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Double cleanse 101: What is Double Cleansing and how to do it?

Double cleanse 101: What is Double Cleansing and how to do it?

double cleanse

Double cleanse 101: what is a correct way to cleanse your skin and why double cleanse is important?

Why science behind double cleanse is important?

  • Did you ever touched your face and felt this bumpy texture like touching a sand-paper?
  • Do you get break-outs for no particular reason?
  • Does your skin feel greasy after a couple of hours outside ( or even inside)?

Generally speaking, we hear these complaints from our readers ALL THE TIME. Moreover, the most followed explanations are: “I have oily skin type.”, “I always had acne and I tried everything, but nothing works for me.”, “It’s just my skin.”.

Well, guess what darling, that’s not true! Although each skin type is unique, at the same time, there is nothing stopping you from having beautiful skin. Furthermore, most of the time it’s enough to change one little step in your skin routine to get visible results.

Indeed, cleansing helps to remove dirt, excess oil, or harmful substances, like free radicals and pollutants. Again, not enough cleansing is the main cause of breakouts. While this may be true, too much cleansing can cause dryness and dehydration

After all, what is the correct way to cleanse your skin and why double cleanse is necessary in order to have clear, but hydrated skin?

What is double cleanse?

Double cleanse is a well-known 2 step cleansing method. First using an oil-based cleanser, and followed with a water-based cleanser.

History of double cleansing

Double cleanse originated in ancient Asia in the 14th century. Meanwhile, it may be a new thing for you, on the other hand, Asian women used this method for centuries. No wonder, they have this beautiful pale skin, right?

Double cleanse method is the only way to properly cleanse your skin: Myth or Fact?

Above all, if you think this may be a bluff, I don’t blame you.

The good news is that double cleanse was not based on illusions, but actually had been established on real scientific facts.

The science behind double cleanse:

You see, in chemistry, there is this term “like dissolves like”. And if you didn’t pay much attention back in chemistry lessons (I feel you), don’t worry.  Moreover, we will give you a quick explanation about how a double cleanse really works.

In the first place, let’s cover a few chemical terms.

Solvent is something in which you dissolve another substance (called as solute) and this mixture will yield what we know as a ‘solution’.

As a matter of fact, if you add salt in a glass of water, water will start dissolving salt. As a result, you will now have a glass of salty water. 

In this case, water is a solvent, salt is solute and salty water is a solution.

Both solvents and solutes are separated into two types:

  •  polar 
  • non-polar.

For this reason, we have a term “like dissolves like”. In other words, polar solvents dissolve polar solutes and non-polar solvents dissolve non-polar solutes.

Going back to the water and salt experiment, water is a polar solvent, and salt is a polar solute. And that is why they work so well together.

On the other hand, oil is a non-polar solvent. Try adding salt in a glass of oil and nothing will happen.

Under those circumstances, when salt is added to oil, no bonds are broken. Salt and oil simply do not mix. Same works with water and oil. No matter how hard you try to mix oil with water, that simply won’t happen. And this is where the science of double cleanse comes up.

So now what all this has to do with the science behind double cleanse?

Another key point, our skin is constantly producing natural oils, called sebum. It must be remembered, that these oils help to keep our skin healthy and hydrated

However, by the end of the day, our skin is covered in sebum and the only way to reduce the possibility of breakouts is to cleanse the skin from excess oils. Furthermore, skin’s natural oils mix with dirt, dust, and even pollutants. 

For the same reason like water does not mix with oil, your water-based cleanser will not be able to dissolve natural oil on your skin. Nether it can remove the dirt, which now is covered in oils. 

Although it may feel like you are cleansing your skin, you actually leaving lots of dirt behind.

So why do I need double cleanse, instead of using single cleansing oil?

If you are asking this question to yourself, I give you an A from chemistry, you really nailed it this time!

However, a water-based cleanser is necessary to dissolve other polar solutes, such as sweat, salt, bacteria, and dirt. The water-based cleanser also helps emulsifying and removing excess oil from your first cleanse.

