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How to Remove Makeup Correctly: The Double Cleanse Method

removing makeup correctly

At the end of a tiring day, taking off your makeup may be the last thing you want to do, but failing to do so can potentially contribute to clogged pores, breakouts, and premature aging. Learn how to remove your makeup correctly with the double cleanse method so your skin can feel healthy and youthful.


What is the Double Cleanse Method?

The double cleanse method is a two-step cleansing regimen designed for a more thorough but still gentle clean. The first step comprises an oil-based cleanser, which comes in the form of an oily liquid or balm. The second step involves your usual water- or gel-based facial cleanser with soap.

Washing with oil might seem strange, especially if you have oily skin. The idea is that oil attracts oil, so the oil-based cleanser helps to soak up and remove any oil-based impurities in your skin, including makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum.2 The water- or gel-based cleanser then removes the remaining oil cleanser, sweat, dirt, and other skin debris.


Why Should You Double Cleanse?

While “single-cleansing” is better than not washing your face at all, it may not properly remove your makeup or sunscreen, especially if either product is waterproof. More importantly, if you’re wearing makeup, single-cleansing doesn’t reach below the makeup to your skin.

The one-two punch of double-cleansing ensures the proper removal of makeup while also washing and treating your skin. The result is a deep but gentle clean that supports thorough removal of impurities that can clog pores, exacerbate acne, or cause premature signs of aging.3

Double-cleansing also gives you the combined benefits of oil and water-based cleansers. Most oil cleansers contain ingredients that can help to hydrate and soothe irritated skin, while water-based facial cleansers often contain ingredients that may help to reduce acne and other common skin conditions.


Choosing the Right Cleansers

Double-cleansing is only as good as the products that you use. Washing your face with any oil or cleanser you find may strip your skin of its natural lipids and oils, which are essential to protecting and maintaining your skin’s health. Using the wrong cleansers may lead to dry skin, irritation, and an overproduction of sebum, resulting in acne and breakouts.4 Even with the right cleansers, you should generally avoid double-cleansing more than once per day to prevent stripping your skin of its essential oils.

The main goal when choosing cleansers is to aim for gentle formulations. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Choosing an Oil Cleanser

The market is saturated with oil cleansers that use a wide range of natural oils as a base. While these can all be effective in their own ways, you want to look for an oil cleanser that is specifically suited to your skin type.

  • If you have oily, acne-prone skin, you generally want a cleanser that uses an oil that sits light on the face, like argan or grapeseed oil.
  • For dry, moisture-starved skin, you can use heavier oils, including avocado, jojoba, and sunflower oils, to fully hydrate your skin.
  • For more sensitive skin, look for oils that can calm and soothe, such as camellia seed or rosemary oil. Avoid oil cleansers that contain heavy fragrances, which may irritate sensitive skin.2

Choosing a Gentle Cleanser

Again, the keyword here is “gentle.” Avoid any harsh ingredients that may irritate your skin, like alcohol or fragrances. Check the labels specifically for mentions of “non-comedogenic,” which means that it will not clog your pores.

It’s also important to pay attention to the pH level of your cleanser. The surface of your skin is naturally acidic with a pH between 5 and 5.5. This acid mantle is part of what keeps your skin hydrated and smooth while protecting it from invasive, acne-causing bacteria. Cleansers with a pH level that is too low or too high can alter the skin’s pH, making your face more susceptible to dryness, irritation, inflammation, and breakouts.

You should also avoid cleansers that contain sulfates and other harsh detergents. While these provide the satisfying foaming action, they can be irritating to your skin and leave your face feeling dry and tight.4

How to Remove Your Makeup Properly Using the Double Cleanse Method

  1. Remove your lip color first using a cotton pad soaked in your oil cleanser of choice. Starting with your lips makes the rest of the process easier as it prevents you from accidentally smearing your lipstick on your face as you clean.

  2. Use your oil cleanser on your face. You can either use the oil cleanser on a cotton pad and dab it gently onto your skin or massage the oil directly into your skin with your clean hands. If you go the former route, make sure to switch out the cotton pad if it’s looking dirty. Be extra careful around the eyes and lips as irritation in these areas is more likely to increase the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Don’t scrub, pull, or drag at the skin around your eyes. Instead, soak a cotton pad in your oil cleanser and lay it over your eyes for several seconds before wiping away the makeup. When you’ve finished, rinse with warm water.

  3. Gently massage your water-based cleanser into your skin. While it may feel good to go for a long time, you generally should not rub the cleanser into your face for longer than 20 seconds. Rinse with warm water.

  4. Once you have fully rinsed, air or pat dry your face with a clean, lint-free towel.

  5. If you have any serums or acne treatments, apply now. Follow up with a gentle, non-comedogenic face lotion to lock in moisture and protect your skin at night.

While double-cleansing may not be for everyone, it offers an easy, gentle way to remove makeup and treat your skin. With the right cleansers, like DrFormulas® Foam Cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin, you can maintain a clean, glowing complexion and promote healthy skin for years to come.


DrFormulas Premium Acne Cleanser