The Double Cleanse Method is the Skincare Secret You Need Right Now

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If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re a skin-loving individual devoted to properly washing and caring for your face – maybe you’ve even heard of the double cleanse method! Sadly, and scarily enough, most of us are not washing our faces properly. Most of us are washing our faces in a habitual process. We are not making intentional acts towards washing our face. Meaning, we just aren’t really paying attention to what we’re doing because it’s become such a ritual. 

Ready for a scary truth? If you’re not washing your face properly, you may be leaving behind a layer of makeup, dirt, sunscreen, and pollutants. The next steps in your skincare routine, such as your toner, essences, serums and moisturizers can not act to their fullest potential and may not be delivering their rich ingredients into your skin. Double cleansing solves this problem by using two different types of cleansers to wash your face leaving you with a deeper clean. In this post we’ll review the history of the double cleansing method (it’s been around for a while, folks), the benefits of double cleansing, how to do it properly, and the best product recommendations based on your skin type. 

The History of Double Cleansing

14th Century Reports

As early as the 14th century historical reports indicate that the double cleanse method may have originated in Japan or Korea. Reports also suggest that double cleansing has long been practiced in German and French skincare regimes.  Historically, Korean women and Japanese geishas first used plant based oils to loosen dirt and makeup, and followed this with a second step of using rice water to remove impurities.

20th Century Popularity 

Fast forward to 20th century American culture. Cold creams became popular among women as a makeup remover and cleanser. While cold creams can effectively “melt” makeup off the face, they fall short at their effectiveness to properly cleanse the skin. When used as a cleanser, cold creams leave behind a layer of residue which can include makeup, dirt, oil, pollutants and more.

So, how does double cleansing fit into this? Enter Dr. Erno Laszlo. Proper facial cleansing has always been the cornerstone of his skincare beliefs, once saying “If you do nothing else, wash your face.” In 1939 Dr. Laszlo opened his first skin institute at 677 Fifth Avenue, New York City. Treating some of the most famous faces and celebrities he quickly rose to fame. Katharine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis, and Audrey Hepburn are just a few of his famous clients. And so, because of him and his long list of skin-loving celebrities, the double cleanse method rose to fame.

Laszlo’s Rise to Fame

Prior to his move to America, he studied skin pathology and disease at the Royal Hungarian Elisabeth University of Medical Sciences in Budapest. He then did clinical studies in Berlin, Germany. His fame sprung from his treatment of Princess Stephanie of Belgium’s severe acne. As the story goes, her acne was so terrible it had an affect on her self confidence to the point where she was in constant hiding. Dr. Laszlo created a foundation treatment to cure her acute case of acne. He further rose to fame after successfully treating the facial scars of actress Frida Gombaszoegi who was shot in the face by a rejected suitor. After months of consultations and the use of his phormula-3 technology, Frida was able to make a successful return to her career.

After opening his Institute in New York City in 1939, Laszlo became a skin guru to many famous faces. However, anyone was able to receive his services by simply making an appointment for a consultation. It wasn’t until 1952 when Laszlo formed a partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue that the products became available to the public outside of his Institute. Even then, he was very careful as he did not just want to sell his products, but rather to listen, educate and heal his clients. Consultants had to work for Saks for at least 1 year before being considered for the highly sought after Erno Laszlo training program, and even then had to train for an additional 6 months before they could consult with clients and prescribe treatments. 

Erno Laszlo products became popular thanks to the many famous celebrities using the line, however, it’s interesting to note that these celebrities were never approached by Erno Laszlo or his institute. Rather, they sought treatment from Erno Laszlo to help with their skin conditions. The products made many famous appearances throughout history. Hauntingly, Laszlo products appear in the crime scene photos that document the aftermath of Marylin Monroe’s death. The Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar makes an appearance in Woody Allen’s iconic, Annie Hall. Possibly referring to the mind-body connection which Laszlo was known for, Marilyn Monroe said, “Erno Laszlo not only heals my skin, but soothes my soul.” While Audrey Hepburn was adorably quoted, “I owe fifty percent of my beauty to my mother, and the other fifty percent to Erno Laszlo.”

Why Double Cleanse?

