Skincare Stories | The Benefits of Double-Cleansing

Hi, everyone! Today’s post is another installment of my Skincare Stories series, and it’s all about double-cleansing.

A few weeks ago, I was shopping with a girlfriend, and she wanted to go into Shoppers Drug Mart to restock on some of her Neutrogena skincare products. While she was looking, she told me she had been having some issues with her skin and that she thought it was because her cleanser wasn’t removing her makeup properly.

My suggestion was that her skin might be needing an oil cleanser as a first step to remove her makeup first, and then go  in with her regular cleanser afterwards. She ended up picking up the Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil, which is not a cleansing oil that I have used before, but it seems like a pretty standard cleansing oil. She texted me after a few days to tell me that she already found the extra step to be life-changing! This experience is the basis of today’s post: double-cleansing.

I’ve been double-cleansing since I was 16, although I wasn’t even aware I was doing it; in fact, I didn’t hear the term “double cleansing” until two years ago. My mom just taught me to wash my face this way, and I didn’t know any other way to cleanse my skin – I just thought everyone washed their face this way. So what is double cleansing, anyways?




Double-cleansing is exactly what it sounds like – it involves two steps. The first step involves using an oil-based cleanser/makeup remover or cleansing balm, and then the second step is using a gel, cream, or foaming cleanser to rinse off the face. What is the point of having two steps when you can just do it in one?

The first step of using oil cleanser/cleansing balm helps to dissolve all of the makeup, sunscreen and general gunk that you’ve accumulated on your face all day. The cleanser step is meant to rinse off all the oil, and with it, all of the debris that the oil has broken down. Essentially, the first step is to break down all of the stuff that’s accumulated on your face during the day, so that it can all be washed away more thoroughly during the second step.

The reason why my friend felt her cleanser wasn’t fully removing her makeup was because the ingredients in the cleanser probably don’t remove makeup as effectively as an oil cleanser, even though it claims to. Oils are more effective at breaking down makeup compared to the surfactants found in cleansers (surfactants are the ingredients in cleansers that dissolve the oil and gunk from your face).




People with oily skin may be afraid to use an oil cleanser because they think oil-based products will make them even oilier, but this is actually a myth! Oily skin can sometimes be the result of dehydration, and the skin overcompensates by producing more oil than is needed. Using oil on oily skin can actually help balance the oil production!

I’ve seen people say that double cleansing has actually helped people with oily skin control their oil, although like with anything skincare related, everyone will have a different reaction. If you think your skin may react to using an oil cleanser, test it on a patch of skin, first.



First, rub a dollop of oil or cleansing balm into your palm and massage it onto dry skin. Work it in for a minute or two until you feel that all of your makeup and sunscreen has been properly dissolved. Wet your face, then apply cleanser and massage that into the skin. Rinse everything off with water, and then continue with your skincare routine as normal!




With all this being said, do I think everyone needs to double-cleanse? Not at all! A lot of cleansers out there these days have really good formulations and are effective enough for makeup removal. I also think the use of the double-cleansing method depends on how much makeup and sunscreen you wear during the day. I wear sunscreen every day with a full face of makeup on top; not thick makeup, just the works – eyeshadow, eyeliner, brows, mascara, and foundation, blush etc, etc. I feel that oil is important in my routine because it fully dissolves all those layers much more effectively than only using a cleanser.

If you wear minimal makeup, you could definitely get away with only using cleanser. Everybody’s skin and routines are different and thus requires different steps. If you only use a cleanser and that has been working for you, there is no need to change your routine unless you want to try the double-cleansing method.

As a note, I only double-cleanse at night since I need to take my makeup off, and also only on days when I wear makeup. If I stayed home all day and didn’t put any makeup on, I skip the oil cleanser.


A lot of us already have our holy grail cleansers picked out, but here are some of the most popular cleansing oils and cleansing balms out there today. Obviously, this list is not exhaustive and I haven’t used all of them, but it gives you a good idea of what to look for out there!

Cleansing Oils
MAC Cleanse-Off Oil
Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Hada Labo Gokujyun Cleansing Oil
Muji Sensitive Skin Cleansing Oil
Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil (they have tons of different types of cleansing oils)

Cleansing Balms
Farmacy Green Clean Meltaway Cleansing Balm
Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
Banila Co. Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm
Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Cleansing Butter
Eve Lom Cleanser
Pixi Nourishing Cleansing Balm

That’s it for today’s post! Do you double-cleanse, and if not, would you think about doing it?

12 thoughts on “Skincare Stories | The Benefits of Double-Cleansing

  1. Interesting post! I kind of double cleanse, I tend to use Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm to remove the makeup and then wash my face with water and a face cloth. Sometimes I go in with toner, some days I don’t depending on how my skin is feeling then I apply my evening moisturiser and facial oil. What products do you like to use for your double cleanse?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I recently learned that there’s a name for the way you do it, it’s called oil cleansing! 🙂

      Currently I’m using the Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm to remove makeup, and then the Shiseido Extra Creamy Foaming Cleanser as my second cleanse. I’ve tried a lot of different combos, and this is one of my faves!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Double cleansing is a must, especially if wearing makeup! I actually didn’t realize I do it either; it just seemed like the logical thing to do. I used the Cetaphil gel cleanser to remove my makeup and then went in with a cream or foam cleanser. I still use Cetaphil now and then but I prefer a thicker oil cleanser now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve heard fantastic things about the Shu Uemura cleansing oils! I want to try them one day for sure but would either need to order online (and have it shipped from HK) or actually buy in East Asia lol

    Wow your mom taught you an important lesson! I came across double-cleansing about 3 years ago which is more or less when I started to wear makeup a bit more frequently. Before that, I was just cleansing. Cleansing oil/balms make SUCH a difference though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m kind of surprised you guys can’t get your hands on Shu Uemura in department stores in the UK! I’ve never used their cleansing oils either, but they sound great!

      I didn’t realize until very recently that my mom was doing stuff when I was a kid way before they became popular in recent years! LOL so random. I think it was kind of hard to get ahold of oils and balms like 5+ years ago, though. Most brands didn’t have them back then.


      • Shu Uemura used to be sold in our department stores like House of Fraser but some time ago now they withdrew from UK stores. I hope they come back soon. I definitely feel that double cleansing is on the rise and their skincare ranges is much demanded!


  4. I discovered double cleansing probably just in time, final year of university when I was starting to wear full makeup on the daily. It definitely was one of the reasons that encouraged me to wear makeup, knowing I could take it all off at the end of the day without drying out my skin with makeup wipes :O. love your post x


  5. You’re so lucky your mum taught you this in your teens. I think it’s a fantastic way of cleansing. So gentle and a great way of thoroughly removing all the gunk we accumulate on our faces daily. I’m soon to start this routine myself 😊


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