Should I wash my face in the morning? was admittedly never a question I asked myself. The answer was, without a doubt, yes. Why wouldn’t I give myself a morning cleanse? After a night of lathering on a handful of serums, treatments, and supercharged elixirs, I thought it best to start my day with a fresh face by way of a gentle cleanse. That is until I read French pharmacist Natacha Bonjout’s beauty secrets to your best skin ever.
She describes la manière française as a less-is-more approach—prioritizing multitasking heroes like her newly launched eight-in-one Le Balm Skin Savior Solid Sérum and natural remedies whenever possible. To me most of her secrets were to be expected, but there was one step that I couldn’t stop thinking about: Skip your morning cleanse.
“Cleansing your skin in the morning removes the delicate layer of sebum that your skin produces overnight to protect itself from external factors, like pollutants or bad bacteria,” Bonjout tells Vogue. “This layer of sebum is beneficial for your skin, so it is a pity to remove this exceptional, naturally produced, beneficial shield.”
Skipping the morning wash, though, means that your nighttime cleanse is that much more important. Enlist the double-cleansing method, first with an oil-based formula or micellar water to remove sunscreen and makeup, then with a water-based, gentle cleanser to get rid of any remaining impurities. This process leaves the skin squeaky clean and ready to absorb your cherished bedtime skin care products. By morning your skin has worked overtime to repair itself. In retrospect, why would we want to disturb this with a morning cleanse?
Instead, Bonjout says many French women simply mist thermal water or some sort of floral toner all over their face before diving into the vitamin C serums and SPF that constitute their daytime routines. “I will always remember my mother—and she got that from my grandmother—using fresh rose floral water, freshly made by the pharmacist, every morning before her skin care routine,” she says. Avène’s mist, Fresh’s Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner, and Herbivore’s Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist are her top picks available stateside.
To give the method a try, I reached for a different Fresh formula—the label’s no-rinse cleansing treatment: The liquid is enriched with prebiotic inulin, kombucha, and soapberry-peel extract to balance, protect, smooth, and illuminate the skin with consistent use. Upon swapping my normal AM face wash with the treatment, I expected my skin to feel almost dirty. To my pleasant surprise, my skin felt fresh as ever. Overall I’ve experienced less dryness and a more even, glowing complexion. I’ve been doing this for over two months now, and I’m committed to ditching my morning cleanse for good. And at the very least, I appreciate a simplified regime in the morning, when I have a full makeup regime that follows. Minimalist skin care means every step should count, after all. Below, more hydrating mists and toners to consider.