double cleansing

If your nightly routine involves a solitary face wash, then you may be underachieving. Inspired by Korean and Japanese skincare methods, double cleansing is increasingly becoming the beauty ritual of choice for a healthy, blemish-free complexion. But is it the right method for you? We’re helping you decide by taking a closer look at this popular skincare trend.

What is Double Cleansing, Anyway?

Let’s face it (pun intended): it’s hard enough to force yourself to wash your face even once sometimes before hitting the sheets — and now you have to do it twice? How much do we really have to suffer for beauty?

More than we already do, apparently. The one-and-done approach doesn’t always cut it when it comes to getting your skin thoroughly clean, and it makes sense. Relying on one product to dissolve makeup and deep-clean your pores is a little ambitious at best; and it assumes that all the dirt, oil, and germs on your face will get eliminated in one measly wash.

Double cleansing harnesses the power of oil-based cleansers and foaming or lotion-based cleansers for the best of both worlds. Excessive? Perhaps. But effective? Absolutely.

woman washing her face

4 Skincare Benefits of Double Cleansing

  1. It helps prevent breakouts. Washing your face twice ensures that you go to bed with bare skin — and that means less chance of a breakout tomorrow. Lingering makeup and oil can clog pores and lead to pesky pimples — and who has time for that?
  2. It dissolves makeup and environmental pollutants. Each day, your skin encounters more than just concealer, foundation, and contour. It also deals with a daily dose of environmental pollutants that can wreak havoc on your complexion. Washing your face with two different cleansing formulas means all that gunk goes right down the drain.
  3. It enhances your skincare products. When your face isn’t fully clean, your favorite moisturizers and serums simply can’t perform at their very best. A study conducted by Lancome found that anti-aging products applied to thoroughly cleansed skin produced results twice as fast. In addition, an Olay study revealed that well-cleansed skin absorbed 30% more anti-aging product overall. (Wow.)
  4. It’s gentler on your skin. Another benefit of cleansing twice? It’s actually a gentler approach compared to many single-wash facial cleansers (which can be surprisingly harsh and drying). Double cleansing allows you to remove makeup using less abrasive products, making it perfect for sensitive skin types. Even better, using an oil-based cleanser first helps your skin retain its natural moisture.

How to Double Cleanse Your Skin

Step One: The Oil-Based Cleanser

Apply an oil-based cleanser to your face, massaging the oil into the skin for at least 30 seconds. Splash your face with lukewarm water just like they do in all those skincare commercials, but always complete the process with a soft washcloth (and not just your hands) for a better clean.

Contrary to popular belief, oil-based products don’t make oily skin oilier. In fact, they’re incredibly gentle and effective at dissolving makeup, sweat, and your daily SPF. What’s especially great about oil-based cleansers is they’re better able to break down oil-based products and silicones (and most makeup is oil-based, FYI). That’s why this first wash is particularly ideal for fans of a full face.

josie maran

Try: Josie Maran Cleansing Oil, $32

Step Two: The Gentle Cleanser

For your second act, you’ll want a cleanser that’s not oil-based. What does that mean, exactly? For starters, it means you have lots of options. Foaming cleansers are a good choice for oily skin types and work well for acne-prone complexions, while non-foaming cleansing lotions are better suited for those with dry skin. This second wash knocks out any residual oils and deep-cleans your pores. As a general rule, go for something lightweight, and apply the product within 60 seconds of your first wash to help retain moisture.

double cleansing

Try: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, $38

Step Three: The Hydrating Moisturizer

After you’ve dried off your skin, it’s time to lock in hydration with your preferred moisturizer. If your skin is typically very dry (or if you suffer from eczema or psoriasis), you may want to limit your double cleansing to a few times per week. Now, go get your beauty sleep!

Do you already double cleanse your skin, or are you thinking about giving this intriguing technique a try? Keep the conversation going in the comments!