Why Double-Cleansing is the New Way to Wash Your Face

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If you’ve ever been the victim of foundation-stained pillowcases or towels tainted with black mascara, you’re not alone. Sometimes as hard as we try to thoroughly rid our skin of dirt and makeup at night, the reality is often times not so squeaky-clean. The answer to this cleansing conundrum? Double-cleansing.  Before you go reaching for the face wash twice, however, it’s important to note that we don’t mean the typical lather-rinse-repeat saga. Washing your face too often or too abrasively can lead to seriously dry skin, so to avoid this, we’ve compiled some tips for getting double the clean while allowing skin to be soft and supple.

There’s a science behind it. The first step in double-cleansing is using an oil-based cleanser. While using oil to help lift the makeup off your face may sound counter-intuitive, it actually has awesome cleansing properties. Cleansing oils solubilize oil-based products (i.e. foundation and mascara) to help lift all of the “gunk” out of your pores. However, the reasoning for double-cleansing is all in the chemistry of oil and water; since the oil left behind won’t wash off with plain water, a lather cleanser is needed to do the dirty work. If you’re interested in taking the oil cleanser plunge, a great choice is Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil. You can actually apply it right to a dry face using a cotton pad, much like a makeup towelette. For best results, let the oil sit for a minute or two on top of your makeup before wiping so it can really settle into your skin. When you’re done, wipe off and toss.

MORE: How It Works: Eve Lom Cleanser

Cream cleansers are equally effective. If the thought of using oils still alarms you, try a cream cleanser first. Estee Lauder Take It Away Makeup Remover Lotion is a great option that’s water-based and wipes away nearly every trace of  makeup. Apply it just as you would the cleansing oil: On top of your makeup. Finally, let it sit, then wipe away with cotton pads. Another less expensive version is the tried-and-true Ponds Cold Cream. There’s a reason it was a staple in your grandmother’s medicine cabinet and is still around today!

A follow-up cleanser is the key. After all, the topic here is double-cleansing. When following up with a cleanser post-cream or oil cleansing, choose a face wash that is gentle, yet effective. Harsh, soapy cleansers are drying and may take away the moisturizing benefits that you just reaped in step one of your new cleansing routine. Try Shiseido IBUKI Gentle Cleanser to finish the job.

Don’t forget the moisturizer. While cleansing oils and creams help to hydrate skin, you still can’t skip the pertinent after-cleansing step that truly helps restore moisture in your skin. Try Murad Resurgence Age-Balancing Night Cream for a super smooth complexion.

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