Whenever people ask me about double cleansing, I find that they often come at the subject already holding on to a lot of preconceived notions about what it means. They think that they have to use an oil cleanser, or they must use two different cleansers, or they’re supposed to do it every day. If you’ve ever felt hesitant about double cleansing, my major piece of advice would be to not get so caught up in the rules. Rules, after all, are meant to be broken.
Take double cleansing at face value. The name simply means “cleansing twice.” You can use whatever cleansers you like, just as long as you do it twice. The idea is that the first cleanse will help remove dirt and makeup at the end of the day. With that first layer of surface grime out of the way, the second cleanse is able to more effectively cleanse your skin. Most people consider the traditional double-cleansing method to include an oil or balm cleanser followed by a water-soluble cleanser, such as a gel or milk cleanser. This is just one option to consider. There are several different interpretations of double cleansing that you can tailor to suit your individual needs.
For example, if you have oily and congestion-prone skin, or if you have yet to find an oil or balm cleanser that works for you, feel free to use a water-soluble cleanser twice. Likewise, dry and dehydrated skin that feels uncomfortably tight after gel cleansing may benefit from using two balm or cream cleansers instead. They can even be the same product! I could absolutely see someone with dry skin using my After Show Treatment Cleanser for both the first and second cleanse; you don’t necessarily need two different cleansers.
Another concern that I frequently hear about double cleansing comes from people worried about over-cleansing and stripping away their protective acid mantle. If you have a compromised skin barrier, you can always use a micellar water as a light first cleanse and follow it with any gentle non-foaming cleanser that’s appropriate for your skin type. Even a micellar water can count as a first cleanse! Additionally, this is not something you need to do every day. Double cleansing one or two nights a week is perfectly sufficient. There’s no need to double cleanse in the morning, since the whole idea is to remove debris that has built up on the skin throughout the daytime.
While I’m generally anti-rules, I do have some suggestions for how to improve your double cleanse experience. I strongly recommend using a washcloth with your first cleanser. It doesn’t need to be too gritty or textured, but some kind of soft facial cloth will be more effective than just using your hands when it comes to removing SPF, makeup, dirt and grime. And above all, check in with your skin. It will let you know if you’re doing something to aggravate it, so pay attention to how your skin responds to your cleansing routine. If you notice changes in your level of hydration or irritation, you can always adjust your routine accordingly.
Double cleansing offers some great benefits for all skin types, so if you’ve been apprehensive about it in the past I’d encourage you to give it a try! The only “rule” you need to keep in mind is to do what feels right for your skin.
Is there anything more fun than playing mad scientist? There’s a freedom and sense of playfulness in mixing different items into a brand new, unique concoction. This experimental quality is one of the things I love most about my philosophy on choreographing your skincare routine. With a curated lineup of multi-use products, you can always combine and layer in fresh and interesting ways.
Tomorrow, I’ll be launching my Holiday Value Sets. These are great for restocking on your favorites at a reduced price, or for giving as gifts. Each value set also offers limitless opportunities for mixing and layering products to customize your own tailor-made skincare routine.
The Soloist collection contains all the essentials oily skin needs for a 3-step routine. After cleansing with the Matinee Gel Cleanser, you can layer Hydrate Facial Serum under the Performance Cream for lightweight hydration. If you prefer the cocktail approach, mix the Performance Cream with Hydrate to create your own calming, peptide-enriched gel-serum.
The Principal collection contains my best sellers, ready to mix and match as you please. One of my favorite skincare cocktails involves combining all three (the After Show Treatment Cleanser, Hydrate Facial Serum, and Etoile with Retinol Treatment Oil) and applying as a mask. Fruit extracts in the cleanser gently exfoliate while retinol, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants in the oil and serum help to smooth, plump, and brighten skin. After 20 minutes, rinse off to reveal gorgeous skin!
Finally, the grand finale of my holiday collections: the Choreographer. This set contains my complete skincare lineup for mixing and matching with endless possibilities—use my balm cleanser as a base for a DIY facial mask, or mix a bit of Etoile with Retinol Treatment Oil into other products for added moisture to keep dry winter skin at bay. You can double cleanse, layer, and truly choreograph your personalized routine with the Choreographer set.
I’m so excited to share these new sets with you all. Let me know about your favorite ways you mix and match products in the comments, and have a happy holiday season!
I talk about skin sensitivity nonstop. It’s the number one concern I’m asked about, it’s the most common issue I see in my clients’ skin, and it’s something that I deal with personally on a daily basis. The majority of people I come across assume that they’re experiencing sensitivity because they have naturally sensitive skin. On the contrary, most have sensitized skin.
So what’s the difference?
Sensitive skin is an innate inclination toward sensitivity. Regardless of changes to skincare products, habits, environment, or stress levels, sensitive skin is quick to redden and emits a lot of heat.Even if the acid mantle—skin’s natural barrier—is healthy and uncompromised, naturally sensitive skin remains highly reactive. Truly sensitive skin is quite uncommon.
Sensitized skin, on the other hand, is self-induced and much more prevalent. My personal experience with sensitivity speaks volumes to how even the best intentions can go awry. For most of my life, I had extremely hardy skin that could withstand almost anything. Once I got into skincare, my curiosity got the best of me and I yearned to try every product I could get my hands on. I started using acids in multiple steps of my routine (including cleansers, toners, and serums) along with clay masks, scrubs, and retinols. Barraging my skin with so many actives left me red, blotchy, and reactive. My skin remained inflamed even when I stopped using most actives. I told myself that I had sensitive skin now—that my skin type had changed with age. In truth, my skin was not naturally sensitive. I had created my own sensitivity. That, in essence, is sensitized skin.
Luckily, I’m not doomed to have sensitized skin forever. By focusing on rebuilding skin’s barrier, sensitized skin can be repaired over time. To start, I discontinued use of strong actives and eased off of manual exfoliation. I still need to exfoliate—it aids in skin’s natural desquamation process—but once a week with a scrub or washcloth is plenty when your barrier is broken.
In terms of products, I focused on hydration. Nourishing ingredients like omega-rich plant oils, moisture-locking hyaluronic acid, and replenishing peptides formed the foundation of my routine. A gentle cleanser ensured that I wasn’t undoing all of my hard work by stripping away my skin’s natural oil. Finally, no skin routine is complete without SPF. Chemical SPF can be rough on inflamed skin, so I swapped it for a gentler physical/mineral sunscreen (one with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide).
Restoring a compromised barrier doesn’t happen overnight. It requires time and consistency. I still experience little sensitivities here and there, but my skin condition has improved immensely and I’ve been able to re-introduce actives back into my routine in moderation. If you’ve had issues with sensitization, these practical steps can help you, too!