The skincare geek’s complete cheat sheet to double cleansing (and why everyone should be doing it!)
- By Parizaad Khan Sethi
Double cleansing—a Japanese technique dating back centuries—is the act of cleansing your face twice, to properly free your skin from the makeup, sunscreen, sweat, grime, pollutants and general grossness it collects during the day. This one-two punch routine involves using a makeup remover or cleansing oil in the first stage, and then using a face wash/milky cleanser/cleansing gel as step two.
- Live in a polluted city
- Wear sunscreen
- Wear makeup or eye makeup
- Want your skincare to work well
Basically, we all should be doing it. A simple face wash works perfectly fine in the morning, but your skin needs extra help in the evening to ensure that any excess baggage you’ve brought home with you goes right where it belongs—down the drain. Very often, a regular face wash or cleanser is not up to this job.
The idea behind an oil cleanser is the simple scientific principle of like attracts like. The product’s oils will attach to and dissolve the oils in your makeup, sunscreen and sebum, and wash them away along with grime and dust. This gives the second cleanser a fighting chance to work on your skin and get it properly clean (think of why you shampoo your hair twice—same principle here); cleanser 2 also removes any oily residue left behind by cleanser 1.
Post a DC, your serum and moisturizer will go on and penetrate much easier, and will not just be faffing around on improperly cleaned skin.
On a dry face, lightly massage the cleansing oil in, concentrating on areas where you’ve used a lot of makeup. Try Forest Essentials Floral Make Up Remover Oil (to remove, splash face water and wipe off with cotton pad, or simply wash off). If you’re not acne prone and have dry skin, even a coconut oil like Forest Essentials Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Oil Coconut or Kama Ayurveda Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil will work well (wipe off with a warm, wet towel or cotton pad). Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O is another option for this stage (apply directly with a cotton pad).
For step 2, wet your face and use cleanser as usual, wash off and pat dry. I’d use a creamier formulation than a face wash. Forest Essentials Delicate Facial Cleanser Kashmiri Saffron & Neem is a great option.
Major key: be gentle at every stage. Equally major key: that ‘squeaky clean’ skin is not the goal. If your skin is squeaking, it’s hurting (probably from extra-foaming cleansers/washes as those tend to be drying). Switch to a gentler product.
is a beauty and wellness editor based in New York. She was the former beauty editor at Vogue India and now serves as a contributing editor for the magazine. At age 5, Parizaad fell in love with an old cream blush she found in the back of her mother’s drawer, and has been in awe of the transformative power of beauty ever since. When she’s not writing about beauty, she researches advances in skincare as a hobby, and is constantly guinea-pigging herself in the name of beauty.
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