For most of my life, I’ve always heard that we should be washing our faces at least twice a day.
Do you wash your face at least twice a day? Because I don’t.
It’s not because I’m lazy — although that’s my excuse for a laundry list of other bad habits. It’s because washing my face in the morning always makes it feel super dry.
And after Kristen Bell told Elle that she only cleanses her skin once a day at night (and I quote: “I don’t ever want to strip my own natural oils in the morning by washing.”) I finally realized that maybe I’m not alone.
I started doing some research, and as it turns out, that “at least twice a day” advice may not be the best idea, afterall.
So, How Often Should You Wash Your Face?
How often you actually need to wash your face is dependent on your skin type. Makes sense, right?
If you have acne or have very oily skin, you’ll probably need to wash your face twice a day. Wash your face in the morning when you get up, and always wash your face before letting your head hit the pillow at night.
If you have normal or combination skin, just washing your face once a day is likely enough. Personally, I make sure to wash my face at the end of the night, and I skip the morning cleanse — but this only applies if you don’t sleep with lots of products on your face. If you put on night cream or other anti-aging products, it might be best to at least give your face a quick wipe-down with micellar water.
For dry or aging skin, washing with a cleanser multiple times a day can overdo it. Cleansers strip away moisture and natural oils your body makes, so doing it too many times can be too harsh on dry skin.
Of course, no matter your skin type, you should always wash your face after a gym session or other workout to prevent breakouts.
These are all just general guidelines, though. There’s really no hard rules here, because everyone is different. It all depends on your skin.
What Kind of Cleanser to Use
It also depends on what you’re washing your face with. Not all cleansers are the same. So, what kind of cleanser should you be putting on your face?
A gentle, non-alcohol based cleanser is obviously going to be better for people with sensitive skin or dry skin. These won’t dry your skin out as much as other cleansers.
These mild, gentle cleansers are also sufficient for most people with normal or combination skin, too.
However, if you have acne-prone skin, you might want to reach for a cleanser with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
Can I Just Use Makeup Wipes?
Okay, technically you could probably get away with just using makeup wipes, at least for a while. But those makeup wipes aren’t actually doing the same things as a cleanser. They’re designed to remove the first layer, where all that makeup is at. They don’t go further, to remove all the dirt and oil off your face, and they definitely won’t get down into your pores. And guess what? Those wipes are actually leaving behind a residue that isn’t doing your skin any favors, either.
Wipes alone aren’t usually sufficient on their own. Eventually, you’re going to have to wash your face for real.
Plus, if you’re concerned about chemicals getting absorbed into your skin, you might want to put the makeup wipes down. Chemicals are what keep these wipes moist, effective, and preserved.
There’s one more mark against makeup wipes, too — if you’re concerned about the environment, you need to wipe this product out of your routine. It takes years for makeup wipes to break down in a landfill, because many of the components are not biodegradable. The packaging is almost always not biodegradable or even recyclable, either.