What is triple cleansing? I tried this skincare trend for a week to see if it's worth it.

Today, let’s talk about triple cleansing, the supposedly expert-approved way to wash your face.

As the name suggests, triple cleansing involves cleansing one’s face not once, but three times. Yep. Our faces are so dirty, so filthy, only the degreasing power of three different face cleansing products will do. Apparently. 

While having a squeaky clean face does sound lovely, do we really need to wash our faces three times every single night to get one? Is triple cleansing worth the extra time, effort and money, or could it make your skin worse?

To find out, I spoke to a dermatologist and put my own face on the line for a week triple cleansing.

Here’s how my face and I went.

What is triple cleansing?

In short, triple cleansing involves washing your face… three times. Every night.

Triple cleansing takes things one step further than double cleansing – the Korean K-beauty skincare trend based on washing your face twice. Think of it as double cleansing’s complex, materialistic younger cousin.

She’s deep and wants to get under your skin, literally.

While double cleansing involves first washing your face with a cleansing oil to thoroughly remove makeup before going in with a water-based cream or foaming product for a second cleanse, triple cleansing adds a ‘crucial’ third step.

To triple cleanse, you first need to use a cleansing wipe to remove your makeup, then a cleansing oil to remove the makeup the wipe didn’t catch, and finally, the water-based cleanser.


It’s a lot.

Side note – if sorting your skincare routine feels overwhelming, Mamamia’s Leigh Campbell can talk you through exactly where to start on the You Beauty podcast. Post continues after audio.

Are there any benefits to triple cleansing your skin?

When I asked Australasian College of Dermatologists’ Dr Catherine Reid if triple cleansing would enhance the look and feel of my skin, she was confident it would not. Not even in the slightest. In fact, the Adelaide-based dermatologist went as far as to say she wouldn’t recommend triple cleansing to her patients.

“Triple cleansing is not something that I would recommend as a dermatologist. I don’t believe there is any scientific evidence to suggest triple cleansing is necessary, or that it improves the skin health,” she told Mamamia.

The only exception to this would be people who need to wear a lot of makeup for work, like actors, journalists or TV presenters. For the rest of us, Dr Reid doesn’t believe there’s any benefit to cleansing three times every night. For some people, like those with excessively dry, oily or sensitive skin, it might make their skin worse.

In her opinion, cleansing is an individual process and people should “stick to what they know works for them”.

“I believe a single cleanser is adequate for the majority of people. If your skin tolerates triple cleansing, that’s fine, but I don’t think anymore is achieved by triple cleansing and it’s not necessary for maximal skin health.”

I triple cleansed for a week, here’s how it went.

For my foray into triple cleansing, I introduced two products into my routine.


For the first step, I opted for a makeup removing micro fibre cloth – I used the Face Halo Makeup Removing Pads (3 pack for $30) – over a makeup wipe because my skin has a tendency to get red and angry when I wipe it with things. When I got in the shower, I soaked the Face Halo with water and wiped it all over my face to remove my makeup. You can see the product on the disc when you’re done, which means it’s doing its job.

Next, I needed an oil cleanser for the second of the three cleansing steps. I poured a 10 cent piece-sized amount of the Sukin’s Super Greens Cleansing Oil ($13.95) into my hands and massaged all over my face before washing off with warm water. Doing it this way left an oily residue on my skin – you could also saturate a cotton pad and wipe over your face, I didn’t because I wanted to do all three triple cleansing steps in the shower.

To finish, I washed my face for a third time with a small amount of my everyday cleanser, the Beaute Pacifique Foaming Cleanser ($68), before applying my face serum and moisturiser.

STEP 1: Swipe this guy all over my face to remove makeup. Image: Supplied.
STEP 2: Rub this cleansing oil over too. Supposedly, it picks up the makeup the Face Halo missed. Image: Supplied.
STEP 3: Wash my face with my normal foaming cleanser and get out of the shower before I shrivel up like a prune. Image: Supplied.
My mug after triple cleansing, which looks eerily like my mug after... single cleansing? Image: Supplied.

To be honest, my face felt and looked no cleaner after triple cleansing than it does when I cleanse just the once. My dry skin did enjoy the extra hydration from adding the cleansing oil into my routine (I would probably do this every second day to avoid overdosing on oil), and my face felt noticeably glowier and plump an hour or two after finishing my skincare routine (I generally wash my face as soon as I get home from work).

I also couldn't help but feel like triple cleansing comes with a lot of admin. And product wastage, especially if you use face wipes instead of reusable face cloths. Even then, reusable cloths need to be washed after every few uses to avoid bacterial growth.

At the very least, triple cleansing involves adding another skincare product to my shopping list, which quite frankly, is long enough already.

In short, you probably won't catch me triple cleansing my face again anytime soon because A) I'm lazy and B) I'm lazy.

Turns out, I'm a one cleanser kind of woman.

Want more beauty content? Visit our newsletter page and sign up to "You Beauty"  to get beauty guru Leigh Campbell's best tips and products every week in your inbox (see one of her newsletters here).


Got January-Dread at the thought of a new year in your current job? Keen to take control of your life and be your own boss? Come and join Mia Freedman for the Lady Startup Activation Plan, an online course where she personally takes you through every step and gives you every resource to go from idea to launch. Enrolments are open for just a few days. Details here.