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Korean skincare: Double Cleansing

16 Oct 2017
by S. Safa

Most of you have probably heard about double cleansing by now. Double cleansing is a skincare technique that started in South Korea and Japan before it made its way to Europe and North America. As the name suggests, this technique is a two-step cleansing routine that is very popular among lovers of Korean skincare. Today I want to elaborate on this cleansing method and discuss who this technique is most suited for and talk about a couple of my favorite double-cleansing products.

What is double cleansing?

As mentioned, double cleansing is a two-step cleansing routine. It includes two types of cleansers: an oil-based cleanser to remove base products in the first step, and a water-soluble cleanser to cleanse the skin in the second.

Step 1. Removing base products/makeup with an oil-based cleanser
The first step is aimed at removing makeup and sunscreen. Oil-based cleansers dissolve makeup and base products a lot easier and gentler than water-soluble cleansers. You can use any oil-based cleanser for this step; a cleansing balm, or cleansing oil. Some even use pure oils like coconut oil. I personally prefer to use a modern cleansing oil over a pure oil, because pure oils tend to leave a greasy residue on the skin. Modern cleansing oils, on the other hand, contain emulsifiers that allow water and oil to mix, creating a milky emulsion that rinses off fairly easily.

Step 2. Cleansing the skin

The second step is aimed at cleansing the actual skin. For this step, you can use whatever water-soluble cleanser you prefer. Be it a gel cleanser, a foaming cleanser, or a lotion cleanser. Just make sure the cleanser you use is gentle and suited to your skin type.

Who should double cleanse?

The concept behind double cleansing is to get rid of makeup in the first step so as to 'clear the way for your regular cleanser in the second step. This ensures thoroughly cleansed skin in two gentle steps. There are cleansers that can do both steps in one, but they tend to be very harsh on the skin and strip the skin of all moisture. It’s much better to cleanse the skin in two gentle steps than in one rough step.

Double cleansing is not a must for everyone. If you’re someone who doesn’t wear much base makeup or sunscreen, it’s definitely not necessary to take the extra step.
But if you’re someone who wears heavy (and waterproof) makeup on the regular and/or uses a lot of sunscreens, then your skin could definitely benefit from double cleansing. It’s just a clever way to gently cleanse the skin.
Double cleansing is also suitable for oily people who find that mild cleansers don’t sufficiently remove excess oil, but stronger cleansers leave their skin tight and dry. With double cleansing, you can remove excess oil with an oil-based cleanser, and then cleanse the skin with a regular gentle cleanser. This way your skin is rid of oil, but not the healthy moisture barrier that it naturally has.


How to double cleanse?

Since double cleansing is typically used to get rid of makeup and sunscreen, you’ll probably find that it’s most beneficial at night, when there’s actual makeup and sunscreen to remove. But you can double cleanse as often as you feel necessary, it’s very gentle, and it’s not bad for your skin.

To double cleanse:

1. Dispense your preferred oil-based cleanser into the palms of your hands and rub your hands together. Spread the oil on your face by gently massaging the oil into the skin, including the eyes, for 30-60 seconds.
2. Apply a little water to your skin and continue massaging. This should form a milky emulsion.
3. Rinse or gently remove the cleanser with a wet washcloth.
4. Dispense your regular cleanser into the palms of your hands and massage it into your damp skin.
5. Rinse and pat your skin dry with a clean towel.


What products to use

You can use whatever oil-based and water-soluble cleanser you prefer, just make sure that you use gentle cleansers that are mild and suitable for your skin type.
For the first step, I prefer using cleansing balms over cleansing oils, because I find that cleansing balms typically remove eye makeup more efficiently, especially waterproof mascara.

One of my favorite cleansing balms is the Banila Co Clean it Zero purifying. It’s an award-winning hypoallergenic cleansing balm and removes all my makeup effortlessly. It's probably one of the most popular Korean skincare products out there. There are multiple versions of this balm, I rotate between them, but I love all of them.


And for the second step, I always make sure that I use a very mild cleanser that is formulated for sensitive skin. One that I am using is the Klairs Rich Moist Foaming cleanser. It’s an extremely gentle cleanser that leaves my skin moisturized after I use it. I truly feel this is one of the best cleansers I’ve ever used. It is a little pricy though. A cheaper alternative would be the Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. It’s a mild cleanser that doesn’t contain any SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and has a low pH to keep your skin balanced and protected.

I hope this information has been useful to you. Please let us know what your favorite cleansers are and which ones you would like to see on our website.
See you next time!

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