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When we’re writing about beauty 24/7, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the skincare steps we’re so used to aren’t necessarily a worldwide phenomenon. While there are certain steps in your skincare routine that could be skipped now and again, there’s one thing above all, that should never, we repeat never, be skipped – especially if you like to wear makeup as much as we do. The basic essential beauty step? Double cleansing, aka washing your face twice – we told you it was basic! If you’re already in on the secret, tell your friends, because honestly, you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t double cleanse.

Why Double Cleansing is Important

Double cleansing is THE fundamental rule of K-Beauty routines and a must for anyone wearing makeup. At the end of the day, if you’re not removing pollution and bacteria that can lead to breakouts, aging, and rashes, then no amount of moisturizer can fix that. It also means that your next layers of products won’t be able to effectively penetrate your skin.

Think about it, when you wash your face once, all you’re really doing is removing the makeup on top of your skin – you’ll notice if you’ve ever used toner after, that there’s still plenty of makeup left on your skin. This is why washing twice is SO important, as the second wash will actually be able to do its job, penetrating your pores and remove impurities from your skin. Especially if your face wash contains active ingredients like salicylic acid which targets blackheads, or AHAs that gently get rid of dead skin cells. But it is possible to overwash; in the morning or if you haven’t worn any makeup all day, you don’t need to double cleanse.

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How to Double Cleanse:

The best way to double cleanse is to start with a cleansing oil or balm, and then use a water-based cleanser:

Step 1: A cleansing oil or balm works to break down makeup, SPF, pollution, and sebum on the surface of the skin. This is a super gentle way of removing dirt as the oil binds with impurities and is washed away without stripping your skin. They’re also made up of natural oils, which are antibacterial and packed with antioxidants that help to improve your skin texture while retaining your skin’s natural moisture level. Check out our fave cleansing oils and balms here.

Step 2: Using a water-based cleanser (like a foam, gel, or cream) will remove any water-based impurities like sweat and dirt, while it’s also able to clean deeper into your pores now that makeup and surface dirt has been removed. Another important thing to remember is to massage both your oil and water-based cleanser into your skin for at least a minute each. If you only do it quickly it won’t give your skin time to absorb the restoring and nourishing properties of your cleanser. Think of it like brushing your teeth, you need to do it for at least two minutes. Find out how to pick a cleanser to suit your skin type here.

TIPS: If you don’t yet own a cleansing oil or balm, you can still double cleanse, just use your face wash twice. We’ll be honest, on the days when we really cake it on, sometimes we even go three times, using micellar water as our final step. It’s also important to make sure you use warm water. If it’s too hot it can strip your skin of its natural oils and make acne or rosacea worse, so stick to lukewarm water. If it’s your day for exfoliating, make sure you exfoliate after you’ve double cleansed.

No matter what your skin type, trust us, if you’re oily or acne-prone a cleansing oil is still amazing – it can actually help reduce blackheads! You can find different cleansing oils that have different ingredients to benefit different skin concerns, and it’s the same with your water-based cleanser.