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What Is Double Cleansing? Is It Necessary?

What Is Double Cleansing? Is It Necessary?

In the ever-evolving world of skincare, there are a few constants. The importance of cleansing one’s skin has been touted for ages and doing so is a staple in pretty much every routine variation. But is washing your face just once enough? What is double cleansing and is it necessary?


Main Takeaways: Double cleansing involves using two cleansers, especially at night to help remove heavy makeup, dirt, and oil.

Good to Know: Oils homogenize best with other oils, which is why an oil based cleanser is good at removing oil.

Recommended Products: So Clean! Cleanser.


Looking for the perfect everyday cleanser? We've got just the thing.

Shop So Clean! Cleanser

What Is Double Cleansing

Double cleansing does not refer to washing one’s face twice per day, as in once in the morning and once at night. It’s a practice where you cleanse two times consecutively before carrying on with the rest of your routine. Double cleansing dates as far back as the 14th century and originated in far-eastern parts of the globe, where in some countries it was considered the only way to effectively remove culturally relevant cosmetics, like the white paint worn by geishas.

But if life only ever seems to get busier, and fitting in even a single-cleanse skincare regimen seems like an Olympic feat, why on earth would anyone want to add another step to their routine, let alone one they’ve already completed?

Why Double Cleanse?

The double cleanse carries a number of benefits for the look and feel of your skin. Within a week of starting the routine, most people cite a brighter complexion with fewer blemishes and breakouts, along with fresher-feeling skin. But why twice? Well, nothing about the double cleanse is arbitrary. The process is expertly designed, with each individual cleanse targeting specific impurities.

The first cleanse gets rid of oil-based debris.

Whether we realize it or not, many of us start our day by layering our skin with a number of oil-based items. Despite their function, things like serums, moisturizers, makeup, and even sunscreen can blanket the skin in a slickness that’s not so easily dissolved.

The plot thickens when these are ultimately combined with environmental stressors and our face’s natural oils. Failing to successfully rid the skin of these things makes pores appear larger, encourages breakouts, and dulls the skin over time. It would also make it pretty impossible for your cleanser to ever reach the depths of your pores. So, this initial cleanse serves to not just remove surface sludge, but also sets the stage for what comes next.

The second cleanse clears away water-based impurities.

Once all unwanted oils have been dissolved, things like dirt and sweat can still be left behind. A second cleanse clears these away to reveal the freshest complexion a wash (or two) can afford.

All this in mind, an argument in favor of the double cleanse seems pretty legit. But these aren’t the only reasons one may want to give it a go. Consider double cleansing if:

  • You live in an urban environment where pollution levels may be higher.
  • You live in a warm, extra sunny climate and/or wear tons of sunscreen.
  • You regularly wear foundation or heavy makeup.
  • You want to give other skincare items like moisturizers and serums their best shot at success by facilitating total access to clean and readied pores.
  • You could use some more YOU time. Many people attest to experiencing the potentially therapeutic and meditative effects often associated with the double cleanse. The repetitive, circular motions, combined with gentle yet firm pressure and use of quality products make for a spa-like vibe.

Products to Use for the Double Cleanse

It is no secret that we at Fleur & Bee are staunch advocates for the use of natural, gentle products. But in this instance, it is kinda crucial. While keeping your skin clean is majorly important for its health and longevity, over-washing will surely produce unwanted effects. So, when upping one’s cleansing frequency, steer clear of harsh products at all costs to avoid accidentally damaging and/or dehydrating your skin.

Another major caveat when choosing your double cleanse products is that you will need to choose products… plural. Part of what makes the process so effective is the required use of different cleansers for different purposes.

Use an oil-based cleanser for the first cleanse.

Oils homogenize best with other oils, making them the premier choice for liberating and ultimately wicking away oil-based debris. Look for nourishing, fatty acid-rich oils, like that from jojoba and sesame seed. These will help swiftly send unwanted oils down the drain, while balancing hydration and protecting your skin with rich emollients.

Use a water-based cleanser for the second cleanse.

A gentle gel or foaming cleanser is often the go-to rec for this next cleanse. Alternatively, a still water-based creamy emulsion is also a great option for those with drier skin. Fleur & Bee’s water-based signature cleanser, So Clean! Is a great option for this step. The ingredients in this super smooth and mild formula get to work on sweat, dirt, and other water-based impurities, while ensuring that any leftover oils are good and gone. All that should remain is immaculate skin and the freshest possible canvas for whatever else you have in store.

How to Double Cleanse

  1. Apply a pea-sized amount of oil-based cleanser to dry fingertips and rub together. Then, apply to a dry face and, using gentle but firm circular movements, massage all over the skin including the eye area for about 30 seconds. If you wear makeup, get ready for a pretty trippy tie dye effect… we did earlier refer to your face as a canvas after all! Don’t fret; this means it’s working.
  2. It’s time to clear away your masterpiece. Some people do this by applying a warm, damp compress (fresh towels only, please!) for 30 seconds – a total home spa moment. Use that same towel to then gently swipe everything away. If you want to spare your laundry pile, go ahead and simply rinse with lukewarm water.
  3. To still damp skin, apply 1-2 pumps of your second cleanser. Massage in the exact same fashion (but avoiding the eye area this time) for 1 whole minute. Then rinse again with lukewarm water and gently pat your skin dry with a clean microfiber cloth.
  4. After a few seconds of letting the skin breathe, follow up with the rest of your beauty routine. Be sure to include a solid moisturizer, like our Crème de la Cream, to help further balance hydration after that added cleanse.

Who Should Double Cleanse?

While those with oily or breakout-prone skin may find double cleansing most helpful, if you carefully select your products and customize the frequency at which you double cleanse (e.g., possibly reserving the technique solely for nighttime, rather than twice a day), it can also be effective for those with combination and even dry skin. Routine makeup-wearers also tend to find it pretty clutch. But every face is inimitable; so, listen to your skin! Enjoy the benefits of the double cleanse but look for signs of over washing – things like excessive dryness, inflammation, or increased oil production and breakouts.

So, if you’re seeking a brighter, fresher complexion, or are interested in increasing the efficacy of your overall routine, double cleansing may be right for you! We’re not saying it’s double or nothing, but it’s definitely a solid bet!