Few skin-care steps are as important as the cleanse, considering it sets the stage for the rest of your routine. Particularly at night, double cleansing ensures your skin is adequately prepped with a deep clean. 

“Double cleansing is exactly what it sounds like: cleansing the skin twice,” explains Los Angeles–based esthetician to the stars Candace Marino. “The concept behind [the practice] is to first remove whatever is on the skin (think: makeup, sunscreen, dirt, oil, and buildup from the day), and then cleansing the skin a second time to actually get the skin clean.” The methodology has its origins in Korea as a mainstay in K-beauty rituals, though it has risen in popularity stateside over the last five years. 

Benefits of Double Cleansing

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kim Nichols, this promotes not only a more thorough wash but also targets specific skin concerns and promotes a healthier complexion overall. Plus, as she explained, everyone could benefit from double cleansing. “But because this method works to gently unclog pores as opposed to an irritating scrub or exfoliant, this cleansing method is most beneficial for those who either wear makeup every day or those who struggle with oily skin, whiteheads, and comedonal acne,” she details. “In addition, those living in cities with poor air quality and high levels of pollution are at a higher risk of clogged pores, breakouts, and even premature aging, making them excellent candidates for double cleansing.”

How to Double Cleanse

Typically, double cleansing is achieved with two different formulas. The first is typically an oil-based wash like a cleansing oil, balm, or cream cleanser that can slough away impurities with ease. The second cleanse, which should work to exfoliate, smooth, brighten, or hydrate the skin, is achieved through a water-based gel, foam, or micellar water. Oftentimes, people choose to double cleanse at night followed by a gentle, conditioning wash in the morning just to refresh the skin. 

As with any other part of your regimen, curate your cleansing to your liking. “Double cleansing should never cause skin tightness, rashes, irritation, or breakouts,” says Nichols. “To prevent over-washing and its adverse effects on the skin, it is crucial to use the correct products based on [your] skin type. Know that double cleansing, like all skin-care routines, is not one-size-fits-all, so each individual may have different practices for best cleansing their skin.” With this guidance in mind, read on to learn more about each cleansing step, along with our edit of the best formulas to try. 

Step One: The Melt Cleanse

Marino dubs the first step “the melt cleanse,” as it looks to cut through makeup and impurities; it’s a process made simple with cleansing oils, balms, and rich cream cleansers. Because of their conditioning properties, this is significantly impactful for those with dry skin or throughout the winter. While you’re aiming to remove dirt, you do not want to strip your skin of its essential oils. 

If you’re looking for an oil, Korean beauty solutions by DHC and Sulwhasoo are industry favorites. While the former is powered by a blend of vitamin E, olive fruit, and rosemary leaf oil, the latter is powered by coix lacryma-jobi seed, tangerine peel extract, and apricot kernel oil to refresh skin. There’s also Tatcha’s version enriched with camellia oil or La Mer’s marine oil-infused cleanser that lathers into a milky fluid. 

Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash

$52 at AMAZON

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