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Better the Double, Lesser the Trouble- Double Cleansing 101

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Cleansing is the first stage of your skincare routine to remove all the dirt sitting on the surface of our skin. But is that enough? Our face is constantly in contact with pollution, dust, bacteria, makeup, sunscreen and many other particles that mix with the sebum produced, penetrating deep into our pores. This can cause dirt build up leading to acne, breakouts, sensitivity and many other concerns. Cleansing can be one of the harshest steps in your skincare routine and can sometimes be stripping to your skin. To solve this problem, we have double cleansing to the rescue.

What is double cleansing and does this trend actually work?

The origin of cleansing products dates back to ancient Egyptian baths, finding its way to 14th century Asia. Here, they used plant - based cleansing oils to remove the white paint - like base considered fashionable in parts of Japan and Korea. This was followed by a foamy facial cleanser. In recent times, double cleansing has gained enormous popularity over the internet.

 A quick wash might seem like a viable option after a long day of work. But, after learning about all the benefits of double cleansing, we bet you will want to switch:

  • The main benefit of double cleansing is that the first cleanser softens the grime and dirt on your skin and then applying the second cleanser addresses a particular concern such as hydration, acne or exfoliation to rinse it all away.
  • It is a recommended method even for those who do not wear too much makeup as it helps to remove the sunscreen that has a high tendency to clog your pores.
  • To address the dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin, a second deeper cleanse will help to brighten any dullness and give you a youthful glow.
  • For your skincare routine to work efficiently it is important for the product to penetrate deeper into the skin. Double cleansing preps your face, making room for any product you apply. This allows it to act like a blank canvas to allow them to flow without any blockage.
  • Pollutants and dirt can accelerate the ageing process. Not only do they cause oxidative damage, but also contribute to the breakdown of collagen and development of wrinkles and sun spots. In order to avoid such concerns, it is important to double cleanse at least once a day before bed.
This is an image of what double cleansing is and its benefits.

What are the different types of cleanser and how to pair them together?

So, should you pick a cleansing balm or oil? What kind of a cleanser would be good for you? And which cleansers work well together? A good cleanser breaks down makeup, emulsifies when rubbed, turns into a milky white consistency and rinses of completely. The different types of cleansers include: 

Oil-based cleansers


Natural oils in their pure form such as Jojoba oil, Olive oil, Coconut oil work well, but always use an oil specifically formulated to cleanse. Pure oils are not going to work as effectively as an oil specifically formulated to cleanse. They are too thick and will not rinse off completely as they leave a layer on that can lead to acne. Try Coccoon Silk Appeal Cleansing Oil which is packed with essential oils and perfectly balanced with Squalene to prevent moisture loss.


They are not meant to completely clean your face. They are used to soften and break up the dirt and prep the skin for the second cleanse. Ilana Organics Lights Out Clean Rinse Makeup Cleansing Balm is a luscious soap free cleansing balm made with gentle sugar based cleansers that easily removes impurities & makeup (even stubborn eye makeup) to leave skin hydrated but clean and glowing.


It works like magic attracting both oil and water - based dirt particles. The molecules of these mild surfactants join to form micelles, a type of spherical chemical structure that helps pull dirt and oil from the skin. Swisse Balanced Micellar Cleansing & Makeup Removing Water With Cucumber Extract is suitable for oily and combination skin while A’kin Cleansing Micellar Water works best for dry, normal and sensitive skin.  

Water-based cleansers


It is great for all skin types as it has a clear, light weight, bouncy consistency. They are great to use in the morning as it hydrates the face and plumps the skin.  We recommend Swisse Olive Leaf Deep Cleansing Gel formulated with soothing Aloe Vera, it leaves the skin clear, calm, and hydrated. You can also try the TVAM Pomegranate and Honey Face Wash with its antioxidants is suitable for all skin types


This type of formula is both gentler and more hydrating than other kinds of face wash, like foams and gels producing only a mild lather while depositing moisturising ingredients. Some cream cleansers simply need to be rinsed with just water, while others require more careful removal. Oceglow Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser works to remove makeup, oil and dirt build up on the skin. Its blend of Basil, Blue Green Algae and Fig Extracts nourish and hydrate the skin, along with leaving your skin feeling soothed, clean and refreshed.


It creates a foamy lather that is ideal for removing makeup and products with comedogenic tendencies such as sunscreen. They can be harsh for dry or sensitive skin and hence we recommend ENN'S Closet Spy-C Foaming Face Wash.


Clay has the potential to absorb excess oil from your skin while minimising the appearance of pores and sticking to impurities to pull them out as thy dry.

