How to Wash Your Face at Night

Washing your face each night, but still suffering from skin issues such as dryness, breakouts, redness, or environmental damage? You might be using the wrong cleanser, over or under washing, or have sensitivities to ingredients.

Take a look at our informational guide to determine the importance of washing your face and what attention you should pay to your overall skin care routine each evening. Plus, certain ingredients can make this routine much more personalized and efficient for your own overall skin health.

Why You Want to Wash Your Face Each Night

If you generally skip washing your face each night since you have what you assume is healthy, clear skin, you might want to rethink your reasoning. Through the day your face is exposed to your environment and ALL the elements, building up microscopic dirt and pollution, and mixing it all together with the natural oils your skin emits to make a nice layer of sludge upon your skin. If that isn’t enough to convince you that your face is dirty, consider that your skin sheds up to 8 pounds of skin a year, so it is in a constant state of sloughing off dead skin that adds to the whole mess on your face.

When you wash your face each night, you are helping to wash off this layer of grime and open up your pores and clear them from impurities. You also help boost hydration, and when combined with a regular routine will combat the signs of aging and protect against environmental damage.

Types of Face Washes to Consider

It is so easy to be confused about which cleanser is best for your skin. With the huge amount of options out there, you can get caught up with both the type of face wash and the ingredient list. First, understand the cleanser types that are out there to determine which might be best for your skin type, and also what you personally prefer. Then you can take a closer look at the ingredients.

— Bars

Cleansing bars used to be the staple for cleaning any and all parts of your body, but a movement away from them as being too harsh and drying for delicate skins saw a disappearance for a while. But cleansing bars have made a comeback and are specialized for face and neck, excluding the soap ingredients and m=being made with nourishing ingredients. These are great for travel as well.

— Gel

Clear and gently cleansing, gels are designed for deep cleaning without stripping your natural facial oils, help remove impurities from deep within the pores, and can focus on acne-causing bacterias. Many include antiseptic properties and also may include a gentle, daily exfoliator.

— Foam

Foam cleansers are lighter in weight than a gel cleanser and often start out as a gel or cream-like consistency then foam up as you use it. This activation helps it get deep into pores to remove impurities and removes excess oils without stripping the skin. This is usually a great choice for combination skin.

— Cream

Cream cleansers are popular with sensitive and extremely dry skin and form a cleansing layer over the surface of the skin. They are not as aggressive as other cleansers, and often are popular as a follow up wash to help remove leftover dirt’s and oil while providing a hydrating barrier.

— Clay and Charcoal

Clay and charcoal cleansers are oil absorbing and get deep into pores to pull out impurities. Many times these may be used within a gel or even cream like cleanser, and may include gentle exfoliating materials to help get the ingredients deep into pores. They are great for combination skin.

— Oil

It may sound odd to use an oil based cleanser to help remove oils on your skin, but some oils are better than others and help break down impurities mixed into oil based products (especially makeups) to leave your skin clean without disrupting the moisture barrier. These are often a good starting cleanser for anyone who does need to remove makeup and allows you to follow up with another gentle cleanser option.

— Micellar

Micellar cleansers are a gentle choice that is made of a water with tiny oil molecules to help attract oils, dirts, and makeup from deep within the pores. It is a highly effective option for sensitive skins and provides a pore tightening effect as well.

— Balms

Cleansing balms are excellent for sensitive and overly dry skins and goes on smoothly to wipe off without water. This is another great choice to use as a replacement for a more traditional cleanser, or as a first step. It help protect the moisture barrier and hydrates while it cleans.

Cleanser Ingredients for a Healthier Skin

Depending on the type of skin you have, you will want to watch for certain ingredients to avoid exasperating any skin issues you may face, and helping to soothe, hydrate, and heal problematic areas. Of course, washing your face is only one step towards a healthier skin routine each evening, but it is an extremely important one.

Normal Skin

Normal skin is generally clear of breakouts, is not overly oily or dry, and has smallish pores without much effort on your part. The use of salicylic acid, vitamin C, chemical exfoliants, and retinol help increase cellular turnover to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, smooth out uneven skin tone, and work to increase hydration.

Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you want to focus on ingredients that help reduce oil and shine, work to reduce breakouts, and get deep into pores to remove excess oils. Look for natural oils, such as tea tree oil that reduces oil buildup and kills acne causing bacteria, as well as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and glycolic acid. Vitamin C can help rduce acne scarring and smooth out to heal skin as well.

Dry Skin

Dry skin can actually result in more clogged pores than oily skin, and is a culprit of regular breakouts. Use a cleanser that hydrates and moisturizes while cleaning deep into the pores. Lactic acids, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and natural oils can work to deep clean and hydrate. Avoid drying ingredients that are designed to reduce oils to avoid skin irritations.

Combination or Sensitive Skin

Combination and sensitive skins need a gentle cleanser designed to get deep into the pores in a manner that is gentle and hydrating. The purpose in choosing ingredients is to avoid furthering or causing irritation, and so a good hydrating choice that works to target any concerns you have is best. This skin type truly depends on a good routine to stay healthy.

How to Wash Your Face Properly

Even if you choose the proper cleanser for your skin type, you want to be sure to use your wash effectively. Keep in mind the following Do’s and Don’ts for a healthier cleaning experience.

  • Do make sure to remove makeup before cleansing and to allow it to be truly effective.
  • Do use a cleanser specific to your skin type
  • Do use lukewarm water and avoid cold water, which will close up pores, or too hot of water that may create dryness or irritation
  • Do ash in small, outward strokes and circles – not up and down
  • Avoid washcloths that can harbor bacterias and create irritation when scrubbing
  • Don’t wash only your face, but include your neck and chest
  • Do pat your face dry, don’t rub

Other Beneficial Steps for Healthier Skin

As mentioned, washing your face is only one step to a healthier skin. Following a good routine that includes toners, the occasional mask and gentle exfoliator, serums, eye treatments, and moisturizers are all part of a good night time guide.

Nighttime Skin Care Routines

Take a look at our article Nighttime Skin Care Routines to see the details of these steps and what products and ingredients you definitely want to take advantage of.


Hopefully this article has explained why not only should you wash your face each night, but what you should use for your specific skin type. Don’t feel overwhelmed by your options, or feel a one-size-fits-all approach is best to keeping a healthier skin. Instead, narrow down your facial skin type and design a routine that works to help with cellular turnover while hydrating and healing.

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