Beautyknot ~ My Skin Care Diary

Double-cleansing or Over-cleansing?

Posted on: January 7, 2010


If you read my post regularly, you may notice I mentioned double-cleansing method in AM and PM in my lately posts. Double-cleansing became prevalent and well-known among skin care lovers. The common practice is, after makeup remover, follow by facial cleanser. While certain group of people disputes double-cleansing leads to over-cleansing, I used to be in the dilemma. Gratefully now I can get some clearer picture after reading few beauty books that written by professionals and beauty guru.


Here I’d like to share with you of what inspiring me of double-cleansing via the reading. However, I would focus on cleansing oil only in this post. Thought-provoking, Taiwan cosmetic ingredient expert, Zhang Li Qin and Japan beauty guru Chizu Saeki, both brought out distinctive points of view throughout their many years related beauty experiences.



Chizu Saeki has more than 30years career in beauty industry, from a beauty consultant of Guerlain to international training manager of Christian Dior, now own her beauty salon at central Tokyo. If you have ever read her book, you must know she repeatably emphasizes to stay away from using cleansing oil at all cost. According to her…


  • Throughout her many years as beauty consultant, she had seen too many clients were suffered dehydrated and sensitive skin because of cleansing oil.


  • If you’re not wearing makeup like Geisha, you don’t need strong remover like cleansing oil. Cleansing milk/cream is sufficient for normal makeup without stripping skin natural protective lipid.


  • Cleansing oil consists of surfactant and emulsifier which could irritate skin in long term, including breakout, blackhead and sensitive issues. Whereas cleansing milk/cream is gentler to skin.


  • Many cleansing oil leaves an oily film on skin after cleansing, mostly uncomfortable thus most people will remove the film by second cleansing with facial cleanser. This caused skin loss of its natural protective lipid, resulting dehydrated and vulnerable skin in long run.


What I think: Ahh…. she has spotted on what I’ve been going through previously! That was a time I even thought I’ve dry skin! Her says is completely added up. Somehow, my skin is naturally sensitive and already suffered dehydration since late 20s before I started with cleansing oil. Still, I agreed with her points to certain degree but I think cleansing oil earned a notorious crown undeservedly, whereby incorrect skin care habit is the main culprit.



Zhang Li Qin is a specialist of cosmetic ingredient, a consultant and beauty trainer to cosmetic companies, a lecturer of bio-chemical engineering and also a beauty columnist, who has more than 20 years experience in the industry. In her books, she is emphasizing best makeup remover is cleansing oil. According to her…


  • Best makeup remover to any types of makeup is those composed by high-level oil content, either cleansing oil or cleansing cream. Why? Because oil is capable to draw out  all dirt and impurities as well as makeup from the pores by just finger massage without assistance from strong chemical ingredients.


  • Oil is relatively gentle to skin compare to chemical-formulated cleanser. Those makeup removers with low oil content either not cleanse thoroughly or have to be assisted by additional chemical ingredients for effective cleansing, thus more likely to irritate skin.


  • Some people experience breakout/blackhead by using cleansing oil. In fact that is mostly caused by certain synthetic ingredients like surfactant in commercial cleansing oil. While gentle synthetic ingredient like Capryic/capric triglyceride (similar to human skin structure) is safer to skin. If you’re not sure, avoid any synthetic ingredients then. The main reason using synthetic ingredients in cleansing oil includes: lower cost, aims to reduce greasiness and having best cleansing power amid mineral oil, plant oil and synthetic oil.


  • Due to surfactants and emulsifiers in common cleansing oil, literally we couldn’t tell if there is any chemical residue after cleansing, which is toxic to skin in long run, particular incomplete emulsifying process. Hence, double-cleansing by facial cleanser is necessary to remove all impurities and residue thoroughly.


