The Double Cleansing Method:
Is it the Secret to Clean, Glowing Skin?

You finally have your skincare routine down to the basics—cleanse, treat, moisturize, protect—and then this happens: social media tells you to double cleanse. Super fans of the cleansing trend will tell you it’s worth the extra step—and they may actually be right. “Double cleansing is a very effective approach to cleansing your skin, especially if you wear makeup or sunscreen regularly,” says Tyla Robinson, Global Product Development, Origins. While it may add an additional minute to your routine (notably your nighttime regimen) the benefits of a double cleanse may have you willingly splashing your face twice. Keep reading for the full scoop on the double cleansing method and why it may be the best thing that’s happened to your skin.

What is the double cleansing method?

The Double Cleansing method involves washing your face twice, at night, with two different types of cleansers. The first step is an oil-based cleanser to help melt away impurities, like makeup, oil, sunscreen and excess sebum, on the skin’s surface. The second cleanse requires a water-based cleanser to whisk away any remaining residue and impurities. “The double cleanse method aims to clean your skin as thoroughly as possible by using two different types of cleansers to get rid of the different kinds of impurities that accumulate on your face throughout the day,” says Robinson.

What are the double cleansing benefits?

Right about now, you may be thinking double cleansing is way too time consuming and has zero benefits. But we assure you—it takes no time at all (more on that later) and there are several benefits. Double cleansing your face helps ensure everything comes off—foundation, blush and pore clogging impurities. Did we mention it can help give you a fresh-faced glow? Here’s the benefit breakdown:

Takes it all off

Let’s face it: a quick wash to the face doesn't always remove your makeup or pore-clogging impurities, like sweat from your spin class. While most cleansers are formulated to remove makeup, if you’re a speed washer, you’re likely not washing it all off. Here’s where double cleansing is a win-win: the oil-based cleanser helps breakdown your makeup (including the budge proof variety), as well as excess oil, sweat and sunscreen. Then, the water-based cleanser finishes the task by whisking away any loose or leftover residue.

Comforts the complexion

There’s no question about it: over-cleansing can make your skin feel dry and tight. “If you're using an abrasive cleanser or the wrong cleanser for your skin type, it can strip your skin of its natural oils and, in turn, damage your skin’s protective barrier, which results in that feeling of tightness” notes Robinson. With the double cleansing method, the first cleanse uses an oil-based cleanser, which typically won’t strip your skin and helps maintain your skin’s moisture barrier.

Imparts a fresh-face finish

Sometimes, after you wash your face, it can still feel a little dirty and dull. The double cleansing method helps remove any excess residue so you’re left with a fresh-faced finish—in the form of a healthy-looking glow.

Improves absorption of your treatment product

When you take it all off, there’s nothing between your skin and the products that come next. “The double cleansing method, because it breaks down and removes layers of dirt, makeup and other impurities, creates a clean canvas for your treatment products,” says Robinson. This allows your serums and other treatment products to absorb more readily.

How do you double cleanse?

The double cleansing method is a two-step process that takes approximately three minutes (two minutes for the actual double cleanse itself and some padding time for rinsing and drying your skin). Here’s how it typically goes (be sure to follow the directions on packaging):

Step 1: Apply an oil-based cleanser to the palm of your hand and gently massage the cleanser onto dry skin. Applying directly to dry skin is effective at breaking down oil-based impurities like makeup and sebum. Rub for at least one minute to ensure you’re removing said impurities. If needed, after massaging the cleanser onto your skin, you can wet your hands to help emulsify it—it’s just a matter of preference. Rinse with lukewarm water or gently remove the oil cleanser with a warm washcloth.

Step 2: Instead of reaching for a towel to dry your face, keep your skin damp and apply a water-based cleanser that’s tailored to your skin type. Gently massage over your skin for about one minute. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat your skin dry with a soft towel.

Step 3: After double cleansing, skin is prepped and ready for your next steps: Serum, Moisturizer and Eye Cream.

Is double cleansing good for all skin types?

The double cleansing method is good for any and all skin types, however you want to make sure your second cleanser is right for your skin. For example, if you have oily skin you may want to select a cleanser for your second cleanse that’s oil-free or foaming cleanser. To help you achieve your best double cleanse, here’s what we suggest:

First Cleanse

All skin types: We love our new Checks And Balances™ Milky Oil Cleanser + Makeup Melter. It’s our innovative, oil-to-milk transformative cleanser that helps removes makeup, oil and other impurities without stripping or drying the skin. Ingredients like Rice Oil and Almond Oil help dissolve impurities and makeup while Squalane and Glycerin help soften skin for a comfortable cleanse. Great for all skin types and as the first step in your double cleanse.

Second Cleanse

Dry Skin: A great option for dry skin is A Perfect World™ Antioxidant Cleanser. It’s a gentle foaming cleanser made with antioxidant-rich White Tea, cleansing Coconut and Oat Amino Acid to help remove environmental pollutants and rinse away any remaining impurities. Skin feels fresh—and comfortably—clean.

Oily Skin: If you tend to be on the oily side, you may want to try this fan favorite: Clear Improvement™ Zero Oil. It’s a gel-to-foam cleanser that helps whisk away pore-clogging oil, pollution and makeup for a clean complexion with noticeably less-visible pores. The perfect follow-up to your first cleanse.

Normal/Combination Skin: Our best selling Checks And Balances™ Frothy Face Wash is a great choice for this skin type. It effortlessly rinses away makeup, impurities and surface oils so skin feels comfortably clean. The formula balances both dry and oily zones and gives your skin the clean sweep it needs—the ultimate purifier to complete your double cleanse.

Sensitive Skin: We love mushrooms for their ability to help calm and soothe. Mega Mushroom Skin Relief Cleanser treats your skin to a creamy cleanse that removes impurities without upsetting your skin's naturally protective lipid balance. Formulated with Cordyceps and Reishi Mushrooms to help keep your skin calm as you cleanse.

Should I Double Cleanse Every Day?

If you’re wondering how often you should double cleanse, experts say it’s best at night, when it feels right. “You only need to do it at the end of the day, when your skin has accumulated oil and other impurities and it’s time to remove your makeup,” says Robinson. Double cleansing is also not something you need to do every day. If you don’t wear makeup and spend most of your time inside (maybe you work from home?), then you may not need to do it nightly. Instead, you may want to double cleanse every couple of days. On the contrary, if you live in a city and are exposed to higher levels of pollutants on a daily basis, you may want to double cleanse nightly..

Can I exfoliate after double cleansing?

The double cleansing method helps remove several impurities, but it doesn’t exfoliate. Exfoliating after double cleansing is perfectly fine, but be aware of how often you’re exfoliating. Over-exfoliating can cause skin barrier damage, which can lead to that dry and tight feeling.

The down and dirty on double cleansing

While not necessary every night, double cleansing is one of the most effective methods for a full-face cleanse. It’s especially beneficial if you wear makeup, work out (hello, sitcky sweat build up) or all the or live in a city where your skin is constantly bombarded by pollution. We give the double cleanse method a double thumbs up.