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Expert Advice

What Is Double Cleansing and Why Should You Try It?

Double cleansing involves first washing your face with an oil cleanser and then with a regular face wash. Read on for our guide all about this technique.

Lather, rinse, and repeat is an idiom oft applied to shampoo. But it surprisingly has more relevance when it comes to your skincare routine. The facts are: We don’t recommend doubling up on washing your hair—Kiehl’s shampoos will get the job done with just one wash. Double cleansing your skin, on the other hand, has benefits we think are worth noting. If you ever feel like your skin isn’t quite clean enough, we recommend you keep reading. We’re about to share the double cleansing method. You’ll learn all about this squeaky-clean skincare technique, including which Kiehl’s products you need to double cleanse.

What Is Double Cleansing?

As your skills of deduction likely have led you to figure out, at its simplest, double cleansing refers to cleansing your skin twice in a row instead of just one time. A cleanser is applied, lathered up, then rinsed off, and—you guessed it—the whole process is repeated. This cleansing method is a popular Korean skincare technique that has gained recognition in the United States because of the deeper clean it offers.

Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil

The first round of cleansing, which is traditionally done with an oil cleanser, like Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil, is primarily intended to remove makeup and sunscreen. The second step, done with a separate cleanser that suits your skin type, cleanses away the impurities that remain on your skin. The idea is that ingredients in your SPF and makeup, like silicones and oils, which help these products stay on for a long time, need to be taken out of the equation (a.k.a. removed) before you can truly cleanse your skin. Hence the double cleanse.

Who Should Try The Double Cleansing Method?

Adding an extra step to your skincare routine isn’t for everyone, but it is worth considering. If you wear a heavy face of makeup or have trouble removing your sunscreen, this method could be the answer. Double cleansing is also especially good for oily and acne-prone skin. However, with that said, these skin types aren’t the only ones who can benefit. For those interested in trying a new technique, as long as you stick with cleansers that suit your skin type and don’t strip the skin of natural oils, you can partake, too.

How To Follow The Double Cleansing Method

Before you switch-up your entire skincare routine, make sure you know how to double cleanse—the right way.

1. Wash with an oil-based cleanser

Double cleansing is typically reserved for nighttime. In the morning, your skin may have some oil and impurities that have built up overnight, but it shouldn’t be coated in heavier formulas that need to be removed. When you’ve just woken up, one round of cleansing should be enough. After a long day, on the other hand, that’s when an extra cleansing step can be beneficial.

Before bed, reach for Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil as your first cleanser. It has a lightweight formula featuring a blend of botanical oils, including evening primrose oil and lavender essential oil. As for what it’s capable of, the oil cleanser effectively dissolves dirt, oil, and even hard to remove makeup (including eye makeup). It also soothes and comforts your skin, preparing it for nighttime replenishment. The result is skin that’s left feeling soft, supple, and replenished.

To reap those benefits, dispense three to four drops of the cleansing oil into your hands. Then massage it onto dry skin (and don’t miss your eye area). Add water and continue to massage your skin to emulsify the formula.

Kiehl’s Expert Tip: If you’re wearing long-wear or waterproof makeup, take two pumps of cleanser on a cotton pad and press it onto any areas where your cosmetics won’t budge. Hold for just 10 seconds, then gently wipe outward to remove.

2. Rinse off

This step may be a no-brainer, but it’s important enough to talk about. The goal of double cleansing isn’t to layer cleansers on top of one another like you do with serums. You should rinse one off completely before using the next. Wash away the remnants of your oil cleanser with lukewarm water. And yes, temperature does matter. Using water that’s too hot can actually dry out your skin.

3. Follow-up with a second cleansing.

When you’re washing your face twice in a row, it’s important that both formulas you use are gentle. You don’t want to overdo it. We recommend Ultra Facial Cleanser, which is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It doesn’t over-dry or strip your skin of its essential oils, but it does help dissolve excess oil, dirt, and debris. The formula of this Kiehl’s customer-favorite is made with olive-derived squalane (one of the brand’s signature ingredients), apricot kernels, and avocado oil, and it’s pH balanced.

Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash

Another option that’s great regardless of skin type is Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash, which is made with glycerin and calendula extract. It has a creamy gel formula that activates with water, turning into a dense foam that cleanses away impurities and dirt.

Once you’ve picked your face wash preference, take a small amount (one pump of the calendula cleanser is enough) in your hands. Apply it to damp skin and massage it over your face, creating a lather. To cleanse, use gentle circular motions, avoiding your eyes.

Kiehl’s Expert Tip: If you aren’t sure the double cleansing method is for you, you can also turn to toner to provide an additional layer of cleansing. Ultra Facial Toner gently removes surface debris and residue that’s left behind post-cleansing. Alternatively, try our cult-classic Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner to soothe and refresh your skin after cleansing. Simply saturate a cotton pad with either toner and sweep it over your skin.

4. Rinse again and moisturize.

It’s time to rinse again. Turn the tap to lukewarm and wash the cleanser off your skin. You can use a soft towel to pat your skin partially dry, but don’t wipe away all the water. Your skin should be damp to complete the rest of this step. Moisturizing is up next, and when you apply creams and lotions to damp skin, you’re able to lock in more hydration.

For your first moisturizing product, start with a face oil, like Midnight Recovery Concentrate. This nighttime face oil (another Kiehl’s best-seller with evening primrose oil) replenishes the skin at night, resulting in skin that feels soft, supple, and hydrated. Use two to three drops and press the oil onto your cheeks, forehead, and chin before massaging it all over your face.

Complement the oil by using Midnight Recovery Eye next. The eye cream leaves the eye area feeling strengthened. Plus, its formula, which includes evening primrose oil and butcher’s broom extract, helps diminish the appearance of dark circles and under-eye puffiness. If you’re dealing with puffy eyes, you can also reach for our fan-favorite Avocado Eye Cream, which nourishes the under-eye area with all-day moisture and helps decrease the appearance of puffiness and dark circles. Gently pat your chosen formula under your eyes and along the orbital bone, taking care not to pull at your skin.

Ultra Facial Cream

Next up is your moisturizer. Getting plenty of hydration is key after double cleansing, and that’s just what Ultra Facial Cream offers. Its formula, which stars squalane, provides lasting, 24-hour hydration and balances even the driest areas of skin with 2.3 times more moisture. Scoop out a dime-sized amount of product and smooth it over your skin.

You can also opt to give your skin extra TLC with an overnight face mask. Think of it as an extra skin-pampering night cream. Try Ultra Facial Overnight Mask to wake up with refreshed, healthy-looking skin. Apply a generous layer and let it sit for 10 minutes before tissuing off any excess product. From there, let your skin be and allow the mask to work overnight.

Should I Double Cleanse Every Day?

How often you should double cleanse isn’t completely cut and dry. As with many things in skincare, it varies based on your skin type, concerns, and lifestyle. You may choose to double cleanse regularly if you’re frequently exposed to pollution, an avid exerciser, or in an area with extreme weather.

For anyone new to double cleansing, we recommend giving it a try once or twice a week and adjusting accordingly based on how your skin responds. If your skin reacts positively and you use gentle formulas like those we shared above, you can double cleanse every day.

Can I Double Cleanse With The Same Cleanser?

While it’s technically true that you can cleanse your face twice with the same formula and refer to it as a double cleanse, this doesn’t quite capture the idea behind the method. You want to choose two different cleansers because they both have different benefits and applications. In some cases, you may also find that using the same cleanser twice in a row (as part of the same routine) can dry out your skin. Part of the beauty of using an oil cleanser as one of your steps is that it provides plenty of nourishment, which stays with your skin even through the second cleanse.

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