How to Double Cleanse – The Best Way To Wash Your Face!

September 10, 2019 (updated January 1, 2022)

The benefits of double cleansing, ingredients to avoid, and recommendations on what to use for your first cleanse and second cleanse.

this organic girl in front of big windows leaning over to look in the mirror

Thank you to OSEA for sponsoring this educational post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

At this stage in my life, I don’t make time for a huge self care routine. Basically I’m doling out “me time” ration cards like take 5 minutes here, 6 minutes there and if the babysitter can stay late, squeeze in that 4:30pm yoga class. Consequently, I have a very bare bones list of self care essentials that are a priority for me these days like; sweat a few times a week, eat something green every day and for the love of all things holy, girl. Wash your face.

Washing my face is the one thing I do EVERY SINGLE DAY. No questions asked. I think I love it so much because it’s about more than just taking care of my skin. It’s a quiet moment to reflect, wake up or wind down. It’s about doing me and taking care of myself in a moment where there are no phones, no questions, no needs, no people…It’s just me, myself and my skincare. I mean honestly, is there a better feeling than a hot cloth on your face!? I’ll answer that. No. No, there isn’t. And best of all? My skin glows because of it.

So in that light, I wanted to share with you the most effective way to wash your face. It’s called double cleansing.

Double Cleansing

There are several ways to wash your face but the bottom line is, some methods are more effective than others. Throughout my 30+ years of face washing, I’ve run through the entire gamut of washing agents from drug store body bars to astringent cleansing pads to big-name department store skincare and clean beauty cleansers. And I can tell you, without a doubt, nothing gets the job done better than double cleansing.

girl washing her face with water splashing off

In short, “double cleansing” basically means washing your face twice. The first time to remove makeup, dirt and daily grime. And the second time to actually cleanse the skin. 

You can use an oil cleanser followed by an oil cleanser. Or an oil cleanser followed by micellar water. Or an oil cleanser followed by a foaming face wash or any combination of all these. The point is, double cleansing removes buildup and makeup on the first pass and then and then truly cleanses the skin on the second pass.

Typically I like to double cleanse at night to take my makeup off and single cleanse in the morning when a makeup remover is not necessary.

girl washing her face in a white room with bright light

Benefits of Double Cleansing

Benefit #1: Double cleansing is especially important for people who wear makeup and/or sunscreen. It’s an effective way to make sure all product and product buildup has been removed from the skin.

Benefit #2: Double cleansing introduces face massage into your routine. Face massage is a great way to stimulate blood flow and it helps to reduce fine lines which I have seen happen with my own skin.

Benefit #3: Using natural makeup removers, like oil cleansers, wont strip or dry out skin.

Benefit #4: If your skin is thoroughly cleansed, it is able to absorb serums and moisturizers more effectively. 

Benefit #5: Keeping skin truly clean can reduce breakouts.

holding up a hand and showing the OSEA cleanser viscosity with a green dot of lotion staying put

Buying clean

Of course I’m a huge fan of clean skincare. Here’s one reason why buying clean is important…

Some compounds do not stay long in the body, but still cause toxic effects during the time they are present. For serious health problems to arise, exposure to these rapidly-clearing compounds must occur on a daily basis.

Two such classes of compounds are the phthalate plasticizers and parabens, both of which are used in many personal care products, some medications, and even foods and food preservation.

Parabens, which can be dermally absorbed, are present in many cosmetic products. Their estrogenicity and tissue presence are a cause for concern regarding breast cancer. Fortunately, these compounds are relatively easy to avoid and such steps can result in dramatic reductions of urinary levels of these compounds.

NIH abstract

The following are some additional ingredients I recommend avoiding in your cleansers: 

  • mineral oil
  • parabens (like propylparaben or methylparaben)
  • fragrance, perfume, parfum 
  • silicone
  • PEG (PEG-7, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-100 Stearate) 
  • Polysorbate 20 or Polysorbate 60
  • phenoxyethanol

Ultimately we don’t want our cleanser to strip skin or leave it feeling dry. We want to choose a cleanser that works with our skin; something nourishing, calming and restorative.

