Skincare tips & advice
What Is “Double Cleansing” and Should You Try It?
The process of “double cleansing” your skin can offer numerous benefits to your daily skincare regimen—helping to create the perfect, clean canvas upon which the rest of your routine lies. But how can you be sure if a double cleansing routine is right for you? This guide will cover everything you need to know before trying this popular cleansing technique, from our top product recommendations to the best double cleansing tips for your skin type.
Research shows that the ritual of cleansing dates all the way back to 2000 BC, to the beginning of mankind itself.1 So, it should come as no surprise that washing your face daily is an essential part of maintaining healthy-looking skin. Removing dirt, sebum (oil), and makeup from your face after a long day is absolutely vital if you want to keep your pores clean and free from oil build-up and blemish-causing bacteria. The popular double cleansing method aims to help remove even the most stubborn residue from your skin by—you guessed it—cleansing your face twice. Keep reading to discover the facts about double cleansing, including how to double cleanse and which CeraVe cleansing products to consider for skin that feels clean and hydrated.
Quick Tips About Double Cleansing
- The process of double facial cleansing requires you to wash your face twice for an even deeper cleanse.
- The first step in double cleansing involves using an oil-based cleanser, cleansing balm, or micellar water. This removes oil-based residue from the skin, including makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum.
- The second step in double cleansing requires using a water-based cleanser. This helps eliminate any leftover residue or water-based impurities from your skin—including dirt and sweat.
- If you’re not sure whether or not double cleansing is right for your skin, seek the advice of a board-certified dermatologist.
What Is Double Cleansing in Skincare?
Understanding the ins and outs of double cleansing doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, utilizing this face cleansing method is as simple as it sounds. Stemming from K-beauty (Korean beauty) skincare trends, double cleansing requires you to wash your face twice in a row. However, it’s not only the act of cleansing twice that matters. With the double cleansing method, you’ll be using two different types of cleansers—usually one oil-based and one water-based product—each with a specific cleansing goal in mind.
When double cleansing, the first cleanser you use should be an oil cleanser or cleansing balm—such as CeraVe Makeup Removing Cleanser Balm—that helps break down stubborn makeup and other oil-based impurities on your skin. If oil-based cleansers aren’t your thing, you can also use a no-rinse micellar water for this step, such as CeraVe Hydrating Micellar Water.
Next, your second cleanser should be a water-soluble option. This will help remove any residue left behind by the previous cleanser—plus any water-based debris, like dirt and sweat. When done correctly, the double cleansing method can be a useful tool for many individuals and skin types, especially for those who wear makeup daily or anyone with oily or acne-prone skin.
What Are the Benefits of Double Cleansing?
The idea of washing your face twice may sound a bit odd at first, but with the right products, there are actually plenty of reasons why this method can be beneficial for your complexion. For instance, this dual approach to cleansing helps promote a deeper clean and ensure that even the most stubborn makeup, oil, sweat, and dirt are fully removed at the end of the day.
If not thoroughly broken down and washed away, this leftover “gunk” can accumulate on your skin—clogging pores and leading to skin concerns like blackheads, whiteheads, and acne blemishes. In other words, clean skin is often synonymous with healthy-looking skin—and double cleansing can help with achieving this goal.
Lastly, starting your skincare regimen with completely clean skin may also help you get the most out of your routine by allowing the rest of your products to be effectively applied and absorbed, without any blockages.
Who Should Double Cleanse and When?
Double cleansing always comes first in any skincare routine, with the oil-based cleanser used as the first step, followed by a gentle, water-soluble cleanser. It makes an excellent choice for end-of-day cleansing as part of your nighttime routine, due to its ability to help remove all debris that may have built up on your skin throughout the day.
Just like with any new approach to skincare, it’s important to start slow when trying double cleansing for the first time. This will help you gauge your skin’s reaction and decide on the appropriate double cleansing frequency for your needs. For example, individuals who may find double cleansing suitable for everyday use include: heavy makeup-wearers, anyone who wears sunscreen daily, or anyone with oily, combination, or blemish-prone skin.
