What is Double Cleansing Method and Why You Need to Do It

Double-cleansing method is washing your skin twice. First with cleansing oil, and then follow with water-based gentle cleanser.

At some point in life I believed that soap and water was the best face washing routine.  I have oily skin and really loved this crispy feeling after viciously rubbing my skin with soap.  My skin felt very dry after, but I never connected the two together.  Once I tried using Johnson and Johnson baby mineral oil to remove makeup off my face.  It did not take long time until my pores became completely clogged up and blackheads started staring back at me in the mirror.  I gave up oil very quickly and stacked to soap and water routine for many, many years.

I started reading about double-cleansing method not long ago. I was very, very suspicious about using cleansing oils because I still remember what that mineral oil did to my skin.  In fact I purchased cleansing oil and did not open it for about 2 months as I was still hesitant to try it.  However, the more I read about double-cleansing method, the more I understood that cleansing oils do not have anything in common with mineral oils.


What is Double-Cleansing Method?

It is literally what it sounds like: cleansing your face twice. First you would use oil-based cleanser and follow it up with water-based cleanser that is suitable for your skin type and needs.

Is double cleansing really necessary?

The short answer is yes, it is.

Especially at the end of the day, when your skin was out and about with you wherever you went.  And I bet that your skin was exposed to make up, sun, sunscreen, dust, dirt, smog and all this other “wonderful” staff we get exposed on a daily basis.  Especially if you live and/or work in a city.

However, I find that even if I stay at home, my skin still gets overwhelmed with oil secretion, creams, toners, sweat and so on.

So yes, double-cleansing is a must in the evening!

Having said that, you can easily skip it in the morning.

I often don’t even use any cleanser in the morning, unless I used an overnight sleeping pack .  And even then I find that my skin becomes pretty clean after a morning shower.

If you have dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin, you can easily skin double-cleansing in the  morning.

In fact, I find that extra cleansing could be harmful to my skin; I started noticing at some point dry skin after cleansing in the morning.  This is when I switched to simple lukewarm water.

Benefits of Double Cleansing Method

There is a lot of bad things accumulating on your skin through the day and night: sweat, sebum, environmental pollution particles, dirt, skin care products, sunscreen, makeup and so on.  A quick wash up with soap and water will not remove all accumulated skin impurities and dead cells.  Also, double cleansing will prepare your skin for accepting your skin care products that are part of your skin care routine: serums, moisturizers, toners and so on.


·         Oil-based cleanser dissolves sunscreen, skin care products that you applied earlier, sebum and make up build up, removes dirt and other environmental pollution that is harmful for your skin.

·         Foam or other water-based cleansers should be used according to your skin type and needs and could clean your pores deeply, remove dead cells, exfoliate and hydrate.

You should do at least one double cleanse a day, most people choose to do it in the evening to remove all accumulated harmful particles from the skin.  However, you could definitely clean your face using double-cleanse method two or more times throughout the day.

What is an Oil-Based Cleanser?

The name speaks for itself – it is a cleanser that has oil or a blend of oils that nourishes, hydrates and soothes your skin.  Oils are lipophilic meaning that they are attracted to other oils on your skin; that is why cleansing oils are capable of dissolving oil-based ingredients in makeup, sunscreen, and your skin’s sebum.

Good oil cleanser can be easily washed off with warm water; once warm water touches your face, oil will become somewhat whitish in colour.  In case when oil-based cleanser is not easily washed off with warm water and if it leaves some unbreathable film on the surface of yours skin, chances are that such cleanser contains mineral oil which is a no-no for anyone’s skin.

Non-oil cleansers might strip off person’s skin leaving it irritated and dehydrated.  Cleansing oil maintains the skin natural oil balance.

What is a Water-Based Cleanser?

The purpose of water-based cleansers is to remove water-based impurities: bacteria, sweat, dirt etc. and also remove any impurities that oil-cleanser did not pick up.

Water based cleansers can be foaming or non-foaming.  Some people believe that foaming cleansers are better than non-foaming ones.  In fact it is a very common misconception and a good water-based cleanser does not have to foam.

(Disclaimer: I use affiliate links.  That means that if you make a purchase, I might receive a small commission at no extra cost to you)

water based cleanser

How to Double-Cleanse?

1.      I personally start with removing my makeup using micellar water makeup remover by Bioderma  Sebium H2O Micellar water.

2.      After removing makeup, apply oil-based cleanser with a cotton pad all over your face and neck to remove all impurities.  Use gentle strokes.

