Should you not wash your face in the morning?

Oh wow, Huffington Post really made a big deal out of Michelle Phan’s lack of morning facial washing routine. The whole headline just screamed, “Michelle Phan: I don’t wash my face in the morning”. Many of her young followers going through their puberty and following her advice based on that headline might just end up wondering why their skin isn’t half as nice as hers. What they don’t realize is that she is saying one thing but doing something else.

Michelle Phan was commenting on how a few things that keeps her skin from breaking out and that includes drinking lots of water, lots of green tea, put on sunscreen and then not washing her face in the morning. However, if you read carefully, she does wash her face, just that she doesn’t use a facial cleanser.

And I don’t wash my face in the morning. I know that might sound gross to some people but essentially when you’re sleeping and your pillows are clean, all you need to do in the morning is wipe down [your face] with a wet cloth. A lot of the times when you’re constantly washing your face over and over again, it dries the skin and your skin will produce more oil which causes breakouts. So it’s all about keeping balance on your skin and applying a light moisturizer in the day time.

She washes her face all right because she uses a wet cloth. She just doesn’t use a facial cleanser. Strictly speaking, someone who doesn’t wash her face is someone who does nothing to her face or just splash some water over her face without any other aid.

Anyway, I have no idea why people are so interested in this topic or are encouraging others not to wash their face in the morning. Is it because they are trying to save their water bills? Is it because they’re lazy? Or is it because they want to sleep in longer?

While I agree that our skin is not so dirty in the morning, washing with a cloth or with some cream cleanser is still ideal because you’re priming your face for the day ahead. You may like to know that you’re encouraging blood circulation to your skin when you wash your face. Plus, depending on what you apply the night before, you might just have accumulated some dead skin and oil build up. It’s definitely wise to wash them off in the morning before you apply more products on your skin.

Anyway, Michelle Phan is not the only celebrity endorsing this weird routine. Salma Hayek is saying the same.

One strange tip—don’t wash it in the morning, at all, never. Because at night your skin is rebuilding some of the oils that you need to keep your skin young, and it balances the PH. So in the morning if you take them off—you can splash it with water, do something mild—but you don’t want to get rid of that. And if your skin is dirty in the morning, it means you didn’t clean well at night.

I think Salma Hayek is more extreme than Michelle Phan but if you read what she’s saying carefully, she is just advocating a mild face cleansing process.

If you’ve been reading these articles wondering if you should wash your face in the morning, I hope this clears up for you. The whole idea is not to over cleanse your face. Cleanse with a non-soapy cleanser or creamy cleanser but there’s certainly no need to double cleanse.

So who’s the brave one who is not washing your face in the morning? It’s time to own up!


  1. Sara says:

    I don’t use facial cleanser in the morning too. In fact, it was recommended by a dermatologist. I just wash my face with water and dab it dry with a clean face towel. Glad to know that it’s practiced by both Michelle Phan and Salma Hayek!

  2. Amanda says:

    The thought of not washing my face in the morning weirds me out. It’s a routine/habit at this point. Maybe it’s a placebo effect at this point, who knows.
    Amanda last post is: Happy National Knock Knock Joke Day!

  3. Catherine says:

    Marie never washes her face in the morning. In fact she wrote a blog post on why rinsing with just water is a good routine,

  4. Marjolein says:

    Me too, just water.
    No soap no cleanser.

  5. xin says:

    i have never ever left my face unwashed in the morning before, but i do use milk cleanser ever since i discovered milk cleanser years back, in fact i find that my face is more moisturized than before cleansing!
    xin last post is: It’s a different kind of Monday: Canvas Painting – Tree of Love!

  6. fwy says:

    I use to splash water on my face in the morning but found my skin tone getting darker. Later, I realised it could be because i did not wash it in the morning & thus dirt buit up slowly. After I started washing my face with a cleanser again in the morning, my skin tone turns slightly fairer. If you ask me, It’s up to individual. If the routine works for you, just stick with it.

  7. Annie says:

    Well not washing my face in the morning is the norm for me though. In fact, in the past there is never a female who saw my naked face and not compliment my skin. This was before my adult acne kick in though which I attribute to diet, lifestyle and hormone more than anything. Some people don’t need to wash their face, if their skin is naturally not oily. I used to have normal skin (it’s drier now as I get older) , so I didn’t find washing my skin was necessary. This was all before all of this celebrity endorsement of this weird method like you said. There is a bunch of people who does this more than you thought sesame.

  8. Lanie says:

    I also have not been Washing my face the traditional way every morning… for the last 30 days…my routine is like this..
    Day 1- Oil Cleansing at night
    Day2 – just wash with water in the morning.. then Oil Cleanse at night…
    Day 3 – -Oil Cleanse in the morning and evening
    Day 4 – just wash with water in the morning.. then Oil Cleanse at night
    Day 5: -Oil Cleanse in the morning and evening
    Day 6: just wash with water in the morning.. then Oil Cleanse at night
    Day 7:-Oil Cleanse in the morning and evening
    Lanie last post is: Peg: Newscaster Hairstyle

  9. Reese says:

    Well, I do know someone who doesn’t wash her face in the morning, instead she wipes her face clean with toner.

  10. Sesame says:

    I see…glad it works well for you.

  11. Sesame says:

    I agree it may be more of a habit…but it also depends on what you’ve used on your face the night before.

  12. Sesame says:

    I see…

  13. Sesame says:

    Hmm…interesting a few of you are doing just that.

  14. Sesame says:

    I like milk cleanser or cream cleanser. Think it’s better than oil cleanser.

  15. Sesame says:

    Oh? I think it might be the dead cells building up, causing your skin tone to look darker.

