Is double-cleansing necessary in your daily skincare routine?

This is an interesting question for me, because I have been doing it for so many years, that it comes automatically. But recently, I came across an influential voice on social media, and glanced at a book about skincare, both of whom proposed that you don’t need to double-cleanse.

Is Double-cleansing Necessary In Your Daily Skincare Routine?

This, they say, is because double-cleansing dries out the skin, and this more so if you have dry skin.

I thought it was an interesting viewpoint, and while I’m no expert, I thought I’d share a quick view on this from the standpoint of someone who recognises that double-cleansing can be drying, but who still does it without much problems.

I attribute this to one thing – using the correct products.

What is double-cleansing?

Plainly speaking, to double-cleanse your skin is to cleanse your skin, twice.

The first step usually employs the use of a cleansing oil (this is the most common first step cleanse) or a cleansing balm. The second could be a cleansing gel or cream or lotion.

double cleansing balm - Is Double-cleansing Necessary In Your Daily Skincare Routine?

Why double-cleanse?

The reason for double-cleansing is to ensure that your skin is thoroughly clean, before you proceed with the rest of your skincare routine. The cleansing oil or balm works to remove dirt, makeup, sunscreen, grime etc on your skin more effectively, as the ingredients work better at breaking down and binding with these impurities. Once you get the main grime off, you can then proceed with a more gentle cleanser.

Think of it rather like when you get your hands really grimy with oil and grease. You won’t be able to remove it all in one wash. So, what do you do? You wash, and then you wash again until it’s clean. You do the same with your face.

I learnt this technique many years ago from using Japanese skincare and going for their facials. The Japanese have been double-cleansing for decades, and their skincare ranges reflect this practice. It’s only in recent years that I’ve seen double-cleansing being advocated among the Western media and Western skincare brands.

Among Western brands, cold creams have been traditionally used for removing thick makeup. You could even argue that if it was followed up with a wash-off cleanser thereafter, it would be double-cleansing too! No one said it had to be cleansing oils only 😛

When to double-cleanse?

I’d only do it in the evening cleanse. When you wake up, your skin isn’t so dirty as to warrant a full, thorough cleanse. Some people don’t even use a cleanser in the morning, just splashing water on the skin!

I do, but with a gentle cleanser only. I’ve had people tell me they don’t use a cleanser and it works for them.

I say, work with whatever your skin likes! 😀 No real rules as far as I’m concerned.

In the evening, you’d have had your skincare on all day, and (hopefully!) waterproof sunscreen. You may also have makeup on. You need to properly clean everything off, so your skin can benefit from your evening skincare routine, and to properly absorb all the nutrients you’re going to be throwing at it.

Will double-cleansing dry your skin?

From experience, it can.

I noticed that when I use a cleansing oil, it had a tendency to dry my skin further. When I couple it with a foaming cleanser, it felt worse. It was for this reason that I no longer use cleansing oils, as I found them too harsh and drying for my skin.

When I experimented with different types of cleansers, I found that for drier skin like mine, the best types of cleansers that allowed me to double cleanse without drying out my skin, was a cleansing balm, followed by a cleansing lotion/milk/cream.

RELATED READING: I love using a face cloth in the shower! A simple, cheap and effective way to ensure your skin is properly clean READ HERE

Basically, I opted for something that feels more gentle, more comforting on my skin, bearing in mind my skin type. If you have more oily skin, or if you wear thick makeup, a cleansing oil does the job more effectively, and makes your skin feel cleaner more quickly. I would follow up thereafter with a more gentle cleanser, as opposed to an aggressive foaming cleanser.

To me therefore, there is some truth in not using a cleansing oil, as it can make your skin drier. However, I would use something like a cleansing balm or gel-to-oil cleanser, that feels more gentle on the skin, and is more nourishing.

For those with dry skin, I would not rule out double-cleansing altogether. It just comes down to picking the right cleansers for your skin type.

I would not rule out double cleansing also, because of sunscreen. I am a sunscreen evangelist, as many of you will know. A good sunscreen will sit on top of your skin to protect it, and it would be water-resistant. Can a good cleanser remove it, and makeup, and sweat and oils and dirt in just one cleanse at the end of the day? It could.

But would it? I’m not taking chances!

oskia renaissance cleansing gel - Is Double-cleansing Necessary In Your Daily Skincare Routine?

Alternative to double-cleansing

If you are averse to the idea of double cleansing, or if your skin feels a little too sensitive, are there options?

In a way yes.

I have found that using a cleansing balm or oil, coupled with a face cloth does a good job at cleaning my skin well at the end of the day, even with just one pass.

RELATED READING: I love using a face cloth in the shower! A simple, cheap and effective way to ensure your skin is properly clean READ HERE

For some people, a wipe with micellar water before a gentle cleanse in the shower at the end of the day, works for them too.

My personal philosophy is to double-cleanse. I have found it beneficial for me, and I am sensitive enough to my skin’s needs, to be able to pick the right cleansers for me. However, I say everyone should work with their own skin type.

If there is a reason for not double-cleansing, then so be it. At the end of the day, it’s our skin – we do whatever that’s necessary to keep it healthy 🙂

Do you double-cleanse?

I guess you know my answer to that! 😀

Paris B

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