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The best products for the TikTok-viral ‘double cleansing’ routine

La Roche Posay/The INKEY List/Versed

Double cleansing is in, and here’s how to do it

The latest TikTok trend in skin care is double cleansing, which involves giving your skin a double dose of cleanser each time you wash it. While TikTokers claim to love the benefits of this regimen, as with all internet health trends, it’s important to seek counsel from a professional before trying it.

We consulted Dr. Luke Maxfield, a board-certified dermatologist practicing at Atlantic Dermatology, PA in Wilmington, North Carolina, to see whether this fad truly lives up to the hype. 

Shop this article: The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm, I Dew Care Hydra Vibes 3 Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser and La Roche Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser

What is double cleansing?

“As the name implies, double cleansing is cleansing twice,” explained Maxfield, “using an oil-based cleanser first, and then following this with a traditional cleanser.”

“When utilizing the double cleanse, the first step is used to break up oily and water-resistant products or residue on the skin. And, as like dissolves like, the initial cleanse should be oil-based,” he noted. “The second step of the double cleanse is the traditional cleanser. It can be a simple, gentle cleanser or be targeted toward each person's active skin issues and goals.”

What are the benefits of double cleansing?

“Studies have supported what many people anecdotally experience,” said Maxfield. “Traditional cleansers that are water-based, despite surfactants and emulsifiers, often struggle to remove oil-based substances. The primary benefit of a double cleanse, therefore, is a more thorough cleanse, removing thick or water-resistant sunscreen and also removing excess oil on the skin, like what is seen on the nose in the form of sebaceous filaments.” 

Though “not everyone needs to double cleanse,” he noted, there are certain people who will benefit more than others. “For anyone who wears makeup or water-resistant sunscreen, this has the potential to revolutionize a skin care routine and, subsequently, someone's skin. So whether it’s an everyday process for that daily makeup or that weekend deep clean after a day at the beach, double cleansing is a must-know option.”

Are there any risks to double cleansing?

“The main risk of double cleansing is directly related to the effectiveness of double cleansing,” said Maxfield. “Our skin's natural oils have a function, and that is often in the form of creating a hydrated and resilient moisture barrier. Double cleansing, therefore, can over cleanse and be too stripping for some.” 

Best products for double cleansing

The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm

Maxfield likes this affordable cleanser because it’s “anchored in science and is well studied. The 3% oat kernel oil is the oily anchor for the 1% colloidal oatmeal that also acts as a natural cleanser, antioxidant and soothing ingredient,” he said.

Versed Sweet Relief Night Mask + Face Balm

As a first step in double cleansing, Maxfield often reaches for this product. “Although not marked as a cleansing balm, it doubles as one and is rich and gentle for the skin barrier,” he noted. 

La Roche Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser  

“For normal to combination skin, a cleanser with a rich lather like the Toleriane Purifying Foaming Facial wash will do the job for most skin types,” said Maxfield. This “robust cleanser,” infused with glycerin and niacinamide, removes excess oil while maintaining skin's natural protective barrier and pH.

The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser

For those with oily or acne-prone skin, try this salicylic acid-based cleanser. Maxfield likes the hero ingredient because it “further breaks up oil, modestly exfoliates, and has been studied in the setting of acne.” It also works for anyone with normal skin who wants “an exceptional deep clean.”

Anua Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil

This “recently viral product” is a favorite of Maxfield’s because it “uses a combination of oils like sunflower, macadamia, jojoba, olive, grape seed and more. Its fragrance also creates a nice experience,” he said, noting that it may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin or fragrance allergies. 

CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser  

If you have sensitive skin, Maxfield recommends this “gentle and fragrance-free” option, which “may feel a little more hydrating” than some of the other picks. It’s formulated with three essential ceramides, which help restore the skin’s natural barrier. 

Payot Nue Makeup Remover Stick for Face, Eyes and Lips

Remove waterproof, matte and long-wearing makeup with this balm stick. The balm texture melts into an oil when massaged into the face. Then, it becomes a milk with no greasy finish when rinsed.

I Dew Care Hydra Vibes 3 Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser

Strong enough to remove makeup and excess oil, this hyaluronic acid-based cleanser hydrates the skin while you wash. It’s also formulated with jeju hydrangea, which further hydrates and soothes the skin. It contains no alcohol, parabens or phthalates. 

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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