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What is Double Cleansing and Why Should You Try It?

Cleansing is the foundation of every good skincare routine, and we don’t mean just whipping a quick face wipe over your complexion. It’s recommended to clean your skin twice a day – removing nasties like excess oil, pollution, dirt, and debris, not to mention sweat, makeup and SPF. Double cleansing means just that – cleaning skin twice over, typically with two different products - an oil cleanser and a water-based face wash. 

What are the benefits? 

The first step of your double cleanse will remove makeup, sunscreen, dirt and debris, the second cleanse will be deeper and help to clear out pores, leaving skin extra clean. This means any active skincare you then apply won’t be sitting on a layer of dirt and dead skin cells and can begin to target your skin concerns.  

Pollution and other free radicals have an extremely damaging effect on skin and can lead to premature ageing, so it’s extra important to cleanse skin if you’ve been in a city or sitting in traffic. 

Who can try it?  

Double cleansing is an easy addition to your skincare routine and all skin types can try it. However, if you have dry or sensitive skin you may find that a single cleanse works best for you. If you have oily skin, it’s worth exploring double cleansing because it can help to combat excess oil. A single harsh cleanser might strip away the skin’s natural oils, whereas using two gentle formulas will calm oil production without being too ruthless.  

 It’s also a good option for those with blemish-prone skin because a double cleanse will get rid of any blemish-causing bacteria. For those who wear heavy makeup – the first cleanse will remove it, the second cleanse cares for skin. 

Step 1: Oil-based Cleanser 

It’s not quite as easy as washing your face twice, for a start we recommend choosing two different cleansing products.

Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil

The first being a cleansing oil, like our Midnight Recovery Cleansing Oil. It has a lightweight formula featuring a blend of Botanical Oils, including Evening Primrose Oil and Lavender Essential Oil. As for what it’s capable of, the oil-based cleanser effectively dissolves dirt, excess oil, and even hard to remove makeup (including eye makeup). It also soothes and comforts your skin, preparing it for night-time replenishment. The result? Skin that feels soft, supple, and replenished.

To reap those benefits, dispense three to four drops of the cleansing oil into your hands. Then massage it onto dry skin (and don’t miss the eye area). Add water and continue to massage your skin to emulsify the formula. Wait a minute before gently removing with lukewarm water to minimise any irritation. 

Step 2: Foaming Cleanser 

Now it’s time for your second cleanse and here you can choose any cleanser that is formulated for your skin type.

Ultra Facial Cleanser

Ultra Facial Cleanser

Old price New price £22.00

Dull skin types should try Clearly Corrective™ Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser and we recommend Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser for those looking for an extra deep pore clean. Our classic Ultra Facial Cleanser is a gentle all-rounder that is ideal for all skin types. Find the right cleanser for your skin type here

Ultra Facial Cleanser

Ultra Facial Cleanser

Old price New price £22.00

Wash your skin with your second cleanser for one minute before rinsing, once again, make sure that the water is lukewarm. This step provides a more familiar face wash cleanse and removes all residue of your previous cleanse as well as any debris that slipped the first cleanse. Your skin should look and feel clean and fresh with no dryness or an uncomfortable tight feeling.  

Kiehl’s Expert Tip: If you aren’t sure the double cleansing method is for you, you can also turn to toner to provide an additional layer of cleansing. Ultra Facial Toner gently removes surface debris and residue that’s left behind post-cleansing. Alternatively, try our cult-classic Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner to soothe and refresh your skin after cleansing. Simply saturate a reusable cotton pad with your toner and sweep it over your skin. 

How often should you do it?  

Double cleansing is typically reserved for night-time. After a long day wearing makeup and SPF, that’s when an extra cleansing step can be beneficial. In the morning, although your skin may have some sweat and impurities that have built up overnight, it shouldn’t be coated in heavier formulas that need to be removed. So, when you’ve just woken up, one round of cleansing should be enough.  

Whether you choose to double cleanse every evening or just a couple of times a week is entirely up to you. Just look out for any signs of over-washing such as a flare up of redness or irritated skin. For anyone new to double cleansing, we recommend giving it a try once or twice a week and adjusting accordingly based on how your skin responds. If your skin reacts positively and you use gentle formulas like those we shared above, then move on to double cleansing every day. 

Next steps in your skincare routine 

Now your skin is ultra clean, it’s the perfect time to apply active products such as a serum that is tailored to your skincare concern. 

To find the perfect serum for you, book an online or in-store consultation. If you're looking to find the right routine, try our Instant Skin Reader. Developed with dermatologists, our skin analysis tool personalises the routine recommendation to your skin type and your skin’s needs.

Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum
Try Before You Buy

If you’re looking to tackle the signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles then try our Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum. For those looking to build skin resilience try Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum or calm problem skin with a daily application of the non-comedogenic Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate

Follow with an eye cream or serum, then your moisturiser to lock in hydration for the whole night. Ultra Facial Cream is suitable for all skin types and formulated with Squalane. It provides lasting, 24-hour hydration and is our worldwide bestseller. Then follow the rest of your day or night routine. Learn more about the order to apply skincare products to maximise your routine.

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