The ancient art of double cleansing is definitely making a comeback — but what does it really do for your skin? Double cleansing has its roots in the multi-step skincare routines of Korean and Japanese cultures, where women traditionally used plant oils followed by a rinse with rice water to remove all traces of makeup and impurities.
But with modern dermatological ingredients and potent formulas, is it really necessary to wash your face twice? We’ve got the lowdown.
What exactly is double cleansing?
To understand the concept behind double cleansing, it’s useful to understand what facial cleansing products are actually doing. In a nutshell:
- Oil-based cleansers help break down skin’s natural oils, as well as oils found in makeup, sunscreen and skincare products.
- Water-based cleansers help wash away dirt, sweat and grime — basically, anything that’s not oily.
The theory is that washing first with an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water-based one, will thoroughly eliminate all types of impurities — essentially providing a cleaner clean.
What skin types benefit from double cleansing?
With the right products, just about anyone can benefit from double cleansing. The key is to find a cleanser combination that strikes a balance between thoroughly cleansing but not stripping skin. So, more sensitive skin types require gentler formulas, while oily or acne-prone skin can typically tolerate more potent concentrations.
Generally speaking, double cleansing is great for people who:
- Wear makeup
- Wear sunscreen
- Have oily or acne-prone skin
- Experience air pollution
- Wear masks for work or school
- Work in a greasy/kitchen environment
What are the benefits of double cleansing?
According to Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper), double cleansing your face has several advantages:
- It removes more impurities than a single washing
- It can help skin look brighter and more radiant
- It allows nightly skincare products to penetrate more thoroughly
What products are best for double cleansing?
If you’re going to try double cleansing, it’s a good idea to do it at night, to take off the grime, makeup, and built up oil of the day. Remember to use cleansers that are formulated for different purposes — and to use them in the proper order.
Always start with a product that removes makeup and oil, like SLMD Skincare Daily Bright, which contains skin brightening enzymes and antioxidants. This cream-to-foam cleanser leaves skin feeling clean, smooth and nourished.
Follow that up with SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Cleanser, which penetrates into pores to get them deep-down clean, while exfoliating to reveal a more even complexion. This cleanser is gentle enough to use every day, but powerful enough to use on oily or acne prone skin.
Dr. Lee’s last word
Double cleansing — especially if you wear makeup — is a great way to really get your skin clean and prepped for your treatments and serums before you go to bed. Now I know that just washing once is enough of a challenge for some of you...but seriously, your skin will reward you if you spend just a little bit of time taking care of it. Whatever you do, be consistent — and don’t go to sleep with a bunch of makeup, sunscreen, or grime from the day on your face!
—Dr. Sandra Lee