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We’ve been told that we should exfoliate in the evening to get rid of all the accumulated build up and dead skin on our faces and prep the skin for further skincare and nighttime rejuvenation (cue: the Korean 10-step regimen). But is this rule a truly universal one for all women to heed? After weeks of trial and error and investigation, we’ve finally come to a better understanding of the know-hows and when-tos of exfoliation.

For a start, the best time to exfoliate depends on your own habits and lifestyle. There is no one particular skincare rule to heed since we all have different skin types and beauty routines, so our skincare regimen should be customised to best suit individual skin needs. Below, we spill the ultimate exfoliation guide that best suits your personal beauty habits and skin types to answer all your “A.M or P.M”-related questions.

If you wear heavy makeup on a daily basis

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What you should do: Exfoliate at night to remove all remaining makeup particles from skin

Why: When you apply a heavy amount of liquid foundation and budge-proof concealers onto your face, makeup removers and cleansing won’t make the cut in removing all your makeup completely; so your best bet at squeaky clean skin is to exfoliate. This also gives you a fresh and even base to begin your night time skincare routine on, ensuring full penetration of all products.

If your face is dull in the morning

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What you should do: Exfoliate in the morning to scrub off dead skin cells

Why: The term ‘beauty sleep’ isn’t to be taken lightly. Suffering from lack of sleep or having a bad night’s sleep of disturbed rest may cause your skin to look dull and lifeless the morning after. With less sleep comes slower skin-cell turnover, which means that dead skin cells will then pile up and result in dull complexion. Rejuvenate your skin by scrubbing away those dead skin cells and you’ll be left with brighter looking skin.

If you use stronger products in the evening

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What you should do: An a.m. scrub will be good to slough off dead skin during the day while you give your skin some extra lovin’ come evening.

Why: When you use products that contain strong ingredients like Retinol (Vitamin A1) in the evening, it’s important to avoid exfoliation prior to that to steer clear of potential skin irritation. Instead, aim to scrub off dead skin cells in the morning and avoid using any strong skincare products alongside your daytime beauty routine.

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