What Is Double Cleansing And Why Should We Be Doing It?

It wasn’t until recently that I was aware that double cleansing even existed, let alone what it was, but I am now a complete convert and I’m going to tell you why.

What is Double Cleansing?

It’s basically what it says on the tin, kind of. It’s cleansing the skin twice, but with two different types of cleanser in order to effectively remove impurities. Like most of our skin care tips, we have Korean women to thank. They understand that we need to be using one oil cleanser and one water cleanser so we can remove the nasties that cause breakouts and blemishes.

Why Should We Double Cleanse?

It’s a known fact that water and oil don’t mix, they just kind of sit on top of each other. And we know that we have oil all over our skin, some good and some bad. Sebum is the bad stuff and it dries and clogs up our pores with dead skin cells – a recipe for blemishes and breakouts. By using an oil-based cleanser first, you’re lifting this sebum and other oil-based impurities like makeup that a water-based cleanser wouldn’t be able to do.

After the oil cleanse, it’s time to move onto the water cleanse. Now that the oil barrier has been removed, the cleansing agents in the water will penetrate the skin at a deeper level. This removes sweat and environmental pollutants from the skin that wouldn’t have been removed before.

Can We All Double Cleanse?

Before I started double cleansing, I wouldn’t let oil near my face. I tried so hard to get it to agree with my skin but it just caused breakout after breakout and my skin just became an oil pool – yuck. So when I first heard about cleansing with an oil I was apprehensive – adding more oil to my face? That would surely make my breakouts worse. But I read more into it and found out that most of my breakouts were caused by a build-up of sebum because my skin hadn’t been cleansed properly.

As soon as I started to double cleanse, I noticed an immediate difference. Not only were my blemishes fading, my skin had started regulating the oil production and my once oily face was, well not so oily.

My cleansing routine before had actually been making my skin worse. I was using harsh cleansers with alcohol in an attempt to remove some of the excess oil from my face, but in reality that was just drying out my face and making my skin overproduce oil – the perfect conditions for breakouts. Now that I’m cleansing with an oil and water, I’m ensuring my skin is hydrated and that there isn’t an overproduction of sebum.

So the answer to the question is yes, we can all double cleanse. Even those of us who suffer from acne. It may seem counterintuitive, almost like fighting fire with fire but trust me on this one – it’s a skin saviour.

How Should I Do It?

Always start off with the oil cleanser. Like I said previously, this will lift the oil-based impurities first which means you can then access the environmental pollutants and sweat, the things your water-based cleanser will lift. You will be shocked at how much comes off your skin in the second cleanse and it’ll leave you wondering how you ever believed you were getting all the impurities off your skin with one cleanse.

Over the years I’ve seen more people trying to cleanse with oils like coconut oil, especially on the beauty side of youtube. But this will not cleanse your skin. It doesn’t contain any surfactants meaning it won’t be able to dissolve and remove impurities. Below, I’m going to link you to some of my favourite oil cleansers.


  1. Dior HYDRA LIFE Oil to Milk Cleanser// £29
  2. Elemis Nourishing Cleansing Oil// £26.35
  3. The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil// £12


One of the most important things to note about your water-based cleanser is to use one that is gentle on your skin. For most of, it’s best to use one that doesn’t contain alcohol or salicylic acid, this way we can avoid dehydrated skin and prevent the aging caused by using alcohol on the skin. Here are some of my favourites!


  1. Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Cleanser// £15
  2. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser// £15
  3. Fresh Soy Face Cleansing Milk// $38

Have any of you tried double cleansing before? And what do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Featured image from @couldihavethat on instagram.

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