Why Double Cleansing Is Totally Worth It

When it comes to skin care, we want our regimens to be effective, but we also want them to be as streamlined as possible. Even the biggest beauty junkie would choose a few extra minutes of precious sleep over slapping on another product. So, we don’t blame you if the thought of doubling up on facial cleansers leaves you groaning. But trust us, the extra step really is worth it. Promise.

What Is Double Cleansing?

Like the name implies, double cleansing literally involves cleansing skin twice. The first cleanse is done with an oil-based cleanser, while the second one is typically done with a foaming cleanser. The multistep regimen is common practice in Korea and Japan where the belief is that multiple layers (skin care, makeup, BB cream, SPF, etc.) are needed to create a daytime look. Therefore, more than one step is required at night to effectively remove everything, explains Christine Chang and Sarah Lee, co-founders of K-beauty site Glow Recipe.

Even the best face cleanser can’t compete with a double cleanse, which cleanses on all fronts. An oil cleanser dissolves oil-based makeup products, sweat and sunscreen, while the foaming cleanser banishes residual oils and grime, leaving skin clean and hydrated, says Chang and Lee. This is why double cleansing is usually part of the evening skin care routine so it can remove the day’s buildup.

The experts agree that two cleansers are better than one for keeping all skin types balanced. Rachel Winard, founder of Soapwalla, says that it’s especially good for those who have oily skin or wear a lot of makeup since the oil-based cleanser removes stubborn makeup and excess oil. Then the foam cleanser removes any residual oils.

How to Double Cleanse

To get the most out of double cleansing, it’s important to choose the right products, so skin doesn’t become dry or reactive. Consider whether the oil-based cleanser contains mineral oils and how well it emulsifies in water. (That’s scientific lingo for turns milky when activated with water and washes away without leaving any residue.) For the foaming cleanser, Chang and Lee recommend searching for a pH-balanced, SLS-free version. Scroll through the gallery to see the best oil- and foam-based facial washes to combine for a double cleanse.