As I’ve gotten older, I feel like I’ve tried to squeeze more and more activities and ‘priorities’ into my schedule around my 9.30-6pm startup job. I say ‘priorities’ in inverted commas, because my productivity guilt always likes to remind me that having too many priorities simply means that those tasks are not true priorities. I know this, and yet I still want to try my best to do them all – sue me!
Between going to the gym, which I like to do before work, working on my skincare TikTok account, building Maeva with my co-founder, Ben, seeing friends AND getting 7 hours (at least) of sleep, it is a real challenge. A challenge that I’m sure you can relate to if you’re sitting reading this. It’s a question I repeatedly get asked, and one that I feel is very nuanced and personal. The good thing is that the topic lends itself well to a blog, so strap in because here we go.
Let’s be clear that there is no right or wrong answer here, but in my honest opinion I feel that, even though sweat is water soluble, if you’re particularly acne prone or want to take the utmost care of your skin, it is generally a good idea to cleanse after you work out.
The caveat to this is that if you didn’t sweat at all (I know sometimes I don’t sweat at all if I’m slowly pushing weights doing upper body exercises in the absolute dead of winter) I don’t feel it’s 100% necessary. If you can feel yourself that your face did not sweat at all, I am giving you permission to skip the cleansing routine afterwards. It’s all about making a sensible decision to prevent yourself from cleansing unnecessarily.
So what if you did indeed sweat, as most of us do after a 6am Barry’s class? Do you need to single or double cleanse? My general rule of thumb is as follows.
Double cleanse if:
Single cleanse if:
For a good few years now I’ve been skipping cleansing in the morning, and I think it’s one of the best little known secrets for dry-dehydrated skin. A lot of people are surprised (note: horrified) when they learn this, and I won’t go into them now, but you can find out more about the benefits of skipping AM cleansing in this video.
If you’ve learned about said benefits, have tried the method and want to maintain it, but you struggle to understand how to combine it with a morning workout, I have some bad news for you. The bottom line is that I don’t feel these two choices are very compatible.
I used to love working out after work or in the late afternoon. I would simply apply my skincare to my dry face in the morning, do my 6pm workout, double cleanse immediately and then follow up with my full skincare routine. More recently I started a new job that led me to prefer morning workouts, and I have to say… I don’t feel it’s possible to avoid cleansing twice at all times if this is your preferred schedule. Nonetheless, here is how I do my best to incorporate it:
I know this isn’t how everybody is, a lot of people like to do cardio every morning which inevitably causes enough sweating to warrant cleansing. My bottom line is that, if this is you, I think you do most likely need to cleanse twice per day. The alternative would be to experiment with alternative workout times, such as after work. Lunchtime workouts are a tricky one, in all honesty I’d treat them the same as a morning workout using the bullets above. You also have to lug your full skincare bag to work with you if you’re in the office – yeesh.
One final thing to note is that, if you prefer to cleanse once per day, but don’t feel it’s compatible with your workout schedule, I’d highly recommend making sure you’re using a gentle cleanser that meets this criteria:
Lastly, you can try pairing the cleanser with a super soft microfibre flannel, like these, to lessen the irritation of your cleansing routine even further.