beauty

TRIED AND TESTED: I stopped washing my face in the morning and it completely changed my skin.

Mamamia’s Tried and Tested series is your weekly review of the latest to hit our desks in beauty, health and wellness. You won’t find any #sponsored content here, just honest, relatable and independent advice. This week, Senior Lifestyle Writer Amy Clark explains why she stopped washing her face in the morning for better skin.

If you’d told me a year ago I’d stop washing my face in the morning, I would have chuckled and reached for the nearest foaming cleanser.

It’s just what you do, I thought. Like brushing my teeth, I’d been diligently following the skin care rule of cleansing morning and night for as long as I could remember.

And my skin was… OK. Yes, I had a small, nomadic family of pimples that enjoyed roaming along my chin and jawline. And yes, my face always felt a bit tight, but it was nothing to complain about.

WATCH: We tried glitter face masks to see whether they’re fab or just a fad. Post continues after video.

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When I first heard about not washing your face on the You Beauty podcast in early 2019, I quietly thought the multiple people who brought it up were mad. First, it was beauty expert Leigh Campbell who said she never uses a cleanser, just micellar water. Wot???

Then, a handful of women including Sydney-based eyebrow queen Kristin Fisher and Ultra Violette sunscreen co-founder Ava Matthews all swore by not cleansing in the morning. Ever.

Turns out, they were right.

It wasn’t until I had a skin consult with Dr Michele Squire from Qr8 that I realised my rigorous twice-daily cleansing may have been one of a few things contributing to my blocked pores, rather than cleaning them out like I thought.

Really, the only people who need to cleanse in the morning with a milk, cream or gentle foam cleanser are those with oily, acne-prone skin, Dr Michele told me. How do you know if that’s you? Take note of if you wake up with a sheen through your T-zone, particularly down the nose and chin.

LISTEN: Beauty expert Leigh Campbell explains why there is such a thing as cleansing your face too much on the You Beauty podcast below. Post continues after audio.

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Unless you sleep in a full face of makeup and sunscreen (which we don’t… right?), all the rest of us dry, combination and sensitive skin humans are doing by cleansing in the morning is washing away the natural oils and moisture that keep our skin barrier nice and plump.

Recap: your skin barrier is essentially a force field that keeps bad stuff from getting into your skin and good stuff, like water and hydration, from getting out. Continually stripping the skin can cause holes to form in that barrier and BAM, your skin is dehydrated and a bit unstable for around 28 days while it repairs. It’s a bummer.

Skin therapist and Botanicals by Luxe founder Bec Connolly agrees. In fact, she’s been telling her clients to only cleanse at night for 15 years.

“If you’re using the right products for your skin at night, there is really no need to cleanse in the morning. Simply splash the face with water to freshen up, and go straight in with your morning serums, moisturiser and SPF,” she said.

“Over cleansing can cause a whole range of skin conditions, such as sensitivity, due to having an impaired acid mantle (skin barrier). It can also cause your skin to produce excess oil because when you take away your natural oils with over cleansing, the sebaceous glands (the glands in your skin that produce the oil) go in to overdrive and produce more and more oil.”

So, I decided to stop cleansing my face in the morning and around a year on, the results are pretty amazing.

My blemishes are less frequent – iso skin doesn’t count – and my skin feels soft and bouncy most days. It’s also not as easily irritated by things like fragrance and heat anymore, which I put down to maintaining a healthy, moisturised skin barrier.

how often should you wash your face
This is my mug in the morning after washing with water, and applying serum, moisturiser and SPF. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
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Now, all I do is rinse my face with cold water over the sink or in the shower and apply my morning skin care straight on top (serum, maybe a moisturiser, and SPF). I still cleanse at night to remove makeup and general grime from the day. Heck, sometimes I double cleanse with an oil cleanser, too. But honestly, cleansing in the AM just feels plain wrong.

As for which cleanser is best - that's up to you and your skin type.

Generally speaking, a gentle foam, cream, milk or oil cleanser will work for most skin types, including dry skin, combination skin, normal skin and sensitive skin. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you might like to try a cleanser with an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) for a more thorough clean to eat away at pore-clogging dead skin cells.

I'll leave you with the four cleansers I have on rotation, all of which are suitable for all skin types.

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser 236ml, $14.99.

how often should you wash your face
This might be my favourite cleanser - it's cheap, gentle and does the job. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser 236ml, $12.99.

how often should you wash your face
This is more a cream, cleanser - I choose it if my skin doesn't feel particularly oily at night. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
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GO-TO Fancy Face Oil Cleanser 100ml, $45. (You can read my full review on this oil cleanser here.)

how often should you wash your face
If I'm wearing makeup, you know I'll be removing it with this lush oil cleanser at night. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

Beauté Pacifique Cleansing Foam 150ml, $68.

how often should you wash your face
This cleanser is a silvery, shimmery foam that really makes my face feel squeaky clean. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

Feature image: Supplied/@theamyclark.

How often do you wash your face? Tell us about your thoughts in the comments below!

You can catch up on our previous Tried and Tested reviews here:

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