  16. Sesame says:

    But I do wonder what they use the night before. I suppose if not washing works well for some people, why not? Save on products too!

  17. Sesame says:

    So it’s more like alternating between oil cleansing and water cleansing? Interesting. Never tried alternating my cleansing routine.

  18. Sesame says:

    I was doing that one stage and I consider it cleansing though cos the wiping down aids to remove any dirt or grime.

  19. Therese says:

    Interesting topic! I was just reading a post on Caroline Hiron’s blog about washing ones face in the morning. She reckons that if you are using products at night to moisturise (heavier moisturiser) or retinol (for cell turnover) etc then you are ound to have dead skin or oil or sweat on your face in the morning. Why would you not want to thoroughly cleanse this off before starting your routine for the day?! I always clean with a very mild exfoliating wash that leaves me feeling fresh but not stripped.

  20. Lanie says:

    yes it worked for me Sesame.. sometimes on my water cleansing days (weekends–when I dont have to go outside).. I scrub my face with orange pulp (since we juice lots of oranges– might as well put it to good use)..the results in my new blog.. entry entitled.. Day 19: Clearer skin with fasting, oil cleansing and lymph drainage massage for the face
    Lanie last post is: Pure Henna Results

  21. Lanie says:

    oh I had to say— the water cleansing days.. also involves wiping with a clean face cloth.. I have 12 face clothes (which I even labeled with the days of the week).. so I have fresh newly laundered face cloth.. in the morning and evening — almost every day.
    Lanie last post is: Pure Henna Results

  22. Sesame says:

    Exactly! I share her sentiments. I don’t believe all the serum, gel, lotions or cream get absorbed so some are bound to stay on the skin and this requires some cleansing the morning after. I prefer to cleanse using something mild and then begin my morning routine. Like you’ve mentioned, that leaves me feeling fresh but not stripped.

  23. Sesame says:

    I prefer sponge over wash cloth. Still loving the Konjac!

  24. Waskita says:

    Interesting topic. I’ve never think the use of facial cleanser in the morning will remove the benefits of skin regeneration while we sleep.
    Waskita last post is: Cara Menghilangkan Komedo Di Hidung Dan Wajah

  25. Sesame says:

    I think using a mild one should be fine.

  26. Savannah says:

    I have naturally oily skin so washing it with a cream cleanser in the morning is essential, plus I just love the clean feeling in the morning!

  27. Susan says:

    I was my face with a ph neutral goats milk soap that is very mild then I follow it with a goats milk face cream and have done for many years. It seems to be working because I am 47 and still get mistaken for someone almost 10 years younger ?
    I have never used expensive face products in my life.
    Oh and one other thing I do and many forget to is drink at least 3 litres of water every day. If you make this one change you will see a lot of difference in your face alone. We forget out body is made up if mostly water.

  28. Catherine Wong says:

    When I was in Singapore, I had to wash my face in the morning and at night.

    But since moving to Alaska, I only wash my face in before I go to bed and I just rinse my face with water and wipe down with a towel in the morning.

    I think it really depends on the skin type, and the climate you’re in. Since I’m in a dryer climate, my skin tends to get a little drier, and I don’t sweat as much.

  29. Sesame says:

    Yup, I like using cream cleanser in the mornings too.

  30. Sesame says:

    Goats milk soap? Sounds very interesting. ?

  31. Sesame says:

    I think so…weather plays an important role in our skincare routine.

  32. chenyze says:

    I’ve been trying this for a month now, since your article. I didn’t see much difference for the first two weeks or so – my face was still pretty oily by late afternoon. But I just realised a few days ago that my skin is significantly less oily even come evening. Very cool. (=

  33. Sesame says:

    Oh that’s great! I’m glad it’s working well for your skin.

  34. maria says:

    Nice post! I used to not wash my face at all – except for nightly showers. That was when I was a teenager and my skin was even-toned, clear, and supple. Adult acne changed that for me. Still miss that natural routine -__-

  35. Sesame says:

    Ah I see. The routine will work well for those with little problems on their skin.

  36. Cavemen says:

    What a load of bullcrap. You don’t need to wash your face ever.

  37. Mary says:

    I haven’t used any cleanser in the morning for 20 years. I do use a wash cloth and water though and I find that leaves my skin perfectly clean, even with using Retin A and niacinamide serum the night before. I use a good moisturizing cleanser every evening to remove daily hydroxy serum, makeup and sunblock (I wear sunblock 365 days a year unless I’m home sick in bed). The wash cloth does a good job of removing any skin buildup.

    I wash my pillow cases/sheets once a week.

  38. Sesame says:

    Yes, wash cloth is very useful and works well for our skin without a cleanser in the morning.

  39. Nina says:

    I have been suffering from acne for a few years now and without reading anything anywhere I decided to wash my face before going to sleep using a cream cleanser (and a scrub every two days) and moisturiser. In the morning I just splash water in my face and pat dry it with a towel. I’ve been doing this for two weeks and I haven’t seen one pimple or breakout. When I washed my face twice each day (morning and night) with a cleanser I would have breakouts everyday. And not only that, my face feels softer, and it looks healthier. I just searched what I was doing to see if people thought what I was doing is fine, I guess I found my answer. XD

  40. Wendy says:

    If i wash my face in the morning i am sleepy all day. At night i just wash my face with a warm small wash cloth, something my grandmother did and she had the most soft and youthful face at 80’s, and my face feels good.
    Once a week i do a sugar scrub wash, just as my grandmother did, and i do not apply make up. And i feel good.
    But ya, that is me………..

  41. Sesame says:

    You feel sleepy if you wash your face in the mornin? That sounds quite strange. I wonder why. I would have thought washing our face keeps us more refresh. But if whatever you’re doing works for you, just keep at it. ?

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