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We love exploring skincare trends and we especially love to share techniques that actually yield good results, which is why we’re excited to dive deep into the double cleansing method. If you haven’t heard of double cleansing, don’t worry — we’re going to explain what the method is, its benefits, why you should be double cleansing and of course, share our favorite affordable yet effective cleansing balms to try for yourself. Without further ado, let’s double down on double cleansing.
What Is Double Cleansing?
The double cleansing method for washing your face and removing impurities has gained popularity over the last few years. Essentially, double cleansing refers to the two-step process of using an oil-based cleanser then following with a traditional facial cleanser. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: how is that different than removing my makeup before washing my face? You wouldn’t necessarily be completely wrong for assuming part of your routine already includes a double cleansing-like element. The difference in practicing the cleansing method with dedicated products like a cleansing balm or oil versus traditional makeup remover is that dedicated products penetrate the pores and deliver a nourishing cleanse, unlike makeup removers that tend to focus on topical removal and can contain ingredients that strip the skin of its natural oils. As a result, the body will actually react to this stripping through an over-production of oils that can cause breakouts.
The method is not a new phenomenon, but as the beauty industry goes, it has gained momentum due to influencers, as well as the post-pandemic trend of dermatologists and estheticians sharing their skincare secrets and advice on platforms like TikTok. Brands (smart brands, that is) listen to their customers and will implement these trends into product development. That being said, the selection of cleansing balms and cleansing oils available today is a much larger than ever before.
Is Double Cleansing Necessary If You Don’t Wear Makeup?
Yes, just as washing your face is necessary even if you don’t wear makeup. In fact, if you are the type who only wears moisturizer and sunscreen daily, you’re an excellent candidate to try out a double cleansing routine. Moisturizers, sunscreens and makeup all possess the ability to clog pores and add to congestion. Factor in environmental concerns like where you live (pollution levels), heat and humidity and these all become reasons for double cleansing. Although it does not feel intuitive, oil cleans oil, which is why starting with a cleansing balm first before your favorite face wash makes such a difference. Oil is able to penetrate pores, loosen and remove dirt and impurities. This gives a “clean slate” for your face wash to tackle other skin concerns more effectively, because it’s not having to remove oils and dirt left behind at the end of a long day. This is not to say that your face wash is not still cleaning and removing impurities, but it can be thought of like doing the dishes.
Say you made a dish that left a pan with lots of food caked on or left stains. Now, you can certainly put the pan straight into the dishwasher (your mom would definitely not recommend) and start the wash process. However, the likelihood of the pan thoroughly being cleaned, eliminating all junk that’s been cooked on and tough stains is not great. Now, consider the same pan that’s been able to soak with an oil-based soap. We know that oil and water separate when mixed, which is why the soap is used to tackle the dirty pan. After you’ve given the pan a good soak, you’re able to wash and sanitize in the dishwasher, resulting in a much cleaner and hygienic pan. Your skin is like that beloved crusty pan, it wishes one wash was good enough — but we all know that’s not true (looking at you, forever-stained Tupperwear from one spaghetti dinner years ago).
How To Double Cleanse
Double cleansing is a two-step method that starts with a cleansing balm or cleansing oil. Unless stated otherwise, cleansing balms are applied to a dry face. Working in small, circular motions, the balm’s consistency will become oil-like. After you’ve worked the balm over the face, you’ll dampen your hands and go back using the same circular motions. Upon working the balm with damp hands, the oil will emulsify and turn a white color, meaning you can now rinse. After you’ve rinsed, you can use your face wash as normal. Just be sure to rinse your face in between steps.
Best Drugstore Cleansing Balms
There are a lot of cleansing balms on the market, but you don’t need to travel far or spend a fortune to find an effective and high quality cleansing balm. In fact, most of the top-recommended and highest rated cleansing balms can be purchased at the drugstore, Ulta Beauty, Target or Amazon. Below are our favorites for double cleansing.
Instant Cleansing Balm by Good Molecules retails for $15 at ulta.com.
Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm by e.l.f. Cosmetics retails for $11 at ulta.com.
Squalane Cleanser 1.7oz by The Ordinary retails for $7.90 at ulta.com.
Oat Cleansing Balm 5oz by The INKY List retails for $10.99 at sephora.com.
Facial Cleansing Oil by Burt’s Bees retails for $15.99 at ulta.com.