I Started Double Cleansing and It's the Best. Thing. Ever.

It's the 🔑.

I know, I know. It's hard enough to wash your face once, let alone twice in one sitting. But if you want the squeakiest of squeaky-clean faces, hear me out.

So by now you probably know, or have at least heard of the 10-Step K-beauty skincare routine. One of its standout techniques is doubling down on the cleanser. The two-step process alternates the use of an oil and a foam cleanser to *efficiently* remove makeup, grime, and pollution from the skin.

"It's commonplace in Korea where the the belief is that—because  multiple layers like skincare, makeup base, UV protection,  foundations, or concealers are needed to achieve a finished day-time look—more than one step of cleansing is needed to truly remove everything," explains Christine Chang, co-founder of K-beauty mecca Glow Recipe, adding that a proper cleaning of the skin is essential so that the products you apply afterwards can work most effectively. Plus, it's something you only do at night.

As someone who spends most of the day running around midtown Manhattan, I tried not to think about all the pollutants that are clogging my full face of skincare/makeup on a daily basis...but it got to the point where it was undeniable. After "washing" my face once at night with a single cleanser, I swiped toner along my face with a cotton pad only to find that there was still all sorts of residue...

Besides taking twice as much time and effort to wash your face, each step serves a distinct purpose. "The cleansing oil more effectively targets oil-based makeup and sunscreen removal, whereas the cleansing foam washes away dirt, grime and pollution that accumulates on the skin throughout the day," says Chang.

I was a little apprehensive about over cleansing my skin as it's super sensitive, but Chang reassured me it absolutely works for all skin types. Her advice for double cleansing comes down to two things:

1) Using a mineral-oil free cleansing oil, like Whamisa's Organic Flowers Cleansing Oil ($38), that is not runny or sticky. "Massage it in upwards circular motions to cleanse deep into the pores, focusing on any congested areas with smaller circular motions," Chang advises. "Then emulsify with warm water after massaging and rinse off."

cleansing oil

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

2) Using a foaming cleanser that's free of sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates. "Healthy skin is slightly acidic and SLSs are highly alkaline, which disrupt the balance of the skin," she says. For this second step, you should choose a formula based on what suits your skincare needs. For sensitive skin, there's Whamisa's Organic Flowers Creamy Foam Cleanser ($35), which is organic, SLS-free, and packed with aloe vera extract, chrysanthemum extract, and green tea extract. 

foam skin cleanser

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

And for a deep pore cleanse there's May Island's Bubble Bean Cleanser ($30), which as its moniker suggests, is basically magic beans for your face. See for yourself below:

If you want to switch things up in your double cleanse, you can also replace a foaming cleanser with Glow Recipe's latest curation: Wish Formula's Squish-and-Bubble Mesh Mask ($7), which is a mask inside of a mesh-clad puff. "It's the easiest, gentlest cleansing peel you can do a couple times a week for glowing, baby-soft skin," says Chang. "Just wet the little puff that's just big enough for a good, comfortable grip, squish to work up a lather, and buff the face for two to three minutes."

I have yet to dive into these cheeky, yet all-business K-beauty concoctions, but I can say that in the short time I've started massaging with Shu Uemura's High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced for Sensitive Skin ($31) and then lathering with Clinique's Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam ($20) each night, my bare skin has been glowier and made for a much better canvas for my foundation.

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Lauren Valenti
Lauren Valenti

I’m the associate web editor at Marie Claire. I love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. I firmly believe that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.