Double Cleansing Routine

What is Double Cleansing? Oil droplets on orange background.

Double Cleansing Routine

Double Cleansing Routine for Buttery Skin

Great makeup starts (and arguably ends) with great skincare. The best foundation, blush, and bronzer won’t live to their full potential on dehydrated and unclean skin. Double cleansing has been a game-changing habit that’s yielded great results for me. If you’re looking for a way to deeply cleanse your skin, and remove all traces of makeup and environmental film, while adequately preparing your skin for maximum product absorption, double cleansing is the answer.

Double cleansing is a two-step process in which you first use a cleansing balm followed by a cleansing oil to remove makeup without stripping away essential moisture. Water-based cleansers can be used as your second cleanser instead of oils if your skin is oily or you want a tight, squeaky feel. Here are my favorite cleansing balms and oils that will leave your skin feeling buttery soft and clean to the pore!

Double Cleansing

Skin Clean, Reporting for (Double) Duty!

It doesn’t matter whether you wear stage-ready makeup, opt for a minimalist look, or forgo makeup altogether, double cleansing is a great option to sufficiently remove environmental pollutants, makeup, and other impurities that have built up on your skin throughout the day.

A double cleansing regimen differs from traditional cleansing methods because it utilizes an oil-based formula. Cleansing balms and oils help keep skin hydrated while cleansing the skin’s surface and often act as makeup removers, cleansers, and agents of moisture retention.

Cleansing Balms and Cleansing Oils: Double or Nothing?

You might think, “Aren’t cleansing balms and cleansing oils one and the same?” While they both clean the skin, cleansing balms are oil-based and often have a thick consistency. On the other hand, cleansing oils will most often emulsify into a milky texture or may even transform into a gentle foam by adding water. Both types of cleansers are effective at removing dirt, makeup, and other impurities from your skin and help to keep vital moisture on the skin barrier.

Cleansing Balms

When it comes time to cleanse my face, my top favorite cleansing balms are Beautycounter’s Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm and The Cleansing Balm from Augustinus Bader. The cleansing balm was one of the first products I ever developed for Beautycounter, and it still remains a favorite. When making this, it was important to me for skin to achieve a dewy radiance, with or without makeup. The best part about this product? It can also work as an overnight mask. I adore Augustinus Bader’s formula for its thinner consistency; it really grabs hold of makeup and impurities and wipes away clean, leaving skin bright and refreshed.

The thin consistency is super silky on the skin, making it a perfect product to facilitate a nice facial massage prior to removal.

If you’re curious about cleansing balms but have sensitive skin, I recommend the Calm Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm by True Botanicals. This balm is ideal for those with rosacea and sensitive skin; the scent is fresh, rich, and aromatic. Another favorite is Naturopathica’s Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm for its buttery texture, decadent smell, and natural cleansing power. If you’re into aromatherapy, the de Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm doubles as a cleanser and aromatic sleep aid after a trying day.

Cleansing Oils

Since my skin isn’t particularly oily, I’ve been reaching for a cleansing oil after using a cleansing balm. If you have oily skin or prefer a tight, squeaky-clean feel, opt for a water-based product as your second step in a double cleansing regimen. 

I love anything rose scented so it’s no surprise that I’ve taken a liking to Monastery’s Rose Cleansing Oil and PAI’s Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil. Over the years, these cleansing oils have rotated through my professional and personal makeup kits. Both Monastery’s Rose Cleansing Oil and PAI’s Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil are suitable for sensitive skin and their tantalizing rose scents are beloved by me and those who’ve sat in my makeup chair. 

The perfect complement to Beautycounter’s Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm is the Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil. Its lightweight, plant-derived formula effectively removes dirt and debris with the Retinatural™ Complex, a blend of Bakuchiol and Swiss Alpine Rose.

Who doesn’t love a product that does it all? For cleansing oils that go the distance, I turn to Botanical B Enzyme Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover from One Love Organics. As the name suggests, it uses pumpkin and papaya seed oil and natural enzymes to dissolve impurities while also effectively removing makeup. Rinse with warm water to emulsify the oil and transform the formula into a delicate milk. Tatcha’s Camellia Oil 1-in-1 Makeup Remover & Cleanser is highly recommended for those with dry skin. The formula has a light, pleasant scent and is rich in Japanese Camellia Oil, Green Tea, and algae amino acids.

For a decadent double cleansing experience, start with The Blue Cocoon by May Lindstrom and follow with The Pendulum Potion. The Blue Cocoon’s solid oil concentrate melts into the skin and gets its azure color from blue tansy. The Pendulum Potion cleanses and cushions skin with a lightweight barrier of moisture that leaves you glowing all day long.

Double cleansing is a non-abrasive, effective skincare method that leads to buttery soft skin. Once you start to double duty, you’ll be sure to feel the difference in your skin. Cheers!


Looking for a clean beauty routine for soft and glowing skin? Learn from Christy Coleman how she incorporates her favorite clean beauty cleansing balms and cleansing oils into her daily beauty routine. If you’ve ever wanted to know “what is double cleansing”, discover answers here.