Sleep in your makeup? Ruin your skin and look older, faster.

What could be better than being lectured at as you innocently read a blog?! Most things, I’d say, especially banoffee pie.

But for once this isn’t just me being bossy: The Daily Mail (yes, yes, I know, everyone’s font for authentic, intelligent journalism) did a study on wearing makeup to bed, and while admittedly, the poor dame subjected to the test didn’t cleanse at night for a whole month, and you might only do it once a week or so, you are still doing your skin damage.

Here she is, poor lamb. Before and after.

fml-anna pursglove 'after surgery eyebrow'-15.jpgslept in make up for a month

The findings were that not cleaning your face properly at night not only caused havoc with your skin, but it ages the skin.

If you don’t cleanse your skin at night – and I’m talking even the fastest in-shower foam and rinse – you may just be the lucky beneficiary of:

Larger, dirtier and more visible pores that may irreversibly stretch

Redness leading to rosacea

Deeper lines and wrinkles

Acute dryness

Irritated, puffy eyes

Brittle, shitty lashes that fall out

Not to mention feeling self-conscious when you read posts like this.

Bottom line is, and I know you’ve heard this before, but perhaps you’re still not listening because you have earphones in or something: You have to cleanse your skin at night.

I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to clean your face at the end of the day.  ESPECIALLY if you’ve been wearing a shittonne of makeup or even just sunscreen, or face cream. (It’s not just the products you need to remove, but dirt and grime from, you know, the world.)  If you don’t remove it properly each night, you’re building onto it again the next morning, and as this case study shows, the skin enjoys that about as much as a swift kick.

Even in your drunkest moments, use a facial wipe (keep them in your bedside drawer for just these occasions), or if you’re stuck at a “friend’s” place (WINK WINK) use his stuff, or even just wipe olive oil from the kitchen over the face with some tissues or toilet paper. Yes, that actually works.

Sure, you can do it a few times with no real consequence, but if you’re doing it more than say, ten nights a month, and this study suggests that a lot of women are, well, that’s enough to have a long term effect. Also, all those expensive and impressive serums and creams you’re using can’t do their job if your skin isn’t a clean slate to begin. Loading them on top of yesterday’s layers is an atrocious idea but a wonderful gift to any pores that were hoping to produce a pimple that day.

I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever done it, but that’s just the cute anal retentive babe I am.

What I cleanse with at night: On a normal day, when I just wear some daily moisturiser with SPF and BB cream I use  a cream cleanser in the shower. Massage on, rinse off. When I’ve been wearing full makeup, I first use a cleansing oil on dry skin, then I follow on with regular cleanser in the shower or over the sink. And three times a week I use an AHA exfoliating cleansing gel to really clean all that product I wear off.

In the morning: I quickly rinse with some Cetaphil and water to remove all the night creams and serums.

Are you guilty of this?

Will you now finally change your ways?

Isn’t it awesome fun when I yell-write at you?


Responses to this drivel: 58 Comments
Responses to this drivel ( 58 )
  • Ashleigh

    I use my Ultraceuticals cleanser morning and night. Gold star for me! Unless I’m really drunk.

    • fruity

      Keep face wipes in your bedside drawer and remove as much as you can before passing out. That’s what this boozy the clown does.

      • Bec

        I, weirdly am so thorough with cleansing when I am blackout drunk…I wake up in the morning and am like ‘I exfoliated? And shaved? And washed my hair?’ Haha

        • Ozlicious

          Me too! I have distinct memories of hazy nights that involved falling down nightclub stairs and vomiting in the street (who, ME?!) and then coming home only to do a full cleanse, tone, serum, eye cream, moisturiser, lip balm, & body lotion.

          I don’t think I *could* fall asleep without at least a cursory wipe over with a cotton pad and some Crealine h20.

  • Megan Moore

    Ooh, I love the yell-writing! It’s socially acceptable, but still gets the anger out. Interesting study, I will check it out. Thanks!

  • Acacia

    When i found out some of my friends didnt cleanse i was dumbfounded! It just seems like such an obvious thing to do. I use kora organics cleanser and dermalogica daily microfoliant, or for a natural scrub – bi carb soda does the trick. And always moisturise!

  • S

    Feeling very virtuous now – I have a very regimented cleansing regime which involves 3 different cleansers (not all used at once obviously).

    My latest technique is to use an oil cleanser to get rid of all makeup before going for a run. I don’t know if its because some of the oil stays in my skin or what, but it seems to also protect my skin from the wind/cold/elements when I run.

