It’s safe to say that right now, all of our routines are completely out of whack. Time is a flexible construct, and our usual “morning” and “evening” routines have shuffled and now take place at pretty much any hour of the day. Instead of a.m. workouts, we’re now able to break a sweat whenever we want, which is great! But what, exactly, does that mean for when I should wash my face?
The good news, according to board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, is that the topsy-turvy we’re currently living in (and the “sweat whenever you want” schedule its allowed) does not mean that you need to be washing your face more than usual. “I still believe in using ingredients to protect and prevent in the morning and repair in the evening, but people’s sleeping and work and workout schedules are becoming disrupted,” says Dr. Zeichner. And since every other part of your routine is changing, your skin-care routine also needs to change to adapt.
If you’re waking up, getting in some work, and then working out at around noon, wash your face after you’ve sweat. “Whenever you work out, I would always recommend washing your face afterwards,” says Dr. Zeichner. “If you’re going to skip one face wash, it probably would be the morning. I’d have you wait until after your workout to wash your face and put on your vitamin C serum and everything else.”
If you’re working out in the evening, the same general post-workout skin-care routine principle applies. You’ll want to wash off the sweat immediately afterwards, but since your nighttime actives, like retinol, are meant to work in full force while you’re sleeping, you’ll want to time their application with when you hit the sack. “We know that the skin’s hydration levels start to decline in the second half of the day, so you can cleanse your face after your 6 p.m. workout and put on a night cream, and then before bed you can do the rest of the routine and apply another layer of moisturizer,” says Dr. Zeichner. If the thought of waking up or going to bed without washing your face feels downright terrifying, you can give your skin a once-over with some micellar water, but stay away from a full lather and rinse. Then, come tomorrow… repeat.
Need some ideas? See what happened when I tried three of the most intense celebrity morning routines I could find:
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