Why do the Double Cleanse?

Using a cleanser at the end of a long day to remove dirt, debris, makeup, and sebum is a part of most modern skincare routines. Throughout Asia, cleansing is widely considered the most important part of skincare, which has resulted in the development of highly specialized products and methodologies.

The double cleanse method is commonplace in Korea and Japan, where there is the belief that, because multiple ‘layers’ are needed to achieve a finished day-time look (skincare, make up base, UV protection, BBs or foundations, concealers), more than one step of cleansing is needed to truly remove everything.

After a two week group trial with our 15 member test panel, the Glow Recipe team’s verdict? The double cleanse method leaves skin looking cleaner, feeling softer, and less prone to unsightly breakouts.


The first step requires either a cleansing oil or cleansing water. These products are formulated to remove even the most stubborn oil-based products and eye makeup. Apply to dry, not damp, skin so as to not dilute the efficacy of the cleanser. Another benefit of cleansing oils is that they can be used to gently massage facial pressure points, which can help to improve circulation and relieve puffiness.

Our favorite find is Shara Shara’s Black Bean Cleansing Oil – a gentle formula packed with antioxidants that is not runny or sticky. See below for a before and after from a Korean beauty blogger about its makeup removal powers. Emulsify with warm water after massaging and rinse off.


A tip from our resident makeup artist Kora is to gently run a clean cotton swab over both the top and bottom rims of your eyes after cleansing. As it is often hardest to remove eye makeup, if no residue is left around the eyes, it is a good check to know you have cleansed thoroughly. Note that over time, traces of makeup left on your skin can irritate your skin, clog pores, and even cause discoloration.

The second step is to clean dirt and debris with a gentle sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) free foaming or gel cleanser. Healthy skin is slightly acidic and SLSs are highly alkaline, which disrupt the balance of the skin. We especially love Dr. Oracle’s The Snow Queen Enzyme Powder Wash – a unique sulfate-free powder cleanser that instantly transforms into a luxurious foam when ‘activated’ with water. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and finish with cold water to keep pores tight. Pat skin dry with a clean towel (never rub!). Many Korean women also use the fingertips to pat the skin gently until it is moist, but no longer wet – a practice which is supposed to help keep skin hydrated and toned.

We firmly believe that clean skin is the foundation of a sold skincare routine. Please let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments below. We will also be posting shortly on how to put together the right regimen for your skin type – so stay tuned!

Get your glow on,

The Glow Recipe Team

Photo from Lifespa

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