    Off topic – Zoe, can you do a post on the latest/greatest products to treat pigmentation? I had some chemical peels which did wonders to minimise mine, but I’ve recently gone off the pill and found its getting worse again. I’m devastated! And terrified at how bad it will get if I’m lucky enough to fall pregnant.

    • fruity

      I’m back on my Ultraceauticals Ultra Brightening Serum – full of AHAs to exfoliate and brighten and works REAL good.

      • Sara

        Zoe, I am super keen to try the Ultraceuticals Ultra Brightening Serum, however I was wondering if you need to work your way up to using this product, or if using it every second night is a good start to working my skin up towards the dizzying heights of brightness like yours?

        • Adrienne

          Some Ultraceuticals products have a “mild” and a “normal” version so they will often recommend you start with the mild. And yes they will also tell you to use it every second day initially and work up to daily applications. Ultraceuticals are usually only sold in beauty salons or at a counter in David Jones so you can always ask the experts for advice!

        • fruity

          I started using the Sensitive one 2x a week, now have graduated to the full-strength 3x a week.

    • Rech

      I’ve had my babies and the pigmentation settles and then doesn’t want to leave. Very, very upsetting! I am active and fit and look after myself (yes, yes I cleanse!) and this is my greatest upset in terms of ageing. To date I’ve been I’m too scared to try anything as full-on as Fraxel. A few years ago I had some pigmentation lasered with quite good results and then just this week I’ve had IPL for the first time which appears to be removing the smaller sunspots. I use Retinol and Vitamin C serums. So, just like S above, I’m interested in the best treatment for pigmentation…. is there anything else I should be doing??

    • Lima Juliet

      Have you tried hydroquinone? I read about in Amazing Face (thanks Zoe!) and used it to treat pigmentation on my décolletage following a seat belt burn from a little car bingle. It worked a treat. I didn’t suffer any side effects, but I’ve read that some people get red or flaky skin.

      • Ozlicious

        Aaaaaaaand it’s a suspected carcinogen. Like, a seriously bad one (if there are in fact rankings within the carcinogen world). There are heaps of alternatives to look for including kojic acid and licorice extract, as well as niacinamide and several wonderful lightening & brightening peptides. Combined with good old vitamin c and a course of IPL and brightening facials, I’d be surprised if pigmentation doesn’t budge significantly!

  • Ash

    Hey Zoe,

    What are some good AHA exfoliating cleansing gels?

    • Ozlicious

      (please excuse the butt-in)

      Guinot’s Gommage Biologique is heavenly. You use it in the same way as a cleansing oil — ie massage it into dry skin and await its transition into an oil which can then be emulsified into a milky fluid and rinsed clean. It contains AHAs for exfoliation and green tea for soothing! It is a GEM. Those French lads and lasses (monsieurs and mademoiselles?) do a wonderful exfoliant.

  • Alexandra

    I don’t cleanse in the morning – my skin is super dry and absorbs all the serums and night creams I use at night. My poor skin even shrinks at the site of water.

    I do use Lush Ultrabland at night even with a full face of makeup – this stuff is amazeballs, it gets every ounce of makeup off without drying my skin. Actually it leaves it more hydrated (not for everyone but for the dry skinned gal this is heaven!)

  • Elise

    I use Face wipes when I’m lazy but sukin products usually. They have a moisturising oil that get rid of my dry patches that I get every winter. And the rose hip oil is fantastic! Love their products!

  • Jo

    Zoe, any chance you can list the products you mentioned above / use at night? ie. cream cleanser, cleansing oil and AHA exfoliating cleansing gel. In the morning, is it just the gentle Cetaphil cleanser that can be used without water?

  • Piper

    I am ashamed to say I do sleep in my makeup, but it’s mostly because I am a morning shower-er, and I really have not mastered the art of washing my face at the sink without getting water all over my pj’s… You have made me feel sufficiently guilty to give it another try though.

  • Tess

    Wow, what an interesting study! Pretty scary… I always use a face wipe, then rinse with water and put on some moisturiser before bed. Do you think this is sufficient or should I really be using my normal morning cleanser?

    • fruity

      I suggest saving the wipes for travel and no-cleanser situations. (Also, better for the environment!)
      Use your normal/more thorough cleanser at night, definitely.

  • Pumba

    I use a cleanser every night in the shower. But here is my question – if I then apply an oil free moisturiser once i get out of the shower before bed, my face seems all greasy again, so is that actually beneficial? Surely going to bed with a face that feels oily cannot be good? Help

    • fruity

      Zis sounds more like a wrong-product situation than a routine issue. If you have oily skin, use a cleanser and moisturiser specifically for that. Skin shouldn’t feel oily if you’re countering that sebum right.

