• Japanese Skincare Routine: Double Cleansing

    Have you given much thought to how you cleanse your skin every night? Do you remove makeup and cleanse skin in one step? Do you place closer attention to one area on your face than other? Which area do you start first? Are you massaging your face when you’re removing makeup?

    I can’t stress enough the importance of good cleansing every night, especially if you have problem-prone skin. Not just a quick once-over but a proper cleanse that leaves skin perfectly clean, but not stripped and dried out — or leave a residue behind. It’s all about gentle but very thorough cleansing.

    One of the most important, if not the most important, step in a Japanese skincare routine is known as “double cleansing”. (Do read my post on Japanese skincare routine if you haven’t done so.) Not washing your face twice with the same product — as the name suggests — but rather, removing makeup and cleansing skin (to wash away sebum, bacteria, and residue) in two separate steps. Rubbing, massaging, and wiping with cotton wool pads or wash cloths are all a big no-no. You want to let the products do all the work. (Facial massage is done only on clean skin.)

    Lifting makeup from skin so that impurities can be easily wash away is the motto for step 1 in Double Cleansing. In Japan, removing makeup is called “cleansing” — and cleansing skin is referred as “washing”. Products like cleansing oils are a makeup removers and they’re not meant to be used alone. It’s generally recommended to start with the sides of the face as it is the largest surface area with makeup on, and continue on to the T-zone, then finish with rest of the face. If your eye area is sensitive, it’s best to use a separate eye makeup remover as some can cause irritation.

    On the other hand, step 2 (or “washing”), should start with (and focus on) the oiliness part of the face (T-zone) and end with the driest, which is generally the cheek area. The reason is that the main point of the second step is to wash off excess sebum and dirt from the skin, while ensuring residue of loosened makeup from previous step is removed. If you do it reverse, the drier areas can become even more dried out, eventually leading to a whole slew other problems.

    120 JPY Foaming net from MUJI

    Facial cleansers, or face washes, in Japan are the foaming variety. Unlike Western counterparts, these cleansing foams are sulphate-free and work to an ultra-dense foamy lather that resembles whipped marshmallow. The idea is that the there should be absolutely no friction and minimal skin-to-skin contact when washing the skin. These Japanese foaming cleansers should never be directly applied to wet face (unless they’re the self-foaming variety)! The correct way is to work product into a rich foamy lather using your hands, then use fingertips to glide foam to wash face without making direct skin-to-skin contact. If you find you can’t do so with yours, you’re either not using enough product, not lathering properly, or you just have a poorly formulated cleansing foam.

    I highly recommend getting a foaming net. You use it to work into a foamy lather in lieu of your hands — it enhances the lather, saves time, and saves product! It’s included with some (newer) cleansers, but you can buy one for about 105 JPY. There’re some “fancier” ones that resemble a mini body wash puff  or have sponge pieces attached, but I personally find plain washing net (like the one pictured to the left) works best.

    Your skin will not be happy with if you rub it with facial cleanser, trying to remove the layers sunscreen and long-wearing foundation. Haphazard or over zealous cleansing works against skin, often leading to a seemingly endless cycle of problems. If you have oiliness, dry patches, continuous breakouts, or skin congestion and nothing seems to be able to help at it, I recommend taking a close look at how you cleanse your skin every night.

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    • Nerolowe

      Hi ratzillacosme, I want to ask, do I need to double cleanse if im only using loose Powder? (im wearing chanel poudre libre and it’s very light) Im also wondering , can I use only cleansing oil and finish there? (not continuing the second step) As I double cleansing, if done everyday, has made my skin dry and tight.

      • http://www.ratzillacosme.com/ Ratzilla

        The products you’re using aren’t right for your skin type. Your skin shouldn’t be left dry and tight after you double cleanse.

        If you don’t feel the need to, then don’t — skin care should be personalised to fit your own needs. Personally, I always do both as the 1st step is to remove makeup and the 2nd step is the wash off the remaining crap that might still be on the skin.

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    • Judy

      hello there!! i am currently using the hadalabo cleansing oil. however, it makes my vision cloudy. =( is that normal, let alone safe? what would you recommend a cleansing oil that does my vision blurry and is inexpensive?

      p.s. i LOVE your website!!!! so informative!

      • http://www.ratzillacosme.com/ Ratzilla

        Normal? Some do, some don’t. I’ve tested cleansing oils that left my eyes burning and some that left my vision all blurry till the next morning!

        Fancl’s Mild Cleansing Oil has been my longtime favourite for years even after multiple reformulation. More budget-friendly ones I like are Softymo cleansing oils (only negligible difference between all 3), Hipitch Deep Cleansing Oil W, and Cow Brand Mutenka Cleansing Oil.

    • Owen

      Hi there, I’ve been stalking your blog lately and i’m just wondering

      do I need to use a cleansing oil if im only using Biore Watery Essence Sunscreen ( I reapply 3 times a day anyway, a dilligent apprentiece of yours right here!)

      Do you think I can clean BB cream with normal foam cleanser ( I use seba med) as some people said bb creams are easy to clean yet there is this other side who stated the opposite.

      And the last, If i’m not wearing any bb cream nor sunscreen (Sorry! but you know those days when you feel extra lazy), do I need to use cleansing oil? Can I use cleansing oil, like, every night? I’m scared if it will peel my skin off, and If I do use it every night, then I wouldnt need any scrub? I mean, just imagining using double cleansing and scrub sounds… scary. And anyway (promise this is the last) which one do you think is the best between kose softymo, innisfree greentea, muji, or hada labo c/o?

