Cleansing your skin might seem like the easiest part of your skincare routine, but that might be because you're not putting the effort into it that it deserves. Case in point: Have you ever cleansed with a muslin cloth? If your answer was "no" or "what's that?" you're not alone. In fact, many people don't know what muslin cloths even are. To help shed light on the cleansing cloth, we chatted with a dermatologist and celebrity esthetician to uncover the benefits of adding one to your routine, how to use them, and who they work best for. Keep reading to school yourself on the skincare staple you might just want to make room for in your regimen.
Meet the Expert
- Jeannel Astarita is a celebrity esthetician at Just Ageless Beauty and Body Lab in New York City.
- Dendy Engelman is a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
Type of product: Cleansing cloth
Main benefits: Gently exfoliates, deeply cleanses, and reduces inflammation
Who should use it: It is recommended for people of all ages and skin types, especially those with easily irritated, overly sensitized skin.
How often can you use it: It can be used daily, morning and night, so long as it's used with light pressure.
Works well with: Gel, oil, and balm cleansers
Donâ€™t use with: Exfoliating scrubs
What Are Muslin Cloths?
If you've ever used Eve Lom's Cleanser, then you've likely had the pleasure of using the accompanying cloth for application. And, chances are, your mom likely used them on you as a baby, given the ultra-gentle nature of the super-thin fabric.
â€œMuslin is a soft, woven, 100-percent cotton multi-layer cloth popular for baby cloths and blankets because the fabric is so gentle and absorbent, and it gets better and softer with more use,â€ says celebrity esthetician Jeannel Astarita of Just Ageless Beauty and Body Lab in New York City. â€œThey also happen to be a great addition to a solid skincare routine.â€
Side Effects of Muslin Cloths
There's only one notable side effect to be aware of when adding muslin cloths into your routine: over-scrubbing. â€œAs with any cloth, over-scrubbing with a muslin cloth can irritate the skin,â€ Astarita notes. â€œItâ€™s important to be gentle with skin, regardless of what you are using on it.â€
Engelman notes that while muslin cloths are very unlikely to negatively affect your skin, they will if they're not clean. "Using a dirty muslin cloth with bacteria can spread germs around the face," she explains. That said, instead of letting your cloth hang in the shower between washes, hoping that the mere exposure to water and soap will self-cleanse the cloths, Astarita says to hand- or machine-wash the cloths and allow them to thoroughly dry between each use to prevent bacteria from building up.
How to Use Them
Given their simple, washcloth-like nature, as you might have imagined, they're incredibly easy to use.
â€œI like to massage in an oil cleanser and then wipe off until the cloth comes away clean,â€ Astarita says, noting that you can use them on your face and body. â€œUse with a cleanser by lathering and then wiping gently until the cloth comes away clean."
Beyond cleansing, you can use muslin cloths as cold compresses. â€œMuslin cloth is ideal for use as a cold compress because itâ€™s so soft and absorbent,â€ Astarita says. To use as such, she says to wet them, wring them out, individually freeze them in storage bags so that you always have them on-hand in the freezer. â€œThese baby soft cold compresses are the ideal way to cool off post-laser treatments or even after a workout or whenever your face is hot and flushed,â€ she adds. â€œThe cotton actually pulls the heat out of your skin and into the cloth.â€
The Best Products to Use With Muslin Cloths
While you might be inclined to pair muslin cloths with all of your favorite skincare products, Engelman says they're best paired with cleansers (especially oils and balms) and toners. "You would not want to use with a lotion or cream," she adds, noting that doing so would waste the product absorbed by the cloth.
Muslin Cloths vs. Washcloths
If, after all this, you're wondering how muslin cloths are that much different than super-soft washcloths, keep in mind that even the softest terrycloth is likely rougher than muslin. Astarita says that this simple fact makes it easier to scrub too hard, which can irritate and inflame the skin.
Yes, they gently exfoliate.
â€œI like to massage in an oil cleanser and then wipe off until the cloth comes away clean,â€ Astarita says, noting that you can use them on your face and body. â€œUse with a cleanser by lathering and then wiping gently until the cloth comes away clean." Beyond cleansing, you can use muslin cloths as cold compresses
The main formula to avoid using with a muslin cloth is an exfoliating scrub.
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