Social media went into one of its thrice-daily meltdowns last month when makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury was quoted as having said women should sleep in makeup for the good of their marriages.
A glance below the online tabloid headline (later changed) revealed that she hadn’t said this at all, but who cares about fair game in the highly profitable sport of making women hate each another?
What women do with their own faces, marriages and pillowcases is precisely none of my business. But I was interested in the degrees of horror expressed at the very idea of failing to cleanse.
For the absence of doubt, I care not a hoot when my husband sees me barefaced, but I do care very much about skin condition, and believe strongly that sleeping in makeup worsens it. In the short term, it can cause tomorrow’s eyes to stream, and skin to become dehydrated and dull. Over the long term, sleeping in makeup can induce acne.
The unconvinced should take consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk’s word for it. “During the day, sebum and dead cells build up on the skin’s surface and in our pores. Makeup forms a layer over this and increases the chances of pore-clogging and breakouts,” she says.
“Our skin is exposed to pollution throughout the day. In industrialised areas, this has been associated with increased rates of acne. Pollution also contributes to skin ageing, like brown spots. If we’re not removing makeup before bed, we’re likely not removing these pollution particles from our skin, either.”
All this said, I’m no fan of the sometimes oddly aggressive tone of online skincare dogma.
There is more to life than skincare. My youth wouldn’t have been as fun had I been preoccupied with tomorrow’s pores whenever I landed giddily on a mattress. Nor do I think a few tipsy overnights spent in full slap did much lasting harm. Even now, I’m no skincare saint. As with eating, sleeping and exercising, it’s what we do most of the time that matters.
And so, on the vast majority of evenings, I propel myself from the sofa at around 8pm (any later and I’m too tired), massage in some cleansing balm such as Farmacy Green Clean, (£24, 50ml), add a dash of water to make it milky, then sweep away with a wet flannel, washing again if necessary. It is absolutely for the good of one’s skin. But occasionally, we can live a little.