4 Best Clean Beauty Products for Double Cleansing

September 10, 2019 (updated June 24, 2022)

Learn all about the benefits of double cleansing your face in this detailed post. Plus, we review the best clean beauty products for double cleansing and share a list of ingredients we recommend avoiding in a facial cleanser.

a woman washing her face in a white room with bright light

By: Lisa Fennessy

IN THIS POST:

At this stage in my life, I don’t make time for a huge self care routine. Basically I’m doling out “me time” ration cards like take 5 minutes here, 6 minutes there and if the babysitter can stay late, squeeze in that 4:30pm yoga class. Consequently, I have a very bare bones list of self care essentials that are a priority for me these days like: sweat a few times a week, eat something green every day and for the love of all things holy, girl—wash your face.

Washing my face is the one thing I do EVERY SINGLE DAY. No questions asked. I think I love it so much because it’s about more than just taking care of my skin. It’s a quiet moment to reflect, wake up or wind down. It’s about doing me and taking care of myself in a moment where there are no phones, no questions, no needs, no people…It’s just me, myself and my skincare. I mean honestly, is there a better feeling than a hot cloth on your face?! I’ll answer that. No. No, there isn’t. And best of all? My skin glows because of it.

So in that light, I wanted to share with you the most effective way to wash your face. It’s called double cleansing.

RELATED: Healthier alternatives to CeraVe cleansers and my current skincare routine.


What is double cleansing?

There are several ways to wash your face but the bottom line is, some methods are more effective than others. Throughout my 30+ years of face washing, I’ve run through the entire gamut of washing agents from drug store body bars to astringent cleansing pads to big-name department store skincare and clean beauty cleansers. And I can tell you, without a doubt, nothing gets the job done better than double cleansing.

girl washing her face with water splashing off

In short, “double cleansing” basically means washing your face twice. The first time to remove makeup, dirt and daily grime. And the second time to actually cleanse the skin. 

You can use an oil cleanser followed by an oil cleanser. Or an oil cleanser followed by micellar water. Or an oil cleanser followed by a foaming face wash or any combination of all these. The point is, double cleansing removes buildup and makeup on the first pass and then and then truly cleanses the skin on the second pass.

Typically I like to double cleanse at night to take my makeup off and single cleanse in the morning when a makeup remover is not necessary.

RELATED: Great options for organic sheet masks and TOG picks for the best natural face creams.


Benefits of double cleansing

Benefit #1

Double cleansing is especially important for people who wear makeup and/or sunscreen. It’s an effective way to make sure all product and product buildup has been removed from the skin.

Benefit #2

Double cleansing introduces face massage into your routine. Face massage is a great way to stimulate blood flow and it helps to reduce fine lines which I have seen happen with my own skin.

Benefit #3

Using natural makeup removers, like oil cleansers, won’t strip or dry out skin.

Benefit #4

If your skin is thoroughly cleansed, it is able to absorb serums and moisturizers more effectively. 

Benefit #5

Keeping skin truly clean can reduce breakouts.


holding up a hand and showing the OSEA cleanser viscosity with a green dot of lotion staying put

Ingredients to consider

Of course I’m a huge fan of clean skincare. Here’s one reason why buying ethical beauty is important…

Some compounds do not stay long in the body, but still cause toxic effects during the time they are present. For serious health problems to arise, exposure to these rapidly-clearing compounds must occur on a daily basis.

Two such classes of compounds are the phthalate plasticizers and parabens, both of which are used in many personal care products, some medications, and even foods and food preservation.

Parabens, which can be dermally absorbed, are present in many cosmetic products. Their estrogenicity and tissue presence are a cause for concern regarding breast cancer. Fortunately, these compounds are relatively easy to avoid and such steps can result in dramatic reductions of urinary levels of these compounds.

NIH abstract

The following are some additional ingredients I recommend avoiding in your cleansers (and if you want more, check out TOG’s NO THANKS list: 

  • mineral oil
  • parabens (like propylparaben or methylparaben)
  • fragrance, perfume, parfum 
  • silicone
  • PEG (PEG-7, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-100 Stearate) 
  • Polysorbate 20 or Polysorbate 60
  • phenoxyethanol

Ultimately we don’t want our cleanser to strip skin or leave it feeling dry. We want to choose a cleanser that works with our skin; something nourishing, calming and restorative.

RELATED: The TOG No Thanks List


close up of a woman washing her face at a sink

How to double cleanse

Typically with double cleansing, the cleanser is an oil cleanser. Oil is fantastic at breaking up makeup, sunscreen, grime, dirt and daily pollution while still leaving the skin’s natural hydrating oils in tact.

Cleanse #1

Take a few pumps of oil cleanser into the palm of your hands and then apply to your face. Massage the oil in circular motions over your entire face and neck including your eyes and lips. Remove oil with a warm cloth.

Cleanse #2

Repeat that process again.

RELATED: Read my full review on The Great Cleanse and other Maya Chia products.


Oil cleansers are not all the same—and they’ve come a loooong way from the DIY castor oil blends of yore. These are a few of our favorites, aka our picks for best double cleanser.


Double cleansing FAQs

What is double cleansing?

In short, “double cleansing” basically means washing your face twice. The first time to remove makeup, dirt and daily grime. And the second time to actually cleanse the skin. Learn more here.

How do you clean your face properly?

With double cleansing you can use an oil cleanser followed by an oil cleanser. Or an oil cleanser followed by micellar water. Or an oil cleanser followed by a foaming face wash or any combination of all these. The point is, double cleansing removes buildup and makeup on the first pass and then and then truly cleanses the skin on the second pass. Learn more here.

Should you double cleanse?

Double cleansing is an effective way to clean your skin. It also has many benefits such as reducing breakouts. Learn more about the benefits of double cleansing here.

What are the benefits of double cleansing with an oil cleanser?

There are five main benefits of double cleansing. They are: removing makeup and other products from your face, adding face massage to your routine, it will not strip or dry out your skin, skin will absorb serums and moisturizers more easily, and it can reduce breakouts. Learn more here.


Do you double cleanse? What’s your ritual?

Xo, lisa

TOG Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TOG uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TOG stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

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girl washing her face showing how to double cleanse

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of This Organic Girl. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

4 Comments

  1. Reply

    InOnIt

    Hi, im so excited to try make the repice. Is it mild enough for my tween daughter? Or should i reduce/change some EO? she is ten years old and likes to play outdoors a lot and i dont want to buy the store cleanser because of their preservatives and chemicals,etc. thanks a lot for your advice

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Hi there! I would take out the EO for her!

  2. Reply

    Hannah

    Hello, apologies if elsewhere you have mentioned this, what type cloths do you recommend to use to wipe off the first cleanse? what cloths to avoid? Thank you, love your help many times over!!

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Hannah! Thanks so much for your question! I personally LOVE the Pai cloths. They are super thin, organic and I feel like I can get it all off. I also like Jenny Patinkin’s cloths which are certified organic and gray (which will last forever because they don’t get stained). My biggest takeaway here is don’t use the same cloth more than once. A wet cloth can breed bacteria and you don’t want to spread that on your face. Hope this helps! Lisa

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