If you're anything like, oh, the average woman, you occasionally hop in bed with your makeup on, feeling bad-girl careless and guilt-ridden all at the same time. You know that sleeping with makeup on your face is bad for your skin, but sometimes you're just too tired — or tipsy, or the Bachelorette starts in two minutes and you need to be in bed now — to bother with the arduous task of facial cleansing. But this new U.K. experiment is about to shock you into adopting a serious nightly routine.
Anna Pursglove had a pretty average relationship to makeup and cleansing: Sometimes she washed her face, sometimes she didn't. She believed that the hype around washing off makeup may have been just another example of scaremongering by beauty industries, so she decided to conduct a little experiment. For one whole month, Pursglove would not wash off her makeup. She was allowed to get her face wet during her morning shower, but no cleansers were to be used, and every night she had to hit the pillow with a face full of Dior and L'Oreal.
Pursglove reported awful skin symptoms: Her face felt "so dry and taut, it felt like a mask," her skin was "flaky and lumpy," and her eyes itched. She even developed an eye infection due to a mascara-clumped lash getting into her eye overnight. Nasty.
At the end of the month, dermatologists examined her skin. Not only was her skin parched, irritated, and uneven, but her pores were stretched out, the wrinkles on the sides of her face were deeper, and she had eyelash dandruff. Worst of all, the derms concluded that Pursglove had aged ten years in 30 days. Is that not one of the most horrifying beauty facts you've heard in a while?
Now that we're all clutching our facial cleansers and rocking in a corner, here are a few facial cleansing tips to keep in mind:
1. Remove makeup first, then wash. Don't let your facial cleanser smear makeup all around your face. Using a gentle oil (olive oil on a cotton ball, anyone?), take off your makeup and then move to the washing routine.
2. Don't overdo it. Don't let Pursglove scare you into a lifetime of overexfoliating. Remember to be gentle — only exfoliate once or twice a week, and if you go to bed with clean skin, you can get away with a splash of cool water in the morning.
3. Rinse with lukewarm water. Scalding and freezing water can feel great on your face — like you're in a Nordic spa — but extreme temperatures can irritate your delicate skin.
4. Pat dry. Noticing a trend here? Always be gentle with your skin! Instead of scrubbing your face dry with a towel, gently pat the moisture off. It's good to leave a fine film of water on your skin before applying moisturizer.
5. Watch an instructional video. I know, they make instructional videos for everything these days. If you want to feel like a hippie goddess, Into the Gloss has an amazing two-part series about facial cleansing: Part 1 and Part 2. The upward-sweeping technique promises to make your skin look ten years younger. Whew.
Image: Ale Art on flickr