Double Cleansing: The Best Methods And Products For Dry, Oily And Sensitive Skin

Upgrade your skincare routine with this easy, effective two-step cleanse...

Best cleansers

by Katie Rosseinsky |

If you're short on time (and aren't we all?), the idea of double cleansing might make you roll your eyes. But what if we told you that upgrading your usual routine to a simple two-step method is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways of achieving a radiant, blemish-free complexion that looks younger and more awake? Now you're listening.

A thorough cleanse is the foundation of a good skincare regime, so if you're reaching for a face wipe at the end of every day, you're not giving your face a fighting chance. You'll be left with tired, dull skin that is more prone to breakouts. With the rise of beauty blogging, double cleansing has crept into common parlance - despite this, few of us know how to do it properly.

With the help of two skincare experts, we've cut through the jargon to bring you a simple double cleansing routine that will change your skin for the better. You can thank us later. Plus, shop all of the best cleansers approved by Team Grazia.

Shop the double cleansing routine:


Best cleansers - Grazia

caroline hirons pixi double cleanse
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The brand behind the cult Glow Tonic liquid exfoliator teamed up with skincare expert Caroline Hirons to create the ultimate two-in-one cleanser, featuring a solid cleansing oil and a cream.

Ren Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel, £22
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As recommended by facialist Abigail James, this gentle wash would be a good second step for those with sensitive skin.

Niod Low Viscosity Cleansing Ester, £30
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Niod's fuss-free approach to skincare has fast become a cult favourite with those in the know.

Caudalie Make Up Removing Cleansing Oil, £18
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Caudalie's cleansing oil is gentle enough not to aggravate sensitive skin, without compromising on efficacy.

Elemis Gentle Foaming Face Wash, £28
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Gentle Foaming Face Wash, £28, Elemis Elemis' cleanser is more nourishing than your average foaming wash, leaving skin feeling soft and supple rather than tight and dry.

Clinique Take The Day Off Balm, £23
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Clinique's original balm does exactly what it says on the tin (or, in this case, pot). No wonder it's a long term favourite of beauty editors and bloggers alike.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser, £12.50
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La Roche Posay's extensive Toleriane line is a godsend for those with sensitive complexions.

Murad Clarifying Cleanser, £19.50
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Murad's cleansing gel helps target blemishes and discourage oiliness.

DHC deep cleansing oil
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DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, £24, DHC's cleansing oil is a cult favourite, making light work of hard-to-shift waterproof make-up without leaving skin feeling tight or dry.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, £15
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This gentle cleanser is the ultimate skincare SOS: use as the first step in your cleansing routine to shift stubborn make-up and impurities.

Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil
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If the thought of a cleansing oil seems a little scary, this gentle product from Bobbi Brown is a good place to start.

aurelia probiotic skincare miracle cleanser
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Aurelia's gentle formula is free from aggravating ingredients like parabens, mineral oils, silicones, and sulphates. Simply use the muslin cloth for the ultimate deep cleanse.

Why should we double cleanse, and what are the benefits?

'I'm the biggest fan of double cleansing. One cleanser is not enough - fact!' says facialist and skincare expert Abigail James. 'Cleansing is the most important part of your skincare routine. Sometimes we need a cleanser that's going to remove make-up and sweat as a first action (like a cream, milk, balm or oil) and then we really need to do a deeper cleanse with a gentle wash or water and lotion to ensure we have thoroughly cleansed our skin.'

According to Abigail, when it comes to your skincare regime, you should also bear in mind your monthly cycle. 'Our skin changes throughout the month: sometimes we need a deeper cleanse with our changing hormones, sometimes we need something more nourishing and calming,' she explains. 'I recommend that everyone has two different cleansers all the time. You might choose to use them both in one cleanse, or use one in the morning and one in the evening.'

How should I double cleanse?

It might add a few minutes to your evening skincare routine, but the results you'll see will make the extra bathroom time worth it. 'The first cleanse cleans off the dirt from your skin after a long day while also softening the surface,' says Joanne Evans, founder of the Skin Matters Clinic. 'The second cleanse keeps the skin clean, refreshed and rejuvenated.'

Step one:

'Use a cream or oil cleanser to do the first removal,' Abigail recommends. 'These are good at melting oils on the surface of the skin.'

Step two

For round two, 'wash again with a lotion or gel for a deeper cleanse. Rinse, pat dry and finish with the rest of your skincare routine,' she concludes.

Should we really be double cleansing every day?

If you typically wear a full face of make-up every day, the chances are that a single wash won't be enough to fully cleanse your complexion of product build-up and other impurities (don't get us started on face wipes...) 'You can over cleanse your skin, so listen to what your skin is telling you,' warns Abigail.

Is double cleansing suitable for sensitive skin types?

For Abigail, 'it's going to come down to the product selection. Select with caution: no harsh chemicals or foaming agents. Rosacea skins might just want to cleanse once, however if you've worn a lot of make-up then there's always the argument to double cleanse in the evenings on those days.' Joanne agrees, suggesting that 'for sensitive skin, it's best to use gentle cleansers with fewer active vitamins, to keep it from negatively reacting. The Skin Matters app (£0.99 from the App Store) helps decipher the complicated ingredients on the back of the bottle. Never use anything that makes your skin feel tight and sore - if it does, you've over done it. '

What are the best products for double cleansing?

'You can double cleanse with almost any different type of cleanser,' says Abigail. For the first wash, some of my favourites are Niod Cleansing Ester, £30, Caudalie Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil, £18. For the second gentle wash, I like Ren Evercalm Cleansing Gel, £22, Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash, £16, and Skin Laundry Purifying Cleanser, £20.

'I prefer an oil first to loosen, then a lotion or cream for dry to combination skin and an oil and gel for oily skins,' says Joanne. 'The Eviron AVST range has two cleansing products: the cleansing cream is the first step that works for all skin types, then the cleansing gel can be used as a face wash that especially helps oily skin.

Love Your Skin: The Ultimate Guide To A Glowing Complexion by Abigail James is out now.

READ MORE: 15 Of The Best Cleansers For Dry And Sensitive Skin

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