Why you need to start double cleansing

The not-so-new trend is no gimmick

Beauty Crew Editor / May 25 2017

Sometimes it feels like enough of an achievement to get in your face cleansing session morning and night, but if you really want to up the ante on your skin care and achieve that goal of flawless radiant skin, you might want to consider trying double cleansing.

While this may sound like a new trend in skin care or a gimmick to extend your routine by yet another step, it’s not actually anything new – Korean and Japanese women have been using the technique for decades – and the benefits are enough to speak for taking the time to do it. 

We spoke to Kristy Watson, CMO of New York skin care brand Erno Laszlo, to find out exactly what double cleansing is, how to do it properly, and why it’s worth your time. 

What is double cleansing?

Just like it sounds, double cleansing involves washing your face twice before moving onto your toner, essence, serum or moisturiser step. But instead of simply using your go-to cleanser twice (wash, rinse and repeat) to get that deep clean, your first step involves using a cleansing oil, and following it up by washing with your regular gel, foam or cream cleanser. 

What’s the right way to double cleanse?

Start with dry hands and dry skin, and gently massage your cleansing oil into your face. The oil will work to dislodge and attract any dirt, grime, makeup, and sunscreen. Then simply rinse clean with water – don’t worry about being left with an oily film on your skin. Cleansing oils will actually begin to emulsify once in contact with water and will wash off with ease. Once your oil is gone, follow up by washing with your regular face cleanser. 

Why is it worth double cleansing?

The extra step of using a cleansing oil is the secret to ensuring your skin is as clean as it can be after your regular cleanse.

“What happens is you have makeup on, and you have a very environmentally stressful day, and if you wash your face with a foam cleanser once – foam cleansers are typically water-based and don’t have a lot of actives in it – and you rinse, you have a huge layer of pollution and makeup on your skin still,” says Watson. 

“With double cleansing, the oil goes onto dry skin and takes all of the makeup off your skin. It attracts the makeup so it lifts it away from your skin, so what you’re doing is you’re cleansing your face of all the impurities of the day,” she explains. 

Once you’ve removed your makeup and stubborn dirt and grime, your skin is ready to get a serious deep cleanse from your face wash, and then absorb the full benefits of the ingredients in your skin care products.

“We truly believe that it is the true way of washing your face.”
Kristy Watson
Erno Laszlo

How to pick the products for your double cleansing

While most cleansing oils have been formulated for all skin types, you can pick a targeted cleansing oil for your skin type and concerns just like you pick a cleanser formulated just for you, ensuring you’ll get the most benefits out of your double cleansing experience.

If your biggest concern is a loss of firmness and elasticity, you can start your double cleansing routine with Erno Laszlo Firmarine Cleansing Oil (fun fact: you can also get the matching cleansing bar for the washing step), and if problematic or shine-prone skin is more of an issue for you, you could try shu umeura POREfinist anti-shine fresh cleansing oil. If your skin tends to be on the drier side, Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Facial Cleansing Oil can help give your complexion the extra nourishment it needs.

Erno Laszlo Firmarine Cleansing Oil

shu umeura POREfinist anti-shine fresh cleansing oil

Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Facial Cleansing Oil

Cleansing is the most important step in your skin care routine, so here are the dos and don’ts of washing your face.

Image credits: @karliekloss

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.