Whether you are a skincare enthusiast or an entry-level beauty explorer, there’s one common question on everyone’s lips: should I wash my face twice a day?
It’s an age-old query that has bubbled back up recently due to the summer months, as more of us strip back our skincare for lighter, simpler and warm-weather appropriate routines.
The general rule of thumb for most skin types is to deep-clean faces twice a day, becoming as equally important as brushing your teeth.
But with the rise of ‘skinimalism’ – streamlined, minimal routines – and increased awareness of the skin microbiome, more of us are challenging the cleansing norm. So, Is once enough or are you team twice?
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU WASH YOUR FACE?
The precedent currently stands as twice a day, in the morning and evening.
The evening wash is a no-brainer. The nighttime cleanse does the elbow grease of removing make-up and SPF, as well as the pollution, impurities and sebum that has built-up throughout the day.
It’s important to give skin a thorough cleanse to ensure you are not leaving behind any grime. This can clog pores and lead to congestion.
How often you cleanse also comes down to understanding your skin type and its level of oiliness or dryness. This can be determined through our skin test.
DO I NEED TO WASH MY FACE IN THE MORNING?
Debate time. While many will hear no bad word said against their twice-a-day cleanse, others question how much harm can be done during your twenty winks to warrant a second wash in the morning.
Our Scientific Skincare Advisor Tracey Ryan, says: “It really depends what you’re washing your face with.
“The AM wash is not as important and only really for freshening skin up – or for someone who uses an overnight product.
“The PM wash takes priority, so focus on executing this.”
Balanced skin types are more likely to get away with skipping the morning cleanse, as long as you’ve thoroughly removed make-up and daily grime the night before.
Oily types may be more prone to producing sebum overnight and its best to rinse this off to prevent breakouts. A gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin’s natural oils is best for this.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM OVERWASHING?
If a twice-a-day cleanse is the cake, double-cleansing is the cherry on top: sounding very appealing, but often a bit too overindulgent.
This makes it easy to slip into overdoing it territory. How do you know if it’s all too much?
Tracey says: “That dry, squeaky clean, tight feeling is definitely a sign you’re over-cleansing and to stay away from foaming, harsh cleansers.
“Double cleansing is good for lifting make-up and SPF. Most of these products are oil-based, so an oil or balm based cleanser that contains emulsifiers will wipe it away.
“But a double-wash should always be done with two gentle cleansers. Oil or balm based are less hard-hitting than foaming cleansers.
“A gel or cream cleanser is a great second choice. They are also not too harsh and stripping.
WHAT INGREDIENTS SHOULD I BE AWARE OF?
How many times you wash is not just dependent on your laziness level, but the product you are using.
Our recent research found that soap and water was the most popular cleansing routine for adults, and while they work at breaking down molecules, they have a much higher PH level than your skin’s usual low PH.
Tracey says: “Surfactant based foaming cleansers are also too harsh to be used regularly by those with dry or mature skin.”
Sulphates are the most common surfactants and if not paired with mildness factors they can be guilty of removing lipids – your skin’s natural fats – making it more difficult for your barrier to retain water.
Consequently, this leaves your skin looking and feeling dry and dehydrated.
WHAT ABOUT THE SKIN MICROBIOME?
We’re glad you asked… While the skin microbiome is a tough operating system, it can be a tad on the sensitive side at times.
This often happens when it’s fed too many tough and harsh agents found in skincare products. While they are good at blitzing away grime build-up, they are also blitzing away the good bacteria we need to keep skin healthy.
Over-washing, scrubbing and rubbing can antagonise the ecosystem that wants to be friends. In turn, this leads to irritation and worsening skin concerns such as acne or rosacea.
The microbiome already plays an important role in protecting and caring for your skin. Part of this is through it’s production of natural oils, released to nourish and moisturise your skin. Disrupting this can lead to an imbalance, pushing skin to become either too oily or too dry.
Maintaining a balanced level of oils will keep your skin happy and healthy.
SO, SHOULD I WASH MY FACE TWICE A DAY?
The twice a day face wash has become a longstanding skincare rule.
Declaring that you don’t often receives eye rolls, while exclaiming that you do with tough cleansers can often scares others.
The solution? Finding your happy medium. Skipping the morning wash is perfectly acceptable, but you must thoroughly cleanse your skin the night before.
If your skin type requires a strict routine or even a double-cleanse, that’s also fine, so long as you stick to gentle formulas that work with your exact skin type.
Our Skin Trust Club report lets science tell you the exact position of oily-to-dry your skin is currently in, with product recommendations to suit your needs. You can find all this out – and more – through our skin test.
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