What Time Should You Wash Your Face at Night? Hint: It’s Not Before You Go to Bed

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You’ve finally found the right cleanser for your skin type, and you know how to wield it. You’ve even kicked that sleeping-in-your-makeup habit. But there’s one cleansing tweak that could boost your p.m. skin-care routine even further, and it has everything to do with timing.

Instead of waiting until right before you go to bed to wash off the day’s grime, you should be cleansing earlier.

How early, though? We’re talking when the sun starts to set.

Science lesson: Just like your body, your skin cells follow a circadian rhythm (aka internal clock). And because of this, your skin’s natural repair mechanisms start to kick in when it starts getting dark. That means while you’re winding down, your skin stem cells are hard at work creating new cells and replacing old ones. 

Cleansing earlier keeps your skin’s internal clock in sync, and according to researchers at the Center for Genomic Regulation, maintaining your skin’s circadian rhythm can protect it against damage and signs of aging. This also means you can maximize the benefits of your nighttime products. Because your skin isn’t busy defending itself from daytime pollution and UV rays, it can work on absorbing actives like retinols and serums (the ones you paid big money for). 

And as an added bonus, jump-starting your nightly routine eliminates the whole “I’m too tired to cleanse” issue entirely. It’s called beauty sleep for a reason, right?

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Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...