Double cleansing is a current trend in skincare. You’ve probably heard a social media influencer (or two or three) talking about it already. However, there is a lot of misinformation going around about double cleansing because most of the people who are talking about this skincare technique aren’t necessarily trained in skincare and skin health needs. In this blog, the dermatologists who curated the product line at DermSkincare weigh in to answer the question, “What is double cleansing,” and provide product recommendations inspired by skin type.

What is Double Cleansing? An Overview

In the past, most people did little more than quickly wash their faces with soap and water before heading to bed for the night. Over the past several decades our understanding of skin health needs has grown exponentially, allowing us to share this knowledge with those who can utilize this information to keep their skin looking and feeling great for years to come. For many people, this change in the way we view and perform skincare includes adding double cleansing into their evening skincare routines. Throughout the day, skin is exposed to dirt, grime, oils, pollutants, chemicals, toxins, and other environmental irritants. A simple soap and water face wash may not be adequate to cut through it all. Enter double cleansing. Rather than just washing the face once, this process involves washing twice. The first wash utilizes an oil-based cleanser to dissolve oils and grime. The second uses a water-based cleanser to deep clean into pores.

The Science Behind Double Cleansing

The first wash in double washing utilizes an oil-based cleanser. These cleansers are good at breaking down oils, dissolving cosmetics, and removing surface-level grime. After the oil-based cleanser, the skin is washed a second time with a water-based cleanser. This is your traditional, gentle soap and water cleanser. It removes any remaining dirt and debris, deep cleans into pores, and prepares skin to absorb additional nighttime skincare products. This two-step method may be especially important for those who use cosmetics daily, but it can offer numerous benefits for just about anyone.

Benefits of Double Cleansing

There are many double cleansing benefits that encourage people to add this boost to their evening skincare routine, including the following:

  • Improve overall skin cleanliness and balance.
  • Completely and thoroughly remove all cosmetics.
  • Break down excess oil on the skin, which is great for those who have oily or acne-prone skin.
  • Skin better absorbs other skincare products for improved results.
  • Avoid adverse skin response to environmental irritants, especially important for those with sensitive skin, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and other chronic, inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Get a thorough clean without drying your skin. Most people worry that double cleansing will strip away necessary hydration, but it actually helps skin retain a healthy, balanced moisture level without being oily.
  • Brighten and smooth skin. Double cleansing can help restore an even skin tone and texture.

How to Double Cleanse Your Face Correctly

First and foremost, you need to use the right skincare products to double cleanse correctly. You can explore some of our top dermatologist-recommended products for double cleansing below. Once you have the right skincare products lined up, you’ll want to double cleanse at nighttime. This is when our skin has the most buildup of foreign matter that needs to be completely removed to ensure skin health. The process itself should only take about an extra minute each night. You can start by following the double cleansing method outlined below:

  • Step 1 – Clean skin using an oil-based cleanser.
  • Step 2 – Massage the oil-based cleanser gently into the skin to fully remove all foreign matter.
  • Step 3 – Completely rinse away all cleanser, dirt, and grime with cool water.
  • Step 4 – Apply water-based cleanser to damp face.
  • Step 5 – Carefully massage over the skin to loosen and remove any stuck-on particles left behind.
  • Step 6 – Thoroughly rinse the face.
  • Step 7 – Gently pat dry.
  • Step 8 – Continue with the rest of your evening skincare routine.

Product Recommendations for Double Cleansing

The right skincare product can make all the difference even in the simplest daily skincare routines. No product is right for every person of every skin type, so it’s important to choose the right products to achieve specific skincare goals and address unique skin health needs. Below, we’re including some of our top dermatologist-recommended skincare products for different skin types but reaching out to a dermatologist may be a better option to ensure you find products that are perfect for you.

Double Cleansing Products for Normal & Combination Skin

  • Cleanser 1 – ZO Skin Health Gentle Cleanser. This product gently dissolves cosmetics, dirt, and oils, leaving skin looking and feeling refreshed.
  • Cleanser 2 – skinbetter Science Cleansing Gel. This cleanser is ultra-gentle. It’s safe for most skin types, and with minimal ingredients, it’s perfect for cleansing challenging, combination skin.

Double Cleansing Products for Oily Skin

  • Cleanser 1 – Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser. For oily skin, finding the right oil-based cleanser is a must. This option avoids adding excess oil to the skin. Instead, it leaves skin feeling clean and refreshed by breaking down and cleansing away oils from the day.
  • Cleanser 2 – MD Skin Essentials Cleanse It. Few cleansers cut through oiliness and clear pores as well as MD Skin Essentials Cleanse It. This product utilizes a meticulous formula of unique active ingredients to fully clean skin without causing irritation.

Double Cleansing Products for Dry & Sensitive Skin

  • Cleanser 1 – ALASTIN Skincare Gentle Cleanser. For dry skin, the concern with double cleansing is removing too much oil, leaving the skin drier. ALASTIN Skincare Gentle Cleanser uses soothing and hydrating ingredients to remove excess oils without stripping away necessary hydration.
  • Cleanser 2 – Revision Skincare Gentle Foaming Cleanser. While many water-based cleansers strip away necessary moisture or irritate sensitive skin, Revision Skincare Gentle Foaming Cleanser offers unique benefits for sensitive skin. With ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile, this cleanser soothes and hydrates while delivering a complete clean.

Double Cleansing Products for Acne Prone Skin

  • Cleanser 1 – ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser. Acne-prone skin needs extra care to stay healthy, so double washing can be especially beneficial. Rather than just a traditional oil-based cleanser for the first step, we recommend the ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser. It offers both a thorough removal of dirt, oils, and grime as well as a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin cells. This combination helps to prevent clogged pores.
  • Cleanser 2 – Epionce Acne Kit. This kit includes an acne-fighting cleanser and a spot gel. Following the ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser, you can use the Epionce Purifying Wash to remove any remaining dirt and oils and deep clean into pores. Then, you will apply the Epionce Purifying Spot Gel to treat any active acne blemishes.

Double Cleansing Products for Mature Skin

  • Cleanser 1 – SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel. Specifically formulated for aging skin, this cleanser is designed to gently dissolve dead skin cells, increase cell turnover, and reveal healthy skin for an even tone and texture. This helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of skin aging.
  • Cleanser 2 – Revision Skincare Brightening Facial Wash. While this product is often recommended for mature skin, it’s actually one of the best options for just about anyone who wants to smooth and brighten their skin. It cleanses deep into pores while delivering ingredients that soothe, hydrate, and brighten skin.

Should You Double Cleanse? Making an Informed Decision

Double cleansing can be beneficial for people with many skin types and daily routines, but no skincare routine is right for everyone. Consider your skin type, skin health concerns, lifestyle, and other factors before introducing a new step into your daily skincare routine. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult with a dermatologist. They can guide you to the right products and routines to keep your skin looking and feeling its very best.

Ready to Give Double Cleansing a Try?

If you think double cleansing is right for you, give it a shot using some of the dermatologist-recommended skincare products above. We’d love to hear about it. Share your experience with specific products by leaving a review and reach out to us on Instagram @dermskincareshop. Don’t forget to come back to our blog regularly to learn more about dermatologist-recommended skincare products for every skin health need.