Originally, this technique uses either oil or balm - based cleanser followed by a water - based cleanser to remove the oily residues but this is not mandatory to follow. You can pair your cleanser with Micellar water, use the same cleanser twice or use any other substitute that works best for your skin type. When using the same cleanser twice try picking a cream - based formulation suitable for dry skin. Double cleansing with a micellar water can be helpful to remove the layer of makeup to then let the cleanser truly clean the skin. To get the most effective results, use these tried and tested pairs that work well together:

For normal skin

Use a cleansing balm with a gel-based cleanser. There is no specific concern you may target and hence try to look for a hydrating cleanser that will do the job without overcleaning your skin.

For oily skin

Use an oil-based cleanser with a foam-based cleanser. You could also incorporate a clay cleanser once every two days.

For dry skin

Use a cleansing oil with a cream-based cleanser. You can substitute the oil-based cleanser with an exfoliating cleanser two times a week.

For combination skin

Use a cleansing balm with a foaming cleanser. Look for cleansers that will avoid oiliness but will not leave skin feeling dry.

This is an image of how cleansers can be paired together

What are the steps to double cleanse?

The steps followed in double cleansing will help to give your skin a more thorough cleanse than what you can achieve with simply washing your face or using just one cleanser.


  • This is the first step in your skincare routine to remove all the dirt and makeup sitting on your face throughout the day
  • Make sure your skin is dry, scoop out a small amount using a spatula.
  • Rub the product on your palm using the tip of your fingers to warm it up giving a silky texture.
  • Massage it all over your face. You can add a little more product to remove the stubborn makeup around your eyes.


  • Turn on the water facet, dampen your hands and massage it onto your face. You will notice it starts to emulsify, turning into a milky white lather.
  • Through step 1 and 2 follow the 60 second rule. This way you can work the product into your skin for 60 seconds to break down the grime and makeup.
  • Rinse it off by gently splashing water onto your face.


  • For your second cleanse you can choose a cleanser with active ingredients like AHAs or BHAs. Cream or gel cleansers work best.
  • Avoid using these cleansers near the eye area as the skin around the eyes is very sensitive and could react to certain active ingredients.  
  • Remove a small coin size amount onto your palms and similarly massage it onto your skin while counting to 10.
This a link to the steps for double cleansing

What are some common double cleansing myths?

Even among us double cleanser lovers, myths can get the better of us. There are a lot of false rumours and myths that surround this method. Here, we bring to you facts that can give you a clear understanding to achieve even clearer skin: 

Myth 1: Double cleansing will overclean my skin

Fact: Over cleansing is possible but only when you wash your face too frequently or use products that are too harsh. It can damage the skin barrier and lead to flakiness. However, double cleansing aims at gently removing the impurities without stripping away your natural oils. Using oils and balms followed with a water-based cleanser will act sensitively without causing dryness or irritation.

Myth 2: Oil-based cleansers will aggravate acne

FactIn fact, it performs the exact opposite function! As mentioned earlier, oil helps to attract the excess oil and sebum produced by your skin. It binds the clogging substances to itself and makes it so much easier to remove. But, do not forget to rinse it off with an effective water - based cleanser.

Myth 3: You do not need to double cleanse if you do not wear makeup

Fact: Even if you do not wear makeup, your face produces sebum that mixes with sunscreen, pollutants and other impurities trapped deep within your pores. Simply using a water - based cleanser will not draw it all out!

Myth 4: You should not double cleanse in the morning

Fact: Throughout the night your skin is in repair mode. A new layer of skin is formed and dead skin can accumulate on the surface of your skin. Also, your skin still produces oil and sweat while you sleep. You must remove the excess product used in your night time routine to prep your skin for the morning. Using an exfoliating oil based cleanser followed by a gel cleanser would be appropriate. 

How long before you see results?

You instantly start to see results of cleansing. If your face feels tight, it is not right! Double cleansing is an effective way to maintain the pH level of your skin without stripping away the natural oil and retain hydration. Even though it seems like you may be washing your face twice as more than you normally would, it is important to note that the first step aims at breaking down impurities while the second step works at washing it away. 

Double cleaning once a day will definitely show long term results. Within a week you will notice your skin acting calmer and in control. It will feel less tight, more refreshed and radiant. After a month your skin will appear more youthful and brighter. It is a healthy habit to form as it will help to remove the tiniest form of dirt clogging your pores. 


Double cleansing is the great addition to your night time routine giving you some “me - time” and the perfect spa - like experience. It is the key element in your skincare routine because without a proper cleanser the skin will not be able to absorb the next skincare product you use. No one cleanser can cater to all needs, different cleansers cater to different skin types and needs and therefore double cleansing is the perfect solution. 

- Howrah Lookmanji



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