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Double Cleansing: What It Is & Why You Need to Do It

“Wash your face before bed” is like the golden rule of skincare. These days, though, it goes more like “Wash your face twice before bed.” Double cleansing, which is exactly what it sounds like, has grown in popularity before it first landed stateside as a go-to K-beauty habit. It makes perfect sense: Double cleansing at the end of a long day helps remove dirt, debris, makeup, and sebum, setting the foundation for healthy, glowing skin. Here’s how to do it to reap the best results.

What Is Double Cleansing?

Double cleansing is a skin-cleansing method that entails washing twice with two different formulas — one oil-based, and another water-based. That’s because not all makeup products are created equal. Some formulas are water-soluble, while others, such as waterproof mascara and SPF, are only oil-soluble. Doing both ensures that you remove every speck of makeup and sunscreen; you won’t find any pore-clogging residue or leftover eye makeup here. The double cleanse method ultimately leaves skin looking cleaner, feeling softer, and less prone to breakouts.

Do You Need to Do a Double Cleanse?

Probably! It’s a good idea for everyday cleansing. It’s especially commonplace in Korea and Japan, where there is the belief that because multiple “layers” are needed to achieve a finished daytime look — think skincare, makeup base, UV protection, BBs or foundations, concealers — then more than one step of cleansing is needed to truly remove everything.

And that’s important, because over time, traces of makeup left on your skin can irritate your skin, clog pores, and even cause discoloration. Plus, it ensures that the active ingredients applied later in your routine can effectively reach and penetrate your skin — instead of being blocked by dead skin cells and debris. Clearly, it’s worth going the extra mile with double cleansing.

How to Do a Double Cleanse

First, we have our own take own double cleansing: the (1:1) method. That means the following steps should take at least one minute each for the best results. Here’s how to double cleanse:

The first step requires an oil-based cleanser or cleansing balm. These are formulated to remove even the most stubborn oil-soluble products, such as waterproof makeup. Apply one like the Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm to dry, not damp, skin — using dry hands — so as to not dilute the efficacy of the cleanser. (Bonus: It’s ophthalmologist-tested and safe for use on the eyes and for those who wear contact lenses.) Another benefit of a cleansing balm is that it can be used to gently massage facial pressure points, which can help to improve circulation and relieve puffiness. Emulsify with warm water after massaging and rinse off.

The second step is to clean dirt and debris with a gentle sodium laureth sulfate (SLS)-free foaming cleanser. Healthy skin is slightly acidic and SLSs are highly alkaline, which disrupt the balance of the skin. Our Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser recreates that satisfying lather with microfoaming bubbles, while AHAs unglue dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, as hot water can be drying. Finally, #ditchthetowel and use your fingertips to pat the skin gently until it is moist, but no longer wet – a practice which can help skin stay hydrated and toned.

When to Do Your Double Cleanse

You should always double cleanse at night, which is when you’re most likely to have makeup, SPF, sweat, oil, pollution, and other debris built up on your skin — and therefore you may be most in need of it. Double cleansing is also gentle enough to do every single day. This way, you can kick off the rest of your routine with clean, hydrated skin and maximize the efficacy of everything else you’re applying.

In the mornings, notice how your skin feels and what it needs, and use that to choose between either the cleansing balm or foaming cleanser based. Dealing with a breakout or an oily T-zone? Opt for the foaming cleanser. If your skin seems dry or dull, go with the cleansing balm and use a gua sha tool or face roller to gently “awaken” skin. It’ll set you up for a good skin day.

Want to learn more about cleansing correctly?


Glow Recipe

Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser


Glow Recipe

Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm



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