What is Double Cleansing and Why to Include it in Your Skincare Routine

What is Double Cleansing and Why to Include it in Your Skincare Routine

Posted by Brooklyn S. on

It wasn’t long ago when most of us believed that washing our faces with regular soap and water at night was enough to cleanse and pamper our skin. However, it turns out soap and water aren’t enough to remove makeup and debris from the skin. With time, we realized the significance of properly using a gentle cleanser to remove all the oil, dirt, makeup residue, and impurities from the skin.

Then the double cleansing method came along and amped up the cleansing game. This cleansing method became a part of the everyday routines of almost everyone. But what really is double cleansing? Is it equally effective for everyone? Is it really worth the hype and your time compared to other cleansing methods? Well, keep on reading to find out!

What is Double Cleansing?

Double cleansing is a cleansing technique that initially became popular in Korea and Japan before it made its way to skincare enthusiasts in the US, Europe, and other parts of the world. The method involves using two different types of facial cleansers, one at a time to cleanse your face. The first step ensures the breakdown of oil, makeup, sunscreen, grime, and other debris lying in the pores.¹  The second step includes cleansing the skin further to draw out leftover pollutants, makeup, and skincare products deeper from the pores.

Why Should You Double Cleanse?

Are you wondering why you need to make your simple cleansing ritual a two-step process? Well, for starters, it can help you clean off your foundation and stubborn waterproof makeup better. It works to remove the layer of makeup from the skin's surface so the second cleanser can reach deeper and truly cleanse your pores.

Another reason you should consider switching to double cleansing is that it improves the penetration and, hence, the effectiveness of your other skincare products. Think of double cleansing as preparing your skin as a clean canvas that provides the active ingredients from other products to work more efficiently.²

Double cleansing is beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin as it helps in removing excess sebum and bacteria from the skin. It also prevents dryness and inflammation, making it suitable for inflamed skin. Last but not least, double cleansing revives the dull and dehydrated complexion, adding a glow, moisture, and suppleness to the skin.

Double Cleansing vs. Other Cleansing Methods

One of the most common and burning questions that come to mind is if double cleansing is really more effective than usual methods of cleansing, especially cleansing wipes and facial cleansers. So let’s start with why double cleansing takes precedence over these cleansing methods:

  • Double Cleansing vs. Regular Cleansers - You may be tempted to just use a face wash or cleanser to remove makeup at the end of the day. However, if you’ve been wearing heavy or waterproof makeup and want to remove it, double cleansing is your best option. Your skin will have a better chance of regenerating and breathing as you sleep. Double cleansing doesn’t only remove pollutants, makeup, and skincare products from the skin more thoroughly, but it also revitalizes, moisturizes, and nourishes dull and dehydrated skin. In addition, since cleansing your face twice eliminates dirt, grime, bacteria, sebum, dead skin cells, and other external agents more effectively, it improves the skin's permeability. So, your skin may reap more benefits from your skincare products when applied after double cleansing.
  • Double Cleansing vs. Cleansing Wipes - Over the past few years, many people worldwide have been discouraging the use of cleansing wipes for good reasons. For starters, they are harmful to the environment. The piles of disposable cleansing wipes may stay in your surrounding for up to hundreds of years because most are made of non-biodegradable material. Also, they can pose a threat to life on earth, including marine life. Moreover, most mainstream cleansing wipes contain harsh chemicals, such as parabens, formaldehyde, ethyl alcohol, synthetic fragrances, and other preservatives.³  If your face isn’t washed properly after using a cleansing wipe, these chemicals can aggravate your skin, leading to allergic reactions, redness, and itching. In addition, they can make your inflammatory skin problems, like eczema and acne, even worse. Another reason to double cleanse instead of using cleansing wipes is that they may not cleanse your skin properly. Since most  cleansing wipes contain the same emulsifiers and surfactants as regular cleansers, they can dissolve impurities lying on your skin but leave residue behind if you don’t wash your face with water properly.

Which Type of Oil-Based Cleansers Are Better?

