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Should You Be Double Cleansing? What You Need to Know

Posted by Nikki Wisher on Jun 13th 2023

Should You Be Double Cleansing? What You Need to Know

In the past year or so, a trend has begun to emerge called double cleansing. You’ll find mentions of it all over Tik Tok and Instagram, and you’ve probably heard of it from some of your favorite beauty influencers, but should it have a place in your skin care routine? I’ve got the answers you need.

What Is Double Cleansing?

Double cleansing is much like what the name implies: washing your face twice. The key, though, is to use two different cleansers: first an oil-based cleanser and then a water-based cleanser. It’s all about getting a more thorough cleansing to keep your skin free of pore-clogging debris and to help your other skin care products to be more effective because they aren’t blocked by residue.

EltaMD Oil-in-Gel Cleanser

Benefits of Double Cleansing

Should you start incorporating double cleansing into your skin care routine? There are several benefits that have made this technique a skin care sensation.

Combining the Advantages of Two Cleansers

Have you ever wondered why there are oil-based cleansers and water-based cleansers in the first place? Each one has its specialties. Oil-based cleansers are better at removing oil-based products and debris like sunscreen, makeup, and excess oil your skin produces. Water-based cleansers are better at removing water-based debris like sweat and dirt. When you team them up by double cleansing, you get the best of both worlds.

Benefitting from Oil-Based Cleanser Without Risking a Breakout

For people with naturally oily skin, one of the first ways they customize their skin care routine is to avoid oil-based products, including oil-based cleansers. They worry that adding more oil to the mix will add to the issue they already have, but oil-based products do have their advantages. With double cleansing, though, following up an oil-based cleanser with a water-based cleanser will help to reduce any oily residue left behind. For people with oily skin, double cleansing may allow you to enjoy the benefits of an oil-based cleanser without the disadvantages.

Cleansing with a water-based cleanser can help reduce oily residue

Potential Downsides of Double Cleansing

While double cleansing can be a fabulous strategy for some, it has its risks. You could overwash your skin in the process. In skin care, overwashing means that you’ve washed away the natural oils your skin needs. This makes your skin dry, damages your protective barrier to leave you vulnerable to breakouts, and makes you more prone to inflammation and irritation.

Who Should Use Double Cleansing?

Do the pros and cons of double cleansing balance out to make it a positive choice? Truthfully, it depends on the person. For people who wear makeup regularly, have oily skin, and feel that they aren’t getting their skin fully clean when they cleanse at night, double cleansing could be the answer. If you have dry skin or sensitive skin, it’s better to play it safe and stick to one cleanser.

Tips for Double Cleansing

Want to add double cleansing to your routine? Follow these tips to make it safer and more effective.

Only Use This Technique at Night

While you should wash your face both in the morning and at night, keep double cleansing limited to your nighttime routine only. Double cleansing is meant for getting rid of the debris that has built up over the day, so it can be beneficial at night but there’s not enough buildup in the morning to warrant that second cleanser.

Always Follow with Moisturizer

If you have a history of oily skin, you might not think that moisturizer is all that important in your skin care routine. It is, though, and especially so if you’re double cleansing. Applying a moisturizer after double cleansing can help to keep your skin from getting dry and irritated, balancing the hydration.

Obagi ReBalance Skin Barrier Recovery Cream Moisturizer

Remember Your Skin Type

Shopping based on your skin type is always important in skin care, and double cleansing is no exception. Whether your skin is oily, dry, normal/balanced, or combination, shop for oil-based cleansers and water-based cleansers that are recommended for your skin type. Because using two cleansers can put you at risk for more skin irritation, it’s always wise to only double cleanse with cleansers that are safe for sensitive skin.

Watch for Overwashing

As I mentioned, overwashing is a risk with double cleansing, and you generally won’t know if double cleansing is good for your skin until you try it. Particularly in the first weeks of your double cleansing, keep an eye out for signs of overwashing like dry, flaky skin, more frequent breakouts, or red, irritated skin. If you spot these signs, it’s probably time to cut down to a single cleanser.

Consider a Gentler Option

If you find that double cleansing is too much for your skin, here’s an alternative for you. Use micellar water to remove makeup residue and then follow it up with the cleanser of your choice. Micellar water can still do an excellent job of cleansing your skin but it’s not as intensive as a cleanser.

Dermaceutic Oxybiome Cleansing Micellar Water

Trying Double Cleansing in Your Nighttime Routine

Ultimately, double cleansing is much like most other skin care trends: it’s no cure-all, but it can be highly beneficial for some skin types. These tips and guidance can help you decide if you should work it into your routine.