Modern life is just rife with irony. Today, we keep our breath fresh with strips that dissolve on the tongue, we deodorize several parts of our bodies and we ward off germs with antibacterial gels. Yet – and here's the irony – most of us are walking through the world with dirty skin. Truly dirty.
What happens when the skin is cleansed?
When we apply a cleanser, we generally use a gel-based, sudsy or milky cleanser. All contain surface active agents (or surfactants) that provide the primary cleansing action. During the initial cleansing process, surfactants emulsify fat or lipid debris, such as sebum, make-up, environmental hydrocarbons and sunscreens, allowing them to dissolve in the rinse water. Meanwhile, the water-based portion of the cleanser dissolves water-soluble debris, namely sweat and some environmental pollutants.
Considering the amount of material that potentially collects on the skin, this initial cleansing will only remove superficial debris and is certainly not adequate for a thorough cleansing. But there is no need to resort to a pore-wrenching strip or harsh, stripping astringent. A simple Double Cleanse will thoroughly remove oils, dirt and grime from the skin.
The only catch: If you Double Cleanse only with a water-based cleanser, there still may be some oil-soluble substances left behind – particularly when cleansing oily skin. But if you Double Cleanse with an oil-based cleanser first, you'll get better results.
In chemistry, it is said that like attracts like. Cleansers that are formulated with plant-based oils (Borage Seed, Kukui Nut, Apricot Kernel, etc.) can better melt the layers of oil-based debris on the skin; the oil molecules bond to each other, unlike water molecules in a non-oil-based cleanser. These oils then emulsify with the addition of water to encapsulate and remove the trapped debris, allowing the second cleanser to penetrate even further than before – without making the skin feel too dry or stripped.