In the Clear

From double cleansing to wipes vs. oils, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about cleansing your skin the right way.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
From double cleansing to wipes vs. oils, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about cleansing your skin the right way.
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If you remember the name “Bae Dal Mi”, you probably still remember the chilling viral video that made the rounds a few years ago. If not, here’s a refresher: a Korean makeup junkie refused to wash her face for two years, sleeping in full makeup every night. When her mother finally convinced her to see a skin specialist, the then-20year-old was informed she had the skin of someone twice her age. 
Scary, right? We all know that cleansing is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine. But at the same time, most of us still use the same routine we had when we were acne-battling teens. And a lot has likely changed since then: we discovered makeup, our acne settled down, we started worrying about fine lines... and the list goes on.
At the same time, cleansing seems to have gotten more and more complicated. Double cleansing? Micellar waters? Makeup wipes? What’s the difference and what should you use? Let Maria Luisa Milleza, a scientist and skin expert from Neutrogena’s Research & Development department, wash away the mystery and confusion.

Cleanser makeup remover 

Thought your cleanser would do the job of removing makeup too? Not so, says Maria Luisa. “Ordinary cleansers are meant to cleanse your skin of dirt and oil. Some degree of makeup will be taken off, but often, there will be traces left behind.” If you use waterproof or long-wearing makeup, a makeup remover is essential as it preps the surface of your skin for proper cleansing.

The #1 rule for wipes

If you’re going to be relying on makeup wipes to take it all off, gentleness is key. According to Maria Luisa, “Overcleansing is not good for your skin and will result in over-dryness.” Instead, you should look out for,  “gentle, ultra-soft cloths [that are] effective even on long-wearing or waterproof makeup.”

The thing about oils

The one thing you must not do with oily skin is use oil-based products, right? Nuh-uh. “The science behind oil cleansing is ‘like dissolves like’,” says Maria Luisa. “Many of the most stubborn impurities on your face are oils, including makeup, dirt, sunscreen, and excess sebum... You can think of it as a good oil that attracts and extracts the bad oils on your skin,” explains Maria Luisa. She also adds that oil cleansers help your skin stay moisturised, which is essential, even if you have oily skin.

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If you’re seriously busy (or just really lazy – we won’t judge) a new breed of cleansers can remove makeup and dirt at the same time. First, apply the oil-like formula to dissolve makeup. Then add water to transform it into a foam that lifts impurities off the skin and cleanses the pores. Even if you use waterproof makeup, you’ll be done with just one wash.

Try these: Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Oil-to-Foam, Deep Clean Hydrating Cleansing Oil-to-Foam, and Deep Clean Brightening Cleansing Oil-to-Foam, $25.90 each for a limited time (U.P. $30.90).