What your hand towel and an even complexion have in common.


I’m a germaphobe, and I’m not embarrassed by this. I have a weak immune system, and rather than suffer my usual five to eight colds a year, I do everything I can to prevent getting sick. These precautions have overlapped into my skincare routine, and I get to reap the rewards of my slightly obsessive worrying by having fewer breakouts, less cross-contamination between products, and an even complexion.



My bathroom cabinet is stocked with Aurelia cleansing cloths, which are my eco-friendly, travel-friendly, and lux version of a hand towel. I use these in the morning after my thermal spray and night after cleansing, to wipe off the residue left on my face. I dampen the cloth with tepid water and then ring it out. The cloth leaves the perfect amount of water on my face so I have maybe thirty seconds before my skin is dry enough to apply moisturizer. I like to use these cloths because they are made from probiotic bamboo fabric and they are reusable and antibacterial. A pack comes with seven so I have one for every day of the week. I wash them with my regular laundry. They are a nice, low maintenance, way to make your beauty routine a little more green, and a guilt free beauty “luxury”.

I will never let a hotel towel touch my face. I recognize that to some people this is a strange statement. Here’s some food for thought: Your Towels Are Way Dirtier Than You Think, by the Times. Instead of hand towels, I either bring my cleansing cloths to use as if it were my normal routine at home or I use a tissue. I always prefer the cloths, since they are reusable.


Friends? S.O?
Is this the first night at a new significant others, hanging out with a friend who is amazing (but maybe a little judgmental of your skin care obsession?), on a business trip and don’t want your colleague to see your major beauty spread? Personally, I say own it and be yourself. But, I also recognize that’s not always the solution for every circumstance. In that case I’d say the answer is the air-dry solution. I agree, it feels a little silly to just stand around and let your face air dry as you twiddle your thumbs. In this situation, I use the time it takes for my face to dry — to floss, brush my teeth, and scrape my tongue (so important!). Once this is done, my face is dry and I’m ready to get to the next step in my routine.

For those who are curious, here’s my list of don’ts

Don’t…use a dirty towel to dry your face.
Whether it’s your towel, a “clean” hotel towel, or your mom’s hand towel if it hasn’t just been laundered, beware. Even if you skip the part where you worry about how well people wash their hands before they dry them, a damp towel is germ paradise.

Don’t… use anything that isn’t as soft, or softer than, a tissue to dry your face.
No napkins, no paper towels, no one-ply toilet paper. Cotton pads/balls and similar textures are acceptable.

Don’t… rub your face! Dab people! Dab.
Rubbing your face aggravates your skin and releases excess oil, which can clog your pores and cause breakouts, much like over-exfoliating.

Don’t…. drag/rub the skin on or around your eyes when you remove your makeup.
Great! You invested in that fancy waterproof mascara. I hope you also invested in a good makeup remover or a cleanser that removes your mascara without you spending time wiping, rubbing, and dragging the skin around your eyes. You might think I’m over-thinking this, but I’m not; those cleansing actions can cause long term damage to the thin skin by your eyes.


I know that everyone has their daily anxieties, and I apologize for adding one more item to yours. I hope that with a small change in your routine it will help you cross out “random breakouts” from your list of worries.


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