3.      Once you remove all the surface grime, apply foam or other water based cleansers to your face.  Spend time massaging cleanser to your skin to make sure that all dirt is removed.  You should spend about 1 minute gently massaging cleanser into your face (try it, one minute seems so long for some reasons).

4.      Wash cleansers off with warm water.

Tip: always apply a toner after washing your face – it is a very important step.  Toner will lock moisture in your skin and will prevent skin dehydration.

Is it important to Double-cleanse according to your skin type?

Yes, yes and yes.  While oil-cleansers are suitable for most skin types, it is important to have water-based cleanser according to your skin type and concerns you are trying to solve.

Using cleansers according to your skin type allows you to avoid over-drying and over-washing your skin.  If you have sensitive skin and use cleanser with active ingredients you could easily strip off too much of your skin’s natural oils which could lead to overproduction of skin oil; cause redness, dehydration and dryness.

As much as it is important to remove and wash off all skin’s impurities and harmful residue accumulated on your skin during the day, it is also extremely important not to alter natural pH, and mess up the balance of your own skin oils and bacteria (yes, not all bacteria is harmful and your skin does need “good” bacteria to fight off the bad one).

Make sure you know your skin type, read labels carefully and read tips below!

How to double-cleanse for OILY SKIN

You need to remember that oily skin does not mean good hydration.  Oily skin can become dehydrated easily.  I have oily skin and all I wanted at the end of the day is to come home and cleanse my skin with soap until it was so oil-free it was squeaky.  However, the more I tried to get rid of skin oil, the more oily my skin became.

The trick with oily skin is that the more skin oil you remove, the more oil your glands will produce.  The more your skin is dehydrated, the shinier it will be later as your oil glands will try to overcome dehydration with overproduction of skin oil.

Oily skin needs good hydration.  It also needs gentle cleansers that will not strip your skin of all oils.

Oil-based cleansers for oily skin:

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil: very gentle, cleanse out dirt and debris leaving skin soft, clean and smooth.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil – Japanese cleansing oil removes excess oil, makeup, dirt and other pore-clogging impurities with its water-soluble formula. Infused with olive oil and vitamin E, it nourishes and hydrates the skin, while rinsing completely clean, never leaving behind a greasy residue

Innisfree Tea Tree Cleansing Oil – I personally love this Korean oil cleanser.  It smells amazing, cleans skin well and does not clog pores.  Skin feels very silky and smooth.

fruit face wash

Ciracle – Absolute Deep Cleansing Oil: dissolves makeup and other skin care products, very lightweight and gentle.

DAYCELL – Esthenique Dark Sugar Cleansing Oil: a  cleansing oil with black sugar and honey extract gently yet thoroughly removes dirt, excess oil and impurities to reveal smoother, clearer skin.

Water-based cleansers suitable for oily skin:

Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash – this cleanser comes in a gel form; once gel touches the water it creates a foamy lather which gently washes all debris and skin grime.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel – this is a very light gel that turns into creamy paste when contacted water; leaves skin clean, fresh and hydrated.

How to Double-Cleanse for DRY SKIN

It is very easy to over dry already dry skin with skin care products that are not suitable for this skin type.   If you are using active ingredients that are harsh for your skin type you might run into risk of over-washing your face and stripping skin off its natural oils, protection and hydration.

Oil-based cleansers for dry skin:

Dear Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil

Contains black sesame and black currant oils which protect, promote skin regeneration, strengthen, and provide protective antioxidant benefits.

Badger Seabuckthorn Cleansing Oil

Contains  argan, sunflower, and jojoba oils which remove dead skin cells, excess oil, and makeup while replenishing skin with essential vitamins, lipids, and fatty acids. This product is 100 percent natural and certified organic formula, non-comedogenic and will not clog your pores.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

This cleansing oil contains olive oil, which effectively nourishes and hydrates the skin and washes off easily without leaving any residue.

TATCHA One-Step Cleansing Oil

This rich oil cleanser contains traditional Japanese camellia and rice bran oils which deeply soft and hydrate your skin while removing all unwanted impurities. The blend also contains a combination of antioxidants, fatty acids, and Vitamin E delivering hydration and nourishment to your skin.

Water-based cleansers for dry skin

Tosowoong Enzyme Cleanser 

This is a very unusual cleanser.  It comes in loose powder that is rather large in size that dissolves into bubbly texture once contacts with the water.  This product has slightly acidic pH of 5.5 which works perfect for exfoliation and removal of dead cells. I really like this cleanser, it gently exfoliates the skin leaving it clean, fresh and soft.