Cleanser #1

Typically with double cleansing, the first cleanser is an oil cleanser. Oil is fantastic at breaking up makeup, sunscreen, grime, dirt and daily pollution while still leaving the skin’s natural hydrating oils in tact.

4 clean beauty oil cleansers lined up on a table

Here are some of my favorite oil cleansers: 

True Botanicals Pre Cleanse Oil

Formulated with just four organic oils, this cleanser is simple yet effective. It has a beautiful slip and doubles as a fantastic face massage oil. Leaves skin clean, hydrated and dewy. Good for all skin types.

Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil

A base of olive oil with ingredients like rosehip extract which can help to protect and repair skin against environmental stressors. This is a viscous oil with a ton of grab. You may need to use a bit more to make sure it does not soak in. Smells like olive oil and lemon. An excellent option for sensitive skin. 

Leahlani Pamplemousse

Bursting with notes of grapefruit, vanilla and plumeria, Pamplemousse plays to the senses. This formula stands out because it’s actually water soluble. Add a little water to your fingertips and watch this formula turn into a milky emulsion. Also love the addition of papaya and pineapple enzymes here which adds a light exfoliation. Good for all skin types.

Maya Chia The Great Cleanse

Supercritical chia seed oil cleans skin and restores moisture while natural botanicals like Roman chamomile, lavender, neroli and jasmine help calm the skin leaving behind a radiant glow. Great for all skin types, especially mature skin.

girl washing her face looking into a circle mirror

How to use: Take a few pumps of oil cleanser into the palm of your hands and then apply to your face. Massage the oil in circular motions over your entire face and neck including your eyes and lips. Remove oil with a warm cloth. Read my full review on The Great Cleanse and other Maya Chia products.

two cleansers lined up with girl reaching for one to double cleanse

Cleanser #2

Cleanser #2 can also be an oil cleanser but I personally love using a milky or foaming cleanser to finish the job. I find that this type of cleanser helps cut down the oil from the first cleanse and I am therefore left with skin that is truly bare and clean.

pumping OSEA cleanser from bottle into hand

My ultimate pick for a second cleanse is OSEA’s Ocean Cleanser. This is a milky cleanser that smells fantastic (like lime Skittles) and is easy to use but the benefits don’t stop there. I love this pick especially for mature skin. Why?

  • It’s cleans without leaving an oily residue or over drying. 
  • It’s formulated with lactic acid from fermented beets which provides a very light exfoliation.
  • It also has jojoba oil which is an effective cleanser and healing oil with a great consistency. 
  • It has Cypress Oil which works to balance oily skin and diminish the appearance of blemishes while also being rich in antioxidants.
  • It has Juniper Leaf Essential Oil to decongest surface impurities and help promote clear looking skin.
  • Plus it has organic seaweed to deeply hydrate and balance.
  • Best of all, it leaves my skin feeling incredibly clean, smooth and refreshed.

How to use: Apply to damp skin and massage gently to activate. Rinse with warm water. I also love using this in the morning as a single cleanse. 

close up of a girl washing her face

Do you double cleanse? Have you tried OSEA’s Ocean Cleanser? What’s your ritual?

Use code thisorganicgirl for a free travel size product of your choice ($18 value) with purchase of $40 or more. Must add travel size to cart and apply code at checkout to redeem offer. Shop here!

Xo, lisa


girl washing her face showing how to double cleanse

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of This Organic Girl. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!


  1. Reply


    Hi, im so excited to try make the repice. Is it mild enough for my tween daughter? Or should i reduce/change some EO? she is ten years old and likes to play outdoors a lot and i dont want to buy the store cleanser because of their preservatives and chemicals,etc. thanks a lot for your advice

    1. Reply


      Hi there! I would take out the EO for her!

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