The basis of every good skincare routine starts with a gentle cleanser. But what about double cleansing? Its usefulness depends on your skin type and the type of makeup you wear. This article will help you decide if double cleansing is right for you!


Double cleansing is quite simply using two different types of cleansers, one after the other. The technique became popular in Japan and South Korea before catching on in Europe and North America. The most common method to double cleanse is to first wash your face with a pure oil, oil-based liquid cleanser, cleansing balm, or cleansing cloth and then follow with a regular, water-soluble cream, gel, or lotion cleanser that’s suitable for your skin type. Alternatively, you can cleanse your face with the same cleanser instead of two separate products. Cleansing with an oil based product first works well because oils easily dissolve stubborn makeup and tenacious sunscreen formulas. Compared to pure oils, modern cleansing oils contain emulsifiers. This allows the oil to mix with water and form a milky emulsion, making it easy to rinse from skin instead of leaving a greasy residue as pure oils can.


The idea behind double cleansing is to use a cleansing oil or similar product to first remove your makeup and sunscreen. This step is supposed to clear the way for your regular cleanser to cleanse your skin instead of having to work its way through layers of makeup and sunscreen. The result: a more thorough cleanse.

Double cleansing is a good technique if you wear heavy makeup and a mineral-based sunscreen (those with active ingredients titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide), double cleansing ensures you remove both the makeup and the sunscreen, which means the products you apply after cleansing, can work effectively. If you have very oily skin, double cleansing might be an option for you if you feel that your regular cleanser isn’t removing excess oil but a stronger one leaves your skin feeling dry and tight. In this case, it is better to use two gentle cleansers than one harsh, drying cleanser!

That being said, a well formulated cleanser should easily break through and wash away makeup, sunscreen, dirt, pollutants, and other surface debris. You can enhance the results of any cleanser by using a soft washcloth with it or a soft cleansing brush.


Double cleansing most beneficial at night to remove your makeup and sunscreen. Here are the steps to follow for double cleansing:

  • Apply your fragrance-free cleansing oil or balm to your hand. Apply it to wet or dry skin, massaging in gentle circular motions, including around the eyes, for 30–45 seconds. You do not need to use a separate eye-makeup remover if the cleansing oil is fragrance free (fragrance is especially problematic when applied around the eyes).
  • Rinse the cleanser with lukewarm water or gently remove with a soft, wet washcloth.
  • Then gently massage a small amount of your regular facial cleanser onto your damp skin.
  • Finally remove the cleanser off your face with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean, soft towel.
  • You are ready for the rest of your skin care routine!

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