Let’s chat double cleansing, shall we? The two-step PM skincare ritual that’s often portrayed as a modern-day skincare marvel but is actually deep-rooted in Asian beauty practices. A little fun fact: this particular method dates back several centuries ago when Japanese geishas relied on cleansing oils to remove their dense white powder foundations, following this up with a foaming cleanser to rinse away any lingering impurities. And in K-Beauty, the custom remains the cornerstone and most authentic step of the 10-step skincare routines and has now trickled down into Western culture in recent years.
What is Double Cleansing?
The name itself is self-explanatory. The technique involves cleansing the face with two types of cleansers. The first is typically oil-based, so think of cleansing oil or balm to break down and remove sebum, sunscreen, makeup, and other day-to-day skin-sabotagers (i.e. pollutants) that can wreak havoc on your budding skin goals. But for double cleansing newbies who are a little apprehensive about smothering more “grease” on an already oil-ridden complexion, micellar water makes a great alternative first-step cleanser, too. I use Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O religiously — there’s always a bottle on my bathroom rack without fail. But if you’re looking for a micellar solution that is a little more cost-conscious, Garnier offers a pretty decent runner-up. It’s not up to par with Bioderma’s per se, but it does a good enough job. I then follow this step with a gentle water-based cleanser (In the video below, I round up some of my favorite face cleansers for all skin types and budgets.)
How to Double Cleanse
The great thing about double cleansing is that the same method applies to all skin types. With the first phase of cleansing, you want to ensure that you lift and draw out that surface layer of makeup, grime, and oil buildup that has accumulated throughout the day. Begin by massaging your chosen oil or balm all over the face (yes, eyes included) in gentle circular motions. Continue with this thorough rub-down for at least a minute to pull up and dissolve grime, then rinse with lukewarm water. But ensure you don’t dry your face just yet — while your skin is still damp, slather on your water-based cleanser, and essentially, this works to remove any last-standing specks of residue and impurities.
The Benefits of Double Cleansing
The one primary perk of double cleansing is that it truly leaves you with a better-cleansed complexion.Try to do a white towel or cotton pad test right now, cleansing makeup off the back of your hand with micellar water only, and then with a combination of micellar and your go-to face wash. You’ll see a visible difference between the two.
The Prime Time to Double Cleanse
PM is always best in my books — this way, your serum, moisturizer, and actives can penetrate your skin far better and have time to work efficiently with zero obstructions.
As mentioned earlier, there are no rigid ground rules with double cleansing, so all skin types will reap the rewards of this technique (yes, acne-prone skin included). With the right products, it can do wonders in rinsing away sebum, bacteria, and other buildups that may be catalyzing your flare-ups. And for anyone with sensitive skin and concerned about potentially over-washing on no-makeup days, a gentle cleanser partnered with a simple water rinse is also totally fine. Like all other skincare methods, it’s all about figuring out what works best for you and your skin.