Important to double cleanse after using sunscreen

Last week, zzzmadison left a comment asking if it’s necessary to double cleanse because she does not apply makeup but only uses sunblock and concealer. This is an important question and I thought I’ll bring it up as a post because it’ll also address comments left by some of you concerning the difficulty you’ve encountered in washing off the Marie Veronique Organics Moisturizing Face Screen Plus with your usual cleansers.

The answer to zzzmadison’s question would be yes and this is also confirmed by many of you who mentioned that you double cleanse precisely because you use a sunblock. So for those who want to know more, here’s why:

If you’re using a mineral-based sunscreen
If you’re using a sunblock, or also known as a mineral-based sunscreen, then such a product contains Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide to reflect or scatter UV radiation before it reaches our skin. Such ingredients sit on our skin and will only be removed when you wash them off. Those like Marie Veronique Organics Moisturizing Face Screen Plus SPF 30 contain a high amount of Zinc Oxide and hence, are not easily washed off. You will definitely have to double cleanse. In fact, you should be worried if your mineral based sunscreen can be washed off relatively easily because it might not have withstood your perspiration and did not last as long as you’ve desired it to.

If you’re using a chemical-based sunscreen
On the other hand, if you’re using a chemical-based sunscreen, then such a product absorb the UV rays using chemical filters like Mexoryl, Tinosorb, Oxybenzone, and Avobenzone, amongst others. Unlike the mineral-based sunscreens, such chemical sunscreens work from within your skin but they most likely also contain Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide to provide additional shield. In this case, it would mean you still have to double cleanse to ensure your skin is completely clean.

If you’re using a moisturizer with SPF
Even if you’re not using any sunscreen, your moisturizer with SPF protection may also contain some of the sun protection ingredients. Additionally, the products you’re using could possibly contain silicones. Double cleansing would ensure that your skin is well cleansed and won’t be clogged. And a weekly exfoliation would also do your skin good in terms of keeping it primed to absorb the other skin care goodies you slather on.


  1. aisyah De Cullen says:

    thanks for the post! I’m using Sunplay sunblock lotion and based from the ingredients at the back, I’m assuming it’s a mineral based sunscreen..
    I perspire a lot on my face area..and since sunblock is clear, I have no idea whether it’s still on my face, doing it’s job or not. How do I know if it’s still there or do I hv to re-apply? I don’t experience any water resistivity on my face after I sweat though,,

  2. sesame says:

    Re-applying is a tricky thing. I generally suggest re-applying when you’re out doing sports. If you have makeup, it’s almost impossible to re-apply. So the best way is to rely on powder with some SPF.

    The only way to tell if a sunblock works is to examine your face after a period of time – if there are no new sun spots, then likely it’s doing the job. You must of course be using other products with antioxidants to help your skin too.

  3. Ms. Blacklace says:

    The MVO sunblock can be hard to wash off. If your rinse your face with only water, it’ll still be there.

  4. sesame says:

    No, definitely can’t wash off with just water.

  5. iheartkoreanbeauty says:

    I totally think double cleansing when using only sunscreen is impt ? When I started to, my skin improved ?

  6. Kira says:

    Hi! Regardless of whether I use makeup or just sunscreen, I apply Cetaphil on cotton rounds and swipe my face to get rid of the initial gunk on my face. Then I wet my face and follow it up with my favorite cleanser. Then I tone and moisturize as usual. So I guess I am a huge fan of double cleansing ?

  7. Dee says:

    Wonderful post Sesame, I always double cleanse when I wear sunscreen. I find that even though I cleanse my skin thoroughly, there’s always still some of it left. If I don’t double cleanse after, I get small breakouts the next day!

  8. Toxic Beauty says:

    Yikes! I have never double cleansed after using sunscreen and all I ever use is mineral sun screen! I will do this from now on since my skin health is of utmost importance to me. ?

  9. sesame says:

    That’s a good practice. Cetaphil is also very gentle and sounds great to be used the way you are using.

