Double cleansing: why it’s non-negotiable

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You’ve likely heard of how K-Beauty is taking over the world, from sheet masks to 10-step nightly routines, Korean women are known for their flawless complexions and a ‘skin care over makeup’ mentality. So when we caught up with Cat Koh, Global Trainer for cult Korean skin care brand Laneige, we learnt about why ‘double cleansing’ is a non-negotiable in a Korean skin care routine and why it should be in ours too.

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“Double cleansing is a hot topic in K-Beauty,” says Koh. “[We believe] cleansing is more important than makeup because remains of cosmetic products are a major reason for skin problems.” A double cleanse is much more effective in removing makeup than single step cleansing and “can assist solving problems like blackheads as it works to peel off old and dead skin cells, meaning skin tone improves,” and you are left with a brighter and clearer complexion.

So how exactly do you double cleanse? Koh explains that it is dependent on the amount of makeup you are wearing. “If your makeup is light, use cleansing water for the first step and then use a cleansing formula like a milk or a foam for the second step.” If your makeup is heavy, she suggests using a cleansing oil first (or dedicated lip and eye remover) for the first step and following with a regular cleanser. This will ensure your skin is not only completely clean and ready for your favourite serum and/or moisturiser but Koh explains it is also an important for removing the build up from environmental factors. “Australia is better than many Asian countries, however if you are spending time in the city; dust, vehicle fumes and the like will still have an effect on your skin,” says Koh. With brands now focusing on developing longer-lasting makeup products too, Koh says this means cleansing is even more important.

If you’re wondering whether double cleansing is suitable for your skin, you’re in luck, double cleansing is good for all skin types, says Koh “especially if you have oily or dry skin,” as it assists in balancing the natural oils.

Thinking about trying double cleansing? Here are the products bh loves:

Cleansing waters: Laneige Vitamin Brightening Cleansing Water (find it at sephora.com.au), Simple Waterboost Micellar Cleansing WaterSkin Physics OXYGEN-C Vitamin C Micellar Cleansing Water

Cleansing oils:Ella Bache Eye & Lip Cleanser, By Terry Cellularose Cleansing Oil (find it at mecca.com.au), L’Occitane Immortelle Anti-Ageing Oil Makeup Remover

Cleansing formulas:Novellus Fruit Enzyme Cream Cleanser, Murad Refreshing CleanserTrilogy Cream Cleanser 

Main image credit: @aimeesong

What do you think of the idea double-cleansing? Have you tried it before?

Share your thoughts

Comments 49

  1. I kind of double cleanse. I remove all of my makeup using a Face Halo, and then use a cleanser under the shower to remove any residual makeup etc. Not sure if this is technically considered double cleansing.

  2. Pretty much agree with the article. I only double cleanse if I am wearing make-up, as I find that the first cleanser such as a cleansing balm or oil or make-up remover is much better at removing make-up than my gentle gel cleanser, which foams to remove any oily residue. Better to have an efficient 1st cleanser and 2nd cleanser than having just 1 cleanser and having to keep rubbing to try to get things off.

    Have heard good things about Laneige but haven’t tried any products yet.

  3. I’ve never double cleansed with cleansing lotion but I have been using the Panasonic Ionic Facial Toner and adding in that step after using cleansing oil. It has really helped to lift extra dirt without drying out my skin. But since working from home and not wearing any makeup, I don’t do both the cleansing and ionic toning everyday, it’s probably one every 3 days at the moment.

  4. My skin is always oily so my double cleanse is to remove all makeup or last night’s skincare with micellar water, then use a gel cleanser containing salicylic acid. I can’t use oil, gel or cream cleansers as they do absolutely nothing for my skin. Then I take a cotton pad soaked in toner and wipe over my face making sure the pad is spotless. I never have any dirt or oil left over this way. If I’m having a bad skin day, I skip toner and wipe over my face with a BHA liquid to exfoliate and clear out my pores. Funnily enough I’m 30 but my skin’s still the same as in my teens. I can’t live without still having to use Clearasil acne treatment lol occasionally. Oh well at least I save money on moisturisers!

  5. Always cleanse my Makeup Off at the end of the day never go to bed with makeup on. Have never thought about Double Cleansing, will certainly give it a try. Love to have a nice squeaky clean face.

  6. I’ve recently started double cleansing as Caroline Hirons swears by it! If I am wearing makeup and/or SPF, then I will definitely double cleanse with a balm and then a cream cleanser. If I am at home then a single cleanse is sufficient.

  7. I only ever cleanse once with a cream cleanser (Clinique Anti Redness), it suits my dry and sensitive skin and is really effective and efficient. Double cleansing would strip my skin, I think 🙁

  8. Previously i only ever double cleansed after wearing make up but i have found as i am getting older my skin is going through serious changes (Hello Adult Acne, can we not be friends?) I have found myself double cleansing in the hopes it will help.

  9. This is just promoting extra products for the sake of it.

    You do NOT “need” to double cleanse, especially with two seperate cleansers. Many people remove their makeup and sunscreen just fine with one cleanse OR with two cleanses with the same product (i.e. if you have a face wash you like, just use that twice)

    As someone who used to be hardcore double cleanser, oil and then ‘standard’, I cannot stress enough that we need to stop saying that X products or Y practices are “non negotiable”

    Everyone’s skin is different. If someone can get away with using just a bar of soap and have amazing skin – LET THEM BE.

    We do not need to have 10+ step/product routines that do minimal for our skin health and contribute to ongoing pollution to landfill and our waterways (seriously, microplastics are probably in your favourite cleansing balms and you’re reingesting them when you drink water or eat seafood)

  10. I only ever double cleanse at night if I’ve worn makeup – which is most weekdays now back in the office. Use a remover for mascara, followed by micellar cleansing water, then a cleanser.

  11. I’ve always wondered the efficiency of double cleansing for my skin as I hardly wear make up, but I wear sunscreen daily. I’ve also been concerned about over cleansing my skin and using too many products in general as I feel it might make my skin react. I still am interested to try it though, and it’s great to know what types of cleanser to use when wearing make-up/not wearing make-up as I always assumed oil cleanser was always the go to for the first cleanse

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