A Throrough Guide To Two-Step Cleansing

One of the best things I have done for my skin is double cleansing. The science behind is that some impurities are better dissolved in oil, and others in water.

Unless you live in place with pollution-free air and use no products on your face whatsoever, I recommend trying it out. If you already have tried double cleansing and weren't excited, I still invite you to read this post and see double-check if you have done it correctly.

Before I get to the how, here are a couple of reasons double cleansing is important:

* Clogged pores clear up, so do cysts, blackheads and whiteheads

 * You completely remove all products, including silicone-based makeup and mineral sunscreen

* Your skin can absorb active ingredients better when it's a white slate

* Conversely you need less (potentially drying) active ingredients because your skin acts out less

*  Mineral sunscreen ingredients pretty much come off only with oil-based cleansers

* You prevent drying of skin, as traces of makeup and sunscreen products can dry out the skin


So which products should you use? 

I recommend using an oil-based product + a water based one. And double cleansing just once a day.

Step 1: Oil based cleansing

You can choose between a cleansing oil/ balm or a micellar cleanser. These will effectively dissolve oils and fats, as well as makeup and sunscreen ingredients that are hard to cleanse with surfactants.

Use an oil or balm if: your skin is oily, you use waterproof products, you use heavier products (whether skin care or makeup), use waterproof sunscreen, or deal with air pollution. If this does not apply, go for a micellar cleanser.

I like cleansing oils with emulsifiers because they can be rinsed off easily without rubbing or heat. (I don't like to use the classic hot washcloth method since my skin is prone to cuperose). If you use a "regular" oil, make sure it has a low comodogenic rating.

When choosing a micellar cleanser, make sure alcohol isn't one of the top ingredients as it can be drying.

How to: Apply the oil on dry skin, massage it in. Then add water and massage to emulsify. The cleansing oil can work better with the gunk if there is not water involved at first (you can test this out when you have to clean an oily pan). Gently wipe it off.

I use the cleansing oil from Alterra (Rossmann) and the Catrice Micellar cleanser.

Step 2: Water based

Gels, foams, soaps, bars -- any water-based cleanser can be used. These will remove the residue of the oil-based cleanser, and clean the pores thoroughly. Pick one without sulfates. I like to alternate between the Sylveco Chamomille cleansing gel and wardi-shan soap.

And after that?

As a third-ish step I like to spray or wipe my face with a toner, or a hydrolate. This will remove any cleanser residue and balances the pH of the skin. After that I apply my serum and moisturiser.

I double-cleanse in the evening, to remove the day from my skin. In the morning I usually just wipe my skin with a hydrolate, and if I feel very oily I might use a gently second-step cleanser.

How to test if you need to double cleanse

Cleanse half of your face with one product, the other with two. Now wipe each part with a cotton pad dipped in a toner. You'll probably see traces of dirt and makeup on one side, and a snowy white colour on the other. If not, you probably don't need to be double cleansing.

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