Prev Next

Now I Lay Me Down To Nap…Should I Wash My Face First?

By Amalah

Hi Amy,
I have a sleep disorder, Idiopathic Hypersomnia. I’m being treated, but my meds haven’t gotten sorted out yet to where I don’t have to sleep during the day. This is my dilemma:
I get up in the morning, wash with the Purity cleanser, use the Hope in a Bottle, and if I have time, I use Bare Minerals for my makeup. I also put on a little eye liner and mascara. I go to work, work my 6 hours as a secretary, come home, usually take a nap, and then shower before I go to bed at night using the Philosophy line again. But shouldn’t I be removing my makeup before that much needed nap? But I feel strange washing everything off like it’s the end of the day when it isn’t. I don’t mind reapplying the makeup if I have to go somewhere (and go without it a lot of the time) but then, what do I do before bed during my shower? It would be strange to not wash my face then. Plus, I’m not sure I should be repeating my skincare routine a mere six hours apart. Not to mention that by the time I’m ready to take this nap, my body has been screaming for sleep for about 3-4 hours so removing the make up is the last thing on my mind.
Any help for a severely sleepy gal?

Let me answer your question with another question: if you DON’T wash your face before your nap…are you breaking out? Are your pores congested? Does your skin seem at all irritated when you wake up, or are you destroying your pillowcases with terrible makeup smears?
If the answer to most of these questions is “no,” then…don’t worry about it! Goodness, I’ve collapsed into many afternoon naps and never gave my makeup a second thought. (Until I wake up, that is, since I am a very…ahem…sweaty sleeper and usually wake up need a major clean-up around my eyes and some deep de-shining on my face.)
Sure, we all need to take very good care of our skin — it’s the only skin we’ll get, after all — but let’s not get neurotic here. There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with washing your face six hours after your morning routine (or less! if say, you wake up and freshen up before hitting the gym, and then rewash there). There’s nothing “wrong” with catching a few zzzzs with your makeup still on your face.
Unless…ta da…it’s wrong FOR YOU.
I’ve had quite a few people email me to argue about my no-SPF-at-night stance. Some provide links to other beauty columns and articles stating that it’s okay to wear sunscreen to bed. (Although read Allure for a few months back-to-back and you’ll see that beauty experts looooove to contradict each other.) And all I can respond with is…hey, if you wear sunscreen to bed and still have perfect skin, that’s awesome. FOR YOU. If I wear any product with SPF overnight, I wake up with an oil slick on my face and after a few days my pores turn black and I break out. So when I get emails from people complaining about oily, congested skin, I’m going to tell them what worked FOR ME and for a few people I know in real life — skip the SPF at night in favor of a gentler, more pore-friendly moisturizer.
But…if it ain’t broke, there’s nothing to fix, and therefore, nothing to stress over. I don’t want to sit here writing high-maintenance solutions to non-existent problems, you know?
300-3.jpgNow. If you sense that something is not right with your skin — extra oil, redness, darker, more prominent eye bags, etc. — then it’s time to start looking for a fix, but not before. Your body deserves just as much care as your skin, and if it’s screaming for a nap, then by all means TAKE A NAP and worry about your smeared makeup later.
A quicker option — if you do think your skin would benefit from a quick pre-nap freshening up — would be to remove your makeup with a gentle disposable cleansing cloth (like or ) before your nap. Or just remove your eye makeup (which can cause more irritation or settle deeper into fine lines than say, foundation) with a cotton ball and some eye makeup solvent before hitting the sheets. Maybe just try to add these steps in on nights when you know you’ll be staying home. Then shower and wash and moisturize as usual when you shower.
And by all means, get some sleep!

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon


  • Kat

    August 8, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I gotta say, the disposable cleansing cloths seem excessively wasteful.

  • NGS

    August 8, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    I just have to say that I have used the Neutrogena disposable cleaning cloths and always felt like I needed to wash my face again afterwards. I had them for the gym, thinking it would be easy, but I ended up just bringing a bar of soap with me.
    This probably wouldn’t happen with everyone using them, but they aren’t my favorite things.

  • caleal

    August 8, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I don’t think it seems wasteful, at all. There’s tons of those wipes, as removers and cleansers, and people use them all the time. With her medication getting straightened out, it will most likely be an even LESS than once a day option.

  • Sugared Harpy

    August 10, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    I use the disposable wipes at times, mainly when I’m staying over at the boyfriend’s house, and I LOVE THEM. Takes off all makeup, reduces my chances of breaking out even if I’m not wearing any makeup, and generally lets me feel more clean.
    Note: I actually like Target and Walgreen’s brands better than the Ponds or Olay brand wipes. Something about them feels more clean, less leftover substance on my face feeling if that makes sense. And they are way cheaper, I bought them for the cheap but now use them because they just work better for me.

  • Jessica

    August 10, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I never remove makeup before a nap, but I always do before the gym. I use the generic (Walmart, FOR SHAME) version of the Pond’s face cloths and love them. I’ve even used them at night once or twice when washing my face and moisturizing is too tiring or complicated in my current state 🙂
    Either way, do what works FOR YOU.

  • Brandi

    August 11, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Thank you so much for answering my question!
    The naps with the makeup don’t seem to be causing any problems. Of course I can’t seem to get my sleep worked out to where I don’t eversleep three days a week and have no time for makeup, so maybe i’m not wearing it enough to cause noticeable problems.
    I had hoped the Philosphy would clear my skin a little more by now, so maybe the makeup is a factor. I’ll get some removing cloths and use those and see if the skin improves.
    Thanks again!

  • MooMeow

    August 11, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I have to say, I’ve had horrible luck with the disposable cloths. All brands I’ve tried make me break out. It doesn’t matter if they are pre-moistened or the dry kind you add water to. So I stick to a mild soap or cleanser and use a regular washcloth. I have a number of brands that seem to work well so I alternate depending on season and my personal grimy-ness/oily-ness that day. I like the Clinique bar soap, or Pre-de- Provence milk and honey or lavender bar soap. I also like the Mary Kay Velocity cleanser every so often. I have the Philosophy cleanser and I’ve had NO improvement at all, and I’m actually getting more blackheads from it. So back to the bar soaps for me.

  • Stephanie

    August 12, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    When my kids were still in diapers, I used plain old baby wipes when I was too tired to wash my face. A couple of years later, I bought some “real” face-cleaning cloths (maybe Oil of Olay, not sure) and decided that I liked the cheap baby wipes much better. They don’t leave a residue and they don’t over-dry. Plus, they’re nice and soft, and, best of all, cheap.