      Anyway thanks a lot and sorry for the extra long post, your blog has been really helpful since im using aha creams now and i need to slather sunscreen all over my body! Thanksss : *

      • http://www.ratzillacosme.com/ Ratzilla

        A regular foaming face wash is enough to fully remove the Biore Watery Essence sunscreen.

        “BB cream is easy to clean”? That would depends on the BB cream in question. Many, many Japanese BB creams have a longwearing formula that is oil and sweat resistant. Since BB cream is a makeup item, you should remove it using a makeup remover 1st.

        Cleansing oil is a makeup remover not a cleanser, so if you’re not wearing makeup nor longwearing sunscreen, no need to use one. Also, it has nothing to do with exfoliants like scrubs. They’re for completley different purpose and have nothing to do with each other. If you need to exfoliate your skin, using a cleansing oil won’t make a difference either way.

    • Anna

      I love your post about Japanese Skincare Routine :) I would like know more about anti-age Japanese Skincare Routine – please write post about it :) Thx so much :) regards from Poland :)

    • Nuria

      Hi, I’m from Brasil and I do not speak english very well, but I’ll try to explane my doubt. I realy would like to find 1 (only one) product to make the Double Cleansing, something convenient/pratical/faster and whith a friendly price. Could you suggest something? Tks a lot! Greetings from Brasil!

      • http://www.ratzillacosme.com/ Ratzilla

        You can always use just 1 product but that’s not double cleansing anymore. There’re some makeup removers now that claim to eliminate the need for double cleansing (please browse the Makeup Removers section), you can perhaps look into those

      • Lam

        You want something, cheap, use olive oil or avocado oil or macadamia oil as makeup remover and use foam cleanser as your second step :))

        • http://www.ratzillacosme.com/ Ratzilla

          Yes, that’s also an option but it’s not the same.

          The idea is of step 1 is to remove the makeup from the skin. Plain oil “melt” the makeup, but unlike a cleansing oil, everything just sits on the skin as it cannot be easily removed on its own — unless you’re rinsing with very hot water or wiping it off, both are highly not recommended and you’re still left with quite an oily residue.

          • Lam

            Oh, yeh sorry, I always wipe it off with unfraganced baby wipes. But you are right, it can be oily, so recently I discovered Sorbolene, just normal moisturising lotion, no fragance. It works like a dream :)) I’m from Australia so I’m not sure if they sell it every where else? But I’m sure you will be able to find similar cream.

      • mariana

        Olá Nuria, tambem sou brasileira e por isso estou falando em portugues ( rs) acredito que os oleos ( perfect oil) fazem isso que vc quer ou seja, derretem a maquiagem e saem com agua não necessitando utilizar o passo 2 ( sabonete ou espuma de limpeza) eu te recomendo o da biore ou o da shiseido . São maravilhosos eu uso no meu dia a dia e não me arrependo. caso queira comprar no brasil a pronta entrega eu vendo me da um toque por email.Bjs ( [email protected])

      • Sarah

        There’s The 3 in 1 cleanser 3.0.1 from Chica y Chico which is a gel that becomes oil and finally bubble foam!! It’s about 20$ so it’s a bit expensive but it’s one product for double cleansing!

    • minniemin

      Im a bit confused ; is it the first step_makeup removing process_ that the product must not be applied on wet face or is it the second step??

      • http://www.ratzillacosme.com/ Ratzilla

        Majority of Japanese makeup removers (e.g. cleansing oils, cleansing gels, cleansing liquids, etc.) should be applied using dry hands on dry face.

    • minniemin

      Im a bit confused is it in the makeup removing process the product must not be applied on wet face??

    • http://www.facebook.com/stretchy.stace Stretch Eriksson

      It’s my first time buying cleanser in Japan and I have been recommended DHC oil to cleanse and Dr Ci Labo to wash. My skin is oily in the t zone but not overly so, and I have very occasional breakouts. I would really value your opinion before I invest.

    • http://easttowestskincare.wordpress.com easttowestskincare

      Is this washing bar for the face too? (According to the company). TKS.


      • http://www.ratzillacosme.com ratzilla

        Yes. It’s for the face.

    • http://gravatar.com/loftylacunae A

      Which oil and foaming cleanser do you recommend for double cleansing?

      • http://www.ratzillacosme.com ratzilla

        It really depends on your skin type and your own personal preferences. I prefer cleansing oil + Japanese foaming face wash (cleansing foam).

        I personally dislike thick-textured oils, but other than that, I’m not picky at all. Same with face wash. I generally always have several cleansing oils and washes that I’m trying out so I rarely use the same thing day after day. That being said, I have personally repurchased Fancl, ORP Tokyo, and Cow Brand Mutenka cleansing oils many times. For foaming face washes, I’m currently liking Biore Skincare Facial Foam. The entire line is excellent, especially for its price! I especically like the Medicated Acne one. Cleansing Research’s is good as well. Oilier skin might like the classic Senka Perfect Whip from Shiseido.

        • A

          Thanks! This is helpful.

    • http://www.evanescentevents.blogspot.ca/ J

      Where can you purchase the foaming net online?

    • L

      How do you use a foaming net? I don’t understand…

      • http://www.ratzillacosme.com ratzilla

        You dispense product directly onto the foaming net, add warm water and rub to make foam. Then take the foam (by pulling the net through your fingers, scraping/squeezing all the foam out) and use it to cleanse skin.

        • L

          Thank you :)