Why double cleansing is important and how to do it properly

Why double cleansing is important and how to do it properly

We hear a lot about double cleansing but what exactly is it? Is it really necessary? Does it benefit the skin? And how should it be done properly? Here’s the lowdown on this twice-as-nice skincare ritual.

What is double cleansing?
Double cleansing is exactly as it sounds; it basically means washing your face twice. You don’t need to do it but if you wear make-up and SPF then it’s a good idea, because the purpose of the first wash is to remove those products - the aforementioned make-up and SPF - that sit on top of the skin. It also helps lift any impurities, sebum, grime and pollution that have settled on the skin. The second wash can then get on with the job of cleaning the skin more deeply and effectively, for a thorough cleanse.

Legend has it that the practice originated in East Asia, with Japanese Geishas using oil to remove their heavy make-up before washing their faces. More recently it found a place as part of the 10-step Korean skincare programme. Now widely adopted, double cleansing is really just doing what our mothers always told us to do: giving our faces a proper wash and not going to bed in our make-up.

The benefits of double cleansing

  • The main benefit of double cleansing is that it gets rid of all make-up, dirt and impurities on the skin, giving your face a thorough cleanse.
  • It also removes bacteria from skin more effectively, which helps to prevent breakouts.
  • By cleansing more deeply, it preps the skin in readiness for the rest of your skincare regime, allowing the products applied afterwards to be more effective.
  • It boosts skin glow and radiance.

How to double cleanse
The traditional way to double cleanse is to start with an oil-based cleanser for the removing make-up stage, and a water-based cleanser for the second cleanse. However, it is perfectly fine to use whatever cleanser is suitable for your skin and it’s also totally fine to use the same cleanser for both steps.

  • Take your first cleanser and use it as directed on-pack, to remove your make-up and to lift away SPF.
  • Rinse your face with lukewarm water. Using a flannel to wash off the cleanser helps with a more thorough cleanse and also acts as a gentle exfoliator. Pat your skin dry, leaving it slightly damp.
  • Apply your second cleanser, or the same cleanser again, massaging over the face and again rinse off with lukewarm water.
  • Pat skin dry, still leaving it slightly damp, and then proceed with the rest of your routine.

A few tips for grown-up skin
A kinder option for more mature skin is to seek out gentle cleansers rather than strong, abrasive ones. Too much washing can dry out mature skin that is already prone to dehydration, so go gently. Treat grown-up skin with respect: there’s no need to literally scrub your face. Always use lukewarm rather than hot water. You only need to do a double cleanse once a day, after wearing make-up and SPF, so limit it to your evening routine. Again, this will help to prevent your skin becoming too dry.

For a double cleanse that’s kind to grown-up skin, we recommend our Willowberry Nutrient Boost Cleansing Balm. This oil-based cleanser melts away dirt and make-up, including eye make-up, for that first cleanse. It nourishes and hydrates, leaving skin comfortable and giving your skin that second deep clean without the tight, ‘stripped’ feeling.


Willowberry is nutritious natural skincare for grown-ups, for your best skin. 

A favourite with top make-up artists, Willowberry's luxurious award-winning products protect skin’s natural barrier function, to nourish and revive grown-up skin without telling women to be 'anti-ageing'.

As seen in Vogue, Independent, The Telegraph, This Morning and more.