  10. sesame says:

    Yep, a number of pple always said sunscreen makes them breakout but I wonder now if it’s because they didn’t cleanse thoroughly afterwards.

  11. sesame says:

    Try it and you should find your skin behaving better. ?

  12. pf1123 says:

    I find that the better the sunscreen, the better it clings to the skin. And if I don’t double cleanse, I wld have a sort of “rubbery” feeling on my skin. Plus, I will have red bumps on my skin. Immediately. The next day.

  13. sesame says:

    Agree. If it’s easy to wash off, then it’s not likely to have withstood all the perspiration or rubbing/blending when we apply other products or makeup over it.

  14. zzzmadison says:

    haha.. somehow i feel rather flattered to have asked a question that led to a post =P

    actually i dun feel my sunscreen (using LaRoche Posay) at the end of the day. perhaps it’s not offering enough protection?

    nevertheless, i will double-cleanse from now on!

  15. pf1123 says:

    I find that normally I don’t feel anything with a chemical sunscreen. More for physical sunscreen (usually high zinc content ones).

    When I was using LRP’s, I use it under makeup. So, I usually double-cleanse. I can get away with single cleansing with LRP’s and no makeup but just sometimes.

  16. sesame says:

    Hey, I really have to thank you for asking the question because it led me thinking more. All your questions and comments will lead me to find out and then learn more too. So keep them coming! ?

    No, your LRP is fine. Like what pf1123 had pointed out, it’s a chemical sunscreen mostly and maybe they might use Titanium Dioxide as one of the ingredients but probably not very high in content. So the sunscreen is meant to filter out the UV rays from within your skin so you should not feel like you have a layer coated on your skin.

  17. sesame says:

    It does wonders isn’t it? ?

  18. zzzmadison says:

    i see.. maybe i’ll double-cleanse on alternate days then hehe

  19. zzzmadison says:

    hehe great to learn along too =)

  20. Ms. Blacklace says:

    When I use the MVO sunblock, I will have to double cleanse.

    I use the John Masters Organics bearberry oily skin balancing face wash now.

    If I do not double cleanse, there will still some left on my face.

  21. sesame says:

    The zinc oxide is very high and that’s why it’s not easily washed off. Do you like the product so far?

  22. Ms. Blacklace says:

    Yes! I love it! The best sunscreen I’ve used so far.

    I will be trying out the untinted version when I run out of my tinted one.

  23. sesame says:

    Oh I’m so glad you love it. I always worry that what I recommend may not work so well for others so this is good to know. ?

    The untinted one can make your face a bit white. Not much problem if you’re fair.

  24. lovelytulip says:

    I had just purchased Origins Antioxidant cleanser with White Tea which the counter lady said they are plant base and contains no harmful ingredient. They have good review on it too. However I notice that the third ingredient contains SLS, is confusing, has anyone use it? Is it wise to continue?

  25. Rachel says:

    I use La Roche-Posay SPF 50 and I always take everything off with a makeup wipe and then wash my face with a cleanser. Should be sufficient yes?

  26. sesame says:

    I tried to do a quick search on the ingredient list but cannot find them online. I’m wondering if it’s Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate that is used; the spelling is quite close.

    Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate also SLS for short, isn’t the same as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. The former is a plant derived cleansing agent and is much more skin friendly.

  27. sesame says:

    That counts as a double cleanse too.

  28. lovelytulip says:

    Thanks Sesame! I checked the product is Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Surprising to learn if they said they are plant base but still have scuh igredient in it. I am not sure wise to use it?

  29. sesame says:

    Hmm…if it’s listed as one of the top 5 ingredients, then the concentration is high. It depends on how you feel about it…if you can’t bring yourself to use it on your face, then you might want to use it on your body. Or just use this bottle and then be done with it.

  30. katherine says:

    Have you ever you used clinique’s city block physical tinted sunscreen?? I am looking for a good physical sunscreen that is not oily at all.. do you have any suggestions?? thanks!

