Double Cleansing: Do or Don't?

Contributor: Courtney O'Conner
Photographer: Primally Pure
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We’re all about simple + powerful ways to care for the skin. So let’s get back to the basics. While there’s so much hype about miracle ingredients + must-have products, we can’t overlook the most crucial step in any skincare routine: cleansing.

The fact is, most of us are already making several cleansing mistakes. We either cleanse too quickly, we cleanse too often (or not enough!), we aren’t completely + thoroughly removing product (cleanser, makeup, etc…), or we’re using the wrong cleanser for our skin type (wreaking even more havoc on the health of our skin). After cleansing, have you ever taken a cotton ball saturated with toner and swept it across your face to find it covered in remaining makeup + dirt? Proof we need a bit of help with our cleansing protocol.

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A clean canvas is essential for the application of your other superpower skincare products to be effective. If you’re not thoroughly cleansing, you’re actually applying beneficial (and expensive) ingredients on top of buildup and remaining makeup on the skin. Simply put, without proper cleansing, the rest of your skincare routine may be pointless.

While cleansing twice a day (morning + night) can actually be more stripping and harmful to your skin health, double cleansing (cleansing 2 times in a row with 2 different types of cleansers) might just be the new skincare solution your routine has been missing. It ensures effective, complete cleansing to remove any and all traces of makeup + buildup for a healthy, clear complexion. 

This 2-step cleansing technique (1st step: oil-based cleanser, 2nd step: a water or glycerin-based cleanser) helps to balance the skin, leaving it purified and properly hydrated. Double cleansing works its magic by dissolving buildup and removing pore clogging debris + oil that leads to inflammation – which leads to acne as well as the breakdown of our collagen and elastin (the proteins that make our skin strong, supple and youthful). From acne to aging, double cleansing may become your skin’s saving grace. Especially if you wear a full face of makeup, live in a polluted city, produce more oil than most – or just simply want glowing, gorgeous skin.

Also, while taking a natural approach to care for and cleanse your skin, you won’t be using harsh surfactants and detergents to deeply cleanse. So double cleansing with natural oils and ingredients helps to properly + effectively break up buildup and leave your complexion truly clean without over drying – or dangerous chemicals.

For our simplicity-focused skincare friends, don’t let the “double” scare you away from this cleansing method. It only adds a minute or two (in the grand scheme of your skincare life, that’s nothing!) but will add multiple beauty benefits for your skin. So for those who are more minimalistic (ahem, lazy?) when it comes to skincare + who believe less is more, while we completely agree with that philosophy, when it comes to washing your face, this is the one step where you want to spend a little extra time + show your skin a little more love. 

A WORD ON FACIAL WIPES: While face wipes may be your lazy-girl, simple skincare routine, go-to cleanser, wipes just won’t cut it.  A cleansing wipe won’t properly remove or dissolve bacteria, makeup + buildup that resides in your pores. Plus, then you’re applying moisturizer on top of remaining makeup before bedtime – which won’t allow your skin to properly breathe and repair itself while you sleep. Toss your wipes, babe, it will be worth it.

As a holistic esthetician, I’ve seen these cleansing woes all too often with my guests – which is why, for almost a decade, I’ve begun all of my facial treatments with the double cleansing technique to ensure a fresh, cleansed complexion.  Want to create your own spa experience + professionally cleansed skin at home? Here’s how.

Double cleansing: Here’s how to do it.

  • First Cleanse: Remove makeup, minimize buildup and pull out impurities with a cleansing oil. Massage a quarter-sized amount of the correct oil formulation for your skin type onto dry skin for at least one minute. This step is essential to deeply cleanse, stimulate circulation and relax facial muscles. Wet a soft, clean washcloth with warm water and let it sit on the skin until it cools. The warmth + steam will help to open pores and purify (plus, it just feels oh-so good!). Work in upward, circular motions to remove oil + makeup with washcloth.
  • Double Cleanse: Splash skin with warm water and apply your water-based or glycerin-based cleanser as you normally would. Cleanse in upward, circular motions and pay special attention to problem areas – around the nose, sides of face and jawline typically tend to be forgotten. Rinse skin with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. That’s it! Your complexion should be feel fresh, clean and balanced.

It’s important to feel out your skin and figure out how it’s responding to the double cleansing technique – your need to double cleanse depends on your skin condition, climate and lifestyle. More makeup + pollution? You may need to double cleanse daily. Fresh faced + fresh air? This cleansing method can be done just a few times a week. Try it out and see how your skin responds! 

According to my facial guests and beauty gurus around the world, the word is out: double cleansing is a definite DO for healthy, balanced skin.