Double cleansing is a skin care method in which a person uses an oil-based cleanser (often called a pre-cleanser) and follows it up with a water-based cleanser. If you wear makeup, you’re already double cleansing because many makeup removing products, such as wipes and micellar water, are oil-based cleansers. But cleansing oils and balms are the usual choices for double cleansing as they work to remove excess oils, sunscreen, makeup and any water-insoluble debris. Many dermatologists and estheticians recommend double cleansing for people with oily or combination skin because it can reduce acne and breakouts. I decided to try it out on my acne-prone skin to see if double cleansing actually works for my skin type.
In search of the perfect oil-based cleanser, I used Skincarisma, a website that analyzes the ingredients of skin care and makeup products. As someone with oily skin, I avoided any products with comedogenic ingredients such as coconut and avocado oil, shea butter and ethylhexyl palmitate, which are common in oil-based cleansers. But I finally settled with the E.L.F. Holy Hydration Makeup Cleansing Balm, a pre-cleanser with moisturizing and oily skin-friendly ingredients.
My night routine began with pre-cleansing my dry skin with the balm, using the warmth of my hands to melt it. I massaged it upward and made sure to get along the jawline, near my hairline and any area that was prone to acne. It almost felt like rubbing Vaseline on my skin and it took a couple of days to get used to that sensation. But as I continued rubbing it on my skin, it felt like I was getting a deep cleanse and a gentle exfoliation.
After using my oil-based cleanser, I washed it off with cold water and followed it up with my CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser to get rid of any trace of the balm and water-soluble debris. I specifically chose this face wash because of its rave reviews and hydrating properties. I wanted to make sure that even though I’m using two cleansers that my skin wasn’t dried out. But using these two products made sure my skin was soft and supple. For about a month, I followed this strict regimen to see if it made a difference.
Toward the end of the 30 days, I saw reduced acne and assumed it was a new product I recently implemented into my routine. I wanted to see if using the balm was still necessary and skipped straight to my CeraVe cleanser one night. But I immediately faced the consequences. The next day entailed a few red bumps popping up my skin, which immediately sent me into a frenzy. For the rest of the month, I religiously used my cleansing balm and saw my pimples disappear.
Does double cleansing actually work? Absolutely! I’m still using it to this day and recommend it to anyone with oily, acne-prone skin. I’m using fewer spot treatments and skincare products because it’s doing wonders for my skin. If you are thinking about trying this method, do it! Just make sure you read the ingredients of the oil-based cleanser to see if it’s compatible for your skin type.