Mizon Snail Cushion Foaming Cleanser

Very gentle cleanser that effectively washes off impurities without drying skin.  It contains snail mucin that is known for its repairing, hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties.  It also softens skin and improves over all complexion.

Zo Skin Health Hydrating Cleanser

This cleanser removes dirt, oil and makeup residue from your skin and at the same time retains moisture, calms and soothes skin.

Neogen Dermalogy Real Rose Cleansing Water

This cleanser was specifically developed for dry skin.  It contains real rose petals.  Cleanser gently removes dirt, makeup and other skin impurities and leaves skin hydrated and moisturized.

Eminence Organic Skincare Lemon Cleanser

This is organic and cruelty free product, it contains lemon, herb oils, antioxidants, Coenzyme Q10 and Alpha Lipoic Acid to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve appearance of skin.

Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser

This cleanser is formulated with a blend of conditioners, moisturizers and non-irritating surfactants that gently cleanse and lubricate dehydrated skin.  This product contains 3.4% Free Acid Value glycolic acid that gently exfoliates skin and at the same time minimizes fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.


When you have sensitive skin and/or acne-prone skin it is important to use pure products, keep skin regime simple and stay away from complex ingredients that could cause your skin to break out.  At first glance, double-cleansing method could seem overwhelming and even harmful to sensitive skin. However, good cleansing is a cornerstone for sensitive skin type as all harmful residues, SPF and skin care products leftovers, environmental pollutants and so on could really irritate sensitive skin, clog pores and cause break outs.  Right products could actually calm your skin, reduce irritation, clear pores and enrich skin with necessary ingredients.

Oil-based cleansers for sensitive or acne-prone skin

Erno Laszlo Sensitive Cleansing Oil

This oil is infused with anti-inflammatory plant extracts to improve the texture of dry or sensitive skin.  It moisturizes skin, nourishes and restores.  This oil contains Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E making it suitable for delicate sensitive skin.

DHC Depp Cleansing Oil

This is an olive based facial cleanser that is suitable for all skin types including sensitive ones.  Key ingredients: olive fruit oil, rosemary leaf oil, and vitamin E.

SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser

Creamy, mild cleanser formulated with an emollient-rich surfactant and 3% concentration of key ingredients combining allantoin, glycerin, and orange oil.  It dissolves makeup and removes all impurities leaving skin soft, moisturized and restored.

Water-based cleansers for sensitive skin or acne-prone skin

Sensitive skin  Etude House – Soon Jung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

This cleanser is recommended for sensitive for many reasons including pH balance of 6.5 which is very close to normal skin pH level.  This cleanser contains panthenol and madecassoside which heal damaged skin and strengthen natural skin barrier. It is non-camedogenic and hypoallergenic cleanser, does not cause dryness or dehydration.

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

Gentle, non-foaming, gel/cream cleanser for sensitive skin.  It helps calm and cool skin redness.

Double-Cleanse for Normal/Combination Skin

Combination skin could be tricky to take care of as part of your face could be oily (especially the T-zone: your forehead, nose and chin area) and the rest of your face could feel dry.  Try products with ceramics and hyaluronic acid as these products help to maintain moisturized skin.  The same applies to normal skin.

Oil-based cleansers for normal/combination skin

Boscia MakeUp BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil

An effective mix of jojoba leaf and willow herb. This oil calms your skin, reduces inflammation and redness, cleans pores, balances oil production and hydrates your skin.  It is suitable for all skin types including combination/normal skin.

Etude House Real Art Perfect Cleansing Oil

This cleansing oil contains shea butter, meadowfoam seed oil, and rice bran oil.  It effectively removes makeup and all skin impurities  with moist and fresh finish.

Water-based cleansers for normal/combination skin

Shiseido – Senka Speedy Perfect Whip Moist

Alcohol-free pH balanced formula that combats appearance of oily skin without drying it.  Gently washes off all skin impurities while hydrating it

Garnier Skin Naturals Pure Active Neem Face Wash

This is a soap-free product that contains the extracts of neem leaves and tree oil.  It removes dirt, bacteria and other unwanted particles harmful for your skin.  It reduces inflammation, prevents acne and improves overalls skin texture.

Try double-cleansing method and share your experiences with it!

Stay beautiful!!!



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