The way that skin-care obsessives talk about taking your makeup off before bed, you'd think leaving so much as a trace of mascara behind is a crime punishable by death. And while the bottom line is that, yes, you should be washing your face at night, for the non-cleansing contingent, old habits die hard.
So, instead of buying yet another face wash that'll collect dust in your bathroom cabinet while you drift off to sleep fully made-up once again, go deep. Ask yourself, why? Do you find it impossible to remember, and only have that lightbulb moment once you're already well under the covers? Or is it a case of finding the process a bit defeating, because you still always seem to wake up with errant mascara stains on your pillowcase?
Perhaps only once you get to the source will you find a solution. If you're the forgetful sort, that solution might be keeping makeup wipes, or a few cotton pads and micellar water, on your bedside table. You don't need a mirror, or running water, so you can just remove everything from the comfort of your bed and toss it all in the morning. And if you just can't seem to get all your makeup off, no matter how hard you try, you need a stronger, more efficient makeup remover to streamline the process for you. A thorough cleanse with a powerful yet non-irritating formula, like Clinique's cult-classic Take The Day Off Makeup Remover, will make the process that much quicker, getting you in bed that much faster.
There's a reason that removing your makeup before bed is so important, and it's not just to keep sales of makeup remover on the up and up. Your skin goes through its most important regenerative processes at night, shedding dead skin cells and cycling them out for new ones. Makeup impedes that natural exfoliation process, so your skin becomes increasingly duller over time. And if you're not taking off your makeup, chances are you don't have a nightly skin-care routine — which, depending on your skin type and concerns, might be one factor standing between you and great skin.
And aside from just the makeup, celebrity facialist Teresa Tarmey says there's another thing that can build up on your skin: grime and pollution. "The makeup and dirt clogs pores, potentially leading to a breakout, especially if there's any kind of silicone or oil in your makeup," she says. "The skin works its magic at night, and it will really absorb any products left on the skin."
Part of the reason that skin-care professionals and beauty experts are so evangelical about cleansing is that once you understand the skin's fundamental needs, and see the benefits of treating it right, it's hard to ignore the damage that neglecting it can do. Aesthetic doctor David Jack even says he considers cleansing and exfoliating more important than moisturizing, which should give you an idea of the magnitude. Your skin needs to slough off dead skin cells, and sleeping in your makeup impedes that process — meaning you're going to have a lot of congestion on the skin. This renewal process is also how your skin regenerates collagen and elastin, which keeps it looking fresh and bouncy.
The other variable, as Tarmey touched upon, is pollution. We're only just starting to understand how damaging it can be to the skin — there's reason to believe it could even be as detrimental as UV rays. Plus, we already know that there’s a higher incidence of acne in high air-pollution areas, and that pollution seems to be able to interfere with the skin’s barrier function. So no, the importance of washing off your makeup at night is not a conspiracy invented to sell makeup remover. If you still don't buy it, that's your call... but do be sure to give your face a very thorough wash in the morning.