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Is Korean double cleaning the best way to cleanse face ?

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

If you follow the beauty industry in recent years, you must have heard of the double cleansing routine, which is mainstream in Korea. Virtually all Korean women (men) follow this exact routine. So I am sure, just like me, you must be curious if this is actually the best way to cleanse skin ? In an attempt to answer this, I set myself on a journey to research all of the reliable information that I can get my hands on to do a deep dive, yep, the fascination is real.

To my surprise, the answer is "no", Korean double cleaning ritual is not the best way to cleanse face. But why would it be a holy grail ritual in Korea and the ideology has successfully been exported to the Western world.

What is a double cleaning?

First - oil cleanser - to easily break down all of the makeup, sunscreen and impurity

Second - Foam cleanser - to completely remove any residual from the above

I won't bore you with all of the evolutionary of how double cleansing routine got engrained in the Korean culture, let's jump into the juicy part of why double cleansing is currently being perceived as better than the single cleansing.

To start, it might be obvious, double cleansing is twice the single cleansing. Funny right? but it is as simple as that, double cleansing is more than one so the result is a cleaner face compared to the single cleansing.

Well, the point is to understand why "the need" for double cleansing. To answer that we need to know the definition of the common skin problems.

- "Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples."

- "A whitehead is a type of acne that forms when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria become trapped within one of your pores."

- "Blackheads are small, dark lesions that appear on the skin, often on the face and neck.They contain an oxidized version of melanin, the dark pigment made by cells in the skin. "

- "A pimple is a small pustule or papule. Pimples develop when sebaceous glands, or oil glands, become clogged and infected, leading to swollen, red lesions filled with pus."

As you quickly noticed, the key words "clog" and "plug" popped up in all definitions. So to unclog the skin might help resolve the common skin problems. Via cleaning is something we can do to contribute. Even though there could be other major factors to add to the skin issues including diet, sleep, stress, hydration, etc, we want to focus on cleansing for this article to ensure we are educated before moving on.

Often we judge how clean something is with just the appearance. After one time of facial cleansing, my face looks pretty clean, so I don't need another layer of cleansing, right? I am sure many people from the Western world think just like me. But the Koreans might beg to differ, they have been trained to believe in things that they can't see with their plain eyes such as the belief that double cleansing is the only way to make sure the skin is cleared of impurity to prep for the later steps of applying essence, serum, and cream. A very different perception indeed. But I have to say, they have a point.

In general, you need to double cleanse to completely remove everything on your face ranging from makeup to sunscreen, dirt, oil, etc, But does it has to be an oil cleanser first, the answer no, but it could be an easier application when you try to remove stubborn makeup. The stats below supports that double cleansing is the best way to clean:

But, has the Western world been wrong all this time ?

No, not necessarily. The Western world has been exercising just one step of the cleansing process, but the supplementary steps have been used to remove impurities such as makeup remover and or toner. This is definitely better than just the solo of the one step cleansing. However, there has been a long standing history of using tools to help with facial cleansing. The one that I want to emphasize in this blog is the electric facial cleanser, which currently is making a big wave in North America. There are many kinds but all has some sort of issues, thus, not worthy of being brought up, this includes the rotating facial cleanser, which is extremely aggressive on the skin, an ideology to change in the West is definitely to be a lot more gentle on the skin.

The gold star tool that we want to mention is the electric sonic brush. In the past, the bristle one was used but the gold standard is now the silicon because it is easier to clean and no need to change the brush head, so definitely a win win situation.

Why a cleansing brush? Is it better than the double cleansing ?

To my utmost surprise, the answer is yes!

Why ? because it offers a few extra benefits:

- completely cleanse the skin after one time wash

- open up clogged pores; therefore, helps reduce acne, blackhead and redness.

The clinical study below will explain everything:


Before this blog turning into a book, I do want to wrap it up. Long story short, if you are looking for an effective way to cleanse face while trying to save time, products, and achieving maximum results, invest in a silicon facial electric brush.

Happy reading :)


Chung, Hae Shin. K-Beauty : The Facts: Korea's Top Dermatologist Reveals the Insider Truth about Korean Skincare . Zisik Books.

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