Will double cleansing dry up my skin?


Most of you are probably quite familiar with double cleansing, which typically involves using a cleansing oil or cleansing cream to remove makeup, followed by using a foaming facial wash.  This is a popular cleansing method because doing so ensures that our skin is totally free of makeup, impurities and dirt.  However, is it also possible to double cleanse using a foaming facial wash?  In fact, some foaming cleansers specifically give instructions to wash the face twice – once to remove the makeup and another to ensure all traces of impurities are removed.

I’ve always used the first method – that is using a cleansing oil or cleansing cream first before using my facial wash. However, I sometimes double cleanse with my foaming cleanser, especially when I wear a water resistant sunscreen.   And the question I always get is, “won’t this dry up your skin”?

Foaming cleansers should be free of SLS & alcohol
Well, no because the foaming cleansers I use are gentle and are free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Laureth Sulfate (SLS) as well as alcohol.  Hence, there are no worries of having the natural lipids on my skin stripped.  My skin certainly does not feel sqeaky clean or tight after washing, so that’s a sign that the double cleansing isn’t drying up my skin.

Foaming cleansers with low SLS concentration
If you’re using a foaming cleanser that contains SLS or alcohol, then I certainly wouldn’t advice you to subscribe to this matter of double cleansing.  You’re perhaps better off sticking to an oil cleanser or cream cleanser first to remove your makeup.  However, some cleansers like Ceptahil which contains lower concentration of SLS is also quite gentle and maybe suitable enough for double cleansing.  

Don’t cleanse eye makeup too well
The only gripe I have about using foaming cleaners to double cleanse is that it does not always take off eye makeup that well.  Hence, I still prefer using an oil cleansing oil to remove my makeup. 

What about you?  What’s your cleansing preference?  Please share!


  1. AtelierGal says:

    Normally I use cleansing oil to remove eye makeup, wash off and use it on my face. Then I would proceed with foam cleansing twice to make sure makeup is entirely removed.

    Sometimes I use Ponds cold cream or EVOO to remove my makeup too.

  2. Hazelnut says:

    I use the (makeup remover) cleansing oil on the whole face then use a facial foam once to clean the whole face.
    On lazier days, its the makeup remover wipes then the facial foam once to clean the whole face.

    Do you think my lazier routine is sufficient? I mean: is the wipes efficent? Or is it actually not good for the skin? My makeup is not heavy as in I usually dont put on eye makeup, just foundation base, foundation then loosepowder.

  3. The Undercover Gypsy says:

    I completely agree with you about the foaming cleansers not being able to remove eye make up very well.
    I have a bit of a quirky make up removal routine. I use both double and single cleansing routines (depending on how tired I am during the time). Mostly I like using a cleansing oil, followed by an SLS free face wash. Other times, a quick swipe of cotton pad soaked in eye make up remover for the eyes and a frothy, SLS loaded cleanser

  4. Cass says:

    I belong to the lazy women category, only use normal cleanser for day and night. Dont even double cleanse, unless I have very heavy make up on.

  5. pf1123 says:

    I think I’m thriple/quadruple cleansing.

    Night cleansing steps:
    1. Eye makeup remover
    2. Cleansing oil (whole face including eyes again)
    3. Facial cleanser (gentle, non-eye stinging, non-foaming to cleanse whoe face including eyes again, I’m worried about makeup residue which darkens my eye area)
    4. Cleansing lotion for eyes and face as toner (light press/swipe on eyes)

    I will see my face condition on the 4th step. If my face is really sensitive/dried out that day, I will use rose hydrosol instead.

    I’m paranoid. ?

  6. sesame says:

    So that’s almost triple cleansing! Heh. I sometimes do that too…

  7. sesame says:

    Wipes are okay sometimes but check if they contain alcohol or fragrance cos using those long term may not be too good for the skin.

  8. sesame says:

    Ya, I notice that they don’t do a good job with the eye area. Usually, I see the makeup left on the lines…

  9. sesame says:

    If your face is not too dirty and you’re not wearing makeup, then normal cleanser is fine actually.

  10. sesame says:

    Wow, that’s quite a lot of cleansing! Your cleansing oil cannot remove your eye makeup?

  11. AtelierGal says:

    I’m using Revlon’s LF which has good coverage but hard to remove. Even after triple cleansing I can still see ‘leftovers’ when I swipe with toner lol

  12. pf1123 says:

    I’m not sure if it can or not. I used to just do makeup remover. I don’t like to rub my face with cleansing oil. Especially since mascara loaded eye lashes are easily broken off/fall out.

    I just swipe cleansing oil lightly all over face and eyes a couple of times then wash off.

    I just started this coz I saw left over a bit or 2 shimmers on my eye area without double cleansing my eyes.

  13. Susy says:

    I use Olive Oil to remove my eye make up. I learn it from a girl named Michelle in youtube. It cleans out the make-up comnpletely, conditions my eyelashes and doesn’t irritate my eyes. The only thing is that I have to wash my eyes with a lot of water to remove the oil completely but I know it’s a healthy choice, doesn’t clog my pores and it’s inexpensive =]

  14. pf1123 says:

    My cleansing oil is olive oil based. I think its great!

