Why You Should Double Cleanse Every Evening

What Is Double Cleansing? | Space NK
Cleanse, tone, moisturise are the three skincare steps most of us were brought up on. Over the years we’ve done away with toners and slotted in hyaluronic acid serums and vitamin C products in our quest for healthy skin. Cleansing and moisturising have always been fundamental, even to the simplest skincare routine. While a lot of us will invest in the best face cream for our skin, the first step of our routine is often overlooked.

How much thought do you put into the cleanser you use and how long do you actually spend using it? Unless you’re tapped into the K-beauty approach or are impressively strict with your routine, you probably haven’t given your cleansing technique enough thought. For years, skincare expert and brand founder Caroline Hirons has stressed the importance of cleansing on her social channels and she’s a firm advocate of double cleansing.

What is double cleansing and what are the benefits of double cleansing? We put the questions to Caroline alongside some of our favourite skin experts and brand founders to help explain the benefits of double cleansing.


“Double cleansing is literally what it says on the tin, cleanse once and cleanse again,” Caroline tells us. “The first cleanse is to remove makeup, SPF and grime and the second is to clean your skin.” Contrary to what you might think, double cleansing is nothing new. “The double cleansing method dates back as far as the 14th century and originated in Asia,” explains brand founder Tata Harper. In this Korean skincare routine, “Women would use a cleansing oil to remove their heavy makeup and follow with a foaming cleanser,” adds Tata, and this K-beauty cleansing rule has followed through to today.


SPF, longwear or sweat-proof makeup, and even layers of foundation create a barrier that needs to be removed at the end of the day. But before this, “You have a first layer of dirt and debris on your skin that accumulates throughout the day and needs to be removed before you can really clean your skin,” says Tata.

“Environmental pollutants in the air combine with your skin's naturally sticky sebum (oil) secretions to form a thick, slick, waxy coating by the middle of the day. If, like most people, you only spend about 20 seconds cleansing with standard face washes or makeup removal wipes, you’re unlikely to get through this waxy layer,” explains Victoria Evans, UK education manager at Dermalogica.

Double cleansing is all about effectively removing daily build-up of product and grime. By not cleansing properly, the rest of your routine is essentially redundant as your favourite serums won’t be able to penetrate properly.


When it comes to the best way to double cleanse, there are two schools of thought. The K-beauty route recommends starting with an oil-based cleanser to dissolve any dirt, grime and makeup, before going in with a cream or foam cleanser to give your pores a deep cleanse. We highly recommend Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser, £79.00 followed by the bestselling The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, £8.30.

If this sounds like too much effort after a long day at the office, you can double cleanse with your usual formula. “Skin Rocks The Cream Cleanser, £32.00 is perfect for this, as it is formulated to remove makeup, SPF and grime, but is also a brilliant second cleanse as it leaves your skin fresh, clean and comfortable,” says Caroline. There is a fragrance and a fragrance-free version to cater to all skin types and preferences too.

Should you invest in a cleansing brush? “I am not a fan of cleansing devices as I think using your hands is sufficient,” says Caroline. “I like to use a warm, damp flannel to remove my cleanser.”

Who Should Double Cleanse?

Double cleansing is for everyone, no matter the skin type. The first step helps break down any SPF, makeup and other build-up that can happen during the day. As with all skincare products, when it comes to finding the best double cleansing products you need to consider your skin type. If you have sensitive and/or acne-prone skin, don't be tempted to go hard with AHA and BHA cleansers as you will cause more irritation. Instead, opt for clarifying formula like Tata Harper Clarifying Cleanser, £79.00, followed by a gentle cream cleanser such as Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, £15.00.

Keen to find a cleanser specifically for your skin type? Check out our helpful skincare guides tailored to every skin type, here. You can also find the best cleanser for you using our Skincare Matches tool.

What are the best products to double cleanse?

If you have oily skin

Those with oily and acne-prone skin tend to benefit the most from double cleansing as the method really helps clear out the pores and get rid of potential bacteria that could cause blemishes.

If you have combination skin

For those with combination skin, the key is to keep your skin balanced while washing the day away. We recommend going for products with regulating ingredients like niacinamide that will help get rid of makeup and impurities while balancing the oils in your skin.

If you have dry, sensitive skin

If your skin is on the dry, sensitive end and you fear over-washing your face, we recommend turning to products with gentle and hydrating ingredients like ceramides and goat milk. This will help replenish your skin while getting rid of any impurities at the end of the day.

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Posted: Friday, 19 January 2024