How To Wash Your Face Before Bed Like An Expert

4 minutes
September 26, 2022

On the surface (no pun intended), it seems pretty basic. After all, we’re frequently washing parts of ourselves throughout the day, whether it’s our hands, our hair, our bodies, or our faces. How much is there to know — really — about cleansing your complexion? Turns out, there’s a bit. And considering that by the evening, pores are packed with dirt, oil, makeup, and more, it makes sense to do the best cleansing job you can.

Cut down on cleanser

In general, you only need a dime-size amount of gel or lotion or one pump of foam to clean your complexion. More is just…more.

Ditch the double cleanse

Unless a long, leisurely evening skincare regimen is part of your wind-down routine, there’s really no need to wash your face twice. If you’re using a gentle cleanser formulated to remove waterproof makeup (in addition to whatever else it’s doing), one wash is enough. 

What cleanser should you use?

Just like the rest of your routine, you should select a cleanser based on your skin type. If you have dry or sensitive skin, look for a cleanser with hyaluronic acid, marine algae, and aloe. We suggest Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Meltaway Cleanser. If you fall outside of the sensitive skin category, your cleanser should have alpha and beta hydroxy acids, jasmine, and bisabolol. We like Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta AHA/BHA Daily Cleansing Gel.


Lower the temp

If you want to use water from an ice bucket to rinse your face, that’s totally your prerogative. But most people go to the other extreme when they’re at the sink, cranking up the heat. Using very hot water on your skin can be bad for your complexion. Not only does hot water strip off skin’s natural oils, it can also trigger irritation. Instead, splash your face with lukewarm water to remove your cleanser.

The best cleansing tools are right in front of you

We’re talking about your hands. They’re better than a washcloth, better than a brush, because they have a non-abrasive surface (even if your hands are ultra-dry, they’re still not going to be as rough as the softest brush). And because they’re clean. There’s something doctors call a fomite. Basically, it’s any object that holds bacteria and viruses and then transmits them back when touched. (Think doorknob, necktie…washcloth.) Unless you thoroughly wash and dry your tool after every single use, there’s a chance that something will breed in the interim, meaning that you could be massaging bacteria into your skin, along with your cleanser. Gross.

Peel at night, if need be

If you were wearing particularly heavy-duty makeup or you’re worried about other residue, use your Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel in the evening, instead of in the morning, to ensure you get every last lick of dirt and debris. 


Using a chemical exfoliant in the form of a two-step peel reduces the chance of irritation. Avoid cleansers with physical scrubs as these can damage the moisture barrier. 


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Written By

Kayla Kernel

Kayla is a Medical Esthetician with 10+ years of experience. Growing up, Kayla struggled with cystic acne and scarring. This experience drives her passion to help others on their skincare journey. Kayla specializes in all skin types, tones, and ages.

Read More from Kayla Kernel

Written By

Kayla Kernel

Kayla is a Medical Esthetician with 10+ years of experience. Growing up, Kayla struggled with cystic acne and scarring. This experience drives her passion to help others on their skincare journey. Kayla specializes in all skin types, tones, and ages.

Read More from Kayla Kernel