  • Nat Le Fevre

    Hi Zoe,

    I cleanse my face every night without fail (no matter how tired or stonkered I am!) and am a recent convert to MooGoo’s products, in particular their oil cleanser (found via your blog, thanks!). But that is all I use to get rid of make up. You’ve written here that you also use your regular cleanser over the sink….what regular cleanser is that? Got any recommendations for regular cleansers that aren’t expensive that I can use alongside my oil cleanser? I’ve got dry to combination skin…cheers, Nat 🙂

  • Hannah

    Zo! Thank you for a well needed wake up call for all the nights I crash (fall asleep) after finishing a big arse uni assignment and don’t give a toot about my poor, poor, innocent flaky/ dry….blaaaah skin. I have seborrheic dermatitis and half the time I am too scared to try all these lovely products on the market incase it irritates my skin. So I feel like my skin is dirty – especially when I CAN SEE black dots on my nose and around my nose (gross right!!) Can you recommend a gentle cleaners that isn’t oily, just a nice face cleaners to get rid of all the dirt and unblock the pores that is suitable for people with problem skin (dermatitis)?? Would really really appreciate any advice!
    Thanks Zoe! LOVE your blogs.

    • Nat Le Fevre

      Have you tried MooGoo’s products?

      • Hannah

        Hi Nat. Oh yes, I use there shampoo and conditioner and love it! Didn’t think about a Moo Goo face cleanser – will look into it! Thanks 🙂

        • Court

          I second the moogoo recommendation! I use the oil cleanser and the milk wash depending on my mood, but I do also find the milk wash is great to use with my clarisonic- gets all my makeup off and has really helped those black spots on my nose. My biggest problem is forgetting to exfoliate, my skin just had a flip out because I didn’t for about 3 weeks 🙁

  • ez

    Zoe, read this post while in bed and it made me get up and cleanse! Oh my!

  • Chester

    YAY! I’m doing something right 🙂 No matter how bad a state I am in when I get home (I need to learn to say no to the last vodka lime soda) I ALWAYS take my make up off! I might not always be the ‘most effective’ cleanser at 3am, but I always try.

    Can I pretty please get some advice Zoe/anyone else? I’m flying to Paris next week (yaaay!) I’m planning on going make up free on the flight and taking my rosehip oil & moisturiser on board to possibly reapply. Is getting a facial two days before my flight a good idea? Thanks lovelies!

    • A little bit smug

      Personally I would get a facial when I arrive, with a brand I have used before- and try and do some research on what spas have good reputations before booking. That might be better because it will help to seriously re-hydrate and nourish as flying is so drying on the skin. Or you could decant your toner into a smaller bottle. I would def reapply your rose hip oil in the flight- that stuff is seriously like skin food! And a spritzing Toner too, like a floral hydrating toner which is packed full of nutrients to use as many time as you like during travelling. Hope that helps! Also, have an amazing time in Paris!!! How exciting… 🙂 (also just speaking from experience if your not a regular facial person, sometimes you can bring impurities to the surface with facials, which is ideal but maybe not so ideal if you have a big event or something your skin needs to look fabulous for…

    • Ozlicious

      I second the idea of having a facial once you arrive in Paris! Let your skin be treated by the masters of skincare. 🙂

  • Kiss & Make-up

    Yeah, I saw this one the Daily Mail yesterday, pretty scary. I used to sleep in my make-up every now and then when I was still a teen… I haven’t done it for years now though, and I never will again.

  • Erica

    Hey There, thanks for the awesome advice! Just wondering, if anyone has any tips of what to take on an international flight – given the 100Ml restriction. Don’t want my skin to feel like leather at the end of it! Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Thank you!

  • Anna

    NOOOOOOO!!! I have been so so so guilty of this in the past. Like, even in the past year. I have slept in my makeup more times than I can remember. Now I rarely do it but after reading this I will never, ever do it again.
    Sincerely, Scared and sorry.

  • Laura

    Hey Zo, what about mineral makeup? I only use it, and am pretty slack about washing my face because they’re always going on about how it is soooo good for your skin and you can sleep in it etc etc. Are they having a lend of us lazy girls?

