Should you wash your face twice?

Dr. Janet Zand

July 21, 2023

Our faces collect a lot of dirt and grime during the day.

There’s the pollution from bus and car exhaust (in addition to other kinds of air pollution).

There’s the sweat and oil your skin naturally produces, especially in warmer months. There are layers of sunscreen and makeup you might wear.

There’s residue from things that touch your face, like your phone, your hands, and maybe even some of your lunch that didn’t fully wipe away.

This residue and dirt build up is why many recommend the double cleanse. However, a double cleanse does NOT mean just washing two times with face wash. That can strip your skin of its moisture.

Instead, here’s the right way to do a double cleanse...

Step 1: Wipe off makeup and dirt

The first thing you want to do is get rid of the layer of dirt, grime, and makeup on your face. Take a regular cotton or reusable round or a washcloth, and put some water on it.

Or, even better, use micellar water (pronounced my-sell-or). Micellar water is purified water infused with hydrating ingredients and mild cleansers. These group together to form tiny little balls — called micelles — that are suspended in the water.

The micelles attract makeup, excess sebum, and daily grime on the surface of your skin and lift them away. (Two popular brands of micellar water are Bioderma Sensibio H20 and Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water.)

This is step one of double cleansing. But now you have to do step 2 because while the micelles collect makeup and grime, they're too large to penetrate further into skin for a deep clean.

Step 2: Lather up

To get deeper into the pores, use a gentle cleanser. (Here’s what I use.)

Pro tip: Take at least 1 minute to massage your cleanser in. That way, it’ll have enough time to work. And you’ll get the full benefits of the other ingredients in your cleanser.

Then, rinse with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry. Finally, apply your vitamin C serum and then night creme.

And by the way, your serums, lotions, and other products will also work much better when you’ve double cleansed first! That’s because when your skin is completely clean, products can penetrate the pores better (versus just sitting on the surface).

Who should double cleanse

Most people can double cleanse. Even dry or sensitive skin types can use water and face wash, so long as they choose products meant for sensitive skin.

However, if you have skin conditions like rosacea, you may want to wash with plain water first, followed by a gentle cleanser.

So ... give double cleansing a try, and let me know how it goes!



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