One of the ways in which Korean skincare differs significantly from skincare in the US is in the cleansing of the skin. In the US, we often use just one cleansing product, but in Korea it is most common to do the cleansing in two steps, using both an oil-based, and a water-based cleanser.
During the first step, an oil-based cleanser such as a cleansing oil or a cleansing balm, is used to remove makeup and dissolve dirt that has accumulated on the skin’s surface throughout the day. This step is essential as it does most of the heavy lifting, preparing the skin for the second step of the cleansing.
During the second step, a water-based cleanser such as a cleansing gel or a foaming cleanser is used to remove any remaining dirt and makeup. Water-based cleansers typically create a lather when massaged into the skin and provide deeper cleansing, leaving the skin fresh, clean, and hydrated.
One of the main reasons why double cleansing is so popular in Korea is that the two-step process is considered an effective and gentle way to clean the skin. If the skin is covered in dirt and makeup, it is harder for serums and creams to penetrate the surface. Proper cleansing ensures that all of the nourishing and nurturing ingredients can be properly absorbed by the skin and thus really come to use.
Oil-based cleansers are typically the most effective when it comes to removing makeup, while water-based products are better suited for cleansing and refreshing the skin. The skin’s pH is slightly lower than neutral, and the most gentle cleansing products often have a slightly lower pH that does not disturb the skin’s natural pH balance.