The double cleanse – is it necessary?

If you speak to any skincare addict, they will laud ‘the double cleanse’. What is this mystical ‘double cleanse’? If you’re already a skincare addict, then I’m preaching to the choir. But if you’re a skincare newbie, then lean in a little closer…

Well, the practice started in Japan and Korea and has made it’s way over to us in the J and K beauty crazes. Much like everything else in Asian beauty, the double cleanse has exploded in popularity within the beauty community – and for good reason.


The idea is pretty straight forward – all you have to do is cleanse your skin twice, but (usually) with two different cleansers. The first cleanser tends to do the heavy lifting and and removes the bulk of your makeup and SPF, while the second cleanser removes any residual makeup and actually functions as a more traditional cleanser (aka to clean the skin rather than to remove makeup). If you’re new to skincare and want some more info on cleansers, check out my post on Skincare for Beginners!

Is this mandatory for everyone? Absolutely not. If you’ve worn no makeup or SPF that day, you should find that just one cleanse will sufficiently clean your skin and no further cleansing action is required. However, if you wear fairly heavy makeup (i.e. more than no makeup makeup), wear SPF or have very oily skin, then you will probably benefit from a double cleanse. If you’re wearing SPF (and you should be), you need to cleanse twice to fully remove it. If you’re super oily, then cleansing twice with cleansers suitable for your skin type can really help to keep oils at bay.

How do you know which cleanser is suitable?

For a first cleanse, oil cleansers or cleansing balms are preferable as they will break down makeup, SPF, oils and pollutants the best in one go. To add a bit of exfoliation, but also to remove the makeup easily and quickly, lots of people like to use either muslin cloths, softer cleansing cloths or Konjac spongesΒ (check my post I just did about them!) If you have super sensitive skin or active acne, I would personally recommend using the konjac sponge as they are really gentle on your skin. When I used a muslin cloth on my cystic acne, it became much more inflamed and was really painful. The konjac sponge was able to remove every bit of dirt/makeup and give me a bit of exfoliation while being gentle on my skin. These days I tend to switch between konjac sponges and softer cleansing cloths depending on what I have around. For your second cleanse, you should use a gel, milk or jelly. There are hundreds on the market and you just need to be sure that whichever cleanser you choose, it’s catering to your specific skin type and skin concerns. If you have oily skin and choose a rich cleansing milk, this might not have great results for your acne.

When would you double cleanse?

You would normally do this in the evening when removing your makeup and preparing for your evening routine. You would not need to double cleanse in the morning as you don’t apply makeup or SPF to bed. It would be excessive to double cleanse twice a day for most skin types, but I suppose it depends on what works for you. Often people will use their second cleanser as their morning cleanse as it is lighter and will remove any sweat or oils that have built up over night. Balms and oils tends to be more of a makeup remover, so a jelly cleanser or cleansing milk would work much better in the morning.

Will I notice a difference?

I love how clean my skin feels when I do double cleanse and how noticeably smoother and softer it feels. When I only do a single cleanse, I always feel like I still have makeup on. You should definitely notice a difference if you usually use white towels to dry your face as you’ll no longer get little orange marks from around your hairline or black smudges of mascara where you didn’t quite get it all off! If you use a toner, you will generally notice that the pad will emerge less dirty too.

First Cleanse

For your first cleanse, stick to a balm or an oil. Makeup wipes and micellar water do not count here. My current favourite first cleansers are Kiehls Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleanser (oil) and Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm. Both of them are really gentle, melt makeup away easily and don’t sting your eyes like some cleansers do. I’m actually preferring an oil cleanser at the moment because it’s just so easy to get everything off!


Second Cleanse

For a second cleanser, you should use either a gel, milk or jelly. If you have any specific skin concerns (acne for example), this is where you would address it with targeted cleansers. My favourites at the moment are REN Evercalm Cleansing Milk and the Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser. I think I prefer the Pretty Athletic one at the moment because I really enjoy the cooling sensation and The REN one seems to leave a little bit of a residue which I’m not a massive fan of.


Some people might say that double cleansing is excessive, but really it all depends on what works for you. If you use a balm or oil as your first cleanse instead of wipes or micellar water, I honestly think you’ll notice a world of difference, not only in how much makeup you remove in one go, but the look of your skin, the texture of your skin and how your skin feels post cleanse. Try it out! You’ll never regret taking care of your skin.


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All hail the Konjac Sponge!

Have you heard of Konjac sponges? …No? Where have you been!?

These little powerhouse sponges came over to the West in the K beauty takeover and they’e here to stay.Β They are the ultimate cleansing aid for anyone with sensitive skin, acne, or just environmentally conscious. If you’re looking for a cheap, clean way to remove your makeup and give your skin a little exfoliation, then this is your ticket!

When you initially open the sponge in the packet, it will most likely be it’s full size, but be ROCK hard. Once you’ve got it wet and squishy, it’s ready to go! You can remove your makeup in pretty much the same way as a cloth – all you have to do is sweep the sponge across your face in circular motions, rinse off the dirt from the sponge and go in again. They are incredibly gentle on the skin and an absolute must try!

These became my favourite product when I had my acne because I could get a good cleanse, a gentle exfoliation and it would not irritate my extremely sensitive acne. I had a Liz Earle muslin cloth and it was too rough on my cystic acne and actually made it more inflamed and painful. In the search for an alternative, I stumbled across these in Sephora and wanted to give them a go. The improvement was almost instantaneous! My acne would look much calmer, my skin was smoother (still acne, but less dead skin cells) and most importantly, my skin wasn’t sore or stripped.

If you like to use a muslin or cotton cloth to remove your makeup, then you might like to consider trying this instead. At the moment, they are my go-to way to remove makeup. The best part is that these sponges last quite a long time if you look after them well. The average Konjac sponge should last for 2-3 months and should be replaced once it starts to break down. You’ll be able to tell when you need a new one because little rips start to develop on the surface of the sponge, and then it’s time to crack open another one! You can get various different varieties that have green tea, charcoal and chamomile infusions to cater more specifically for different skin types. I’ve tried nearly every type and I can’t say I notice a real difference between them.

Another major plus is that they are much more environmentally friendly than other types of makeup removal aids. Made of vegetable fibers, they’re 100% clean, natural and most importantly biodegradable – all while lasting a hell of a lot longer than single use pads or face cloths that need washing all the time. So if you are environmentally minded, this is definitely one to consider!

You can find these everywhere these days, but my favourite brand is The Konjac Sponge CompanyΒ who are dedicated to using only the finest grade of Konjac that are free of pollutants and microbes. You can find their products at Cult Beauty, Feel Unique and Look Fantastic.


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