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How To Tell What Cleanse Your Skin Needs

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No two human beings are the same. We’re all unique in our genetic makeup and in all of the idiosyncrasies that make us who we are. The same is true when it comes to our skin type. Everybody is different and has unique needs, and this means that we cannot generalize too much. A skin cleanse routine that is beneficial for one person, may actually be detrimental to the next. When you’re creating a skin care regimen, you should really focus on your skin type and use the appropriate products for you.

Recently there has emerged a debate on whether double-cleansing your skin is better than a single-cleanse for your skin. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to this conversation. Issues such as skin type, makeup and frequency of exposure to sunlight – these all play a role in determining the best course of action. Let’s take a look at some factors that may help you answer this question for yourself, but first, why’s it important to cleanse your skin?

The Purpose of Cleansing Skin

Woman laughing with moisturizing lotion lines on face.

Give your skin a healthier appearance.

As we go through our daily lives, dirt, oils and various impurities begin to build up on our skin, which can clog the skin’s pores over time. Clogged pores may lead to irritation and leave the skin’s texture appearing rough and uneven. Cleansing your skin helps to unclog pores which can give skin a healthier appearance as well as prevent the development of acne and breakouts. Cleansing your skin also helps to create a smooth surface, allowing for easy absorption of products such as moisturizers and serums. When these products are absorbed thoroughly into the skin, their benefits are maximized.

People who wear makeup and sunscreen frequently will also need to cleanse their skin regularly. The buildup of these products on the skin as well as other environmental pollutants, can damage the skin over time. If you are especially prone to acne and breakouts, it’s important to establish a daily cleansing routine. The question is, do you need to double-cleanse your skin, or is a single-cleanse more suitable for your skin type?  

What Is Double-Cleansing? 

Double-cleansing is a two-step process where two different types of skin cleansers are used, as opposed to a traditional cleansing routine which uses only one. This skin care routine has become more popular in recent times. Generally, the first step is to use an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water-based cleanser.

Water-based cleanser alone may not be powerful enough to remove oil-based impurities from the skin such as sebum, makeup and sunscreen products. This is why an oil-based cleanser is used initially, to clear the skin of those types of impurities. The second cleansing uses a water-based cleanser, and will help remove any remaining sweat, dirt, etc. The benefits of a double-cleanse vary compared to a single-cleanse, however that’s not to say one is better than the other. It just means that your unique skin type will determine which method is going to be the best option for you. Let’s take a look at the different benefits associated with double- and single-cleansing.

Benefits of Double-Cleansing

Double-cleansing has the ability to provide a deeper and more thorough cleaning. This helps to remove impurities from the skin, keeping it fresh and healthy-looking!

Improves Skin’s Texture 

By removing all traces of impurities, double-cleansing helps to unclog pores and prevent the buildup of dead skin cells. This leads to a smoother and more even skin texture which appears healthier. This also aids in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles which can cause skin to appear aged. Double-cleansing helps the skin maintain a youthful glow

Thoroughly Removes Impurities 

This regimen aids in the prevention of clogged pores, which can result in breakouts and other skin concerns. When pores become blocked up they often become irritated, resulting in the formation of blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne. Double-cleansing helps to prevent these types of breakouts by removing all impurities from the skin.

Increases Effectiveness of Other Skin Care Products

Double-cleansing leaves the skin cleaner and smoother, allowing other skincare products like serums and moisturizers to penetrate deeper. This means that the active components in these solutions are more easily absorbed, and can hydrate and nourish skin more effectively. Double-cleansing also ensures that skincare products are not placed on top of a layer of impurities, which might limit their effectiveness.

Benefits of Single-Cleansing

While single-cleansing doesn’t provide as deep a cleanse as double-cleansing, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not as effective. In general, it’s a great method for people who prefer a quick and easy skin care routine. It’s also highly recommended for people who have sensitive skin and are concerned about over-cleansing. 

Time Saving 

Single-cleansing is a one-step method that can easily be done in the morning or night and it will take you less than 5 minutes. This quick and easy routine is still highly effective in removing excess oils, dirt and impurities and helps the skin to maintain a clean and fresh appearance, without causing irritation and dryness. 

Prevents Over-Cleansing 

People who have sensitive skin should consider using this one-step cleansing routine, because sometimes double-cleansing can lead to over-cleansing. This leaves the skin feeling irritated, inflamed and may even cause redness and blotching on the affected areas. This usually happens because over-cleansing strips the skin of its natural oils which help to keep the skin hydrated.

