Skip to main


February 05, 2021 Charlotte Cho


I remember my pre-Korea days when I would emerge out of a warm steamy shower thinking I was squeaky clean. My shower was the standard fare: a sudsy mane and then hair soaked in conditioner while I Dove-d up my body and used Neutrogena foaming cleanser for my face. Afterward, I would look in the steamy mirror with the towel wrapped up on my face and slap on some moisturizer and it would be done.

Post-Korea, I've learned that I was sorta, kinda doing it all wrong when I was introduced to the double cleanse.

The double cleanse starts out with an oil cleanser followed by a foaming cleanser—you need two different formulas to properly and thoroughly cleanse your face.


Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Oil Balm ($25) 

Step One

Oil Cleanser: Gently draws out oil-based debris such as sebum, makeup, SPF and soot (aka pollutants)! Water-based cleansers aren't capable of removing oil-based debris because oil and water don't mix. 

How to Use: Pump/scoop the oil cleanser and massage it onto your face in gentle, upward circular motions. Then add water to your face and massage again to emulsify the product (you're doing it right if it turns milky). Lastly, rinse off the oil cleanser with lukewarm water.




Second Step

Foam/Cream Cleanser: Gently draws out water-based debris such as sweat and dirt. 

How to Use: After the oil cleanser is thoroughly rinsed off, add foam or cream cleanser to your face, with gentle upward circular motions. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Repeat Both Morning and Night!

When I mention to my friends that most likely an oil cleanser is missing from their cleansing routine, they look at me like I'm crazy. "But oil on my oily face would be disastrous! I'm going to break out!"

Ooooo, I love it when I get to interject here. It's quite contrary, actually: Oil products causing breakouts on oily faces is simply one of those skincare myths. Oil cleansers are super gentle and they actually help you get RID of acne!

How So?

You're actually doing a disservice to your skin by not properly removing your makeup/oil-based debris on your skin, which causes both congestion and breakouts. And when you use harsh cleansers that strip your face of its natural oils, your skin will actually try to over compensate for the dryness by producing more oil, which leads to more breakouts. 

After I introduced the double cleansing routine in a feature, I've received a lot of positive feedback. And by the way—when I receive emails from you guys, I break out into a huge grin and it literally makes my month so please keep them coming! Here is one email I received last week:

"Throughout my life, I thought my skincare routine was sufficient enough. Use Pond's facial cream to remove any dirt from my face, wash with a facial cloth, and slap on some moisturizer. It worked for my mom who has beautiful skin, so why wouldn't it work for me? When I first delved into Korean skincare after reading articles on your website and on IntoTheGloss, I was nervous. Wouldn't putting so many products on your face break you out?

After a month's use, I noticed that the pimples I had all over my face were disappearing! I was left with no acne scarring! I also noticed that my hairline was less oily, my face got a lot tighter, and appeared dewy.

I'm so sorry for the long story, but I just want to thank you so much for improving my skin. In the past, I would hate washing my face and skip it completely. However, I now look forward to doing my morning and nightly routines as I find it's so relaxing and therapeutic. Thank you so much Charlotte!"

One thing I've confirmed since going to skin school is that when it comes to your face, oil cleansers are very, VERY essential to your cleansing routine and it's not really just a Korean beauty secret after all! It's a skincare tip practiced by many dermatologists and estheticians and I hope with more education and word of mouth, this will be a more universally used concept.


What is your cleansing routine line? Have you tried double cleansing? Have you seen results?

comments powered by Disqus
About Charlotte

Soko Glam co-founder and chief curator. Licensed esthetician sharing the love of all things K-beauty.

About Sokoglam

Bringing the best in Korean skin care, beauty, and culture Stateside since 2012. Discover, shop, and learn with us.