What Is Double Cleansing, and Should You Be Doing It?

How do you clean your skin at night? Even if you don’t have a complicated routine with a million steps, everyone and their mother knows that there has to be some sort of cleansing method before you go to bed (the fact that you don’t want your foundation smeared all over your pillow should be enough motivation!) Some people are fine with a quick shower, others go all out with elaborate routines and devices because, hey, whatever floats your boat right? If you don’t have a cleansing routine yet or you’re not committed to the one you have now and you’re looking to try something different, you might want to consider the famous skincare ritual of double cleansing.

Throughout the day, your skin accumulates mounds of dirt, oils and grime from walking around in the polluted city air or wiping off sweat from your brow with the back of your hand. This dirt gets makes itself at home in your pores and it will take way more than a quick swipe of a makeup removal wipe to get it to leave. And if you wear makeup, a deep clean becomes extra important. We will tell you exactly why you need to double cleanse and why it just might be the most important step in your skincare routine.

So, What is Double Cleansing?

Double cleansing is a technique made popular by our friends across the pond in Korea as the first two steps in their popular 10-step skincare routine. First, an oil cleanser is used to cut through the sebum (the layer of oil that traps and holds impurities and dead skin on the face) and dislodge the germs that have settled in the pores throughout the day. This is then followed by a water-based cleanser to thoroughly wash away the dislodged dirt. Following these two steps in this exact order will leave your skin squeaky clean and dirt-free!

Double cleansing has been used for centuries in Korean beauty routines as the only tried and true way to cleanse the skin thoroughly. While it may seem counter-intuitive to use oil to clear out oil from the face, it is, in fact, the only way to totally dislodge all matter from the pores. Cleansing oils contain surfactants (otherwise known as cleaning agents) that help to break apart the oils on the skin and these are completely washed off using a water-based cleanser. This idea is so simple and yet it was a revolutionary discovery in the skincare industry and has helped millions of people all around the world achieve clear, vibrant skin!

How Do You Double Cleanse?

Step One: Start with an oil cleanser. A popular belief is that any oil can work as a cleansing oil. This is false. The most important components of a cleansing oil are the surfactants which break apart the sebum and give direct access to your pores. While it may be easier to just use your tub of coconut oil, it is completely missing the point of this cleansing step. Choose oils with a suitable surfactant to ensure a good, deep cleanse. Gently massage the cleansing oil into your skin (especially on your eyelids if you wear eyeshadow, eyeliner or mascara) for at least a minute. Another amazing product to use in this step is micellar water (which contains suspended oils that attract dirt and makeup and deeply cleanse the pores). You can either finish this step with a splash of water or wipe away with a makeup removal wipe.

Step Two: Follow with a water or glycerine-based cleanser to remove the dislodged dirt from the skin. It is especially nice to use a lathering cleanser as you can actually see all the dirt being washed off and your face will feel nice and clean after you wash off the suds. It is important to massage the skin gently and avoid frantic rubbing or tugging because this can create stress on the skin which creates a conducive environment for skin conditions like sagging/ wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. After your rinse off the cleanser, pat your face dry gently to remove the excess water, layer on a nice light moisturizer, serum or sleep mask and then, voila! Your basic night time skincare routine is complete.

Double cleansing is only essential at night after all the events of the day have caused dirt and oil to collect in your pores. In the morning, both steps are not necessary. A simple wash will suffice. There is such a thing as over cleansing your skin and this can lead to dryness and irritation and you don’t want that, ever.

Should You Double Cleanse?

Double cleansing is great especially for people who do not have the time to apply layers of gels and serums before they go to bed. Even though two steps may seem excessive at first, your skin needs special care and attention to thrive and double cleansing is one of the easiest way to achieve youthful, glowy skin! If you don’t do anything else to your skin, you should at least consider a quick cleanse to make sure you don’t sleep with all the dirt you accumulated throughout the day. Your skin will thank you for it!