Double Cleansing, What is It & How to Do it Your Way

by Claudia Christin on Sep 20, 2020

Cleansing is one of the most fundamental parts of our skincare routine to prep a clean canvas for our skincare product. Together with the advancement of makeup products that are meant to last longer on your skin, the cleansing method also evolve together with it so that it can remove them more effectively in the gentlest way. For the past few years, double cleansing has been getting all the attention globally. Let’s talk a little bit deeper about what it is, how it works, and whether you need it in your routine. 

What is 'double cleansing'? 


Put it simple, 'double cleansing ' involves two-steps of cleansing.

Double-Cleansing-Insert image1 The first step involves cleansing oil, balm, or micellar water meant to remove or breakdown any oil-based makeup, sunscreen, and sebum on the surface layer of our skin. Then it is followed up by the second step of cleansing which is meant to remove any remaining oil, dirt, and cleanser more deeply using a water-based cleanser.  

How does it all start? 

The oil cleansing steps came originally from Japan that is meant to remove a heavy-duty paint-like makeup base that is commonly used by Japanese geishas. They found that this technique can help them remove their makeup faster, effectively, and yet gentle at the same time.  However, it is not until the last few years that this step is popularized as one step of the Korean 10-step skincare routine which has been known and practiced globally.  

How to properly double cleanse


Method #1: Oil-based cleanser → Water-based cleanser

The double cleansing method is originally based on the use of an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser. The first step is to apply your oil-based cleanser on your dry skin. You just have to massage the oil on your skin and see their magic on melting away your makeup. Since oil attracts oil, it will help melt down your heavy-duty, waterproof makeup products, and sunscreen from your skin. The oil cleanser is oil emulsified with water and then finished off with a water-based cleanser of your choice. 

Types of oil-based cleanser:

▶ Read more on how to choose the cleansing oil suited for your skin 

Types of water-based cleanser:

▶ What are some of the benefits of cleansing with a 'gel cleanser'? 

Method #2: Micellar water → water-based cleanser

Some people replace the oil-based cleanser using micellar water for those who can’t tolerate oil-based cleansers. The surfactant in the micellar water will help trapped and remove the excess dirt, sebum, or makeup buildup from your skin. To make sure that you have removed everything, you can follow up with another water-based cleanser. 

Method #3: Water based cleanser X 2

If you have a water-based cleanser with sufficient surfactants to clean not only your sunscreen, dirt but also makeup, you can use this water-based cleanser two times as a double agent on your double cleansing step. The first step focuses only on removing surface grimes and dirt with the second step to remove the rest of the gunk on your pores.   

Who is it for?

Double cleansing can be worthwhile and more beneficial for some groups of people. You are one of them if you are using heavy makeup, waterproof sunscreen, living in a heavily polluted area, have acne-prone skin, or experiencing a lot of congested pores. On top of that, if you are someone who likes to rush on your cleansing process and often miss a certain spot and breaking out on that area, you will definitely love the double cleansing!  

Common double cleansing myth

  • 1) Cleansing step supposed to leave your skin feeling tight and squeaky clean

This is absolutely wrong! Double cleanse the main goal is to clean your face better but it is not supposed to leave your skin feeling dry, tight, or squeaky clean. On the other hand, it has to leave your skin still feeling nourished and moist. If you ended up feeling like your skin is stripped of its natural moisture, you may want to look into the other methods out there or switched your product to a more gentle one. 
  • 2) You should double cleanse both morning and night

Double cleanse is not necessary especially in the morning where you just have to remove the buildup of sebum and dirt from your overnight skincare routine. Especially if you have very dry skin, you want to keep the cleansing process at a bare minimum.  

3) You still have to double cleanser even when you don’t wear makeup

This one is also totally optional. There are some other things that should be taken into consideration such as your standalone cleanser effectiveness or the pollution level of the area. If you don’t wear makeup but your cleanser doesn’t seem to work really well and the pollution in your area is quite severe, you definitely should consider keeping the double cleanse. If you are also experiencing breakouts or congested pores from time to time, the double cleansing may help to prevent that from happening just in case it is caused by the buildup of dirt that are clogging your pores. 
  • 4) Oil cleanser will break you out

This may be the case if you don’t remove or emulsify the cleansing oil properly living a layer of film that may clog your pores. As long as you make sure that you removed the oil well with a water-based cleanser, the oil is not going to break you out or make your skin get even oilier. Double cleansing can be a really great way to remove your makeup and excess dirt/sebum in the gentlest way possible. Thanks to it, we can say goodbye to traditional makeup wipes that can damage our skin barrier. However, we all know that it is not for everyone and there are things that you can take into consideration before deciding to dive into this double-cleansing train. Have you tried the double cleansing and what is your favorite way of doing it? 

Related Articles

Rice Toner Pad

Glow Up 101: Unlock Glowing Skin with Toner Pads

Welcome to the fruity world of skincare, where a humble fig isn't just for your...

Fig Foam Cleanser

From Oily to Glowy: The Fig-tastic Benefits of Fig in Skincare!

Welcome to the fruity world of skincare, where a humble fig isn't just for your...

Vitamin Tree

Vitamin Tree - Revitalize Your Skin

Did you know that rice water in skincare has so many benefits for our skin?...

Rice Water in Skincare

MoistuRICE & Shine: Exploring the Benefits of Rice Water in Skincare

Did you know that rice water in skincare has so many benefits for our skin?...