Cheat Sheet – Double Cleansing

Over the last few months I have been asked a lot about double cleansing. I think it peaked this month because I am quoted in the March edition of American Elle magazine discussing this very topic.

It’s out now if you fancy picking up a copy…

Anyway, I figured a few clearer details wouldn’t hurt so without further ado…

Cleansing is by far the most important step of your routine. I don’t care what anyone says, if you are consistently ‘cleansing’ (aka moving the dirt around your face) with wipes and then applying a really expensive serum/moisturiser on top, you are wasting your money. And your time.

‘Double Cleansing’ is something that you may be doing already, this is just what I call it.

Essentially, if you are using more than one product to remove your makeup in the evenings, you are already double cleansing.

For example, if you remove your eye makeup with a micellar water or eye makeup remover before you cleanse, that is your first cleanse. You follow with a proper cleanser to remove everything else. That was your second cleanse. Note: a micellar water is not your second cleanse. Stop that nonsense.

Let’s be clear on this one first – there is no double cleansing in the mornings. Wake up, cleanse, you’re good to go. You have no makeup or SPF to remove. Crack on.

Types of cleansers:

Mornings

Non-foaming gels

Milks

Lotions

Balm cleansers

Oils

Clay-based cleansers

Basically anything except:

Wipes

Micellar water

The morning cleanse is dependent on how your skin feels when you wake up and what you are doing with the rest of your day. For example, if I have a long day ahead of wearing makeup I will probably use an oil to cleanse. My skin feels soft and holds moisture for longer afterwards which has a knock-on effect on the rest of my routine and stops my makeup going patchy by the afternoon.

If I’m home-based for the day I’ll use something slightly more ‘active’, follow with a strong acid toner and use some treatment serums and heavier moisturisers.

If you know you are going to be based at home for the day and not wearing makeup treat your skin as if it’s a spa day. Cleanse, exfoliate, treat, repeat.  (repeat the treat, not the entire routine!) 🙂

This is why my skin looks great if I’ve had a few consecutive days working from home and looks merely ‘ok’ (by my standards – and I am my own harshest critic) if I’ve had appointments in town every day of the week. And don’t get me started on travelling… that’s a whole other cheat sheet. *makes note*

Wipes and micellar water are not suitable for mornings because you use them in an emergency or when removing makeup, and you won’t be wearing makeup to bed will you? WILL YOU?

Evenings

There is a fallacy doing the rounds that double cleansing means using oil followed by foam. No. 

Do what you need to do to remove what you’ve done to your face. You know your face/routine better than any beauty counter. Or me.

Wearing a ton of eye makeup? Remove it first.

Slathered in SPF? Take care of that first.

Both? Go in with grease. When in doubt, go in with grease.

First cleanse:

Eye makeup removers

Micellar waters

Greasy balms – not necessarily expensive ones, just ones that do a great job of removing makeup – such as Clinique TTDO and The Body Shop Camomile Butter

Cleansing creams – preferably thicker ones – a perfect example would be Clarins Extra Comfort Cleansing Cream – the one they discontinued – how rude.

Oils – oils are great for removing makeup, but you don’t have to pick a really expensive one for the first cleanse.

Second cleanse:

This is where you use your most expensive cleansing product. This one is your skin cleanser more than your makeup remover. Its job is to make sure your skin is clean, balanced and comfortable and ready for everything else that you are applying afterwards. It’s time to use your good stuff.

You can obviously use one cleanser for both cleanses if you have budget concerns. Just buy the best that you can afford when you can afford it. We’ve all been there. Well, I certainly have.

If you are using one product, apply a small amount for the first cleanse mainly to loosen eye makeup and cheek areas (where we tend to apply the most SPF). Remove with a flannel and go in again with another round.

The second cleanse is the massage stage, not the first.

The best products for second cleanses are:

Cleansing balms – good ones. Gorgeous, plant-based, greasy ones. Greasy in the best way.

Cleansing milks

Cleansing gels – non-foaming

Cleansing creams

Cleansing clays

Cleansing oils – oils and balms are easily my favourite choice for skin cleansing. They are brilliant for ensuring that everything is off and don’t disturb the acid mantle in an aggressive manner.

That is really all there is to it. The important part is to remember to do it every single day without fail.

As with all other cheat sheets, I’ll keep this updated with anything obvious that I’ve forgotten – and I’ll try and answer any specific product Q’s below – again it’s easier if it’s a Yes or No question. 🙂