The Truth About Double Cleansing: Do We Really Need A Two-Stage Approach?

The hot topic within skincare right now is definitely the debate surrounding ‘double cleansing.’ It’s not only about what should you be using and how you should be using it, but how many times you should undertake the process. Every day your skin is exposed to hundreds of thousands of germs and bacteria; each time you touch your face you’re cross-contaminating an estimated 100,000 different nasties that you’ve unwillingly picked up from touching door knobs, holding a hand rail on the tube or even standing near someone that sneezes. If these nasties are left on the skin for an extensive amount of time they can lead to blocked pores and infected follicles – one of the many reasons cleansing your skin morning and night is so beneficial. On top of that we’re wearing increasing layers of makeup, SPF and fragrance, all of which sit on the skin and can suffocate it if not removed effectively. So, why do we need to ‘double cleanse’ before bed?

Skin experts claim the skin ‘replenishes’ itself between the hours of 6pm and 4am; this is when our skin cells really get to work by renewing, hydrating and revitalising. It’s essential that all traces of dirt and grime are removed for this to happen successfully: germs, bacteria and leftover makeup that’s still present on the skin will result in this process slowing down (hence dull, dehydrated looking skin.) For skin replenishment to happen effectively, the skin should be free from makeup, SPF, dirt, grime and excess oil. Cleansing balms are an effective way of lifting this from the surface, while a flannel or muslin cloth helps to wash it away and leave skin feeling fresh. However, completing the process only once may not actually remove everything you need it to. 

Think of cleansing your face like washing your clothes… Would you put a pair of jeans covered in grass stains on a quick wash? Absolutely not. The first cleanse aims to lift make up and SPF from the surface, as well as removing dirt and grime from the top layer of skin. This cleanse is also known as the ‘superficial cleanse,’ meaning that it’s removing only what is visible on the surface. The second cleanse (or ‘deep cleanse’) aims to penetrate into the skin to deep clean, hydrate and soften to skin – this stage is where you’ll benefit the most and notice a visible difference. It’s advised that if you wear makeup and/or SPF daily that you should always double cleanse in the evening before bed; as makeup and dirt is (theoretically) effectively removed before you sleep, there’s no need to double cleanse in the morning.

Double cleansing will ensure the complete removal of all traces of dirt, grime and make up, as well as allowing the skin to replenish overnight. Furthermore, having freshly cleansed skin will also ensure your night creams, serums and oils can easily penetrate beyond the surface and get to work whilst you sleep. It’s essential to also remember to always use a clean flannel or cloth to remove makeup, otherwise you’re simply scrubbing yesterday’s nasties back into your skin. Try double cleansing and see how much better your skin feels after only a few days!

Written by Amy Bambrick



  1. Brittany Seel
    May 28, 2014 / 9:04 am

    For some reason, I always thought double cleansing would remove too much of my skins natural oils and dry it out but apparently not 🙂 I will definitely think twice about it nowBea xBea's Beauty Blog

  2. Ciara Pollock
    May 28, 2014 / 9:08 am

    Double cleansing has become a nightly ritual for me, my skin would just be disastrous without it! Brilliant post, it's really interesting to read all the facts about it :) x

  3. Meghan Silva
    May 28, 2014 / 9:32 am

    I totally double cleanse, it really does improve the skin greatly.Meg | Meghan Silva's Blog

  4. Emily
    May 28, 2014 / 9:58 am

    I'm a bit excessive – I triple cleanse (sometimes quadruple on those 'pile it on' kinda days). I use a face wipe first (i know these are so taboo in the beauty community, but I hate using twice the amount of expensive cleansing balms to get my makeup off when a facewipe will do the job okay…), then I use a cleansing water (for similar reasons), occasionally an oil cleanser & then a cleansing balm…I hate sleeping with makeup on – can you tell? Lovely post, I don't think the importance of double/triple cleansing is emphasised enough – too many products are marketed as a 'complete makeup remover/cleanser', when that just isn't true. Emily xx // Beauty Bunny

  5. Amy
    May 28, 2014 / 10:29 am

    Loved this! I totally agree. I double cleanse in the evening and then take it one step further and don't cleanse at all the in the morning anymore. I find my skin is a lot happier for it!Amy| The Little Koala Blog ♥

  6. Anonymous
    May 28, 2014 / 11:05 am

    I really love your blog, it is so creative 🙂 my blog is I would love for you to check it out!

  7. Melanie Lewis
    May 28, 2014 / 1:16 pm

    I think everyone is different, everyone has different skin types. I just stick to one cleanse in the morning and one at night but after reading this I am definitely going to start trying the double cleanse, I always find at night even after I cleanse once my skin still has a residue left on it, I guess I always thought over cleansing could lead to dryness but maybe not 🙂 Thanks

  8. beautyqueenuk
    May 28, 2014 / 3:06 pm

    Fab post and I am new to double cleansing and the difference is amazing

  9. Anonymous
    May 28, 2014 / 4:10 pm

    I double cleanse at night, but wouldn't bother in the morning, great post xx

  10. Kathleen Pavey
    May 28, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    Love this post Amy, I always make sure to double cleanse before bed! 🙂 Kathleen xxx

  11. Jeez Louise
    May 29, 2014 / 5:17 pm

    I've been double cleansing for years and balms aren't anything new to me as I've used them for quite some time. I love cleansing my face, I double cleanse in the morning and at night, I use different things dependant on what's been on my face. If it's an SPF day then always use an oil or a good balm, then a nice cleaser after. I always use micellar water on my eyes, regardless of if I've wore eye makeup or not. I've seen plenty of comments of other blogs of women who don't cleanse in the morning and think a splash of water will do, and they don't cleanse until the evening smh!

  12. GinnieLynnie
    May 30, 2014 / 6:36 am

    I've started double cleansing only a couple of weeks back & boy am I seeing the difference. Oil cleanser first, then Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. My skin had never looked better.

  13. Jess
    May 30, 2014 / 7:48 am

    Just wondering, will it not dry the skin? I have read that too much cleansing can lead to dryness. I just do not know if its true.

    • Hayley Carr
      May 30, 2014 / 11:04 am

      As long as you're using a good cleanser it won't dry the skin, only hydrate and ensure its super clean. Avoid stripping foaming washes.

  14. kaybar007
    May 30, 2014 / 8:34 am

    I've been double cleansing for a year and can't shake the habit, even when drunk 🙂 It's amazing how much makeup/dirt is on the muslin cloth and/or cotton pad after that first cleanse. I can't understand how anyone wouldn't double cleanse esp living in London with all this pollution.

  15. Katrina Doran
    June 1, 2014 / 7:29 pm

    I think double cleansing is great if one of the stages is an oil or balm but if you use a standard cream cleanser – the matching toner is hard to beat as a traditional second 'cleanse' before skin treatments like serums and moisturiser

  16. Anonymous
    June 2, 2014 / 9:28 pm

    I've double cleansed for years (the Japanese brand Kanebo introduced me to the concept when they used to have counters in most large department stores) so it's just second nature to me!

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