japanese double cleansing  on face

What is Double Cleansing & What are its Benefits?

Imagine coming home after a long day and sitting down to cleanse. You reach out for your regular cleanser, activate it, and cleanse your face. Is all the makeup gone for good? What about the dirt and oil that has accumulated over the day? 

If your answer was a quick yes, read what follows next — the makeup, dirt, oil, and all that gunk is not gone completely. Some of it is still stuck in your pores. Now, how will you get rid of it? By Double cleansing. 

In recent years, double cleansing has become increasingly popular worldwide. Skincare enthusiasts and experts alike praise its effectiveness in deeply cleansing the skin. But did you know that its roots go back to K-beauty and J-beauty routines? It remains the backbone of these two routines. Here's why. 

Both these skincare philosophies focus on a clean and healthy base for achieving glowing skin. Double cleansing ensures that your face is free from makeup, sunscreen, and impurities. Thus, providing a clean slate for the rest of your skincare routine.

Now that you have the gist, let's tell you how to ace it! 

Understanding Double Cleansing

Double cleansing is just what it sounds like – cleansing your face twice with one difference. It requires two different cleansers. Ideally, the focus is not on washing your face twice. But switching 'what' you are washing your face with for a deep cleanse. 

Now, why do you need to wash your face twice, that too with two different cleansers? The reason is clear — makeup and dirt are stubborn. When you wear your makeup all day long, it sticks rigidly to your skin along with the dirt. Plus, given the heat, some of it even melts and sinks into your pores. Thus making it difficult to get rid off in just one wash. 

As a result, you need a strategic approach. First, you need to gently melt the makeup and dirt. Then, you need to wash off whatever little is remaining.

Moreover, a deep cleanse preps your skin for better product absorption. All your skincare products that follow next are able to sink deeper into your skin and work their magic. 

The Double Cleansing Process

First Cleanse: Oil-Based Cleanser

The first step in the double cleansing method involves using an oil-based cleanser. This type of cleanser works by attracting and dissolving oil-based impurities. These include makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum. The idea is that oil dissolves oil. Thus, making it effective at breaking down these substances without stripping your skin of its natural moisture.

Benefits of Using an Oil-Based Cleanser

Using an oil-based cleanser offers several benefits:

  • Effective makeup removal: It efficiently removes stubborn makeup, including waterproof products.
  • Deep cleansing: It penetrates deep into the pores to remove oil-based impurities. As a result, it reduces the risk of clogged pores and breakouts.
  • Gentle on skin: Oil-based cleansers maintain the skin's natural lipid barrier. Thus preventing dryness and irritation.

This brings us to another very important question, "Which ingredients to look for?" Well, here are some suggestions for you! 

  • Jojoba Oil: Mimics the skin's natural oils, making it suitable for all skin types, including oily and sensitive skin.
  • Grapeseed Oil: Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, it helps to tighten pores and even out skin tone.
  • Japanese Camellia Oil: Rich in omega fatty acids and provides excellent hydration for dry and mature skin while gently removing all gunk. 

If you have acne-prone skin or oily skin, check the product label carefully for 'mineral oil.' In case your cleanser contains mineral oil, don't go ahead with it. Mineral oil is believed to clog pores and cause breakouts. As a result, it is not a suitable ingredient to use in double cleansing for oily skin

How To Apply And Rinse Off An Oil-Based Cleanser?

Using the cleanser the right way is as important as choosing the right cleanser. Let's see how you can make most of your oil-based cleanser for double cleansing. 

  • Take out a small amount of the oil-based cleanser into your hands. 
  • Gently massage it onto your dry face using circular motions, focusing on areas with heavy makeup or oil buildup. 
  • Next, add a little water to your hands and continue massaging. The oil will emulsify, turning into a milky consistency. 
  • Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water until all the cleanser is removed.

Second Cleanse: Water-Based Cleanser

Now that you removed most of your makeup and oil buildup, it is time you remove whatever it left. The second step in the double cleansing process involves using a water-based cleanser

This type of cleanser is designed to remove water-based impurities such as sweat and dirt. It works by breaking down these substances and washing them away, leaving your skin thoroughly clean.

Benefits of Using a Water-Based Cleanser

Like oil-based cleansers, water-based cleansers have specific benefits. Here's the lowdown for you! 

  • Thorough cleansing: It ensures that any remaining impurities are removed. Thus providing a clean canvas for your skincare products.
  • Balanced skin: It helps to maintain the skin's pH balance and hydration levels.
  • Prevents breakouts: By removing all traces of dirt and sweat, it reduces the chances of breakouts and irritation.

