How to Save Money on Facial Moisturizers: Stop Washing Your Face

What is the ultimate in natural skin care products? Moisturizers from your own skin. Treat yourself everyday to an exclusive facial moisturizer, better than anything you’ll find at Neiman Marcus. Let your skin produce its own natural oils and don’t wash them away.


It always impresses me how women will spend hundreds of dollars on skin cleansers and toners, then spend hundreds more dollars on exclusive facial moisturizers to replace the “cellular” oils that they just stripped off.

Here is a great tip: there is no better moisturizer for your face than its own natural oils. Your skin goes to great trouble to produce “exclusive,” highly modified fats, like ceramides and cholesterols to keep its surface smooth and well protected. Why not keep them there? The best natural cure for dry, dull skin is your skin’s oils.

If you have normal to dry skin:

  • Wash your face at night with a gentle cleanser such as Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser. Be sure to remove all traces of makeup, especially along the hairline. Rinse well and pat dry.
  • In the morning, wash with just water. Skip the soap.

If you have oily skin:

The bottom line: allow the natural oils in your skin to stay on your skin, giving you a truly natural glow.

Photo credit: Kenna Takahashi,

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29 thoughts on “How to Save Money on Facial Moisturizers: Stop Washing Your Face”

  1. What about men, specifically regarding a wetshaving routine? Wash before bed then just a hot rinse before shaving? Or a gentle glycerin or botanical soap/wash before shaving?

  2. Do you have an opinion on the oil cleansing method?
    I’ve been reading a lot about it lately. While it seems to be the opposite of everything I’ve ever learned, it sounds like people are getting results.

  3. I started the acne cleaning regimine by and it says not to use a towel when washing your face because it is too harsh. I noticed great results, but one day after 2 weeks washed face (white towel lover) and noticed it had all kinds of yuckiness and brown. Is that ok? I even used a asprin mask once a week and tried changing soaps to no avail? not breaking out much now though…

  4. Anne Casey says:

    I’m a 47yo redhead with skin that’s particularly dry or oily, although I can have an oily-ish T-zone.

    What I do have problems with is hormonal breakouts, and whiteheads around my nose caused by sunblock. If I don’t wash twice a day, they’re worse, and as I live under the hole in the ozone layer, I’m not giving up the sunblock, even in winter.

    Any suggestions, both for cleansing and sunblock?

  5. Mark –
    Great question. I have a post about this coming up as well as this one:

    I basically agree with your little glycerin before shaving.

    I don’t know much about the oil cleansing method yet. I’ll look into it and get back to you. Glad to hear your acne is better.

    Sunblock is notorious for causing blackheads and acne breakouts. Be sure you are using a sunblock designed for your face like Oil of Olay Complete Sensitive Skin which is non-comedogenic so it won’t clog your pores.

    It’s fine. I agree that people use towels and scrubs too much, not too little. Aspirin mask would be salicylic acid which is an excellent acne treatment.

  6. Anne Casey says:

    Thanks Dr Benabio, but the Oil of Olay sunblock is only SPF15 – and I can get sunburnt on a bad day wearing 30+ standing at the bus stop!

    Can you recommend a good heavy-duty non-comedogenic sunblock? I’m testing Clinique Superdefense at the moment, and so far it seems OK – but it’s autumn now, so I don’t have the added problem of humidity.

  7. shinygirl says:

    Anne – try layering your blocks. I use a moisturizer with 15, mineral makeup with another 15 built right in, then you could add the Olay and boom! 45spf πŸ™‚

  8. Would you recommend this also for people with acne? For example I have dry sensitive skin and acne, and always find that after I wash my face it feels a bit parched.

  9. Anne-
    An SPF of 30 is usually enough — if you are still burning, then apply more and remember to reapply every two hours if you are in the sun. It is hard to find a really good sunscreen that is noncomedogenic; in some ways you can’t have both. Try the Neutrogena Healthy Defense 45.

  10. Shinygirl-
    Ah, this is a common misconception. Sunscreens are not additive! If you apply an SPF 15 plus an SPF 15 you are getting ONLY SPF 15, not 30. The SPF is only of the highest sunscreen that you used.

  11. Jen-
    Yes, people can do this even if they acne. Acne is not caused by having oily skin; for people with sensitive skin and acne, minimizing face washing and using an acne treatment like retin A is a great way to treat acne without over-drying your face.

  12. Hi there!

    I have a question: I do the above, except afterwards I put a bit of Lush’s Imperialis moisturiser on. You never mentioned using a moisturiser. Is this because it’s better not to use one or because you were just focusing on the cleansing itself? I have fairly normal skin, maybe slightly oily around the T-zone (which I usually don’t put much, or any moisturiser on).


