In my teen days, I’d just wash my face with soap and water. My skin would be squeaky clean, but dry as a bone. Then, I graduated to foaming cleansers. They’d clean my skin well enough without drying it. Until I finally started wearing sunscreen every day. Most of those cleansers were no match for it.
I soon discovered the only thing that thoroughly removed my stubborn sunscreen was an oil-based cleanser. But those have the annoying tendency to leave a slightly greasy residue on my skin. *sighs*
It’s then that I was introduced to the concept of double cleansing.
Double Cleansing: What’s That?
Double cleansing is just that: you cleanse your face twice. First, with an oil-based cleanser. Then, with a water-based one. The theory is that you need different types of cleansers to attract different kinds of impurities.
Oil-based cleansers work according to the “like attracts like” principle. Their oils attract, and bind to, the oils in your suncreeen, waterproof and longlasting makeup products, excess sebum, and soot, washing them away from your face.
You then follow up with a water-based cleanser that removes whatever other watery-based (yes, that’s the scientific term) impurities (like dirt), are still left on your skin.
Of course, this is something you only need to do at night. Unless you sleep with your makeup and sunscreen on. But I’m sure you never do that, right? RIGHT?
You’re Probably Already Double Cleansing
If double cleansing sounds like too much work for you (hey, we can barely bother to wash our faces before sleep, and you want us to use two cleansers?!), you’ll be relieved to know you’re probably already doing it. Very few cleansers are either oil- or water-based. Most are either oil-in water or water-in-oil emulsions.
An example of an oil-in-water emulsion is Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel With Marula Oil. But most cleansing milks are formulated this way too. Basically, their oil droplets are dispersed in water with the help of emulsifying agents. Because the oil is surrounded by so much water, the cleanser disappears quickly into the skin. That’s why this type of cleanser works best for those with oily or acne-prone skin types.
Cold creams, such as the old classic (and long-time favourite) Pond’s Cold Cream, are usually “water-in-oil” emulsions. This time, the water is encapsulated within the oil droplets. When they’re applied on your skin, the oil reaches it first, providing a thicker barrier that both cleanses and moisturizes. That’s why they’re more suitable for dry or mature skin types.
So, should you really double cleanse?
So, is this double cleansing trend another fad? Yes and no. You need to thoroughly cleanse your skin every night.
There’s no point in slathering on expensive, antioxidants-rich serums and moisturizers, if you don’t. These goodies would never be able to penetrate deep enough through all those layers of makeup, dirt, and sunscreen, to work their magic.
Not to mention, if all that crap’s left on your skin for who knows how long, it’s only a matter of time before it’ll clog your pores and cause breakouts galore.
But do you need two cleansers? Well, if your current cleanser is already doing an excellent job at cleansing your skin, you don’t need to change anything. Just keep doing what you’re doing every night. You’re on the right track.
But if your cleanser is still leaving traces of makeup and sunscreen behind, it’s time to up your game and invest in an oil-based cleanser. And, if you can’t put up with the greasy residue it leaves behind, you have two options: find one that doesn’t do that, or follow up with a foaming, milk, or gel cleanser to get rid of it.
The Bottom Line
I know I said it before, but I’ll say it again. You need to thoroughly cleanse your skin every night. But, how you choose to do that, it’s up to you.
Do you double cleanse?