By Quyen Ly, exhale esthetician + skincare extraordinaire

You’ve seen it in magazines, social media, and it seems like the newbie on the beauty scene – but if you thought double cleansing was created to dupe you into buying more products, let us enlighten you. It’s quite the opposite, actually.

The method is actually centuries-old, and has been popular in Japan, Korea and China for hundreds of years. Recently, it has grown popular here in the states.

Double cleansing is exactly what you might have guessed. It means washing your face twice with two different types of cleansers: an oil cleanser or balm first, and next with a water-based cleanser.

Usually, opposites attract – but on your face, the opposite is true. Oil attracts oil, so your oil cleanser or balm will attract makeup, sebum, SPF & pollutants. Your second cleanser (which can be milk, gel, foam or clay form depending on your skin type) will get rid of water-based debris (like sweat and dirt.)

Unlike the rest of our skin, our face is exposed all day, attracting dust, bacteria and other particles from the air. We also perspire and secrete oil from within our skin. Our secretions act like a magnet and hold onto these particles from the air. Not to mention that you’re applying moisturizers, SPF and makeup in the morning…so throughout the day your skin will be covered in increasing layers of gunk.

Enter double cleansing to combat all that gunk – it’s extremely beneficial for city dwellers, especially those who are acne-prone, oily, and for those who wear makeup throughout the day. It softens and effectively prepares your skin for renewal, so anything that you use afterward will be absorbed properly. This way, it’ll maximize the benefits you’ll reap from the products you already have in your skincare arsenal.

We recommend trying this at night to wash it all away – and of course, book a facial to cleanse it all out with the pros.