Maintains Skin’s Natural pH Balance

Your skin should maintain a pH balance of 5.5, which is slightly acidic. Using a single-cleanse skin care routine will help your skin maintain its natural balance which is highly important in maintaining healthy, glowing skin. Over-cleansing can disrupt the pH balance, which can lead to further complications for your skin. 

Choosing The Right Approach For Your Skin Type

Girl with curly hair looking in the mirror putting on moisturizer.

Moisturization is a key part of skincare.

Now that we’ve looked at the benefits of single- vs double-cleansing for your skin, we can discuss the different skin types, and which approach would best suit you as an individual.

Normal To Dry Skin 

People with normal to dry skin wouldn’t necessarily need to double-cleanse their skin, because their skin probably doesn’t produce enough excess oil. In fact, they should avoid double-cleansing as it may easily lead to over-cleansing which may be ineffective and at times detrimental. In the case of normal to dry skin, simply using a water-based cleanser would be an adequate way to cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural oils.

Oily And Acne Prone Skin 

For people who have oily and acne prone skin, double-cleansing would be a highly effective skin care routine. These skin types are more prone to breakouts, because the excess oils in their skin can lead to clogged pores. The oil-based cleanser will help to remove excess oils and other impurities, while in the second step will provide a deep water-based cleanse without drying out the skin. 

Other Factors To Consider 

When choosing between double- and single-cleansing, your skin type is not the only factor that you need to take into consideration. It’s very important to consider lifestyle, your surroundings as well as personal preferences. Let’s take a look at some of these factors in more detail. 


As we age our skin becomes more delicate and may need more gentle care. If you have mature skin, it may be more appropriate to use a hydrating cleanser which will effectively clean your skin as well as avoid stripping it. Therefore, a double-cleanse routine may not be a good idea if you have mature skin, as it will most likely lead to dry, irritated skin.


Your skin is severely impacted by the environment that you live in, specifically with regards to the weather. In a hot and humid climate, you may produce more oil, making double-cleansing more important. In a dry climate, your skin may require more hydration, so a gentler single-cleanse will be perfect for you.


The amount of impurities and buildup on your skin can be influenced by your daily routine and habits. For instance, wearing heavy makeup or sunscreen daily may require a double-cleansing approach to effectively remove these products. Additionally, living in a polluted city or working in a job that exposes you to dirt and debris may also make double-cleansing a more beneficial option.

How To Double-Cleanse 

As mentioned before, the double-cleansing process involves using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser to provide a deep, thorough clean.

Step 1 – Begin With An Oil-Based Cleanser 

To begin, gently apply the oil-based cleanser on your dry skin. Use circular motions to massage the product into your skin, focusing on areas that have heavy makeup or sunscreen. Since the oil-based cleanser is formulated to break down and dissolve impurities, it’s crucial to give enough time for the product to work its magic.

Step 2 – Deep Cleanse Skin With Water-Based Cleanser 

Once you’ve finished with the oil-based cleanser, it’s time for the second step: the water-based cleanser. This will ensure that all the remaining impurities are removed from your skin. Apply the cleanser gently in circular motions, making sure to cover your entire face. Rinse it off with warm water when you’re done.

Step 3 – Apply Serum And Moisturizer 

Once you complete the double-cleansing process, your skin is free from impurities and primed for the application of serums and moisturizers. This step is crucial as it allows for better absorption and maximum effectiveness of the products applied. 

How To Single-Cleanse 

Single-cleansing is a straightforward process that involves using one cleanser to remove impurities and clean your skin. Take a look at how you can single-cleanse in three very simple steps. 

Step 1 – Apply Your Cleanser 

To begin your single-cleansing routine, wet your face with warm water first. Next, take a dime-sized amount of your preferred cleanser and massage it gently onto your skin using your fingertips.

Step 2 – Rinse And Dry 

After applying the cleanser onto your skin, thoroughly rinse your face with warm water to eliminate all traces of the product. Gently pat your face dry with a clean towel afterwards.

Step 3 – Apply Serum And Moisturizer

After completing the single-cleansing process and drying your skin, it’s crucial to apply the appropriate serum and moisturizer to provide hydration, keeping your skin looking youthful and rejuvenated.


In the end, the most suitable approach is the one that suits your skin type and personal preferences. It’s essential to try out various techniques to discover what works best for you, while also paying attention to the ingredients in your skincare products to avoid skin irritation or dryness. Seeking advice from a dermatologist or skin care professional can also offer valuable insights into identifying the optimal approach for your specific skin issues.