Double cleansing: is it necessary or a waste of your time and products?

Updated: Mar 25

Cleansing is an important part of any good skincare routine, so much so that many experts recommend we do it twice. To help you decide if double-cleansing is right for you, we've put together some information on its benefits and advice on how to do it effectively.

Woman cleansing her face

What is double cleansing?

It is extremely important to cleanse your skin in order to remove makeup, dirt, and pollutants that have accumulated on your skin during the day, before heading to bed. Cleansing can also be done in the morning as to clear excess sebum that may have built up on your skin overnight.

A popular technique that has caught on from South Korea and Japan, double cleansing utilises two cleansers for a deep clean of the skin.

Japanese geishas would use cleansing oils followed by a foaming cleanser to remove their exquisite make-up. It is also part of the renowned Korean 10 step routine.

Commonly, when double cleansing you would first start with a nourishing oil based cleanser, cleansing balm or an oil based liquid cleanser, followed by a water based gel, cream cleanser or cleansing lotion, and then the rest of your skincare routine.

The purpose of using an oil based cleanser first is for the removal of make-up, sunscreen, sweat and surface dirt. Setting sprays and long-wear makeup can heavily clog skin, not to mention the airborne bacteria, pollution and dirt that are attracted to your skin throughout the day - all which lead to breakouts, ageing of the skin and pigmentation.

What are the benefits of double-cleansing?

According to the experts, there are two major benefits to double-cleansing.

Firstly, when you wear foundation or other make-up products, double cleansing provides your skin with a better clean. The first cleanse can be helpful to remove the layer of makeup, to then let the cleanser truly clean the skin effectively during the second cleanse.

Secondly, double cleansing allows the products that you use afterwards to penetrate more effectively into the skin. Think of it this way: if you don’t cleanse your skin well, that fantastic new serum you have bought will not work as effectively as you had hoped as it is having to fight the remains of the make-up and dirt on your skin in order to get in and work its magic.

As a result of double cleansing, you can give a beautiful glowing complexion to what would have otherwise been dull skin.

Woman washing her face

Who should double cleanse?

For those who wear make-up, daily sunscreen or who work in an active or dirty environment, a good double cleanse ensures clean and refreshed skin.

If you suffer from an oily skin it can sometimes be beneficial to double cleanse with a gentle cleanser rather than a single cleanse with a harsh cleanser. Sufferers of acne can benefit from a gentle cleanse to assist the removal of bacteria that leads to those pesky breakouts.

The best time to double cleanse is during your PM routine, especially after a hard day at work or out and about. Of course you can pop it into your AM routine, which in itself can be beneficial as your skin produces sebum as you sleep.

What you do need to be careful of is over-washing. Over-washing the skin can lead to skin sensitivity, irritation and dryness. So choose your cleansers wisely and add a double cleanse into your routine only if you need to and when you need to.

If you find that one cleanse is not enough for your skin, don’t be scared to re-evaluate your regime to find the problem. It could be over-washing, incorrect products or a need to re-balance your lifestyle.

If you're relatively new to the world of cleansing and are unsure about which cleanser is right for your skin, read our blog on cleansers to find out more about the different types and how they work.

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