Experts Debate: Go to Bed Without Taking Off Your Makeup or Brushing Your Teeth?

For nights when you just can't do both.

In an interview with Into the Gloss, Anja Rubik said that, after a night out, she "would rather go to sleep without brushing my teeth than wake up with makeup on if I have to sacrifice something." This is extremely horrifying to my Spartan sense of dental hygiene, which has only compounded after I made the mistake of scheduling a cleaning for the morning after my birthday, and my dentist was like "WTF happened?" before giving me The Talk about gum disease and how I was on the road to needing dentures at 24. It was one time! It was also super uncomfortable.

But who's right here? We called in the experts to review this supermodel's value judgment (and our own), keeping in mind that it is not ideal to be toothless, spotty, nor regularly hammered enough for the first two to become a reality.

On one level, passing out with 20-plus hours' worth of food and drink (and more drink) coating your no-longer-so-pearly whites is objectively pretty gross. But don't you want to know just *how* nasty, for a good, DARE-like scare? Dr. Timothy Chase of SmilesNY says that, left untouched, plaque and bacteria "can cause bad breath, cavities, and gum disease in a very short amount of time." (Emphasis mine, but you know he typed it in a scary voice.) "These oral conditions have also been proven to be associated with systemic problems over the long run, such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and low birthweight infants."

The Case for Your Skin

At best, you snort yourself awake only to find mascara sprinkles on your prune-y cheeks and a star map of white pustules that might be milia but aren't? But consider another consequence, brought to you by Renée Rouleau, aesthetician to the stars and founder of the Renée Rouleau Skin Care collection.

"If you don't wash your face at night, you are transferring a day's worth of oil from your hair and face, as well as makeup, onto your pillowcase. If you don't change your pillowcase daily (which most people certainly don't), then all of this keeps getting added onto your skin each and every night. Clean skin is healthy skin." You know what this means? 1) Drunk You is long-term sabotaging Sober You. And 2) a well-stocked nightstand is your friend.


The Devil on Your Shoulder and the Angel on Your Other One

Again, DON'T DO IT, but if you really only have the energy to perform one task, choose to do less harm. I am personally sticking with teeth, because I usually only wear one ring finger's dab of concealer, and pizza grease removes lipstick anyway. However, if your beauty aesthetic skews Desperate Scousewives and you're otherwise militant about flossing, you might decide to do the opposite. It's your life and your molars/baby face on the line.

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.