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The Power of double cleansing for healthy looking skin

For years I’ve been wittering on about the importance of thoroughly cleansing our faces and how double cleansing is the gold standard of any skincare routine. But, understandably, there is sometimes confusion surrounding cleansing, double cleansing and their benefits and worth.

Cleansing is the most important step in our skincare routine because, if it’s done properly, it leaves a clean blank canvas for the rest of our products to work effectively.

Would we polish our cars without washing the dirt off first or iron our clothes before putting them in the washing machine?

Hopefully most of us wouldn’t and it’s the same principal for our skin. Wash the dirt, grease, pollutants, make up and SPFs (sun protection cream) off to prevent the pores from becoming blocked and then clean the skin before applying other skincare products.

When should we cleanse?

Every morning and every evening regardless of whether we’ve been wearing makeup, an SPF or both. Overnight the skin eliminates toxins via the pores so cleaning in the morning removes this residue on the surface of the skin. These days I’m not wearing much make up but I will still thoroughly clean my face in the evening. I tend to do this when I put my PJs on which, at the moment, is around 8pm! My life is so rock and roll! In ‘normal’ life or for those of you that are still leaving your house for work, I’d do it as soon as you walk through the door after work. Don’t leave it until you go to bed as you may feel too tired to do a good job.

So what is double cleansing?

This is when we use more than one cleansing product (or the same product twice) to clean our faces in the evening. The first cleanser targets and works loose make up and SPFs. These are designed to stay on our skin all day, therefore they need to be removed thoroughly. The second cleanse actually cleans our skin. The only time I wouldn’t need to double cleanse at night is if I hadn’t left the house all day, wasn’t wearing ay make up or an SPF. I’d still cleanse my face thoroughly though, but just once. This is also the case each morning as we’re not going on any wild nights out at the moment and forgetting to remove make up before bed. So a simple cleanse is all that’s needed.

What type of cleansers are there?

The cleanser you choose will depend mainly on your personal preference and your skin type or any skin conditions you are experiencing. I like to have a few cleansers on the go so that I can pick and choose on the day according to how my skin is feeling. I also like to use a flannel or muslin that’s been soaked in warm water (not hot) to remove residue and gently remove dry dead skin cells in the process. I’d suggest having a stash of these at home so that you can use a fresh one every day.

Always have a supply of clean flannels/muslin cloths


These are soothing on the skin and are usually applied all over the face using cotton pads. I like to pop some into my hands, massage onto the skin and then remove with a flannel or muslin cloth. If your skin is really sensitive to water you can stick with the cottton pads.


By far my favourite way to cleanse. These are generally gentle and nourishing blends of great ingredients that can not only effectively remove make up (including mascara) but also thoroughly clean the skin. Their solid texture, which melts on the skin, means that a little goes a long way. Once massaged in, they can be removed with a warm flannel or muslin cloth.

Oils/Melting balms/Gels

These will often transofrm into more of a milky consistency once mixed with a little water on the skin. They are generally a newer generation of cleanser and are great for removing make up and dirt using a flannel or muslin cloth.


These need to be mixed with water. In the past face washes and foams have been quite harsh on the skin, making it dry and uncomfortable. This is normally due to the chemicals used to ensure the product lathers. At no point during the cleansing process do we want out skin to feel super tight and squeaky clean. Therefore I would steer clear of varieties that use Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which may disrupt the skins natural protective barrier.

Micellar waters

A simple, gentle and convenient way to remove make up. I don’t consider them to be a full on cleanser for the whole face but act as a really effective make up remover.

Face wipes

These might feel convenient but try to give them a wide birth. They are usually packed with alcohol and fragrance and just smear the dirt and make up around our faces rather than giving a good cleanse.

Enjoy cleansing your face, breath in the fragrance, enjoy massaging your skin

What to use for a first cleanse

These are products to remove make up and SPF and our main aim is to loosen these on the face so that they can be easily removed with a warm flannel or cotton pads. I usually apply them to dry skin as I find there’s less slippage on the skin and the product can really get to work.

  1. Eye make up removers

  2. Micellar waters

  3. Cleansing oils

  4. Cleansing creams

  5. Cleansing balms

  6. Say ‘No’ to cleansing wipes

What to use for a second cleanse

This is when we are actually cleaning our skin. It’s not to remove our make up or SPF as we’ve already done that. My advice is to use the best cleanser you can afford for this stage. Our aim is for our skin to feel comfortable and hydrated. Again, apply to a dry face, massage the product thoroughly into the skin and remove with a warm flannel. The massaging action of working the product into the face and neck also helps bring fresh blood flow to the surface of the skin aiding detoxification. This encourages it to look fresher and more radiant. So if you can spend a minute or so massaging the product in before removing it you will certainly see the benefit. This is also a great time to really inhale the wonderful fragrances of the product. Cup your hands around your nose and mouth and take several slow deep breaths.

  1. Cleansing balms

  2. Cleansing oils

  3. Cleansing creams

  4. Cleansing milks

  5. Cleansing gels

  6. Say ‘No’ to cleansing wipes

What do you use to clean your face? Or have you been inspired to try something new?

Happy cleansing

N x

You can also find this article on a beautiful independent beauty boutique offering a comprehensive range of products and amazing personal service. I am their resident blogger writing about all things beauty and offer my cleanser recommendations. The blog I do for them is in addition to continuing to write my own content for my website and my social media platforms.

Here is an extended list of my cleanser favourites following many requests for this info:

Elemis Cleansing Balms

Neals Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm and Gel

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturising Cleanser

Wildsmith Skin Active Repair

Liz Earle Naturally Active Cleanse & Polish

Evolve Organic Beauty Gentle Cleansing Melt

Nourish Skin Renew Cleanser

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