The lowdown on double-cleansing and why you should be doing it 

Skincare guru Jennifer Rock aka The Skin Nerd has the final word on why everyone should be double-cleansing.

I don’t need to be telling you to cleanse – you’re probably already doing it in some shape or form. Are you double-cleansing, though? It's most definitely not a skincare myth. Double-cleansing, in my opinion, is essential for a number of reasons, but first, let’s define the double-cleanse.

Jennifer Rock the skin nerd

Jennifer Rock aka The Skin Nerd

I believe a double-cleanse is a two-step cleansing routine that includes:

  • The pre-cleanse, a step to remove makeup gently
  • A step to cleanse/treat the skin thoroughly and remove any traces left

So, why should you be doing it? I’m aware that people don’t enjoy finding out that they should be using two products for something they were only using one for before so it needs to be justified!

It’s not just about makeup, it’s about pollution

The number one misconception I hear when it comes to pre-cleansing is that if you don’t wear makeup, you don’t need to do it. No, no, no – this would be true if makeup was the only thing that touched our faces during the day.

Air pollution is real, people. Pollution particles accumulate on our skin throughout the day. These particles can irritate the skin and cause inflammation which can accelerate our skin’s ageing process – it’s a nightmare, isn’t it?!

On top of that, we spend all day touching dirty door handles and holding our not-so-cleanly phones to our faces.

Regardless of whether you wear makeup or not, you should be double-cleansing.

Your skincare will work better

You wouldn’t wax a dirty car (do people still wax cars?). You have to make sure that your skin is properly clean before you try to get active ingredients into it. If you just remove makeup using wipes, micellar water or an oil-based product, you’re leaving traces of makeup and debris on the skin. This film will stop your skincare from penetrating into the skin and doing its job.


If you’re following up your pre-cleanse with an active cleanser, your skin is clean and the ingredients in the active cleanser (such as AHAs like glycolic acid or lactic acid) will enhance your skin’s penetration too!

Your second cleanse will actually improve your skin

Speaking of cleansing with an active cleanser, you’re not doing yourself any favours by using a cleanser that only cleans the skin. If you’re using an active cleanser suited towards your skin concerns as your second cleansing step, you are working towards healthier skin. Let me tell ya, a wipe doesn’t help you with that.

image vital c

For example, if redness is your primary concern, you could be following up your pre-cleanse with IMAGE Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser (€35.50) which contains vitamin C to help to bring down that flushing.

Forms of pre-cleansers

There are plenty of ways for you to pre-cleanse to remove all that gunk. There’s the wonderful, suitable for all skin Cleanse Off Mitt microfibre makeup remover (I am biased, I admit). There are balmy, balm-to-oil and oil-based pre-cleansers such as Dermalogica Precleanse (€46.50). Some like to use coconut oils or other carrier oils such as jojoba oil, as oils bind to the natural oils on the skin.

Then, there are also products that are technically pre-cleansers but that I don’t necessarily approve of…*ahem* such as wipes and micellar waters. When it comes to micellar waters, I find that the majority of brands are full of skin-sensitising alcohols and fragrances – this isn’t true of all of them though. French micellars tend to be more friendly.

What double-cleansing isn’t

It is certainly not the same as over-cleansing. We don’t want our skin to feel squeaky clean after cleansing - everyone knows that tightness that you got from the typical hyper-foamy acne cleansers you used as a teenager. If your skin feels tight, it’s an indicator that your skin has been stripped of its natural oils and it NEEDS them.

Many hear “oily” and think they are trying to get rid of all of their oils. No! You’re trying to control excess oil as it is your sebum (oil) that lubricates your skin and helps to protect it.

So, that’s the full scoop on how to double-cleanse, what it is and why to do it. In my eyes, it’s actually a skin sin not to double-cleanse so if you’re not doing it, now is the time to start. If you want personalised advice on which products you should be using (as well as your recommended skincare straight to your door), I cordially invite you to have a consultation with one of our Nerdettes!


Jennifer Rock aka The Skin Nerd is a skincare guru with the aforementioned skin consultation service that everyone needs to check out. Follow Jennifer on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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