Hey guys! Becca here to clear up any confusion you might have about double cleansing.
Double cleansing has become HUGE over the past few years. And I can personally say that the benefits of double cleansing truly live up to the hype – it’s personally the method of cleansing that has made the biggest difference in my skin!
So what is it?
Double cleansing is a Korean beauty method that involves cleansing your skin twice:
First, with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and dirt, and then again with a traditional water-based cleanser.
What are the benefits of double cleansing?
Double cleansing is one of the gentlest ways to get a thorough cleanse.
The idea is that oil-based cleansers (sometimes referred to as “first cleansers”) are most effective at lifting oil-based makeup, excess sebum (oil), and sunscreen off your skin.
Water-based cleansers in the form of traditional foaming, gel, or cream cleansers (sometimes referred to as “second cleansers”) are best at removing water-based impurities like sweat and dirt.
So using both will give you a thorough-yet-gentle cleanse!
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What kind of oil cleanser should I use?
There are 2 most popular kinds of oil cleansers: liquid oil cleansers and cleansing balms.
Liquid oil cleansers are exactly what they sound like – they’re oil-based cleansers in a liquid form that typically come in a pump bottle.
Some popular liquid oil cleansers are:
Cleansing balms are solid oil-based cleansers with a sorbet-like texture that melts into an oil as you massage it into your skin. Balms have the added benefit of being relatively mess-free and easy to use.
My personal favorite type of oil cleanser is a cleansing balm!
Some of my favorite balms are:
- Good Molecules Instant Cleansing Balm ($15)
- Banila Co Clean It Zero Balm ($19)
- Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser ($34)
- Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm ($38)
- Farmacy Green Clean ($22-$34 depending on size)
What to look for in a water-based cleanser?
The benefits of double cleansing come from using two different types of cleansers – so after your oil-based cleanser, it’s important to follow it up with a water-based cleanser.
Your water-based second cleanser is going to be the traditional facial wash that you’re used to using. Whether that’s a foaming cleanser, cream cleanser, or (my personal favorite) gel cleanser.
You want your second cleanser to be gentle and hydrating on your skin – the goal here is to avoid that annoying dry/tight squeaky-clean feeling that you tend to get with harsher cleansers.
You can find my full guide to choosing a water-based cleanser here. But here are some general tips to keep in mind when choosing your water-based cleanser:
- Avoid harsh surfactant ingredients like SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate)
- Stick to cleansers with a low-PH around 4.5-6.0.
- Look for cleansers with hydrating ingredients and skin-barrier-friendly ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
Some of my favorite pH-friendly water-based cleansers are:
- Cerave’s Hydrating Cleanser ($11) or Foaming Facial Cleanser ($12)
- KraveBeauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser ($18)
- First Aid Beauty Facial Cleanser ($21)
Step by step guide to double cleansing
So you’ve got your first cleanser and second cleanser ready to go. How do you start?
Step 1: Pump or scoop your oil cleanser and thoroughly massage it into dry skin.
Savor the moment here! The day is over. Take a deep breath, relax, and gently massage your facial muscles.
Step 2: Wet your hands and continue to massage your skin. As you do this, your oil cleanser will start to emulsify on your skin. If you’re wearing makeup you’ll quite literally see it dissolve.
Step 3: Rinse the oil cleanser off your skin.
Step 4: Follow up with your water-based cleanser. Rinse.
Related: How to Layer Your Skincare Products
How often should you double cleanse?
You should double cleanse no more than once a day. Double cleansing is a fantastic way to cleanse your skin and remove makeup and sunscreen before bed; however, if you double cleanse at night, it shouldn’t be necessary in the morning. If you choose to wash your face in the morning, use your water-based cleanser on its own.
Do you NEED to double cleanse?
After reading this you might be asking “do I need to double cleanse?”
The answer is – it depends! Like with anything in skincare, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. It’s totally dependent on your personal preferences and the effectiveness of the cleanser you currently use.
If you currently don’t double cleanse, I would recommend testing out how well your current cleanser is working for you:
After you wash your face, take some (alcohol-free) toner on a cotton round and swipe it across your skin. If you see that any traces of dirt or makeup are left behind, I’d recommend trying double cleansing.
If you absolutely can’t fathom the idea of using two cleansers that’s completely valid and fine! Whether you’re short on time or just don’t want to buy two different cleansers – I get it. While I find double cleansing to be extremely beneficial, I totally understand that it’s not always a realistic method for everyone.
But here’s the good news! Traditional cleaners can do the job of removing makeup, it just may take some time to find one that is both gentle and effective at removing your makeup. Whatever cleanser you decide to go with, just make sure it’s gentle (sans SLS aka Sodium Laurel Sulfate) and has an appropriate pH.
But as for my personal experience with double cleansing…
It’s magic. And I highly recommend it.
It’s one of the gentlest ways to get a “deep clean” and since introducing double cleansing to my routine I’ve noticed clearer skin and less noticeable pores.
I also find the ritual of having an extra step so incredibly relaxing.
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