It was previously thought that removing lipids from our skin caused this feeling, but it's been shown that although removing too much oil is associated with and can enhance the feeling of tightness, it's not an essential component.
What has been shown to be an essential component of skin tightness is the amount of surfactant left on your skin after washing. Some surfactants don't rinse off well and leave a film on your skin. The worst culprits for this are the alkyl sulfates (like sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS) and the alkyl benzene sulfonates (also known as the alkyl aryl sulfonates like linear alkylbenzene sulfonate, which are mostly used in household cleaning products).
What can we do to reduce this feeling? We can make sure we use surfactants that rinse off well - and all but the two mentioned above do this - and we can add cationic and non-ionic ingredients to mitigate the feeling. In essence, we can incorporate mildness into our products (which was the topic for yesterday's post).
You can also use a toner on your face after cleansing to remove more surfactant (and you know I have a ton of recipes for that particular product!) or you can use fewer surfactants or only a titch of cleanser when you're washing your face! That's one of the reason I like the foamer bottle. One squirt is more than enough for some serious cleansing. If you package your facial cleanser in a pump, it makes it easy to get just the right amount for that day's face washing!