'I switched from sleeping with makeup on to washing my face every night. I wish I never did.'

Look... I know that by reading the headline of this article you already have a perception of who I am as a person. You’re not wrong — I’m gross.

I was one of those unlucky 20-something-year-olds whose skin "peaked" in high school and I took it for granted. Luckily (or so I thought) I never got full-blown acne or any massive breakouts. 

Kendall Jenner's Proactiv campaigns did not get me! 

My early growth spurt combined with good luck has given me clear skin with the occasional stress pimple or two pretty much my entire life... until now. 

Skincare became trendy for me in 2016 when my favourite British YouTubers like Zoella and Tanya Burr started posting videos of their skincare routines. 

I got sucked right in. 

I would purchase every single product they recommended. 

I was 20 years old and my skincare products comprised of five toners, two face scrubs and no sunscreen. 

After a few years (*cough* five), I was finally able to nail my morning skincare routine. 

I worked out exactly what my skin needed — micellar water, hyaluronic acid, a Vitamin C serum, niacinamide, oil-free moisturiser and sunscreen. 

My morning skincare routine quickly became my favourite task of the day and the one thing that I looked forward to when I woke up (as you can tell, I live a pretty thrilling life). 


There was one issue... I hated doing a nighttime skincare routine.

I couldn't think of anything worse than getting home at 10pm after dinner with friends, standing over a cold porcelain sink and splashing water onto my face — gross.  

Because of my dramatic aversion to washing my face at night, I'm now ashamed to admit that I would rarely (read: never) wash my makeup off before I went to sleep.

I was so against washing my face that I would even go out of my way to sleep in an uncomfortable position just to avoid getting makeup on my sheets. Think: Victorian child recovering in bed after being plagued with scarlet fever. And yes, I see the irony of me not wanting stained sheets but being completely fine with allowing my makeup to sink into my pores overnight. 

An accurate representation of what I looked like while sleeping with makeup on.


As a now 27-year-old, the flex of sleeping with my makeup on has become more of an embarrassment. 

When I was younger and people found out that I never washed my makeup off, I was met with phrases like "Wow, but you have such great skin." Or, "I wish I could do that." 

Now, my face puberty has finally caught up with me and my skin is breaking out more and more, so telling people I don't wash my makeup off is instead met with "What?!" I know what they're really thinking is: "Yeah, I can tell..." 

Last year I gave myself a goal of washing my face every night. I was so proud of this. I told my froleagues (friends that are also colleagues) Erin Docherty and Basmah Qazi (who also happen to be Mamamia's resident beauty gurus) about my exciting new venture. They were thrilled — and I'm sure also relieved — about this decision. 

However, they warned me that because I was making a drastic change to my skin routine, I'd probably break out more.

I completely ignored those words of warning because what did they know? It's not like they're extremely smart and experienced skincare journalists or anything (they are). 


After a week of washing my makeup off, I soon became addicted to my evening skincare routine. 

There are soooo many more products you can use at nighttime. Retinols, oils, acids, masks, and exfoliants were some of the many new products I was introduced to. And yep — I know what you're thinking: "Oh God, please tell me you didn't..."

You're right, I did. I used them all. Every night. Every single day.

And yep, my skin got worse. 

After the end-of-year break, I walked into the office angry. 

"I want to switch back," I announced to the whole team.  

They convinced me to chill out on the hectic product front and just use products that are gentle on my skin and work towards my main concerns. 

This time, I listened to their advice.

I've been maintaining my goal of washing my face every night and only using gentle products for the time being until my skin gets used to this new routine. 

I have now noticed that my acne is starting to settle and my pigmentation is slowly evening out. 

My skin: A journey.


Here are the products that are currently on my nighttime skin roster:

An oil cleanser: Ma:nyo Pure Cleansing Oil, $30.92

Ma:nyo Pure Cleansing Oil


A foaming cleanser: Dr. LeWinn's Eternal Youth, $17.69

Dr. LeWinn's Eternal Youth foaming cleanser


An eye serum: Boost lab Bio-Active eye reset, $23.96

Boost lab Bio-Active eye reset serum

An exfoliant (used only three times a week): Alpha-H Liquid Gold with glycolic acid, $74.95

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with glycolic acid


A Moisturiser: Emma Lewisham Supernatural, $150

Emma Lewisham Supernatural 


Although I know deep (deep) down that washing my face at night is important, every time I see a new spot appear on my face I can't help but think that maybe I should've just let my skin marinate in my foundation and eyeliner all night. That description then makes me immediately feel nauseous and I pull myself out of the nightmare-ish fantasy.

No, my skin isn't in the ideal shape I would like it to be in right now, but I'd like to think that I'm undoing all the pain and suffering I put it through in my 20s.

Only time will tell whether it's worth it! 

If you want more culture and lifestyle opinions from Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature image: supplied.

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