Beauty Clinic: Please explain double-cleansing


Q. I keep hearing about double cleansing your face but I don't really understand it. Can you clarify? And why would we do it? A Double cleansing is exactly that: a two-step process of cleaning your face twice (at night only, one-stage is fine in the morning). Experts all extol the virtues of double cleansing for achieving better skin in every way. Skin expert Dr. Tom Mammone of Clinique explains: ‘properly cleansed skin has a tremendous impact on its function and is less likely to produce clogged pores and has less frequent and less severe breakouts and blemishes.’

Also, really clean skin takes up skincare products such as serum and moisturiser far more effectively and make-up sits better and lasts longer. And if you were worried, as we were, that double cleansing might impair the skin barrier, the answer is that it actually leaves it stronger and healthier, according to Dr .Mammone.

The idea of double cleansing is that before you begin cleansing proper, you need to remove make-up (which is designed to last these days), sunscreen, bacteria, grime and pollution, and thus unclog pores. ‘Not removing make-up first would be like showering with your clothes on,’ explains Dr Mammone, who is Vice President Skin Physiology and Pharmacology for Clinique Worldwide (a mouthful but he really does know pretty well everything about skin).

The two steps can be carried out with different products: say, a balm or oil first for dry, sensitive or normal skin, with a gentle foaming cleanser for combination or oily. Our current favourites are Année de Mamiel  Natural Botaniques Restorative Cleansing Balm/£54 for 100 ml, which melts away the day’s residue, with Erborian Double Mousse Gentle Cleansing Foam for combination skin/£22 for 90 ml. Liz Earle’s best-selling Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser/£14 for 100 ml, has won legions of awards for a good reason, and should suit all skin types. It also whisks off eye make-up, without any stinging we find.

Micellar waters are another option: due to their chemical structure, these ‘magic’ waters, which you put on a cotton wool pad, remove make-up and cleanse and help hydrate skin. We are just trialling these for Beauty Bible Awards 2017 so will be able to tell you the winners soon.

For the second stage of double cleansing, you might want to try a super-effective sonic brush with a gel cleanser (we happily use Cleanse & Polish for this stage). The Foreo range of Facial Cleansing Brushes is our top favourite here, not cheap but they seem to last for years (Sarah’s is about three years old and going strong). The website is but it’s worth foraging online for special offers.

Clinique also offer a Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush/£79, which is, they tell us, ‘clinically proven to significantly increase radiance and smoothness, improve skin texture and unclog pores’, and should be gentle enough for daily use.

A significant innovation for another two-step seasonal skin treat, which you can use in conjunction with double cleansing, is Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C/£25, which contains 7 single-use packets of Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C, and one 7-day vial of Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%. This is garnering fantastic reviews for leaving skin brighter, smoother and healthier-looking.