woman washing face

The practice of double cleansing skin began in Korea and Japan, and has now caught on in the U.S. The ritual is intended to remove dirt, sunscreen, and makeup more thoroughly than conventional cleansing with a single product. It usually involves two products: an oil-based cleanser or pure oil, and a cream or lotion cleanser. Keep reading to find out why double cleansing can be a great addition to your skincare routine.

Benefits of double cleansing

If you wear sunscreen and/or a full face of makeup every day, a single wash is probably not sufficient to remove all of that product from your skin. Your skin might look clean after one wash, but residue from sunscreen and makeup can linger on your skin and cause damage in different ways. Product residue can block your pores, leading to oily skin and acne breakouts. It can also speed up skin aging, especially around your eyes.

As mentioned above, there are two components to the double cleansing ritual. The oil-based cleanser normally serves as a deep cleaner for your pores, clearing out debris and removing excess sebum. The second cleanser gently washes away the oil while nourishing your skin with key ingredients.

If you wear heavy makeup or sunscreen, or if you have clogged pores or oily skin, double cleansing might be worth a try. Keep reading for a comprehensive how-to, complete with product suggestions.

How to double cleanse skin

It might sound daunting, but the ritual of double cleansing is actually simple.

When double cleansing, you can start with dry or wet skin. First, you’ll need your oil-based cleanser or natural oil. Dispense the quantity recommended by the manufacturer onto clean fingers, and swipe across your face in gentle, circular motions for up to a minute. Rise away the residue or gently wipe it away with a clean, damp washcloth.

Next, you’ll use your lotion cleanser. Dispense the recommended quantity onto your fingers and gently rub into your skin for up to a minute, then rinse or wipe away the residue. Ta-da!

Best double cleansing products

There are tons of double cleansing product sets out there, but it’s important to choose one that works for your skin type. Some of our favorites are Philosophy’s Purity Party Duo ($12), Dermalogica’s Double Cleanse Set ($10), and Julep’s Double Cleanse & Boost Set ($90). You can also find a great guide to pairing cleansers to form your own duo on this page.

If you’re seeking to simplify your routine, and/or incorporate all-natural products, we recommend that you use a pure oil instead of an oil-based cleanser. Jojoba oil, almond oil, and avocado oil are three natural oils that can work perfectly as oil cleansers. (They’re also vitamin-rich and amazing for the skin!)

Double cleansing is easier than it sounds–and thanks to the range of products there, you can mix and match to find the perfect duo for your skin type. Make sure to look for products that contain organic ingredients, and which are free from parabens, sulfates, and other harmful chemicals.