July 12, 2018

Skincare: Why You Should be Double Cleansing

products I use for Double Cleansing

For those who’ve been following my blog (on Instagram) for a long time, are probably sick of me talking about double cleansing. I know I go on and on about it, but sometimes, it’s necessary to revisit certain topics. Especially topics that are so life changing. I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but it really is kind of life changing; When your skin looks good, you feel good and that in itself seeps into every aspect of your life.

Skincare: Why You Should be Double Cleansing

What is Double Cleansing?

I initially read about double cleansing from one of my skincare idols, Caroline Hirons. Years later, it’s been quite the buzz-worthy term in the blogosphere and beauty industry. Double cleansing is just how it sounds, cleansing two times. For me, it was the #1 game changer in my skincare routine. When I think about how I used to wash my face, I actually cringe. To think that I was washing off all of my makeup and grime with a little Cetaphil is now such a yucky thought. There was no way that my thick layer of SPF was getting properly removed. It’s no wonder I was constantly breaking out! Again, the purpose of double cleansing is to properly remove all of your makeup, facial SPF and everything grimy about the day.

One thing to keep in mind, I only double cleanse at night! In the morning, I just use a little cleanser to freshen up my face. Nothing crazy.

different products I use for Double CleansingFirst Cleanse:

1) For my first cleanse, I always start out with either a cleansing balm or a cleansing oil. You want to start by applying your balm or oil on a DRY face. This will help breakdown makeup and SPF better than anything else. At the same time, you’re actually giving your face a massage, which is great for stimulating circulation and blood flow.

2) After 30 seconds (or so) of massaging your makeup off, you want to use a warm washcloth to wipe your makeup off. Again, using a washcloth is a game-changer. Once you start, you will never go back to NOT using one. I have quite a few favorite cleansers and cloths, but one of my favorites is this balm cleanser from Elemis paired with a larger cloth, like these. I also have a ton of these cloths.They’re cheaper, but also a bit thinner and smaller. It’s fine for a light or no makeup day, but I prefer a larger cloth when I really want to get in there. I always use a cloth for my first cleanse and depending on how much makeup or SPF I have on, occasionally, I’ll use a fresh cloth for my second cleanse. Not always, but if I’ve spent the day on the beach and kept reapplying SPF, I’ll use two to ensure I’m getting a proper cleanse.

First Cleanse Favorites:

Second Cleanse:

The point of the second cleanse is to ensure your skin is actually clean and prepped for the next steps. Since the first cleanse involves a balm or oil cleanser, you’re not drying out your face. On the contrary, it’s actually quite moisturizing and stimulating for your face.

My second cleanser is usually a bit more straightforward. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of foam cleansers as I find them drying. I prefer gel or cream cleansers like this one (pricey, but lasts a very long time) or any of the ones I listed below. 

Edited to add: including some FAQ’s below! Hope this helps!

Second Cleanse Favorites:


Q: Do you use the cloths once and then wash them or do you use several times before washing? How do you upkeep your cloths?

A: I use each cloth one time! I know it sounds crazy, but washing your face with an already used cloth, filled with product and grease, defeats the purpose. I’ve stocked up on a bunch of cloths and keep them in my vanity (in a small little basket). After each use, I throw in the hamper and do a “cloth” laundry load along with my towels, 1-2x a week. Again, 100% worth it.

Q: Do you find the cloths get completely clean in the wash? I’ve found that mine still look dirty. 

A: After a few uses, your cloths will never look completely white and new. Don’t let that part bother you! As long as they’re physically clean (with detergent), I don’t care how they look. Not like they’re shirts we’re wearing outside!

Q: Should the cloth be damp/wringed out or fully wet? 

A: Kind of in between! I like my cloth to have a little wetness to it.

Q: Would love to know your steps after double cleansing. 

A: It depends on the night as my routine varies, but typically, my routine will go as follows:

Double cleanse, acid toner, eye cream, treatment serum or retinol, wait a few minutes, cream, oil.

Q: Do you even double cleanse on days you’re not wearing makeup?

A: Unless I am not leaving my house, I wear SPF daily. SPF is thick so to ensure it’s properly removed, I will double cleanse even on days I’m not wearing any other makeup. In the event that I  applied zero makeup or SPF, I’ll just cleanse once and use a cloth.



  • Emilia

    Love these recommendations. Also you also made me feel better about the drunk elephant jelly cleanser as it’s a bit foamy and I remember what you and Caroline Hirons said about those!! Lol!! I do have one quick question—I dont wear make up daily and usually only cleanse once at night before bed—would you reccomend cleansing twice even if I am not wearing make up? Thanks so much in advance xx

    • Helena

      Hi Emilia,

      Yes, I feel like the Drunk Elephant is a touch foamy, but I do love it.

      Are you wearing SPF daily? if so, I’d still double cleanse even if you’re not wearing face makeup. SPF is pretty heavy, so it definitely needs to be properly removed.

      If you’re not, then cleansing once with a cloth should suffice!

  • Sarah

    This is amazing! Can’t wait to start. For the step with the wash cloth, should it be just damp/wringed out or should it be fully wet?

  • Helen

    Do you find that the washcloths don’t get completely clean in the wash? I bought some washcloths and had that issue.

    • Helena

      Hi Helen,

      I just updated this post to answer this (and all other) questions!