If you have dry to normal skin, you may find that double cleansing every evening isn’t necessary. For any questions regarding whether or not double cleansing is suitable for your skin—or for those with rosacea or eczema—it’s important to consult with a board-certified dermatologist for the best advice before beginning a new regimen.
Can All Skin Types Try Double Cleansing?
Double cleansing is generally suitable for all skin types, as long as you choose gentle cleansing formulas that are specifically formulated for your skin type. They should also feature hydrating ingredients that won’t strip your skin of essential moisture or leave your skin feeling dry. CeraVe’s face cleansers are formulated to help maintain your skin’s protective barrier while double cleansing, with beneficial ingredients like ceramides, jojoba oil, and more.
For dry skin or sensitive skin types, we recommend opting for a water-based cleanser formula that is fragrance-free, alcohol-free, allergy-tested, pH-balanced, and hydrating—such as CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser. And when choosing an oil-based cleanser for oily skin, a non-comedogenic cleansing balm with jojoba oil (like CeraVe Makeup Removing Cleanser Balm) can make a great option, since oil dissolves oil. Normal and combination skin types can experiment to find the best balancing cleanser combination for their needs, such as a no-rinse micellar water (like CeraVe Hydrating Micellar Water), followed by a moisture-balancing option—like CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser.
What Is a Cleansing Balm?
Cleansing balms—like CeraVe Makeup Removing Cleanser Balm—are often used as the oil cleanser of choice in a two-step cleansing routine. These products are formulated with nourishing oils that work to gently and effectively remove makeup, dirt, sunscreen, excess sebum, and other residue from your skin—without stripping away vital moisture. Cleansing balms typically have a rich, semi-solid consistency that easily melts onto your skin and creates a milky, cream-like texture once water is added. They are highly moisturizing and nourishing, and work in a similar fashion to other cleansing oils.
How do cleansing balms work?
Oil cleansers, like cleansing balms, work on the scientific principle of “like dissolves like”—meaning that oil dissolves oil and water dissolves water. Cleansing balms gently remove makeup and help eliminate build-up on your skin, while also offering moisturizing benefits and maintaining your skin’s protective barrier. This leaves your skin feeling soft, healthy, and clean—rather than dry or stripped. When it comes to their unique texture, cleansing balms feature a silky consistency that feels like a luxurious treat when it melts onto your skin (rather than emulsifying into a foam).
If you wear makeup daily, a makeup-removing cleansing balm is a particularly useful way to completely remove makeup and support skin that appears healthy and radiant.
How To Use CeraVe Makeup Removing Cleanser Balm
CeraVe’s Makeup Removing Cleanser Balm is the perfect first step in your double cleansing routine. It can be used twice daily to help moisturize your skin and leave it feeling soft and comforted—while also helping to maintain your protective skin barrier. Developed with dermatologists and formulated with three essential ceramides and jojoba oil, this fragrance-free makeup cleansing balm is suitable for all skin types—including dry, oily, or sensitive skin. CeraVe Makeup Removing Cleanser Balm is formulated without alcohol, soap, fragrance, or parabens.
To apply this product, use your fingertips (or a skincare spatula) to take a pearl-sized amount of the balm and massage it onto dry skin using a circular motion. After working the cleansing balm onto the skin around your entire face, rinse it off thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat dry (avoiding contact with your eyes). Next, continue with the rest of your skincare regimen as per usual—by applying your water-soluble cleanser, followed by an alcohol-free toner (like CeraVe Hydrating Toner), targeted serum, and moisturizer.
For more skincare tips, check out our expert guide to choosing the ideal cleanser for your skin type.
- Mukhopadhyay, Partha. “Cleansers and their role in various dermatological disorders.” Indian journal of dermatology vol. 56,1 (2011): 2-6. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.77542
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