Facial cleansing prevents clogged pores and leaves a blank canvas for toners, serums and moisturizers to be applied. However, how many of us are actually washing our faces correctly? The answer – not many. Think of it like this, you wash your face to remove makeup, dirt, and pollutants. You then apply products to help with underlying concerns. If not washing your face correctly you may still have a layer of dirt on the skin, and products will not have an opportunity to work to their fullest potential!

How It Works

The double cleanse method can be used morning and night. Read on below for instructions on the two step process. 

Double Cleanse Step 1

The double cleanse method begins with an oil to gently loosen dirt, makeup and other impurities, while also soothing and softening the skin. To use, gently massage the oil in circular motions into your skin for 30 seconds to 1 minute to allow the ingredients to work to their fullest potential.

Double Cleanse Step 2

Don’t rinse just yet! Dampen a cleansing facial bar under warm water and gently massage the wet bar over your face in a circular motion. A cleansing bar is naturally antibacterial, does not contain plastic, and some, such as the sea mud deep cleansing bar are natural exfoliants. 

The cleansing bar acts as a type of guasha or facial roller tool to lift, plump and massage your face. This second step creates a lightweight mask to penetrate pores and remove impurities. After using the bar to massage your face, lather onto hands and use fingertips to massage your face and neck. Follow by rinsing with warm water and pat skin dry with a clean washcloth. The second step should also follow the 1 minute rule. You will be left with clean skin that feels fresh without the feeling of tightness. 

Marilyn Monroe’s Skin Care

This cleansing method, specifically the Hydra-Therapy Phelityl Cleansing Oil and Phelityl Cleansing Bar, was prescribed to Marilyn Monroe by Dr. Erno Laszlo. See below for an original photo of the step-by-step instructions provided to her.  

The Best Products for Your Skin Type


These nourishing cleansing oils aid in soothing and softening the skin. They work to gently break up dirt, makeup, SPF, and other pollutants, without the damaging effect of stripping it of its valuable moisture.

  • Detox Cleansing Oil This clarifying oil works to deeply cleanse and dissolve surface impurities and makeup. 
    • Recommended Skin types: Oily/Combination Skin
    • Benefits: Anti-Blemish, Detoxifying, Pore-refining
    • Technology: Charcoal, Shea Butter
  • Hydra-Therapy Phelityl Cleansing Oil This hydrating cleansing oil works to preserve the skins natural barrier, dissolving surface impurities while giving skin a much dose of moisture.
    • Recommended Skin types: All Skin types
    • Benefits: Hydration
    • Technology: 10 Seed Oil Blend, Vitamin E
  • Brightening Cleansing Oil This illuminating and moisturizing oil cleanser works to dissolve everyday impurities and pollutants with its antioxidant rich citrus and hydrating oils. 
    • Recommended Skin types: Oily/Combination Skin
    • Benefits: Brightening, Smoothing, Skin Radiance
    • Technology: Coconut Oil, Japanese Mandarin


These moisture rich cleansing bars act as a skincare treatment. They contain powerful antioxidants and botanicals to solve specific skin concerns. When combined with the oil, a rich mask is created that penetrates pores to emulsify and remove impurities.
  • Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar The famous black bar! This cleansing bar boasts dead sea mud as well as salts and minerals that are beneficial to the skin. You can expect a deep cleanse that helps to purify the skin for a younger, healthier looking complexion. 
    • Recommended Skin types: Oily/Combination Skin
    • Benefits: Anti-Blemish, Detoxifying, Pore-refining
    • Technology: Dead Sea Mud, Charcoal
  • Phelityl Cleansing Bar The original! This bar gently cleanses without over drying. It effectively cleans the skin while also delivering essential fatty acids that help skin maintain moisture and supports a healthy complexion.
    • Recommended Skin types: Combination/Dry Skin
    • Benefits: Hydration
    • Technology: Safflower Seed Oil, Macadamia Esters
  • White Marble Treatment Bar The unsung hero! This cleansing bar is a creamy, dual action treatment that gently exfoliates and smooths skins appearance while also working to brighten the complexion. The result? A glowing, even-toned complexion.  
    • Recommended Skin types: Oily/Combination Skin
    • Benefits: Brightening, Skin Radiance
    • Technology: Phenylethyl, Resorcinol, Fruit Extract Complex