Again, which ingredients should you look for? Here are the 3 ultimate ingredients that should be on your list! 

  • Hyaluronic Acid: Hydrates and plumps the skin, keeping it moisturized and preventing dryness.
  • Salicylic Acid: Helps to exfoliate and unclog pores, making it ideal for acne-prone skin.
  • Green Tea Extract: Rich in antioxidants, it soothes and protects the skin from environmental damage.

How To Apply And Rinse Off A Water-Based Cleanser?

  • Start by applying a small amount of the water-based cleanser to your wet face. 
  • Gently massage it into your skin using circular motions for 1-2 minutes, ensuring you cover all areas.
  • Rinse your face thoroughly with lukewarm water. 
  • Lastly, pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Be careful not to rub a tug at your skin. 

Our advice? Invest in a good microfibre towel. They are gentle enough and super absorbent. Plus, they cause less friction. As a result, they do not irritate your skin. 

Benefits of Double Cleansing

Deep Cleansing

If you:

  • Wear makeup every day
  • Have an oily skin
  • Are struggling with comedonal acne
  • Have whiteheads
  • Live in a place with high pollution and bad air quality

Then, you cannot skip double cleansing. All the things we just mentioned can be challenged with double cleansing's deep cleaning. It removes makeup, dirt, and excess oil not only from the surface but gently from your pores as well.

Moreover, it is a gentle process compared to exfoliation for unclogging your pores. And you know what unclogged, clean pores mean right? Less chances of breakouts and better oil regulation. 

Improved Skin Texture

When you clean your skin thoroughly, you are removing all excess oils, unclogging your pores, and gently sloughing off the dead skin cells as well. Over time, this leads to a brighter, more polished appearance.

Plus, you are reducing the chances of developing whiteheads and blackheads. These types of skin concerns are often caused by clogged pores filled with oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. By keeping your skin clean and clear, double cleansing minimizes the formation of these common skin issues. 

There's one more thing! Cleansers these days are often infused with a hero active ingredient. Some of these ingredients help minimize the appearance of pores and premature signs of aging. As a result, your skin looks youthful, firm, and even. 

Enhanced Product Absorption

You might have the best products for your skin but if your skin is not ready to absorb it for whatever reasons, all that money and effort is going to waste. Some reasons why your skin may not be ready to absorb products can be:

  • Your skin's outer barrier is compromised
  • You have dehydrated skin
  • Excessive oil or dead skin cells are clogging your pores
  • Incorrect layering of products 

A good cleanse with a cleanser suitable for your skin type will solve the first three problems and prepare your skin for the next steps. This means your skin will quickly absorb your toner, serum, and moisturizer, letting them do their job well! 

What about the fourth point? Well, that can be corrected by learning the right sequence for product application. 

Suitable for All Skin Types

One of the great advantages of double cleansing is that it can be customized to suit any skin type. Here's what you should consider for each skin type. 

Dry Skin

Gentle, hydrating oil-based cleanser + mild, moisturizing water-based cleanser to avoid stripping your skin of its natural oils.

Oily Skin

Lightweight, non-comedogenic oil-based cleanser + foaming water-based cleanser to control excess oil and prevent breakouts.

Combination Skin

Balanced oil-based cleanser + water-based cleanser that addresses both oily and dry areas without over-drying or over-moisturizing your skin.

Sensitive Skin

Soothing oil-based cleanser with calming ingredients + gentle, fragrance-free water-based cleanser to minimize irritation.

Additionally, if you are struggling with skin concerns like acne, aging, pigmentation, or dryness, you can tailor your double cleansing routine to target that. Here’s how! 


Oil-based cleanser with tea tree oil or salicylic acid to help fight acne. Follow up with a water-based cleanser with soothing ingredients to calm inflammation.


Antioxidant-rich oil-based cleanser for step 1, and a water-based cleanser with anti-aging ingredients such as niacinamide, peptides or retinol to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.


Oil-based cleanser with brightening ingredients like vitamin C. Pair it with an exfoliant-infused water-based cleanser to help even out skin tone and reduce pigmentation spots.

Choosing the Right Cleansers for Double Cleansing

Like other skincare products, cleansers come in a variety. Thus, it may get confusing to select the right one. But not with us by your side. Here's a breakdown of the varieties, what they work best with, and suit which skin type. 

