Double cleansing is exactly what it sounds like: using 2 cleansers to remove your makeup and wash your face. It seems a bit much but it’s trending right now and gaining in popularity. In this post, I show you why it’s so important (with comparison photos) and what products I recommend.
Why Shouldn’t I Just Use One Cleanser?
You can! In fact, I recommend you do this if you have sensitive skin or don’t wear much face makeup. But we all know what happens when you sleep with makeup on… residue left behind can clog your pores and cause you to break out. If you’re just using your every day cleanser as an all-in-one (when it doesn’t claim to be), you won’t get an effective cleanse. With heavy makeup on, there’s more to remove besides your regular dirt and oil so you’re not cleaning as deep as you could be. Double cleansing removes makeup with the first gentler cleanser and leaves your face wash to do its job right.
Using A Cleansing Oil or Balm
Cleansing oils and balms are often more gentle on the skin than your usual cleanser, and don’t foam up. The most important thing to remember is to use it dry. DO NOT wet your face or hands before using a cleansing oil or balm because they’re meant to be applied to a dry face.
Massage the oil into your skin and you’ll see everything melt away. If you’re wearing heavy eye makeup, it’ll look super freaky! The more makeup you have, the longer you work the product in. Once you’re satisfied, you can either 1. Take a damp towel and gently wipe it all away (what you’re supposed to do) or 2. Rinse it off with warm water (what I do because I’m lazy and don’t want to use new towels all the time). If your oil cleanser is your only cleanser, definitely use method #1 otherwise you’ll be left with a mix of makeup and grease on your face. Oil and water don’t mix.
There are some key differences between an oil and a balm:
- Of course, a balm is solid. Once applied to the skin with warmth, it will melt into an oil. I prefer balms to be honest because they’re easier to use and not as messy.
- Oils will turn white/milky once in contact with water. This is supposed to help remove the makeup after it’s all melted away, which is why it’s important you don’t wet your face before application
- Oils are harder to wash off than balms.
Why Don’t I Just Use Makeup Remover, or Wipes?
Again, you can do this if you want to but it can be irritating to your skin. Using micellar water on a bunch of cotton pads all over your face is pretty wasteful. And makeup wipes, as convenient as they are, can pull at your skin and cause irritation. I use them as a last minute emergency for those late nights, but I never use them everyday. More friction = more wrinkles. No one wants that. Cleansing oils/balms also usually have better ingredients than makeup wipes. Most importantly, cleansing oils/balms don’t burn your eyes! This is a deal-breaker for me.
See the Difference
I took some photo evidence of washing my face in different ways. It’s hard to understand the impact without seeing visual evidence.
As you can see, the left image is me with a full face on (basically). I’m wearing BB cream, powder and eyebrows, and although I’m not wearing eyeshadow, I do have on waterproof liner and waterproof mascara. I cleansed the right side of my face with a cleansing oil first, dried it, then used my regular foaming everyday cleanser for my whole face. The side with makeup on actually didn’t lather much at all, while the right side did as normal. After drying my face, the side that was double cleansed was much softer and smoother than the other side, which was dryer and rougher. I could feel the difference right away. Then I put cleansing water on 2 cotton pads, using one on each side of my face…
How gross is this??? Ewwww. FYI the residue from the double cleansed side is only from my liquid lipstick and my jawline/neck (even then, I rubbed pretty hard to get the result you see). The residue from the dirtier side is from everything. You can really see the difference; imagine leaving all of that residue on your face, then sleeping on it!
My Product Recommendations
Banila Co. Clean It Zero
You might remember me raving about this in my Asia beauty haul part 1. It’s a fantastic cleansing oil and perfect in every way (seriously… I have no complaints about this). The price isn’t too budget-friendly but a little bit of this stuff goes a long way.
Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
This is pretty similar to the Clean It Zero but it’s accessible. The price is basically the same and it works almost in the same way. I don’t like this one as much because 1. The ingredients list isn’t as impressive, and 2. It’s harder to melt into an oil on the face. When I use this balm, it stays as a solid for longer so there are chunks all over my face I have to take longer to break apart. But besides that, it works great for removing all my makeup.
Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil
One of the most raved about cleansing oils on the market, and for good reason. The pump on this is fantastic because there’s a locking mechanism so that you can travel with it. It dispenses just the right amount and really takes everything off. However, it’s harder to wash off with water than the other products I recommend. Removing this with a damp towel is the best way to use this. Shu makes a lot of different formulas for this oil – the advanced one (yellow bottle) is the one I have but there are ones for oily/sensitive/mature/etc. skin that cost a little more. $38 will get you 5 oz (150 ml) at Sephora, Nordstrom or the Shu Uemura website. It comes in a bulk size, too. I highly recommend you buy from the Shu site because they often have great sales, promotions and free samples that Sephora doesn’t.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
This is for sure the most popular cleansing oil in Asia. It’s unscented and very lightweight, and also works perfectly. The pump on this kinda sucks though… it’s really thin and doesn’t have the locking mechanism that Shu does. It’s easier to wash off with water though, because of the lighter consistency. The 6.7 oz (200 ml) bottle costs about $35 on Amazon and in small shops across the city of Toronto. Highly recommend this, and I actually prefer it over the Shu Uemura one.
Avoid: Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil
Am I the only person on the internet that didn’t like this? My DHC oil ran out years ago so I was looking for an affordable one and picked this up after reading some good reviews. 1/10 would not recommend… this product doesn’t work well in any way. It’s thick, ineffective and hard to remove. This was the only product I’ve ever returned at Walmart because I honestly felt scammed. I’m convinced that people who enjoy this just don’t know what a good cleansing oil is supposed to do. $7 is an attractive price but I’d gladly pay the $36 for a better one. I’d rather buy 5 Jr. Chickens at McDonald’s.
That’s it folks! I tried to keep this post shorter but of course that didn’t end up happening… the main takeaway is that you know your own skin and try to remove all your makeup effectively! Use a cleansing oil/balm dry on the face to maximize the results and follow up with your everyday cleanser. Overtime, you’ll see a difference.