  • A little bit smug

    This is all super advice- love this post. Never thought about the Olive Oil trick. That article is so scary- her poor skin… I am addicted to my night time ritual, which uses all of my Waterlily products. I start with a double cleanse, then I tone with a Rose Tea Toner, and then I exfoliate (if it is every second day) and leave on for five minutes to infuse (it’s like a mini clay masque then.) After this, I remove the exfoliant and apply my Botanical Renewal Serum, and over the top a Vitamin Rich Night Creme. I wake up to super delicious and plumped skin, and then I do a simple cleanse, tone, and moisturise- all oil based products because oil is my best friend- that’s why I love this blog so much. Then SPF over the top because your SPF should be separate to your skincare. What I am saying with all of this bragging is you would have to show me the big bucks for me to even consider taking part in this trial (or a year’s worth of facials to help me fix it afterwards)!!! Sincerely, A little bit smug, and addicted to my skincare regime. Xx

  • Grace

    I found this product whilst I was in Melbourne and have been unable to locate it anywhere in Perth, this website sells a number of different products from the same brand, the one I use is
    Natural Alternative Natural Face Cleansing Gel With Sweet Orange + Moroccan Neroli 125ml.

    It’s the best thing I have ever used, gets every bit of make-up and dirt/grime/creams off. and I’ve stopped wearing as much make-up and my skin has cleared up. Highly reccommend this product, very well priced too!!

  • Anna

    Interesting article – I mean, I knew it was bad..but it’s actually SO BAD!
    I cleanse in the shower with a foaming tea tree/witch hazel cleanser which I am enjoying…and then use a garnier toner to remove grime and dry out any blemishes..and then QV cream (my friend went to a dermatologist and she said that QV is awesome). I then put rose hip oil where needed/dry..and that’s that. x

  • Gracie

    Hey Zoe,
    What are some good AHA exfoliating cleansing gels?
    G xx

  • Kristy

    Would using something like dove foaming makeup remover be enough?..

  • Sarah

    I’m a 50/50 kinda girl, but boy you’ve made me feel guilty!
    50% of the time I’m too tired and just want to crash into bed, and 50% of the time, I look at my skin lovingly and want to try and make it look amazing.
    I don’t wear a lot of make up (moisturiser, tinted sunscreen and a little powder)

    I’m an O Cosmedic’s kind of girl, but I need to add in something like a pre-cleanse and a serum…..

    Off to stick a post it note on my bathroom mirror that says
    “Zoe says…. Don’t be lazy, wash your facey” 🙂

    (P.S My husband will love this as he has a giant mansized crush on your cat!!! So much so he wants to change our cats name and teach him how to pull faces….we’ve got the outfit wearing sorted, he’s been wearing a hoodie against his will for years….. not bad for someone who is allergic to cats & was not keen on cats when we met…..)

  • Liv

    How does one deal with situations such as when one is seeing a new boy and jumps straight into bed for some, um, activity, and doesn’t have cleansing products at his house, nor does she want him to see her without make-up just yet…?!!!

    • Elle

      Carry small cleanser or wipes in your bag and when he falls asleep go wash your face! You could also take some olive oil from his kitchen and use that with a hot face cloth (sounds strange but works well!)

  • Ali

    Oh Zoe, I started cleansing regularly a year ago after reading Amazing Face. After a terrible month where all the grunge came to the surface my skin looked better than ever and still does.. Despite a whole year worth of ageing! I brought toner back into my nightly routine thanks to you and pimps begone for good!!

  • Melissa

    Thanks Zoe! Will definitely make the effort to cleanse my face properly every night and not just use make up wipes! Just a quick question-I cleanse morning and night with a gentle cream cleanser, but after reading this I’m thinking of switching to using Cetaphil in the mornings and my cleanser only at night… is there such a thing as over cleansing?

  • Kim

    I am a notoriously lazy makeup remover but this has definitely terrified me into committing to cleansing! Linked to this article on my blog…hope that’s ok!

    Love your writing!

  • Joanne

    Um, I cleanse every night, mask weekly, exfoliate twice weekly have immensely sensitive skin, and my skin looks like this (if not worse) ALL THE TIME. Yep. If you’ve got a cure I’d love to try it!!

  • Msthisnthatblog

    I am passionate about cleansing at night, so please yell-write away! These scary photos prove what I always feared! I usually use a make-up remover wipe and the. cleanse with my dermalogica ultra calming cleanser. I actually reach a state of panic when my make-up wipes run out! I usually buy in bulk!

    Another tip, if you find yourself at a ‘friend’s’ unexpectantly or are too drunk to find your cleanser, some moisturiser or hand cream on a wad of tissues usually also does the trick…not that I’d know 😉

  • Ashamed and Enlightened

    WOAH okay so that’s why my skin is terrible at the moment! Thanks for the article. THANK YOU SO MUCH. xx

  • Beauty Sense

    Wow, those before and after pictures are frightening!

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