  15. Molly says:

    Though I dont use make-up, I do practise double cleansing in the morning and evening.

    I use Fancl’s cleansing oil follow up with Washing powder. It is not at all dry and I am able to see that my face is really clean.

  16. sesame says:

    I’m not familiar with this product…a foundation?

  17. sesame says:

    I guess it all boils down to personal preference…

  18. sesame says:

    Olive oil is great but like what you said, slightly difficult to cleanse off and requires more effort and time.

  19. sesame says:

    I’m very intrigued with washing powder. I’ve heard so much about it – Fancl’s and Haba’s. Maybe I should try them one day.

  20. Carolyn says:

    I find the steps I take in cleansing my face to be very effective! I use Lancome Bifacil (THE best eye make-up remover ever)to remove eye-make-up, wipe my face with a make-up removing gel on a cotton pad toremove foudnationa dn blush, and then I use a cleanser (foam or gel)to wash my face with.

    Works perfectly:)

    It’s extremely effective and fast!

  21. Dee says:

    I always use a makeup remover wipe, then I cleanse my skin using a gentle scrub. Foaming cleansers never work for me. After, I use an astringent – and all makeup is removed.

    I did try the EVOO method, and it clogged my pores. It gave me milia, so I stopped using it immediately. Though using aloe vera and grapeseed oil worked for me though.

  22. sesame says:

    Glad your cleansing routine is effective. Actually, Lancome cleansers were my staple for a long time many years ago!

  23. sesame says:

    You don’t like foaming cleansers? I love them but they’ve got to be free from SLS and of gentle formulation. Somehow, don’t feel clean using those cream/gel cleansers and non-foaming ones.

  24. pf1123 says:

    Can we use scrub everyday?

    Hehe…I think the type of cleanser is individual preference. I feel dry everytime I use cream cleanser.

    I use an exfoliating non-foaming gel cleanser at night but a normal non-foaming gel cleanser in the morning.

    I use wet sponge for facial cleansing though.

  25. sesame says:

    Scrubbing as in using a product with exfoliating qualities? If that, better not to use everyday. It will thin your skin and make it more sensitive, especially to the UV rays. Our skin exfoliate on its own, just that when we grow older, the process is longer so scrubbing or exfoliating helps rid the old skin.

    If you say scrubbing using a sponge or facial towel, then it should be fine as long as you don’t scrub hard.

  26. pf1123 says:

    My exfoliating gel cleanser has got AHA and BHA in it, hence the exfoliation effect. I rotate it with a Kiehl’s cleanser as I am afraid of over-exfoliation now that my face is no longer clogged. But I don’t like the Kiehl cleansers. Smells like chemicals.

    I like Lancome’s eye makeup remover! Its very good! But its very expensive and I’m trying to find a cheaper alternative.

  27. Dairymilk says:

    I do double cleansing too! With or without make up cos I’m using a waterproof sunblock.

    On heavy make up day, I’ll use a cleansing oil first then makeoff remover wipes. Last step would be my foaming cleanser. Total 3 steps.

  28. sesame says:

    Once a week should be okay – don’t overdo it. And just remember to wear sunscreen daily cos AHA/BHA makes your skin over sensitive.

  29. sesame says:

    Seems like cleansing oil is a favorite amongst many!

  30. Tine says:

    I’d normally only use a gentle gel cleanser for my face, unless I wore makeup during the day or for the evening. I’d use double-cleanse then.

  31. Dee says:

    Really? Hmm, its the opposite for me. I don’t feel like my skin is clean when I use foaming cleansers. So I always use a makeup remover wipe then cleanse. I’ve always wanted to try cleansing oil, but not sure which one to try.

  32. sesame says:

    The cleansing oil I use is DIY. I heard most raves on DHC and Fancl but seems like many prefer Fancl.

  33. shen says:

    i use rose water as makeup remover or sometime i use fresh milk

  34. evelynM says:

    Hi Sesame,
    I’m interested to use oil for my face for a face massage to possibly reduce wrinkles in the future.
    But I tend to have an oily face, although I’ll wash off the oil after, I’m still concerned about this.
    Do you have any oil recommendation that is suitable for oily skin?
    How about Vit E or Vit A oil? I thought this might work for anti aging since they have a high amount of antioxidant.
    Please advice. Thanks ?


  35. sesame says:

    Vitamin E is very oily! I would recommend you to try grapeseed oil which is light. My skin is combi but fairly oily too and I found it worked well even applying it under my sunscreen.

  36. evelynM says:

    Hi again ,

    How about Seabuckthorn oil? I saw in one of your post that it is really good for skin.

    Thanks ?

  37. sesame says:

    SeaBuckthorn, while great, can be a little oily for some. The one I used left a yellow stain and so I could only use it in the night. It helped my skin condition but boy, the smell!

  38. Dora says:

    So if I use my cleanser and my toner afterwards.. there is never anthing on the cotton pad even if I have worn make up. Is this okay then? Because I just recently started double cleansing with my face wash (no alcohol, fragrance, SLS etc.) but I feel like my skin got very angry at me, very red and irritated.

  39. Sesame says:

    Your skin sounds irritated. Hmm…are you using the same face wash to double cleanse or using two products. What’s the actual product used?

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