  31. sesame says:

    I couldn’t find the ingredient list but from comments gathered on forums, it seems that this contains both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. So I suppose this is quite an effective physical block sunscreen. It also seems the texture is rather good and is non-oily. Why don’t you try to test the texture over the counter to see if you’ll like it?

  32. katherine says:

    I did tried it ,I apply it after my moisturizer and it leaves a kind of residue very similar to the ones a eraser leaves after erasing something.. I was wondering if that is normal with physical sunblocks?

  33. sesame says:

    Nope, that shouldn’t be how your skin feels. If you feel that way, it could be too dry for you.

  34. jing yi says:

    how do you know if you have wash away your sunblock completely?

  35. sesame says:

    It depends on the sunscreen. Some are thick and so you should feel there is no more “film” or “residue” after cleansing thoroughly. Others are less obvious but if you double cleanse, it should be removed thoroughly. If it’s not cleansed properly, you’re know when your skin start misbehaving like having clogged pores or breakouts.

  36. Swati says:

    I have a doubt Sesame – why is it necessary to apply MVO face screen after every 2 hours coz it contains only physical sunscreen ingredients which scatters the sun rays??
    Swati last post is: Water for Lips {Lip Care}

  37. sesame says:

    Not necessary actually as like you’ve posted out, it’s a physical sunscreen but some pple may need to cos of perspiration, etc. I sometimes will re-apply if I have to go under very hot sun.

  38. Angie says:

    Sorry to revisit such an old post (again..!) but I have finally started wearing sunscreen at the ripe old age of 32 (tsk tsk to me!) My question is similar to Aisyah’s above. I sweat quite a bit & the recent heat wave has turned my usually otherwise dry/combination skin face into an oil slick. It’s even worse with sunscreen on..especially when my work requires me to commute quite a bit which means in and out of aircon/hot sun multiple times a day. I’ve resorted to dabbing away excess oil every few hours to keep myself looking presentable. Will constant (gentle) blotting reduce the effiacy of the sunscreen? I am using John Masters Mineral Sunscreen (Titanium Dioxide 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 5%) I am not sun spot-prone so it might be a looong time before I can judge whether my sunscreen is working based on whether new spots pop up. I also considered re-applying, but the idea of applying more product on my sweaty face sounds dirty & gross to me ? What do you think? Should I just presume the product is still there? Oh, I also considered changing sunscreen brand to less oily one but as the JM one is pretty costly I feel obliged to use it up first.

  39. Sesame says:

    Hey Angie, don’t worry about revisiting an old post. I’m glad you’re coming back. ?

    As to your question: yes, it might blot away particularly because what you’re using is a mineral sunscreen (aka physical sunblock). Do you apply any powder over? I have not tried John Masters to know if it’s very greasy but it’s not advisable to apply over because it might cause clogged pores after awhile.

  40. Angie says:

    Haha..thanks! Your blog is fast becoming my go-to for skincare ‘hiccups’. Between you & your readers I think you guys have tackled any problems that crop up!

    Nope, I don’t apply powder over, as I don’t wear anything on face/make-up at all. I probably sounds like it might help absorb the oil…will try, thank you! Actually the John Masters may not be all that greasy, as I also put it on my arms/shoulders & it’s fine there. It’s just my facial skin – I have confused skin that has been giving me hell in this mid year weather..I have a strong feeling I’m gonna like this sunscreen alot more in the later part of the year when it’s a bit cooler, and my skin goes back to being more combi/dry than the current schizo situation.

  41. Sesame says:

    One suggestion for re-application is to use a facial wipe to wipe off the sunscreen first and then re-apply…but that’s provided you’re comfortable with that idea. At least it minimizes issues of clogged pores, greasiness, etc.