  • Mineral oil is popular main ingredient to many cleansing oil. Do you know it has different grade as well? The highest grade is pure mineral oil is baby oil, because delicate baby skin is yet to develop complete immune system against harsh chemical. Therefore, the pure mineral oil is safe for adult skin too. If you have suffered blackhead/acnes or irritation from a mineral oil-based cleansing oil, that could be the mineral oil used is not the pure grade which consists other impurities inside. Nonetheless, certain baby oil in today market consist other ingredient such as vary silicone to reduce greasiness, and this type of baby oil can’t be used for cleansing.


  • Plant oil is safe, gentle and provides skin care benefit. That’s best if using pure natural plant oil for cleansing. However, natural plant oil usually heavy, thick and uneasy spreadable, thus feeling uncomfortable on skin. Such as olive oil, white bran oil and avocado oil. Light oil such as jojoba oil or safflower oil is preferred. 


  • Cleansing oil is suitable to oily skin too because oil is definitely gentler than harsh chemical that usually consisted in those cleansing water to dissolve makeup and dirt. Oily skin is recommended using lightweight skin care product, but since cleansing oil won’t stay on skin more than few minutes and eventually rinse off, so no much worries of using cleansing oil. Again, choosing a good cleansing oil is the key point.


What I think: Ahh…. that was so tricky to select a good cleansing oil! Well, we have no clue of the grade and percentage of the ingredients, so that was hard to justify the good or bad of the mineral oil-based cleansing oil. Personally, I was lucky that kitchen grape seed oil works great on me, so I could minimize all the problematic possibility stated above. Cautiously, I used to try the heavy kitchen extra virgin olive oil as makeup remover, it leaved a thick oily film where my facial cleanser couldn’t remove it after 3 washes, resulting severe dehydrated poor skin. Now, I was converted to use plant-based cleansing milk only, but would still get commercial cleansing oil for waterproof mascara and quicker makeup removal. You know, when I was dragging my body home…


As a conclusion, I would say double-cleansing is not over-cleansing. Instead, it’s all about the quality of cleansing oil  and how we use it appropriately. Many makeup removers in the market included soothing ingredients to minimize skin discomfort during the cleansing, select carefully because the soothing ingredients would only temporary minimize irritation but the damage caused by harmful synthetic ingredient will build up over time.  Last but not least, I hope the article is helpful to you and please correct me if I am wrong.





6 Responses to "Double-cleansing or Over-cleansing?"

nice and complete article ^^ I always use cleansing milk as my first step cleanser. Actually I was eager to have cleansing oil as well. But the price is more expensive than cleansing milk, so I stick with cleansing milk. The only one cleansing oil I tried was from neutrogena and that’s quiet good. I got no breakout after use that 🙂

Thank you so much, mapple. I am picky about cleansing milk, so the cleansing milk that I liked is more expensive than my favorite cleansing oil here. The cost is really the BIG point to be considered. ^^

i do agree that cleansing oil does leave a thin film on the skin, and i always use a foam cleanser after that. But i still prefer cleansing oil over cleansing milk coz it feels cleaner at removing traces of makeup 🙂

I got the Moisturizing Cleansing Oil from Botanics at 100baht and am loving it so far 😀

Hello Nellz, if the cleansing oil didn’t cause you any problem, then is fine. That’s very important to get rid all the makeup completely.

What!! 100 baht? I bought the Botanics moisturizing cleansing oil last month, it is on “buy1free1” promotion, so 150baht for one. You’re lucky^^.

Whoaaa you mean the normal price is 300baht for one??

I saw a big sign with “100” so i asked the salesperson if that meant 100baht and she said yes with a big smile..

Guess whose smile is bigger? heheheheh

I am really hoping Boots will have Buy1 Free1 again next week.. coz i’ll be flying to Bkk hee hee

Yes, the normal retail price for one is 300 baht. Wish ü luck.

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January 2010
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Hi, many things have been keeping my mind and time occupied these days, thus I need more time to response to all comments. Please bear with me, thank you.

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Sensitive, combination skin type, visible blood vessels, freckles, easily dehydrated, dry and having fine line undereye, occasional breakout, visible aging pores.



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