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Guide to Skincare: Cleansing

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For all the times your mother told you to, “Wash your face properly!”, it would seem, as is often the case, that Mother really does know best. From acne to skin discoloration to products not absorbing well, from slow skin turnover to enlarged pores and skin dryness, woe betide the skin that doesn’t receive a thorough cleansing.

It’s no wonder then that proper cleansing has fast become a tenet of the modern skincare philosophy. Touted by everyone from dermatologists to beauty insiders as the most definitive step in any skincare-savvy person’s regime, the humble step of face cleansing is finally getting its well-deserved turn in the spotlight.

If ever there were a two-word mantra to sum up the skincare powers that be’s attitude towards cleansing, ‘double-cleansing’ would be it.

What is this ‘double-cleansing’ we speak of? It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get down to the nitty gritty details.


What is double-cleansing?

A little more comprehensive than your standard rinse and repeat directive, double-cleansing is a two step process that involves cleansing your face twice, first with an oil-based cleanser (cleansing oils, balms) then with a water-based cleanser (foaming, non-foaming).

The oil-based cleanser first dissolves oil-based impurities, like sebum, sunscreen and makeup. The water-based cleanser then removes any remaining residue while casting out water-based impurities like sweat and dirt, from your pores.


Why is it important to double-cleanse?

Before you start thinking this is all a carefully crafted ploy to get you to buy more product, there actually is some very sound logic behind all of this.

Two parts science lesson on the chemistry of oil and water and one part laws of attraction where like attracts like - simply put, oil and water don’t mix. That is why you need two types of cleansers, an oil based one to draw out oil-based impurities and a water-based one to draw out water-based impurities that accumulate on your face throughout the day.

Cleansing oils attract the oil-based impurities (i.e. sebum, makeup, sunscreen) in your pores like a magnet. They solubilise all of that dirt, lifting it out of your pores.

The result is a nice, deep clean that doesn’t strip away the lipids and ceramides between your skin cells. Once that’s done, enter the water-based cleanser, which is used to remove any residue, sweat and grime still clinging to your pores.

Rather than aggressively scrub at your face with a cleansing wipe, double-cleansing is a gentle, more efficient way of ridding your pores of a day’s worth of grime.


Benefits of Double-Cleansing


Keeps clogged pores at bay

Double-cleansing also serves as a defense tactic in a way, as it works to fend off a plethora of skin woes associated with clogged pores. Cleansing your face thoroughly prevents a buildup of makeup and sunscreen residue from accumulating in your pores. This will help to prevent bacterial infections and even discoloration that can occur as a result of residue buildup. Proper cleansing also minimises the chances of pore congestion which can lead to blackhead formation and acne.


Enhances skin absorption of products

What’s more, who knew double-cleansing could potentially save you money in the long run? A thorough face cleansing reveals a layer of smoother, more penetrable skin cells on the surface, which enables your skin to better absorb all the active ingredients in your serums or creams. This means when it comes to applying skincare products, a little goes a long way, all thanks to the power of proper cleansing. So here’s to less strain on your skin and your wallet.


Is double-cleansing for me?

Whatever your skin type may be, everyone’s skin deserves to breathe easy without a layer of grime weighing it down. Also anyone who wears sunscreen (read: everyone should be wearing sunscreen) should double-cleanse to prevent sunscreen residue buildup in your pores.

If you're worried about investing in an oil-based cleanser just now but you'd still like the feel of a thoroughly cleansed face, simply using the same cleanser to cleanse your face twice will suffice.

While oily or acne-prone skin types may cringe at the thought of layering more oil on the face, using an oil-based cleanser is actually less taxing on your skin. It gently removes excess sebum without stripping your face dry and forcing your sebaceous glands into overdrive.

Sensitive skin types can also rejoice. Since double-cleansing literally does the dirty work for you by gently drawing out both oil-based and water-based impurities from your pores, there really is no need for you to resort to overzealous rubbing and scrubbing of your face in a bid to remove grime.

So out with aggressively scrubbing your face with a wipe, and in with a targeted cleansing regime that works for you and not the other way around.

Here’s to happy skin!



  1. Double-cleansing is a two-step process that involves cleansing your face twice - first with an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water-based cleanser.

  2. The oil-based cleanser dissolves oil-based impurities like sebum, SPF and makeup.

  3. The water-based cleanser removes remaining residue while removing water-based impurities like sweat and grime from your pores.

  4. Using the same cleanser to cleanse your face twice counts as double-cleansing.

  5. All skin types even oily skin, can benefit from double-cleansing. It gently cleanses the face without stripping the skin dry - making it perfect for those with sensitive skin as well.