  • Jaimie

    Hi Helena! Do you use the cloth once and then wash them? Or do you use them several times? How do you upkeep your cloths? Thanks for all the infomation, I really enjoy your blog! 🙂

    • Helena

      Hi Jaimie,

      I just updated this post to answer this (and all other) questions!

  • Danielle

    This is so helpful! Curious to know if you use a toner as well after the double cleanse. Or do you go straight to serums/moisturizers?

    • Helena

      Hi Danielle,

      I just updated this post to answer this (and all other) questions!

      Hope this helps!

  • Vanessa

    Would love to know the next steps after double cleansing! Thank you!

  • RAnia

    Thank you for this comprehensive post. I use double cleansing too, I use Kiehls cleansing oil , is that an oil you recommend? Thanks

    • Helena

      Hi Rania,

      I’ve never tried the Kiehl’s one! But I typically like their products a lot.

  • Mireia

    In love with this!

    Mireia from TGL

  • AshleyFox

    Wow, you help me a lot. I’m nearly facing the same issue and I’ll try your suggestion 🙂 Good night

  • Jae

    I ALWAYS double cleanse! It’s so important. Sometimes I triple cleanse. 🙂 Btw your bathroom looks so beautiful!

  • Rach

    Yes to double cleansing! Ever since I started doing it a year ago, it has helped me with my skin so much! Definitely trying out your products bc your skin is amazing!


  • BeingIsabella

    Helena, this post came at the perfect timing! I’ve been hearing so many influencers talk about double cleansing and the magic it does, but I didn’t actually know the basics of it and what is was. Thanks to you, I now do. I always wash my face twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, but now I will definitely add a double cleanse in the evenings. As you know, city air is not great for your skin, so this I’m sure is a great solution to getting all the grimy stuff off your face. I’ve heard great things about these Elemis products, I’m super intrigued to try them out! Is there one you would recommend starting with more than the other? First cleanse, or second cleanse?


  • Fatou

    I love this! thanks for sharing

  • Carina

    Thanks for sharing!


  • Jeanne

    I find sunblock so sticky on a normal day. Which do you use?

  • Rania

    Hello again, I’m reading your post again ☺️To make sure I got all the info , all very useful and came across the part where you mention reapplying SPF during the day. My question is when you reapply SPF , do you wash your face first or just apply on top of existing SPF? Cause when I’m at the beach I don’t really know what to do, shall I just reapply or wash my face first or if there’s no tap water close by shall I use face wipes? What’s your advice? Thanks a lot for all your valuable advice

  • Lesha

    I love your skin care posts! I remember stumbling across one of your early posts that really inspired me to start taking skin care seriously. I started religiously following Caroline Hirons’ advice and your recs and my skin has never looked better. I’m in my mid-30’s and recently had a plastic surgeon rave about what great skin I have! ; ) THANK YOU!!

    • Helena

      omg. how amazing is that!!!

  • Fashion and Frappes

    Really enjoyed this post and your FAQs after scrolling through and seeing the comments – so clever! This was extremely useful.

  • Elise

    Hi Helena,

    What toner and moisturizer do you recommend?

    • Helena

      Hi Elise,

      For daytime, I use SPF – Elta MD or PCA. For night, I’ve been loving Huxley and Drunk Elephant. For toner, P50 and Pixi Glow Tonic.

  • color switch

    This product is very suitable and suitable for all skin types.

  • Jalisa

    I’ve tried double cleansing a few times, but haven’t been consistent with it. You taught me something though, I’ve never used the oil cleanser on dry skin nor wiped it off with a cloth! I’ve always used it on a wet face and remove it with water before proceeding to my milk cleanser. I’ll definitely have to give this a try!

  • Xperia Sol

    very beautiful post … your recommendations are suppeerrr i really enjoyed to read your post…. love it..!!!!!!! thanks for sharing.

  • Helen

    Which cleanser would you say removes makeup best? I’ve always had trouble with the “better for you” cleaners actually removing makeup so I have to revert back to the Neutrogena makeup removing cleanser.

    • Helena

      a balm or oil cleanser is the best! followed by a warm washcloth.

  • Susan

    Do you recommend cleansing brushes like Clarisonic?

    • Helena

      Hi Susan,

      personally ,not a fan. I feel like I get enough exfoliation from chemical exfoliators that a clarisonic would just be overkill. I do like it for arms and body, though!

  • Lauren

    I just started the double cleansing to try and get rid of all of my clogged pores. I feel like it is getting better but definitely not as quick as I want. How long until you felt like you started seeing results?

  • Download Drivers Asus

    these recommendations. Also you also made me feel better thank you

  • Download Drivers free

    This is amazing! Can’t wait to start. For the step


    Thanks for all the infomation, I like this

  • My Favorite Beauty Products of 2018 — Hello Adams Family

    […] My friend Helena wrote a blog post about double cleansing and it has probably been the greatest addition to my skincare routine. A must read! I do this […]

  • My Favorite Beauty Products of 2018 – Fashion Blogs Online

    […] My friend Helena wrote a blog post about double cleansing and it has probably been the greatest addition to my skincare routine. A must read! I do this […]

  • kanchan

    I just updated this post to answer this

  • mar

    Hi Helena! thanks so much for all your advises, I always try to adapt to the products we have in Spain and I consult my aesthetic MD.
    Could you please talk a bit more about the 2nd cleanse? If gel or cream cleansers used, how do you remove them? thanks so much! Best,

  • brick carting perth

    I really should start double cleansing – keep putting it off!

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