  13. A Concerned Mom says:

    My 14 year old is of a mixed race. Her skin breaks out terribly and leaves these ugly purplish/grayish marks on her skin that take a very long time to clear. She was using Micro Retin-A, but that was causing discoloration on her skin. Then she was perscribed something called Cadettes (antibiotic pads) along with a cream peroxide, but neither one of those showed any improvement.

    There doesn’t seem to be many options for colored skin.

    If anyone has any advice, believe me, my 14 year old is willing to try anything to help clear her face.


  14. Anne,

    I also wear a sunscreen every day and am sensitive to different brands. For the past five months I have been wearing Shiseido Extra Protection Sunscreen Lotion Spf 55 and it has felt wonderful on my skin. It feels soft, not filmy, not shiny, not slick. I bought it at Sephora online. I would wear this if it were just a light moisturizer because it is so nice!

  15. Although this sounds great, what do you advise for people wearing make-up and its removal?

  16. HI



  17. Hi, I am 52 years old and have noticed darker circles under my eyes lately. Is there an eye cream that I can use at night or before I put on make-up that will help lighten them over time?


  18. ProEsthetics says:

    i have to admit that the beginning of this had me a little worried, but i kind of agree with what you said. i see people all the time with wonderful skin, a pimple here and there. woman particularly around that time of the month. they say they go out and spend all this money on product and it baffles me. hormones and stress do play a role in breakouts. unfortunately my clients are my source of income so product sales are a must. for small cases like that i give a spot treatment, gentile cleanser and a toner. im big on toner and i also recommend some source of spf. “ALSO” i whole heartedly believe that there are cases where “not washing” or “just using a simple cleanser based on skin type” doesn’t work.

  19. I could not agree more with this post. I used to have very bad acne. Right now most of the acne has cleared up, but now I have a skin condition known as seboroic dermatitis, where you get lightly inflamed patches on your skin that are also dry and a little scaly. I believe I got this condition from using too many (harsh) chemical cleansers on my face.

    My daily facial routine right now consists of just washing my face with water (not hot water!) and letting it air dry. After it has dried (after about 3 min.) I apply cetaceum 5% in cetomacrogol creme which is a wax based moisturizer I got from my dermatologist, who is a dermatologist who specializes in ethnic skin types. It is a very neutral creme that does not irritate. Once a week I use a wet cotton pad in the shower and wipe it over my face to remove dead skin cells.. and that’s it!

    The reason my dermatologist recommended the wax based moisturizer is because I have an asian/african american skin type, and those skin types respond better to wax based moisturizers.

  20. Do you have any tips for dry skin care…i am looking for that… plz help me… i am in trouble to moisturize my skin….

  21. Thanks alot for the link on “How to Make a Chocolate Facial” it sounds beautiful, i’m going to invite my mom over this weekend and we both can try this chocolate facial out! Thanks you have some very good topics on this blog much appreciated.

  22. I would start by asking the club what kind of appetizers they have and stick to finger food unless you have tables where people can sit down with a plate. if there are no tables stick with finger foods like spring rolls, satays, mini bruschetta, shrimp with a dipping sauce, you get the idea.

  23. I completely agree with this article and have been doing the “always wash and moisturize at night, and in the morning, (since my skin used to seem so dry washing it in the morning), I stopped washing it and simply use sunscreen”. I’m an outdoor athlete, 38 years old, and my skin feels nice : ) ….and I save a lot of money without obsessing. : )

  24. i am 50 and worry about wrinkles over my eyes on the side. each time i laugh, huge wrinkles take place. is there any way to smooth those wrinkles than mini lifting> i will appreciate where i can get a facelift that is professional &risk free. i hate fine lines or wrinkles specially when it tells yr age…please help

  25. why we are all so worry about age and face. and also gray hair. as we get into old age we need a lot of money to fight aging signs. ironicly, we missed money at that special time of life. do we had to bend over, and leave the age take over like a defeated soldier!quite degrading.

  26. Hi Doc! Though your advice goes against what I have grown up hearing (cleanse, tone and moisturize twice a day), I’m going to give this a try. I have oily skin and it does make sense to just skip the moisturizer. (But I do hold on to the sunscreen.)
    I guess the primary reason why we women love to do the elaborate 3-step ritual is because of placebo effect and also because we just love rituals! πŸ™‚

  27. You know what, this is true.

    Whenever I forget to wash my face and just use toner in the morning, my husband never fails to compliment how my skin looks.

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