  42. Denise says:

    Hi, I’m very new to your website and I’ve read up almost every post you blog about till this very 100+ pages. I’ve a splitting headache now so I decided to ask you personally since I can’t find the info i’m curious about. I’m in my twenties and I just started on skin care products. I’m attracted to the body shop for the time being so I was wondering is this something you would be fine with for skincare products as you sound very insisting and detailed for products like that. I recently bought a moisturizing serum and moisturizing cream vitamin E. I only have one facial wash (VICHY) to clean and remove my makeup. I have yet to buy any toner or sunscreen yet (I can’t decide which brand to get as I wanna get one with the ingredients you mention, zinc oxide). Another problem I’m facing is I have totally no idea what are the steps to apply for skincare products  after I cleanse my face with facial wash. Lastly, can the body shop products also be used for night as well? I’m very reluctant to get all these info from their staff as they are sales advisors so part of what they say aren’t that convincing ?

  43. Denise says:

    Btw, i’m quite afraid that you will mistaken me for some sort of promoting as I’ve mention some of the brand names. My point is, are the brands suitable for skin like my age (20). Is it too light or too powerful? No other intentions. Basically, I just need some advice as to applying steps for skincare products (etc. Lotion, toner, moisturizer, serum. Which one go first). And can they be used for night time? And where can I get the best sunscreen with only zinc oxide in Singapore at retail stores that I most probably will be able to find them? Oh, and I put my moisturizing serum first then cream right?

  44. Denise says:

    Btw, i’m quite afraid that you will mistaken me for some sort of promoting as I’ve mention some of the brand names. My point is, are the brands suitable for skin like my age (20). Is it too light or too powerful? No other intentions. Basically, I just need some advice as to applying steps for skincare products (etc. Lotion, toner, moisturizer, serum. Which one go first). And can they be used for night time? And where can I get the best sunscreen with only zinc oxide in Singapore at retail stores that I most probably will be able to find them? Oh, and I put my moisturizing serum first then cream right? Sorry if I sound blunt with my words as I’m so new and I’m panicking ? and I don’t even know if you will be able to read this..

  45. Sesame says:

    Depends on what you get from the shop. Some stuff are okay but they’re not the best for skincare. The brand Simple is actually not bad for basic care and the stuff are not ex. You need a moisturizer after cleansing. I would suggest you at least find out what’s your skin type – oily, combi or dry. That’ll help to determine what products you’ll need. Sunscreen is basic and would be good to use daily.

  46. Sesame says:

    Always use the product with the thinner consistency first. Between toner and lotion, choose one. You don’t need so many products. Basic would be toner, serum and moisturizer especially for night time. For day, toner, lotion and sunscreen. Quite hard to find zinc oxide based sunscreen. Try Devita available at The texture is not bad.

  47. Denise says:

    So my moisturizer serum and cream is not consider as a moisturizer for after cleansing my face? My skin is a tad dry at times. Do you mind if you can teach me the basics on applying skincare products by steps? The brand Simple, you mention. Can it be found in Singapore and where? And mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide can be found too? Please advice! ?

  48. Denise says:

    Oh I just saw the above comment you post regarding to the sunscreen! Sorry to repeat the question again!! Thanks for that!!!

  49. Sesame says:

    Simple is available at Guardian and Watsons. Another brand is Eucerin…not bad and quite affordable. As for your moisturizer serum and cream, it is a moisturizer but it depends on how well your skin is moisturized. As for steps, I’ll say keep it simple. My recommendations are:

    Day care: cleanse your skin, tone, moisturizing lotion that is light enough and then a sunscreen.
    Night care: cleanse your skin (double cleanse if you use a sunscreen or makeup), tone, serum, moisturizer.

    Suggest you use a special eye cream gel or cream too.

  50. Denise says:

    Omg thanks alot! You’re amazing! Sorry to bother you so much ?

  51. CK says:

    “Do it well so you won’t do it twice.” I saw a Korean idol said that you don’t really have to double cleanse, just cleanse really well and thoroughly once so that the skin won’t be as stressed (?) and I’ve been doing that since. No breakouts! And I sometimes double check by double cleansing which only proves I don’t really need to.

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