You could hear many times that the zero step in skincare is cleansing. But why is it so important to cleanse your face, how do micellas, facial cleansing foams and soap work? Is double cleansing really a must-have - or is it just a trick of the beauty industry to make your facial cleanser sell twice as fast? In our blog we've got everything you need to know about double cleansing!
There's a very simple reason for this: if you don't remove excess dirt/makeup/shine/other impurities from your skin, they can easily cause problems. First of all, it can make your skin look uneven, but it can also damage your skin's natural barrier. Unfortunately, plain water is not a good solution - it simply can't remove the residual dirt from all kinds of products. Yes, and one more thing: after washing it off, the rest of your skincare routine will be much more effective - trust me, it's worth the extra few seconds!
You may rightly wonder what cleansers can do compared to plain water. Whatever the type, all face cleansers and cleansers contain surfactants. You should think of them as lollipop-shaped molecules: the spherical head is made up of water-attracting substances, while the attached stick is made up of oil-attracting substances. The many lollipop-shaped molecules in the face cleanser are arranged in a spherical arrangement, called micelles, waiting to be applied to your skin. (In water-based cleansers, the "lollipops" are arranged with the oil-accepting stick part facing inwards and the water-accepting head facing outwards - and the other way round in oil-based cleansers.)
When you use the cleanser, the surfactants in the oil-attracting sticks attract oil, sebum and all other dirt like a magnet. As you rinse them off, the water-loving heads magnetically adhere to the water molecules and the oil-loving sticks "pull" the dirt along with them. There is just one drawback: surfactants are not very clever, as they also wash away the components that are beneficial to the skin (e.g. NMFs, lipids) - so care must be taken to choose the right strength and pH.
Now that we know what double cleansing is, we can move on to why double cleansing is necessary. It's exactly what the name suggests: it's when you double cleanse your face. The main idea behind it is that using two gentler cleansers is much gentler on the skin, and the end result will be cleaner than if you were to cleanse your face with a single product.
Step 1: face cleansing with an oil-based cleanser
For this step, use a product with a specific oily consistency; a solid, balsamic but with an oily consistency, or even micellar water. These can effectively remove all-day make-up, impurities and sunscreen residues as they perfectly bond to sebum molecules along the 'like for like' principle. Always apply them to dry skin, as this is the best way for them to work their magic.
Step 2: face cleansing with a water-based cleanser
You can use any gentle, water-based cleanser here - you'll recognise these by the fact that they'll definitely be labelled with Aqua or Water first on the ingredients list. Water-based cleansers are for cleansing the skin and removing any residue of oily cleanser. Always choose based on your skin type.
You can see now that double cleansing isn't just humbug, it actually makes sense - but it might not always be worth adding to your routine! In short: you should only bother if you're really conscientious about your sunscreen or make-up. In that case, you should definitely double cleanse in the evening, but if you've had a no make-up day, your water-based cleanser will do just fine.
I have oily skin, should I use an oil face wash? → Today's good quality oil products form a super emulsion on the skin when in contact with water: don't worry, they won't form an indelible film on your skin.
If oil face wash rinses off so well, why apply the second step, a water-based face wash? → Although oil-based cleansers don't leave your skin feeling greasy, you can remove the invisible molecules with a water-based face cleanser. If perfect cleanliness is your goal, you can't stay away.
How do I wipe off cleansers? Do I even need to rinse them off? → Gently rub the oil-based cleanser over your skin. If you had heavy makeup on, simply use a clean towel to wipe off the dissolved dirt, but if you don't like this solution, simply rinse your face with water. Water-based cleansers can also be rinsed off gently or just rinsed off your skin after use.
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