Should You Wash Your Face in the Morning and Night?

Discover whether you should wash your face in the morning and night. Skincare experts say evening cleansing is crucial for skin repair during sleep. Morning cleansing is necessary if you use retinol or do a morning workout. Skin type matters: dry skin can skip morning cleansing, while oily skin may benefit from both a morning and evening face-washing routine. Choose a gentle cleanser suitable for your skin type and consider a simple rinse in the morning. A less-is-more approach prevents over-drying the skin.

We don’t know about you, but we’re always looking for a way to score a few extra Z’s in the morning. (Who wants to leave that comfortable mattress behind earlier than they have to, right?) On those days when dragging yourself out of bed seems impossible, you may be wondering about one specific way to save time—namely, whether or not you actually have to wash your face. Because, let’s “face” it—if you just washed your face the night before, is it really necessary to do it again just a few well-rested hours later?

Well, if trying to figure out if you should wash your face in the morning is at the top of your AM to-do list, we’re here to help! We spoke with Page Buldini, esthetician and founder of Page Aesthetics Skincare, for some morning skincare routine tips. Keep reading to find out how to put together the ideal morning routine for you.

Should you wash your face in the morning?

Let’s get right down to the nitty-gritty. You washed your face right before hopping between the sheets—is it actually necessary to do it again once you wake up? Not necessarily, according to Buldini.

“Evening cleansing is the most important, to ensure the skin and body have time to reset and repair while we sleep,” she says. “Be mindful to get an efficient cleanse, so actives and nourishing products can fully penetrate pores and treat skin.”

However, there are some times when cleansing your face first thing in the morning is actually important too.

  • Using actives like retinol in your evening skincare routine. “It’s imperative to fully cleanse off in the morning to protect skin from additional sun sensitivity,” Buldini says.
  • Getting in a morning workout. “A few splashes of lukewarm water and the reapplication of serum, moisturizer, and SPF are important to reset the skin without over-cleansing throughout the day,” she recommends.

Depending on your skin type, how should you wash your face in the morning?

Your specific skin type plays a major part in your specific skincare routine both day and night. “Everyone’s skin type is different and can even change due to medications, seasonal changes, and stress,” Buldini says.

Should you wash your face in the morning? Here’s a breakdown by skin type.

Dry skin

People with dry skin can typically skip the morning cleanse. Buldini cautions that if you have dry skin, it’s important not to strip it of necessary oils. “That would create damage and more dryness,” she says.

Oily skin

If you have oily skin, you may benefit from both a morning and evening cleanse and exfoliation “to remove excess oils,” says Buldini.

Combination skin

Oily and dry? Buldini recommends combining a hydrating cleanser with slight exfoliation to remove dehydration and clogging. 

How often should you wash your face?

In order to keep from drying out skin, a true morning wash is usually unnecessary. Buldini recommends focusing on washing your skin in the evening.

Come morning, “It can be as simple as a few splashes of lukewarm water to wake you up and give a refresh before applying serum, moisturizer, and SPF,” she says.

How to choose the best morning facial cleanser

When it comes to cleansing your face in the morning, opting for a gentle cleanser like a cream, balm, or micellar water is typically a safe bet. Gel cleansers are also gentle enough not to strip the skin barrier, “which is important for compromised skin,” says Buldini.

“As a solo business owner and working mom, I appreciate multipurpose cleansers—one that will assist in fully removing makeup, excess oils, SPF, and zinc while not stripping my skin,” she adds. 

Here are a couple of Buldini’s favorite gentle cleansers for your morning skincare routine.

Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser

This cleanser is formulated with vitamins A, C, and E to boost radiance while it cleanses. “I like the antioxidant-enriched and creamy feeling,” says Buldini.

$38, imageskincare.com

Skinbetter Cleansing Gel

If you’re looking for a mild, foaming gel cleanser that’s great for all skin types, this is one of Buldini’s favorites. 

$48, skinbetter.com

Face washing tips for morning and night

Whether you decide to wash your face in the morning, at night, or both, there are two tips to keep in mind. 

Tip 1: Use a cleanser that’s formulated for your skin type.

Tip 2: If you wash your face in the evening, try a simple rinse in the morning instead of a full-on cleanse.

FAQs

What happens if you don’t wash your face every morning?

Depending on your skin type, you may not actually have to wash your face in the morning—especially if you just cleansed the night before. Some skin types, like dry skin, can actually suffer from overwashing, while oily or combination skin may need that extra AM cleanse.

If you work out in the morning, it’s important to wash your face afterward so you don’t allow bacteria, oil, and grime to build up on your skin and cause breakouts.

Is it better to wash your face morning and night or just at night?

At the end of the day (pun intended!), it all comes down to preference. Your individual skin type can help guide you toward how often you really need to wash your face.

A less-is-more approach is typically best, so try cleansing your skin at night and doing a simple rinse in the morning to see if that’s enough for you.

For more advice on taking care of your skin in the morning and at night, check out these articles next:

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