Selecting an Oil-Based Cleanser

Typically, there are 3 kinds of oil-based cleansers. They are – cleansing oil, cleansing balm, and micellar water.

Cleansing oil, like the name suggests, is either pure oil or a blend of oils that dissolve makeup and impurities. It is best suited for dry, oily, acne, and combination skin types. Just one small request. If you have an oily skin type, go in for lightweight cleansing oil like grapeseed oil. On the other hand, more nourishing oils like jojoba and avocado oil are well suited for dry skin types.

Next, cleansing balms. These are solid balms that melt into oil when applied to the skin. If you are someone who travels frequently, cleansing balms are a great pick because they are less likely to spill and make a mess. These balms are best for double cleansing for dry skin.

Finally, there's micellar water. Its water-like formula contains micelles, tiny oil molecules, that attract dirt and oil. It is an extremely gentle option and perfect for the sensitive skin. Why? Because there is no need for rubbing. 

Selecting a Water-Based Cleanser

Like oil-based cleansers, you will find most water-based cleansers in one of the three common formulations – gel, foam, and cream. Let's understand them better.

Foaming cleansers aren't creamy in texture. When used, they simply create a foam that dissolves all the gunk without much friction. This type of cleanser can get deep into the pores to effectively remove impurities and excess oil. That's why they make great product options for oily, acne-prone, and combination skin types.

You may wonder, "Why just these 3 skin types?" That's because foaming cleansers may leave the skin feeling a little too tight. And so those with dry and sensitive skin will find it irritating. but , but, but. There's an exception. Special cleansers like cream-to-foam or oil-to-foam are specially created to suit dry and very dry skin types.

Gel cleansers, in contrast, are made to suit all skin types. They gently dissolve all the gunk without causing irritation or dryness. Plus, they don't strip your skin's natural oils. What's more? Depending on the active ingredient in the formula, gel cleanser may serve an extra purpose. 

Lastly, there's a cream cleanser. They tend to be very mild and sometimes don't even require water for use. Moreover, they're non-foaming and perfect for adding some softness to your skin. Cream cleansers are best suited for tacking dry skin.

Step-by-Step Guide to Double Cleansing

Double cleansing is a two-step process with micro steps. It is fairly straightforward, but doing it correctly is key to reaping its full benefits. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you master the technique.

Step 1: Oil-Based Cleanser

  • Dispense: Start with a small amount of your oil-based cleanser. A quarter-sized amount is usually good to go.
  • Apply to Dry Skin: With clean, dry hands, apply the oil-based cleanser directly to your dry face.
  • Massage Gently: Use gentle, circular, and upward motions to massage the cleanser into your skin. Focus on areas with heavy makeup or oil buildup, such as your T-zone. This should take about 1-2 minutes.
  • Emulsify with Water: Wet your hands with a little lukewarm water and continue to massage your face. The oil will emulsify, turning into a milky texture. This step is really important.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse your face thoroughly with lukewarm water until all the cleanser is washed off.

Step 2: Water-Based Cleanser

  • Dispense: Apply a dime-sized amount of your water-based cleanser to your wet face.
  • Lather and Apply: Depending on the type of cleanser (gel, foam, or cream), lather it up in your hands first to activate it. Then, apply it to your face.
  • Massage Gently: Using gentle, circular motions, massage the cleanser into your skin for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Focus on the entire face, ensuring you cover all areas.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse your face again with lukewarm water until all traces of the cleanser are removed.
  • Pat Dry: Use a clean, soft towel to pat your face dry. Avoid rubbing or tugging at your skin.

Massage & Rinsing

If you know even a little about skincare, you will know that there's a way to massage the products into your skin. You just can't dispense the product and rigorously rub it in all directions on your face. Why? Because this means you are tugging at your skin which will cause it to sag. Ew! 

To avoid this, use your fingertips and apply gentle pressure in circular motions. This helps to dislodge impurities and stimulates blood circulation.

Another thing that most individuals do is wash their face with hot water or cold water. That's not right for your skin. The water temperature needs to be lukewarm — just warm enough to melt away everything and not burn your skin. 

Frequency of Double Cleansing

Double cleansing is typically done once a day, in the evening. This ensures all the makeup, sunscreen, and impurities accumulated throughout the day are thoroughly removed. There's more to this. 

Since double cleansing makes your skin more receptive to other products, evenings are the best time to indulge in it. Why? Well, evening skincare routines are usually focused on deep care. Think of thick moisturizing creams and targeted treatment. Double cleansing increases the efficacy of this routine. As a result, your skin is able to repair and rejuvenate itself better.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are 4 common mistakes that most people make in the double cleansing method. Trust us, you don't want to make them. 

