How to Double Cleanse: A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Double Cleanse: A Step-By-Step Guide

Have you ever wiped down a messy counter only to realize that one swipe wasn’t enough to thoroughly clean it? The crumbs and buildup may have been removed, but there’s still that layer of residue.

After a long day exposed to sweat, dirt, makeup, excess oil buildup, and more, the same can be said of our skin.

If you feel like your current cleansing regimen isn’t quite clean enough, refresh your complexion by learning how to double cleanse. As the name suggests, this skincare strategy involves a two-step process that can help skin care products better penetrate your skin.

Prepare for your smoothest, most squeaky-clean skin yet, because in this guide, we’ll teach you why the rinse and repeat method doesn’t only apply to hair care. If you think you need to start at ground zero, read up on double cleansing 101. 


Just as you must prime a wall if you want your paint to go on smoothly, prepping your skin before a double cleanse is a step you definitely don’t want to skip. 

By preparing properly, your skin will be optimized to fully benefit from all the ingredients you’re about to use on it. 


When you accidentally drop a glass vase, you start by picking up and disposing of the large pieces, then using a vacuum cleaner or broom to clean up the microscopic shards.

You can think of your face-washing routine the exact same way. 

Your first step should always be removing any impurities from the surface of your face, particularly makeup and any dirt or debris.

By getting these obvious contaminants out of the way, you can ensure that your skincare products permeate deeper into your pores.


Although the basic steps of double cleansing might stay consistent no matter your skin type, the best type of cleanser for your skin will vary from person to person. 

If you have normal or combination skin, then a simple water-based cleanser should work well for you.

But if your skin sways to either extreme of the oily to dry spectrum, you might need to invest in more specialized products to target your skin concerns.

For drier, more sensitive skin, consider using facial cleansers that are: 

  • Gentle
  • Unscented
  • Cream-based

On the other hand, oily skin often responds well to more intense cleansers that include active ingredients like:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Benzoyl peroxide


Double cleansing is not as simple as just washing your face with the same facial cleanser twice in a row. 

Instead, this technique typically requires the use of an oil-based cleanser followed by the use of a water-based cleanser.


Even if you’ve already gone in with a makeup remover, this first oil cleanse will clear away any remaining residue that might not be as easy to see as a flake of eye makeup, for example. Cleansing balms are a popular oil-based cleanser choice for makeup wearers, as they remove even waterproof eye makeup with ease without over-stripping. 

Once you’ve selected an oil cleanser or balm that feels right for your skin, follow these steps to complete your first cleanse:

  1. Apply the oil-based cleanser to dry skin.
  2. Massage the cleanser in circular motions.
  3. Add a small amount of water to spread the oil cleanser.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with warm water (not hot). You’re ready to move on to part two!


Don’t dry your face before starting this next step—you want damp skin so you can apply your second product smoothly. 

For the second cleanse, you’ll want to break out your water-based cleanser and massage a small amount onto your skin. Following up with a second gentle cleanser will tackle the pollutants that your oil cleanse missed, and if you're worried about breaking out from the excess oil leftover from your oil cleansers, this will take care of that too. 

Finish off by thoroughly rinsing any remaining product off your face before gently patting your face dry with a soft, clean towel. 


Washing your face too much, even with a gentle cleanser, can sometimes irritate the skin by removing some of its natural oils along with the pollutants and dead skin cells you're targeting.

If you decide to do a double cleanse, pay extra attention to the pressure you’re applying to your skin. Avoid scrubbing the products into your face harshly, and rinse with warm water that isn’t too hot on your sensitive skin.


Washing the skin twice using the double cleansing method has become particularly popular among people who have oily and acne-prone skin, because this technique helps to remove excess sebum—the natural oil produced by our pores.

If you have an oily skin type, you might find that this system helps you regulate your breakouts by targeting the excess sebum and dead skin cells that work together to create clogged pores. 

However, people with especially sensitive or dry skin, especially those who experience skin-related medical conditions like rosacea, may want to avoid the double cleanse method. Ultra-clean skin isn't worth unnecessary irritation. 

If you do decide to give it a try on drier skin or combination skin, be sure to supplement your skin with some extra hydration afterward by applying a healthy layer of moisturizer. 


How often should you incorporate the double cleansing method into your skincare routine?

The answer will be a little bit different for everyone. 

Many people find that a double cleansing routine fits well into their nightly skincare regimen. For others, double cleansing daily would prove detrimental to their dry skin, leaving the skin feeling tight and dehydrated. To avoid this skin concern, you might choose to double cleanse every other night or only one or two times per week.

If you want to try this method out, start small and see how your skin reacts before committing to a double cleansing routine. 


Double cleansing your skin can help you achieve a deep and satisfying clean, and if done right, it should leave your skin feeling both cleansed and hydrated. 

But if you’re thinking of giving double cleansing a go, be sure to invest in high-quality products that will be gentle and effective on your skin, such as our BALANCE cream cleanser and GENTEL gel-based cleanser. Here at Seven:Thirty, we know the importance of formulating skincare solutions that permeate deep without drying your skin out and stripping it of its natural oils. 

If you’re going to put in the effort to wash your face twice, browse our selection to find products that work twice as well as the industry standard to achieve truly clean skin. 


Cleveland Clinic. Double Cleansing Method Explained: Should You Try It?

Curology. Cleansing balms for oily skin.

Everyday Health. What Is Double Cleansing, and Should You Be Doing It?

Healthline. How Often Should You Actually Wash Your Face?
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