Everything you need to know about double cleansing, according to a beauty editor

Take the time to cleanse, then cleanse again to ensure your skin is hydrated and smooth

Should you be double cleansing? In a word: yes. Double cleansing can be one of the best things you ever do for your skin – and essentially every skin type, from oily to combination, can benefit.

What is double cleansing?

A double cleanse is a two-step process that has been long-practised in Japanese, Korean and French beauty cultures. Step one involves purifying your face of make-up, pollution, dirt, debris and sunscreen – essentially anything found in your pores and on the surface of your skin at the end of the day. The second step ensures anything that wasn’t removed in the first is washed away, including leftover facial cleanser. The end result? Skin that’s gloriously clean and ready to absorb whatever you slather on next.

Are there benefits to double cleansing?

If you wear make-up or sunscreen, live where pollution is a concern or simply feel the way you currently cleanse isn’t cutting it, double cleansing is most definitely worth a try. It’s also a great idea for more mature skin types, as it doesn’t dry out or strip skin like using a single, harsher cleanser might. Basically, it can make a noticeable difference to how your skin looks and feels, both immediately and long term, no matter your skin type.

How often should you double cleanse?

The frequency of double cleansing depends on your skin type and lifestyle. For those who wear heavy makeup or sunscreen or are exposed to environmental pollutants daily, double cleansing in the evening can be beneficial in thoroughly removing impurities and preventing clogged pores. However, double cleansing too often may strip away natural oils and cause irritation if you have dry or sensitive skin. In this case, it’s best to limit double cleansing to a few times a week or when your skin needs a deeper clean. Always pay attention to how your skin reacts and adjust your routine accordingly.

How to double-cleanse

Step 1: Oil-based cleanser or micellar water

Clockwise from left: Garnier Micellar Vitamin C Cleansing Water, $10, from Chemist Warehouse, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil, $71, from Adore Beauty, Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Hydrating Micellar Water, $37.09, from Adore Beauty, Alpha-H Melting Moment Cleansing Balm, $69.96, from Alpha-H

Oil- or balm-based options work beautifully for heavier make-up and sunscreen days, and for sweeping away excess sebum. They’re good for all skin types – sensitive, dry and oily. Counterintuitively, oil is lipophilic (meaning it can dissolve other oils), so it can help balance blemish-prone complexions. Massage it onto dry skin in circular motions. This is key for smoothing away foundation, eye make-up and the like; linger on any especially congested areas or points where you apply the most make-up, then rinse.

Alternately, if make-up or sunscreen isn’t a concern and you’re after a less-intense cleanse, start with micellar water – a cleanser made with purified water, moisturising factors and mild surfactants.

Step 2: Cream, foaming or gel cleanser

Clockwise from left: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Anti-Acne Cleanser, $32.99, from Chemist Warehouse, Garnier Green Labs Hyalu-Melon Smoothing Milky Cleanser, $13, from Chemist Warehouse, The Ordinary Glucoside Foaming Cleanser, $26.25, from Adore Beauty, CeraVe Salicylic Acid Smoothing Cleanser, $22.99, from Chemist Warehouse

The second cleanse removes sweat and remaining debris, pollutants and product residue. To choose the right formula, notice what your skin needs. Incorporate a hydrating, creamy cleanser when you’re dry, a mildly exfoliating cleanser with salicylic acid or foaming formula on days when your pores need a real detox, or a soothing treatment when your skin could use replenishing. No matter your skin type or needs, as with the first cleanse, the key here is to use a gentle formula that nourishes skin as it brightens, clarifies and smooths.

Step 3: Layer on your favourite serums and moisturisers

Now that you’ve cleared away oil, dead skin cells, make-up and more, your skin is well-prepped to absorb those pricey serums and moisturisers, and really soak up the good stuff. If you smooth these treatments on right away, while your skin is still slightly damp, they’ll absorb even more effectively.

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