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A Conversation on the Double Cleanse

I owe you all a little apology. See, I didn’t realize you weren’t all psychic/skincare pros & junkies that were up-to-date on the latest and greatest skincare trends. Admittedly I forget that I’m probably the only one of us who’s reading articles and researching ingredients on all things skin.


But apparently we haven’t talked about the double cleanse. Last month I mentioned it in my blog post on habits in the new year, and wow! Since then, it’s been the hottest topic in my treatment room. 


So, today’s lecture won’t be on cell regeneration or the free radical damage.

No, we’re going back to the basics. Washing. Your. Face.

I’m not going to bore you with why we cleanse, I think that one’s pretty self-explanatory.


Why should we double cleanse?

Is it really necessary or is it just another marketing ploy to get you to buy a second cleanser?

While I can’t speak for the profit margins of skincare companies, I can lay out some evidence in support of the practice so you can make the decision for yourself.


First, who do I have to blame for this extra step?

Double cleansing was originally derived from the world of Korean and Japanese skincare practices. It’s said the ritual of double cleansing was made popular by Geisha women, who were infamous for their beauty. Since the popularity of Korean skincare routines, the double cleanse has been pushed into the mainstream and the results have been worth the hype.


Ok, but why do I have to do it?

Since “because I said so” likely won’t do the trick, I’m going to give you an analogy that explains it best. The first cleanse is like sweeping the floor, the second cleanse is like moping it.


The concept here is that you remove whatever you collected on your skin throughout the day with your first cleanse. Oil, dirt, debris, makeup, sunscreen and anything you may have applied that morning. The second cleanse is the one that works a bit deeper, balances the pH of your skin and wipes away any leftover vestiges of the day.


In a sense, the double-cleanse has replaced the role of a toner in a skincare routine (a product I feel we all collectively forgot about). The advancements in skincare technology have skyrocketed in the last few decades. Gone are the days of stinging

astringents that strip the healthy oils from your face and give you that “fresh, clean” feeling from yesteryear.



How does it work?


Best practices involve two different cleansers (girl math suggests minus one toner, plus one cleanser breaks even). For the first cleanse I recommend using an oil or cream-based cleanser to pull the fat-based debris and build up, as well as excess sebum from the skin. For your second, use a water-soluble cleanser, think a gel or foam, to remove things like sweat and dirt from the skin.


If you remember much from your biology or chemistry classes, this line of thinking does make a clinical amount of sense. Anyone recall hydrophilic and hydrophobic cell walls? Am I losing you?


My own experience has convinced me that this is a practice my skin loves. It’s a key component of every facial I do in the treatment room. I generally find that my clients who do a double cleanse have a healthier skin barrier (this is obviously not a scientific poll, merely an observational note).


My suggestion is to give it a try and decide for yourself. I would love to hear your thoughts on the routine.





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