Should you wash your face in the morning? We investigate



By Redzhanna Jazmin

There’s no better way to kickstart the day than with a splash to the face. It’s an easy step in any morning routine that wakes up the senses, rinses away the gunk from your eyes, and preps your skin for the day.

READ7 Face cleansing myths, debunked by a skincare expert

The morning face wash is one step that you’ll never see a skincare guru miss in their morning routines… but is it necessary? This topic—that is, whether you should wash your face every morning or not—has been debated for a long while now, and there are valid points on both sides.

Ahead, we’re breaking down why you should (and when you shouldn’t) wash your face in the morning:

Image: Fenty Beauty


Why you might not want to wash your face in the morning…

1. You have dry or sensitive skin

Having dry or sensitive skin means that you’ll need all the hydration and moisture you can get, so you might consider skipping the morning wash to prevent any irritation. However, if you must wash your face, make sure that you’re using a gentle cleanser that does not strip your skin. Alternatively, use an oil or cream cleanser that adds hydration to your skin instead. Then, once you’re all cleansed, immediately follow up with a hydrating toner and apply your moisturiser while your skin is still wet.

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2. You cleansed your skin the night before

Fortunately, your bedroom is quite a safe haven for your complexion—at least, in the sense that you’re unlikely to encounter anything that urgently needs washing off while you sleep. So, if you thoroughly cleansed before you went to bed, washing your face with a lather-and-rinse cleanser come morning time is probably unnecessary. However, if you tend to sweat a lot at night, you might consider rinsing your face sans soap in the a.m. to get rid of the extra oil.

3. You don’t actually need to rinse off your nighttime skincare

It’s quite a common misconception, but—believe it or not—you don’t necessarily have to wash off your nighttime skincare cocktail of retinol or vitamin C before applying your morning skincare routine. By the time your nightly eight hours of slumber have been and gone, the actives in your skincare will have completely degraded. As such, all you’ll really need is to rinse your skin and/or use a hydrating toner before your moisturiser and sunscreen steps.

Image: Glossier


Why you might want to wash your face in the morning…

1. You have oily, acne-prone skin

If you’d like to avoid clogged pores, it’s probably a good idea to wash away any sweat or sebum that has built up while you’ve been snoozing. In this case, we suggest using a gentle foaming cleanser or your go-to cleansing balm.

2. You’re a fan of rich, oily formulations for your nighttime routine

Are you a fan of slugging? Are most of your nighttime staples on the richer, greasier side? If so, you might benefit from washing them off of your face in the morning. While these textures are great for supporting your skin’s barrier while it regenerates during sleep, it may be a little too heavy for daytime (especially on oily skin).

3. You work out in the morning

Gym junkies everywhere—this is a PSA: You must always cleanse your skin (on both your face and body, if possible) post-workout. Leaving your skin to marinate in your sweat is a recipe for breakouts. If you can’t cleanse your face, at least use some micellar water to tide you over until your next wash.

Image: Clinique

The Takeaway

Ultimately, whether or not you wash your face in the morning is totally up to personal preference. Be that as it may, if you’ve noticed that your skin has been struggling with your current routine, it’s worth experimenting with your morning routine. And, if in doubt, at least rinse your face before getting on with your day so you’re starting fresh every morning.


Find more skincare tips like this here.

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