Find out with our guide on how to double cleanse and what to look for in your chosen cleansers

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Should you be double cleansing? If you’re using an eye makeup remover and a cleanser, you’re probably already doing it to an extent. However, with a duo of launches hitting our desks in the past few weeks with a greater level of double cleansing detail at their core, the technique looks set to become a more widespread practice going forward. There are varying degrees - but is it for you?

It’s a widely held beauty belief that cleansing is the most important part of your skincare routine (a statement which we believe to be true also). Double cleansing is an extension of that and involves a duo of products designed to target different types of epidermal debris: the first ‘clean’ should look to remove makeup and SPF and the second, cleanse skin on a deeper scale. When should and when shouldn’t you give it a go though?

“To double-cleanse or not to double-cleanse depends entirely on the circumstances,” explains cosmetic dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams . “If you are wearing quite heavy makeup, double cleansing might be necessary and in fact, beneficial that day. However, I wouldn't recommend it routinely, unless necessary. So it's usually in the evening that people might need to double-cleanse, while a double-cleanse is hardly ever necessary in the morning.”

The double acts that have caught our eye...

Providing a pre-bed ‘deep clean’ if you like, to ensure that you don’t wake up with a face of foundation perfectly imprinted on your pillowcase, calculating your double cleanse formula can be quite complex. However, a new launch from skincare expert Caroline Hirons hopes to help with that.  Double Cleanse , £24, created in collaboration with Pixi Beauty, provides a fragrance-free 2-in-1 solution for the time-short - “If you want a foolproof method to remove waterproof makeup and sunscreen, this is the product for you,” Caroline says. Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to give it a go. First step - apply a small amount of its solid cleansing oil to break down and remove dirt, makeup and sunscreen. Wipe off with a damp cloth. Thoughts at the halfway mark? Skin’s feeling clean yet conditioned. Step 2 - apply the cleansing cream enriched with vitamin C, peptide complex and arginine to protect, brighten and soften. The result? Skin’s left noticeably more supple and silky - ideal after a day of wearing heavy makeup and a day’s commute on the Underground.

Next up, Pestle & Mortar’s new Erase & Renew double cleansing kit  which launched on the 10th of January. At a more expensive price of £72, it certainly serves more as a payday pick in the double cleansing stakes. That being said though, it definitely delivered on its claims to thoroughly cleanse and prep skin for serums and moisturisers. Containing two cleansers plus a double-sided cloth to ensure all tools needed are at hand, it removed every scrap of makeup we had on.

The first step, a nourishing cleansing balm aptly named ‘Erase,’ melts into an oil when rubbed between hands and is designed to be removed using the muslin side of the cloth. The second step, Renew, is a lightweight gel cleanser that not only busts dirt on a deeper level, but also helps tighten pores and improve skin’s texture in the long-term. Designed to be removed with the cloth’s softer side, the cleanser can also be used on its own for a morning cleanse too.

MORE GLOSS: Imelda Burke - “I think cleansing is the most important step in your routine”

The separates that have skills...

While all-in-one products and kits are set to make a big impact on the way we double cleanse, there are also some great beauty buys based on the same principles for those with a preference for separates. “When double-cleansing, I usually recommend using a special makeup remover first and then a cleanser which gives a bit more of a deep-pore cleanse,” says Dr Stefanie Williams. “This is not only what I tell my patients, but what I also do myself. Personally I use La Roche-Posay Makeup Remover Micellar Water Gel , £12, (but I use this with water, like a normal cleanser) and then Effaclar H Hydrating Cleansing Cream , £6.27."

Dr Williams’ tips on the technique do come with a word of caution though - avoid over-cleansing and take the time to ensure that your chosen double act meets your skin type’s specific needs. “When double-cleansing, it is even more important that you use a cleanser suitable for your skin,” she says. “If for example, you use a cleanser that's too strong for your skin and double-cleanse, you could end up with skin irritation. However, if both the makeup remover and the cleanser have been chosen to suit your skin, you will be fine.”

we should not misinterpret an unsuitable cleanser as a need to double-cleanse

This also comes with a warning to ensure double cleansing isn’t your first port of call in the cleansing stakes. “Of course we should not misinterpret an unsuitable cleanser as a need to double-cleanse, i.e. some people might use a cleanser that's not thorough enough and for that reason assume they need to double cleanse,” she explains. “In that case, replacing their (unsuitable) cleanser with a stronger one might mean, no double-cleansing is needed (if you are using a cleanser that's not strong enough for your skin, you could end up doing a quadruple-cleanse and still not feel clean!). So first things first - make sure you are using the right cleanser for your skin and then re-assess whether you really still need to double-cleanse. A cosmetic dermatologist can help with making the right choice.”

Having also spoken to people who have been fans of the technique for years, there seems to be a certain degree of experimentation that goes with deciding how you choose to dabble in double cleansing. Millie Kendall, co-founder of BeautyMART  and BRANDstand  has been a double-cleanconnoisseur (just made up that term up, but let’s see if it catches on!) since the beginning of her career in beauty. Speaking about how she first took it up she comments: “My first job in beauty (well makeup and skincare) was working for Shu Uemura. It was the first Japanese brand to launch in the UK, and being Japanese, double cleansing was part of their tradition and ritual,” she explains. “I worked for them from the age of 17 and when I started wearing makeup, I was taught to use the famous cleansing oil to remove makeup, then again to cleanse and then a toner (without alcohol to ensure all residue was removed).”

MORE GLOSS: The best cleansing oils for dry skin

She adds, “I love the ritualistic part of it. I find it relaxing and soothing.” We can relate - from a night time wind down perspective, a touch of extra pampering also adds to the total package. “I've been doing this for so long that I wonder what my skin would be like otherwise. I have simply always done it,” she says, also acknowledging that it’s suited her beauty preferences to a T. “When I was a tween, I washed my face obsessively so it is probably partly a lifestyle thing. I have never had acne, or oily skin and my skin tends to be slightly dry but resilient.”

Her products of choice? “I do not necessarily always need natural, but I do like quality. I like unusual textures such as Oilixia’s Gummy Cleanser , £24, and interesting ingredients too.” She adds, “Cleansing balms and oils as my first step. I find them super effective for removing stubborn waterproof mascara. I then sometimes use a cream and/or a gentle exfoliant. I always add moisture with a toner and this can be a mist or cotton applied.”

Cleansing oils, balms and also creams as a first step are among our favourite methods too for removing all traces of makeup and SPF. Our go-tos?  DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil , from £4.50, Erborian’s milky Cleansing Cream , £24, (a brand whose heritage takes inspiration from the traditional Korean beauty routine of matching different textures to different types of makeup), and Trilogy’s Makeup Be Gone Cleansing Balm , £17.43.

A mix ‘n match mentality applies to price points too. Whether your second step features Nivea’s Daily Essentials Creme Care Cleansing Cream Wash , £3.59, or Trilogy’s Cream Cleanser , £19.98, the overriding factor is that it works for your skin and your skin alone.

One universal rule though? No face wipes allowed. They simply don’t cleanse makeup or skin thoroughly or effectively enough in our experience to qualify as either a first or second step.

So should you double cleanse? If you’re looking for a more thorough night time cleanse on days when a face full of makeup, SPF, sweat and dirt doesn’t look likely to budge easily, it could be the stuff of skincare dreams - provided you’ve chosen your products carefully to suit both your skin type and needs.

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