How beauty-obsessed are you?
This will help us personalize your experience.

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Double Cleansing


Washing your face at the end of the day and taking off your makeup is a routine step in your nightly self-care ritual that you probably don’t even think twice about, but it might be time to double up on your skincare routine. Enter: double cleansing. 

Whether you opt for a foaming cleanser or an oil cleanser or something in between, you already know how important a good facial cleanser is. But are you missing out on the plethora of benefits that go hand-in-hand with double cleansing? It’s a crucial step in your skincare routine that can remove dirt, oil, and pollutants, all while allowing you to maintain a healthy glow and keep breakouts at bay.

Model Avery Tharp applies foam cleanser on one side of her face

So, What is Double Cleansing?

Double cleansing is exactly what it sounds like: washing your face twice. Although it may seem redundant, each wash in the two-step process serves its own distinct purpose. First, you wash your face with an oil-based cleanser or micellar water cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, and grime from the surface of your skin. Next, you’ll wash it once more with a water-based cleanser. The first cleanse aids in removing stubborn, pore-clogging dirt and makeup that’s on the surface of your skin, while the second treats your skin.

Why Does Double Cleansing Work?

Double cleansing allows you to achieve a deep clean that’s not possible with just a quick wash or only using makeup remover. Often, stubborn makeup and oil can still stick around on the surface of your skin, even after one wash. Double cleansing eliminates this risk: while the first cleanse removes excess oil and grime that can lead to bad breakouts, the second cleanse is all about addressing your skin’s needs. The second wash is where you’ll hydrate, smooth, exfoliate, and even treat acne. In order for the process to be beneficial, it’s best to cleanse based on your skin type and personal skin concerns.

Model Avery Tharp applying foam cleanser on one side of her face

How to Double Cleanse

Judging by the name, you may think simply washing your face twice with your go-to cleanser during your skincare routine will do the trick, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. In order to really reap the benefits of double cleansing, you must use two different skincare products. And now that we’ve broken down the benefits of double cleansing, you’re ready to try it out for yourself.


Step 1: Wipe off Makeup & Grime

The first step is all about removing makeup, dirt, oil, grime, and pollutants that are on your face after a long day. Perform the first cleanse using a micellar water, cleansing oil, or oil-based cleanser, like Ipster favorite FARMACY Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm. Ipsters swear by its ability to “melt off makeup," even the “hard to remove” stuff, and they love that it doesn’t leave behind any oily or greasy residue–just clean skin. 

Step 2: Deep Clean

Now that you’ve removed all the pore-clogging gunk on the surface of your skin, you’re ready for a good, deep clean. Here’s where you’ll want to reach for a water-based cleanser. While your go-to cleanser will work just fine, it’s best to pick a proper cleanser based on your skin type. Whether you’re looking for something hydrating or deep cleansing and acne-clearing, you can personally tailor the double cleanse experience to fit your skincare routine. 


By following up the first cleanse with a good exfoliator, you’ll ensure a deep clean that’ll leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. If you don’t have any major skin issues you want to address and you’re unsure which cleanser is right for you, a good place to start is with an exfoliating cleanser that's suitable for all skin types, like GLAMGLOW TROPICALCLEANSE™ Daily Exfoliating Cleanser (which just so happens to be another Ipster favorite). This gentle cleanser thoroughly exfoliates dead skin cells, dirt, and any other impurities with ease. With over 55,872 reviews, Ipsters love that this cleanser is mild enough “to use daily." Even those with sensitive skin swear by it. It's "gentle enough for my sensitive skin,” as one Ipster wrote, with another one writing it's "my favorite cleanser ever."

The Best Double Cleansing Products for Every Skin Type

While it’s tough enough to pick out the perfect cleanser for your complexion, trying to select two cleansers that play nice with one another is a whole other story. Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up our favorite cleansing duos for each and every skin type to take the guesswork out of the double cleanse process. Consider this the cheat sheet you never knew you needed (you’re welcome).

IT COSMETICS Confidence in a Cleanser

The Best for Dry Skin:

If you have dry skin, you can’t go wrong with this hydrating combination. Start off with the PACIFICA BEAUTY Coconut Dissolve Cleansing Oil Rehab, then perform your second cleanse with the IT COSMETICS Confidence in a Cleanser. Ipsters rave about the way “it leaves my skin feeling super soft and hydrated” and say it gives their skin a good, deep clean “without disrupting its natural moisture barrier and stripping it of the oils it needs to stay plumped and healthy.”

SUNDAY RILEY Ceramic Slip Cleanser

The Best for Oily Skin:

A double cleanse is especially beneficial for sopping up excess oil, a big plus for those with oily skin. Start with the VERSO SKINCARE Verso Micellar Water, and follow it up with the SUNDAY RILEY Ceramic Slip Cleanser. You also can’t go wrong with any of the options on our list of the best cleansers for oily skin.

ORIGINS Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash

The Best for Combination Skin:

Trying to tackle issues caused by combination skin can be tricky, but not if you start with one of the best face washes for combination skin. We recommend the SKYN ICELAND Micellar Cleansing Water with Arctic Algae, followed up with the ORIGINS Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash. This combo will get to work clearing and cleansing your skin, without stripping your skin of its natural oils, so your skin can remain moisturized without being oily or greasy.

FIRST AID BEAUTY Pure Skin Face Cleanser

The Best for Sensitive Skin:

If you have sensitive skin, a gentle combination that’ll give you a deep clean without stressing your complexion is your best bet. Start with the ORIGINS Clean Energy™ Gentle Cleansing Oil and follow it up with the FIRST AID BEAUTY Pure Skin Face Cleanser. With over 196,436 reviews, Ipsters say it “left my face feeling super clean and not dry at all,” and claim it “works like magic!”

MURAD Time Release Acne Cleanser

The Best for Acne-Prone Skin:

Banish breakouts with a double cleansing combination that’s gentle enough to balance acne-prone skin and tough enough to keep pimples away. Start with the PIXI BY PETRA PinkSalt Cleansing Oil to remove pore-clogging gunk on the surface of your skin. Follow it up with the MURAD Time Release Acne Cleanser. Since not all acne is created equal, you can also find a cleanser to combat your specific skincare needs on our list of the best cleansers for acne.

Simple yet efficient, double cleansing is the best way to maintain a youthful glow and keep breakouts at bay—but once you double up on your skincare routine it may be hard to turn back (hey, don’t say we didn’t warn you). 

Want in on all the Glam Bag fun? Take the beauty quiz now to get started. And don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

Share Article
Article Last Updated November 29, 2019 12:00 AM