The purpose of using an oil-based cleanser or a cleansing balm is to dissolve all types of tenacious contaminants, makeup, and sunscreen. Oil-based cleansers work differently to eliminate impurities from the skin than regular cleansers do. Some may believe that they work more thoroughly and deeper to cleanse the pores.

Advanced formulas of cleansing balms and cleansing oils are more effective than pure oils due to the addition of emulsifiers in their composition. Emulsifiers allow the oil-based cleansers to mix with water and produce a milky emulsion, making it easier to rinse the skin. On the other hand, pure oils may leave a greasy mess on the skin, which can be hard to wash off.

Who is the Best Candidate for Double Cleansing?

Double cleansing is generally considered safe and effective for people of all skin types. However, it can be more beneficial for specific skin types and issues than others. For example, if you love wearing heavy makeup during the day, double cleansing is ideal for removing it thoroughly. 

Similarly, suppose you have oily and acne-prone skin. In that case, cleansing your face with two mild and non-comedogenic cleansers can better help prevent excess sebum buildup in the pores as compared to using a single strong and drying cleanser that might leave your skin feeling dry and dehydrated. Furthermore, double cleansing is strong enough to eliminate acne-causing bacteria from the skin, reducing the probability of acne breakouts. Those with dry skin can also deliver their skin with added moisture by using an oil-based cleanser to remove impurities.

How to Double Cleanse

Whether you choose to use an oil-based balm, pure oil, or oil-based cleanser followed by a cream or gel cleanser, the procedure remains the same. Here’s how to double cleanse:

  • Start by getting an oil cleanser and using your fingers to apply it to the face. Gently massage it into your skin using round movements for one to two minutes. Use a washcloth or hands along with lukewarm water to rinse off the oil cleanser properly.
  • You can use your oil cleanser around your eyes to remove makeup, especially waterproof mascara and eyeliner. Also, it’s best if your cleanser is free from fragrance, alcohol, and other harsh ingredients.
  • Now your skin is prepped for the second cleanser. Apply your gel or cream-based cleanser to your face and massage it for about a minute. Use lukewarm water to rinse the face, then pat dry with a clean and soft towel. You can now follow with your remaining skincare products as usual, and you’re good to go!

How Often Should You Double Cleanse?

You can double cleanse any time of the day to remove makeup or other foreign elements sitting on your skin. Also, you’re more likely to have excess sebum accumulated into your pores as you sleep. So, double cleansing your skin in the morning can help you get rid of it before you kickstart your day.

Nevertheless, the most common time to double cleanse is before bedtime because that’s the time when most of us have to wash our skin to draw out grime, makeup, and oil after spending the entire day out. Hence, you can decide the frequency and time depending on your daily routine, lifestyle, and skincare needs. However, sticking to your daily double cleansing routine can help you achieve the best results.

Final Thoughts

With the progression of the skincare industry, the traditional ways of cleansing the face have also been upgraded. The double cleansing method has become one of the most talked-about and used techniques of removing all sorts of external pollutants and makeup from the skin. Cleansing the skin twice can draw out debris from the pores that your regular face wash or cleanser may fail to do. Your usual cleansers and cleansing wipes may not do their job as efficiently as double cleansing or may come with additional problems for your skin, health, and the environment.

The double cleansing method is deemed safe and suitable for everyone. However, for optimal benefits, make sure you choose the right type of cleansers for your skin. So, in essence, there’s no downside to getting on the bandwagon of double cleansing.



  1. Palmer, Angela. (2020). ‘What Your Pores Say About Your Skin’, VeryWellHealth. Accessed December 28, 2021. Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-are-pores-15488
  2. Jacoby, Sarah. (2019). ‘What Exactly Are ‘Actives’ in Skin-Care Products’, Self. Accessed December 28, 2021. Available at: https://www.self.com/story/what-are-actives-in-skin-care
  3. Honigmann, Meg. (2021). ‘What Are Parabens? The Truth About Skincare’s Biggest Bad Guy’, Elle. Accessed December 29, 2021. Available at: https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/skin/articles/a36356/what-are-parabens/


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