The Cleansing Method That'll Change Your Skin

Contributing Wellness & Beauty Editor By Lindsay Kellner
Contributing Wellness & Beauty Editor
Lindsay is a freelance writer and certified yoga instructor based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a journalism and psychology degree from New York University. Kellner is the co-author of “The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self Care,” with mbg Sustainability Editor Emma Loewe.
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

I've always been religious about my skin care—diligently cleansing my face before bed, removing my makeup so as to avoid clogged pores, no matter how late (or early) it is or how many drinks I've had. I even follow with a spritz of toner and a cream, serum, or treatment. Every. Single. Night. I think it's safe to say that in the last five years, I've missed one or two nights and both were due to extenuating travel delays.

So when I first heard of double-cleansing, my initial thought was, Really, once a day isn't enough? Why do I need to do it twice, in the same go?! Surely this is a phenomenon spread by skin-care overachievers who are trying to make the rest of us feel bad or companies pushing more product, or both, and told myself that this, too, would pass.

Thanks to the popular K-Beauty (short for Korean beauty) 10-step skin-care regimen (double-cleansing makes up the first two steps), the trend continued to rise in popularity and caught on even for self-proclaimed lazy beauty bloggers. But wouldn't it strip my skin of its natural oils and leave my sebum glands in overdrive? Esthetician Hannah Brady, who consults at natural beauty mecca Credo Beauty, set me straight. "Beginning with an oil cleanse on dry skin will help remove the day and also soften the drying effects of a gel or foam cleanser." So double-cleansing actually hydrates the skin—noted.

This is how to double-cleanse your skin.

So you want to try double-cleansing. Here's exactly how to do it.

First, you oil cleanse. Using an oil-based cleanser helps remove oily impurities from your skin—debris that a water-based cleanser wouldn't "grab" because water and oil don't mix. Starting with clean hands and dry skin, massage your oil cleanser into your face for about a minute. Rinse with warm water. Then, you use your water-based cleanser as you normally would. The skin has been primed and hydrated, which allows the water-based cleanser to work better.

After trying this method once a day for a week, my persistent chin breakouts diminished, my colleagues said I looked especially "bright and glowy," and my skin seemed to have a bit more bounce and lift. The only downside to double-cleansing is the additional 20 seconds it adds to my routine, but the visible benefits are totally worth it.

In order to do the double-cleanse method properly, you'll need the right products.

3 oil-based cleansers to try:

If you're pressed for product, a dab of coconut oil, almond oil, or another viscous oil will do here. If you're shopping for an oil cleanser at your local beauty store, make sure that water is not on the label and that the first few ingredients are oils. Don't expect the oil to "suds up"; it won't if it's a pure oil cleanser and that's OK! It's still working.

  • Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover: This cleanser will help even out skin tone, brighten the skin (thanks to the vitamin B), and dissolve makeup, making it a good choice if you're wearing a full face.
  • SW Basics Oil Cleansers: Note there are two to choose from depending on your skin type (dry or oily), but our recommendation is to purchase the bundle. It's affordable and allows you to personalize your regimen depending on how your skin is feeling that day.
  • Marie Veronique Replenishing Oil Cleanser: Deeply nourishing, this oil-based cleanser is free of fragrance, making it a great choice for sensitive skin.
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3 water-based cleansers to try:

When searching for a water-based cleanser, check to see that water is one of the first ingredients on the label.

If you're new to the natural beauty space, check out our essential guide to green beauty.

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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