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Should you wash your face in the morning? Experts weigh in

Here’s everything you need to know about your morning skin care routine

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Do you need to wash your face in the morning?

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In between TikTok skin care trends, new skin care products and skin care fads, keeping up with skin care best practices can be confusing. What’s the best way for you to take care of your skin?

The latest TikTok skin care debate? Washing your face in the morning. While some TikTok users claim that cleansing their face in the morning helps their skin, others claim it causes more harm than good. So should you wash your face in the morning? Here’s what you should know.

Should you wash your face in the morning?

Unsurprisingly, there are different opinions — but it likely depends on your specific skin care concerns and needs.

When to skip washing your face in the morning

In a story for The Everygirl, writer Madeline Galassi revealed that she stopped washing her face after consulting with her dermatologist about her dryness.

Galassi’s dermatologist recommended that she only briefly rinse her face with water in the morning to wash off any remaining residue left from the night. As Galassi explained, “My dermatologist explained to me that skipping my morning cleanse could help with my skin’s dryness, as it would be one less thing stripping my skin of its natural oils.”

After following her dermatologist’s instructions for a couple weeks, Galassi said, “I noticed a difference in my skin’s dryness within a couple of weeks.”

“Before, even after I put on my usual serums and moisturizers, my skin would look dry again within a couple of hours of doing my skin care routine,” Galassi said. “But I started to notice that it felt more hydrated for longer.”

When to wash your face in the morning

On the other hand, other experts are pro-morning face wash. Dr. Anita Sturnham, a dermatologist and founder of the skin care brand Decree, told Vogue that one should avoid “over-cleansing,” but that washing your face in the morning is an important skin care step.

“Your morning cleanse should be light, hydrating and balancing. A good cleanser at this time of day is an essential ‘prep’ step, to get your skin in a good place. Your skin has a vital job, acting as a ‘shield’ against the environment,” Sturnham said.

“This cleanse also removes remnants of pore-clogging overnight skin care, excess oil and debris that may have accumulated overnight. When skin is cleansed, your day serum will penetrate deeper and work more effectively, too.”

While your skin does have a natural barrier, over-cleansing can “can obliterate the protective layer called the epidermis, leading to redness, dryness and sensitivity,” according to Sturnham. She recommends avoiding double-cleansing, exfoliating, using facial brushes and any other extreme facial cleansing steps in the morning.

Instead, Sturnham suggests using a gentle cleanser. According to Vogue, try using a “cleanser light enough for morning use, ideally with some barrier-boosting ingredients for good measure.”

Should you wash your face in the morning or night?

Regardless of your skin care needs, all experts agree: you absolutely should wash your face at night. As dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner told Allure, “If you’re going to skip (a wash), then it’s better to skip the morning one than the evening one. At night, you want to remove the dirt, oil and particulate matter that accumulate during the day.”

Should you wash your face in the morning before working out?

If you prefer to work out in the mornings, you might want to take extra care with your morning skin care routine. As Dr. Shereene Idriss, founder of Idriss Dermatology, told CNN, not washing your face after you work out “can lead to clogged pores, which can lead to inflammation, which can lead to acne and breakouts and, overall, a disrupted skin barrier.”

Celebrity facial Shani Darden recommends using a gentle cleanser before you workout, followed up with an SPF. After your workout, Darden suggests “following up again with a gentle cleanser to remove sweat, dirt and bacteria.”

The best gentle cleansers for the morning

Your skin doesn’t need a harsh scrub in the morning. As experts advised, you really just need an easy and gentle cleanse. If you decide to wash your face in the morning, here are the best gentle face cleansers you can try.

1. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

Price: $10.

Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser is both gentle and nourishing, perfect for those with dry skin. It’s formulated with “five skin conditioners” and uses Poloxamer, which is the same cleansing agent used in contact solution.

2. Paula’s Choice Ultra-Gentle Cleanser

Price: $6.10.

According to Paula’s Choice, its Ultra-Gentle Cleanser both “removes makeup and impurities while preserving skin’s barrier & leaves a silky-smooth, hydrated finish after rinsing.” This makes it a great choice for a gentle, easy morning cleanser.

3. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Price: $19.74.

While it’s on the pricier side, CeraVe is known for catering to sensitive skin types. Its Hydrating Facial Cleanser is incredibly gentle and non-foaming — CeraVe describes it as a “lotion-like consistency.”

4. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser

Price: $8.97.

Neutrogena is one of the best drugstore skin care lines out there, and its Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser is no exception. According to Neutrogena, this facial cleanser “effectively cleanses face while leaving skin feeling moisturized and naturally soft.”

5. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser

Price: $16.99.

La Roche-Posay’s Gentle Face Cleanser is non-foaming, hydrating and dermatologist tested, making it perfect for washing your face in the morning. It’s a cream cleanser that “gently removes face & eye makeup, dirt and impurities, while maintaining skin’s natural protective barrier & pH.”

6. KraveBeauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser

Price: $16.

If you have dry skin, you might want to give KraveBeauty’s hydrating cleanser a try. Ideal for those who have sensitive skin and prefer clean, sustainable skincare, this cleanser promises to leave your skin “cleaner and better.” According to KraveBeauty, “The bouncy gel formula creates a silky lather to lift away dirt plus light makeup + sunscreen.”