There are certain beauty terms that make us feel just plain fancy. We're not scrubbing our face, we're exfoliating. We aren't washing up — we're double cleansing. But, in fact, the latter is far from just a fluffy phrase. Double cleansing is a very real — and very effective — way to wash your face. And, the method is exactly as it sounds: Proponents preach cleansing the face once to remove makeup and a second time to truly purify the skin.
Sound like a bunch of new-age mumbo jumbo? Au contraire, double cleansing has been practiced for centuries in Japan. "It started as the only means of cleansing white metallic makeup [worn by women as a sign of beauty], which traumatized the skin," says Maree Lavo, vice president of education and sales development at Shiseido. "Cleansing oils were the only product that could remove this very difficult, paint-like foundation. However, after the makeup was removed, a second wash using a foam-like cleanser refreshed the skin and, at the same time, removed any residuals from the oil."
Keep reading to learn more benefits of a double cleanse.
Shiseido Ultimate Cleansing Oil, $25, available at Sephora.
Though we now have lighter, more breathable makeup, the practice of double cleansing has seen little change. It's a methodical process light-years beyond a grab-and-go face wipe. Lavo's personal cleansing ritual reads like a day at the spa. "I use my oil cleanser with dry hands and massage my facial muscles in circular motions," she says. After rinsing with warm water, Lavo reaches for her water-based cleanser, lathering it to a foam. "Then, using my facial brush, I mimic the same movements used with my oil-based cleanser. After a minute of this, I rinse with lukewarm water and follow immediately with my softener and moisturizer." (Editor's note: Many Asian women use a liquid lotion called a "softener" or "essence" instead of a toner.)
Lavo is quick to note that integrating massage may be just as beneficial as the two-part cleaning itself. "Massage is not just for the body — it's incredible for your face and scalp. According to the Japanese, the more you massage, the less surgery you'll need. It's much more holistic," she says. "I am an avid believer that the more you stimulate blood, oxygen, and nutrient flow through massage, the healthier and greater anti-aging benefits you'll receive."
Shiseido Ibuki Gentle Cleanser, $30, available at Shiseido.
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