How To: Double Cleansing

Reading time: 2 minutes

Why should you double cleanse your face?

The cleansing step in you skincare routine is there to remove debris, oil and possible makeup from your skin. Cleansing your skin effectively but gently, will make it look healthier, smoother and prepare it for the following steps of your skincare routine. Double cleansing is a very gentle and yet effective way to rid your skin off of any unwanted oil and dirt, without hurting its natural barrier.

What are the two steps of double cleansing?

Double cleansing requires two different cleansers: one oil-based cleanser and one water-based cleanser.

Oil-based cleanser

The oil-based cleanser, also simply referred to as oil cleanser, is obviously based on oil. It will remove excess sebum and break down any sunscreen and makeup you have on your face. There are different kinds of oils, many with additional benefits. But I wouldn’t count too much on any additional benefits because the whole point of cleansing is to wash the product off, so nothing will stay on your skin and you won’t get to benefit from them.
But there are still varieties to choose from your skin type and concern, as well as varying consistencies from lightweight to heavier oils.

How to use the oil-based cleanser

Apply the oil cleanser onto your dry skin. Gently massage it into the skin with your fingertips to remove sunscreen, makeup and debris. Some people recommend to use a damp, warm washcloth to wipe it away, but I don’t like to use any cloth. I don’t want to rub my skin unnecessarily. So I just use lukewarm water to rinse it off. Most oil-cleanser come off rather easily.

Where to buy an oil-based cleanser

You can already find good oil-based cleansers at the drugstore, but there are of course many options in K-Beauty as well.

  • Balea Cleansing Oil, for 2.55€, here
  • Isana Cleansing Oil for 2.49€, here
  • Klairs Gentle Black Deep cleansing oil, 23.60€ here (use code ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off *affiliated*)

Water-based cleanser

The water-based cleanser, often mentioned as second cleanser, will remove any residues left after you washed off your oil-based cleanser.
When choosing a water-based cleanser, make sure it’s low pH and not drying the skin out. If it gives you that squeaky clean feeling, it’s too harsh on your skin. The cleanser should be soap-free. Soap has a rather high pH level, while your skin is leaning more to the acidic side. So of course soap will be irritating on the skin.

How to use the water-based cleanser

Apply it onto your damp face and gently massage it in. Add some more water to your fingertips if necessary. When I use water to wash off the oil-based cleanser, this will usually suffice to lather up the water-based cleanser. Wash everything off with lukewarm water.
You can either pat your skin dry or, what I always do, just leave it damp. If there’s a lot of water, I gently swipe it to the sides of my face and down the neck. Again, I don’t want to rub my skin unnecessarily by touching it with a towel and I just move on to the rest of my routine.

Where to buy a water-based cleanser

There are a few drugstore options out there, but I haven’t found one I’m completely happy with. Here are some of my favorites that I can’t find at the drugstore in Germany, but that are affordable as well:

  • COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, 11.25€ here (use code ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off *affiliated*)
  • Skinfood New Zealand Gel Cleanser, 13.99$ here
  • 107 Low pH Chaga Cleanser, 17$, here

How should your skin feel after double cleansing?

Your skin should feel clean and soft. It should not feel dry, itchy or squeakyclean and there should be no oil or cleanser residue left.

How often should you double cleanse?

Some people cleanse their face in the morning and evening. Proceed as you see fit. I personally only do double cleansing in the evening. In the morning I usually just use water and only use a water-based cleanser if I feel I need it.


What’s next in your skincare routine? The toner! You can read about it in more detail here.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.