Choosing The Wrong Set Of Double Cleansing Products

Choosing a cleanser that's not meant for your skin is perhaps the biggest blunder you can make. Of course, then everything that follows is going to fail and create more skin care challenges for you. For instance,

  • Dry Skin: Using a harsh, foaming cleanser can strip your skin of its natural oils. Thus leading to increased dryness and irritation.
  • Oily Skin: Using a heavy, overly-rich cleanser can clog pores and increase oiliness.
  • Sensitive Skin: Using cleansers with strong fragrances or harsh chemicals can cause redness, irritation, and discomfort.

Tip: Always choose an oil-based and a water-based cleanser that is formulated for your specific skin type and concerns.

Overdoing The Double Cleansing Method

Everything within its limits looks and feels good, including your skincare steps. Overdoing the double cleansing method can strip your skin of essential oils. Thus leading to dryness, irritation, and even an increase in oil production as your poor skin tries to compensate. This can disrupt your skin's natural barrier and cause a cycle of overproduction of oil and breakouts.

Tip: Stick to double cleansing once a day, preferably in the evening, to maintain a balanced and healthy skin barrier.

Skipping Step 2

It is 'double' cleansing. Of course, you can't skip a step. Unfortunately, many of us are guilty of doing it. Skipping the second cleanse can leave water-based impurities like sweat and dirt on your skin. This can lead to clogged pores, dullness, and breakouts over time.

Tip: Always follow up with a water-based cleanser to ensure all impurities are removed, leaving your skin clean and ready for the next steps in your skincare routine.

Not Rinsing Well Enough

Don't rinse your face half-heartedly. Splash a good amount of water to remove all the residue. Residue on your skin can cause irritation, clogged pores, and reduce the effectiveness of your subsequent skincare products.

Additional Tips for Effective Double Cleansing

To make sure your double cleansing efforts are actually serving you the results they should, you may want to add a little bit more. We're talking about exfoliation, target treatment, and post-cleansing hydration. 


Exfoliation is a sure-shot way of getting rid of dead skin cells. Choose a gentle exfoliant like Face & Body Scrub with soft, natural konjac-derived scrub beads. While the beads scrub off the dead skin cells, the other ingredients in the formula will work their magic on the fresh skin. 

For instance, Japanese Uji Tea Extract will calm down the skin and Goji Berry Stem Cells will boost collagen production. The best part? This light & creamy scrub can be used on both your face and body for a rejuvenating, cleansing experience.

Target Treatment 

Double cleansing will get the wheel going. But target treatment will get your skincare routine rolling, quite literally. 

Consider introducing a Hydrating serum if you are aiming for intense hydration. Or a Brightening Serum if you want to overcome pigmentation and uneven skin tone. 

You can also consider other target treatments like face sheet masks. They're easily the best products after serums, full of active ingredients ready to recharge your skin. Again, your choice of face mask totally depends on what you need.

Post-cleansing Hydration

Of course, simply cleansing your skin isn't enough. You need to refill its hydration and moisture content by hydrating and moisturizing your skin. So how about some Deep Moisturizer in the evening?

It is made with:

  • Revitalizing Sea Fennel Plant Stem Cells
  • Skin conditioning Shea Butter
  • Skin softening Japanese Rice Germ Oil

And thanks to these ingredients, you can enjoy mochi-plump skin! 

Testimonials and Expert Opinions

Marisa Garshick, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York, says the following about double cleansing –

"By properly eliminating buildup, makeup, and sunscreen, it ensures that the rest of the skincare routine can properly penetrate. While it is okay to double cleanse, it is best to avoid if the skin feels dry or stripped."

Furthermore, dermatologist Jane Wu, MD, says, "It can also be helpful in patients with oily skin as a first step to remove excess oil or sebum from the skin."


Phew! That's a wrap on double cleansing – what it is, its benefits, and how to do it right. 

It is a step that becomes extremely important if your skin gets exposed to a lot of makeup, pollution, and dirt regularly. Think of it like vacuuming your skin and leaving it utterly clean. However, if you are someone who does not put on a lot of makeup, you may still want to practice double cleansing. Maybe not every day, but like every alternate day. 

Nevertheless, its benefits still remain the same – clean skin, better product efficacy, and fewer skin concerns. And that, our dear readers, is the goal for most of us. Isn't it?

Quick view