Oil-based cleansers

What can I use as an oil-based cleanser?

For your first step, there are 3 choices:

  • Micellar water
  • Cleansing Oil
  • Cleansing balm

Important to realize that, all of these cleansers have unique texture and formula, however, all of them are oil-based and works wonders for removing makeup, sunscreen, and other oils from your face.

Micellar water

To point out, 2 main ingredients in Micellar water are:

  • Water
  • Surfactants

Surfactants are organic compounds, that contain both hydrophobic groups and hydrophilic groups. Therefore, micellar water have both water-soluble and oil-soluble components. 

For this reason, micellar water is a great way to remove heavy eye makeup or sunscreen without irritating your skin.

How to use it?

Add some product on a cotton pad, and gently tap it around your face. You can hold it longer on the eye area, so micellar water has a chance to warm up on your skin, and break eye makeup even easier.


Easy to travel with


Requires at least 2-3 cotton pads each time when removing makeup

Cleansing Oil

In fact, cleansing oil is the most known product used in the double cleanse method. The cleansing oil is a mixture of good oils (such as coconut, jojoba, argan) and antioxidants. Indeed, not only it can remove all the dirt from your face, but it also can help to hydrate your skin.

How to use it?

Apply on dry skin and gently massage it all over your face. Add a tiny bit of water and keep massaging so the oil starts emulsifying and appears in this white milky texture. Rinse it with warm water.


Rich with antioxidants, helps to properly clean skin


As it is mainly made of oil, it can become a bit naughty when applying and splash

Cleansing Balm

Surely, that is my number 1 choice for oil-based cleansers. I am not sure what is about cleansing balms, but they just give you a spa-like experience. 

In particular, cleansing balm has very similar ingredients like cleansing oil, however, it has a very different consistency. While cleansing oil is a liquid, the cleansing balm is much more solid, kinda like coconut oil. However, after applying it onto your face it warms up and melts in, changing to this very gentle and silky texture.

How to use it?

Apply on dry skin and gently massage it all over your face, while it melts and changes to oil. Rinse it with warm water.


Brilliant for sensitive skin, melts all the dirt and impurities with a pea-size amount


A little more expensive than the rest of oil-based cleansers, most common packaging is a jar and may not be as sanitizing as cleansers in tube or pump.

Water-based cleansers

What can I use as a water-based cleanser?

Although today’s choices between water-based cleanser re huge, we will discuss the 3 most common ones:

  • Cream cleanser
  • Gel cleanser
  • Foam cleanser

No matter how much you love your new oil cleanser, a water-based cleanser is not less important.

In this step, you remove all the impurities on your skin which were hiding behind your makeup or sunscreen. Such as bacteria, sweat, and even dead skin cells.

Cream cleanser

Cream cleanser is the most gentle one and works wonders for sensitive and/or dry skin. Cream cleanser has a similar texture to a moisturizer, for this reason, it sinks in your skin easily removing all the dirt in deeper layers of your skin.

How to use it?

Apply on wet skin just after removing oil cleanser. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, so it can penetrate deeper and remove all the impurities.


Perfect for sensitive skin


Cream cleanser may not be enough for oily and acne-prone skin

Gel Cleanser

Gel cleanser is a very universal one and can be perfect choice for any skin type. It has enough active ingredients to remove all the dirt and excess oil, while still being very gentle on the skin.

How to use it?

Apply on wet skin just after removing oil cleanser. Gently massage into the skin and rinse it with water.


Suitable for any skin type


Nothing really

Foam Cleanser

Foam cleanser is a miracle for oily and acne-prone skin. It is normally stronger than other water-based cleansers and can help with controlling oil production in your skin.

How to use it?

Apply on wet skin just after removing oil cleanser. Gently massage into the skin and rinse it with water.


Works best for oily, acne-prone skin


Have to be careful with ingredients, some of them can strip your skin and cause dryness, not suitable for dry and sensitive skin

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