silk that feels a bit stiffer and more cottonlike than the typical, smooth type. In its raw form, noil silk makes for a durable cleansing cloth.
Best muslin washcloths
Muslin, a lightweight cotton, is a popular option for facial cloths. Wexler says the loosely woven material “dries very quickly, so it’s not prone to bacterial growth like a sponge or the brush on a mechanical device.” Diana Yerkes, lead aesthetician at Rescue Spa agrees that muslin cloths are “great because they’re gentle on skin and easy to rinse out.” She’s a fan of these luxe Eve Lom cloths, which Wexler calls “the Hermès of washcloths.”
Yerkes recommends using a clean cloth each day to “prevent bacteria from accumulating and guarantee the freshness of your cloth.” Since you’ll be tossing one in the laundry daily, it’s smart to invest in a week’s worth. Unlike terry cloth, which Yerkes says “might be good initially, but it gets too rough when washed too many times,” muslin will stay soft after every wash.
Best bamboo washcloths
Since bamboo is “naturally antibacterial and antifungal,” according Yerkes, cloths made from the plant’s fibers can help control acne-causing bacteria in those with blemish-prone skin. Like muslin, the soft material is gentle enough that it won’t irritate existing pimples.
“I like organic bamboo baby washcloths,” says Yerkes. “They are perfect for the face.” It makes sense that the deep-cleaning, yet not-too-harsh, fabric pops up frequently in cloths and towels meant for sensitive baby skin.
Best bamboo muslin washcloth
Dermatologist Michele Green prefers bamboo muslin blended cloths, which she says “are delicate enough for the most sensitive skin and are antibacterial,” combining the benefits of the two types of cloths. Sold in a box of seven — one for each day of the week — she says these Aurelia cloths are “the most luxurious for face washing.”
Best konjac washcloth
If you can’t resist a rigorous cleaning, look for a textured, exfoliating cloth that’ll remove dead skin cells. Kim Zimmerman, director of e-commerce and marketing at Rescue Spa says their clients are fans of Konjac sponges for giving pores a deep cleaning. Konjac is also available in cloth form from Boscia. Konjac can’t go in the wash, though, so you’ll have to replace these every few weeks.
Best double-sided washcloths
As daily exfoliation can be rough on the skin, Yerkes advises that “the exfoliating-type cloth is good a couple of times a week only, not every day.” Made from impurity-absorbing charcoal, Yerkes likes that this towel has two sides — a coarse one for when you want to scrub, and a softer one for the rest of the time. She personally uses the exfoliating side twice a week. Back in our Made in Japan week, writer Kurt Soller called the Morihata’s body-size version “a more pleasant, calming vehicle for cleansing oneself.”
Wexler singled out this double-sided cloth from Pai that pairs soft flannel and textured muslin. She likes that it lets you be a little “indecisive” in your washcloth shopping.
Best microfiber washcloth
Microfiber is Yerkes’s top choice for removing makeup. While it’s delicate on the skin, microfiber still holds up to stubborn makeup and can go through the wash without getting warped or altered. She recommends pairing a cloth with a creamy or milky cleanser that will “work well on breaking down all the debris and impurities without compromising your skin barrier.”
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