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Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of different cleansing options and the difference between them?


Allow us to de-mystify the various types of K-Beauty cleansers and how to pick the perfect one for your skin type.



Now let’s just be clear – when we say soap, we’re not talking about any old bar lying around your bathroom or laundry. In fact, regular old bath soap can actually be really bad for your skin, causing it to dry out, flake and become red and irritated.

Korean soaps are an altogether different beast.

For a start, they are packed full of ingredients that are designed to improve your skin.

Soap cleansers can be used to get rid of makeup, as well as clarifying and tightening your pores.

They lather up easily with water, however, if you like, you can use them with sponges, brushes, loofers or even an electric cleansing machine to get a deeper, soapier cleanse happening.

In general, cleansing soaps work really well on oily skin types.

We love Benton Dear My Best Friend Bar. 



Don’t be put off by the oil factor – oilier cleansing formulations (most of which are made with a mix of oil, water and wax) are perfect for dissolving the makeup, dirt and impurities that become lodged in your skin throughout the day. They are also great for blackhead removal.

However, because of the oil factor, we don’t recommend using them by themselves.  This is where the Korean 2 Step Cleansing Method comes in.

Use your oil-based cleanser as Step 1, to whisk away the day’s makeup and then follow it up with a foam cleanser for Step 2. This method will have your skin looking squeaky clean and feeling fantastic.

If you’re suffering from dry skin, oil cleansers with jojoba, olive and almond oil work a treat.

STYLE STORY loves B-Labs I’m Sorry Just Cleansing Watery Cleansing Oil for all skin types, d’Alba Piedmont Peptide No Sebum Mild Gel Cleanser for anti-aging and APLB Blackout Cleansing Oil for acne prone, combination and oily skin types.


Milk cleansers are another gentle, natural way of washing your face that are similar to cleansing oils. Milk contains lactic acid, which hydrates your skin and is also an alpha hydroxy acid, which works as a gentle exfoliator.

Milk cleansers are very gentle and are great for sensitive or dry skins. They are also good for restoring any imbalances caused by harsh soaps and cleansers, as well as the harmful effects of hard water (the calcium, magnesium and iron deposits in hard water can irritate and dry out your skin).

Milk cleansing can leave your skin more supple and moisturised.



 The vast majority of Korean face washes come in the form of foam cleansers. Foam cleansers are mild and luxurious washes that foam when combined with water. Containing everything from volcanic clay to baking powder, sugar and egg whites, no matter what skin issue you have, there is a Korean foam cleanser that will sort it out.

Foam cleansers are ideal for deep cleansing however they aren’t always great at removing makeup.

Some foam cleansers can be slightly drying and may irritate dry or sensitive skin types. However, this means that many of them are great for acne-prone skin, as they get rid of pore clogging dirt and impurities.

If you have sensitive, dry skin try B-LAB’s I’m Sorry Just Cleansing Foam – this pure and mild foam causes no irritation when cleansing with its high-density whipped bubble formula. It contains natural extracts certified by ECOCERT and is also animal-experiment free.

If you’re suffering from redness, dull skin or dry flakes, try APLB’s Sensitive Micro Cleansing Foam. We love the combination of hard-hitting ingredients like salicylic acid and tea tree leaf extract with well known skincare essentials like centella asiatica.



Cleansing balms have soft, buttery or sorbet-like textures that melts away once you apply them to your face. They go on as a solid balm and are usually applied with a spatula or spoon.

Balm cleansers are all the rage in Korea right now, as they effortlessly dissolve stubborn makeup and cast out impurities without stripping your skin of beneficial oils.

The product that kick-started Korea’s sherbet cleansing craze was Banila’s Clean It Zero, which has won beauty awards for its lush formulation.

We also love Beauty of Joseon Radiance Cleansing Balm for sensitive skin and Heimish All Clean Balm for oily and combination skin

Not sure which K-Beauty cleanser to try? Why not try Banila’s adorable mini kit featuring all four Banila Clean It Zero formulations. 


You can’t really beat cleansing sticks for convenience factor — they melt away makeup and leave your face feeling extra clean.

For oily/combination skin, JJ Young’s pH 5.6 balanced Black Cleansing Stick contains star ingredients like charcoal, volcanic ash and kaolin, that soak up oil to ready you for a shine-free day!  The stick’s physical exfoliation properties to help unclog black heads and impurities.

For sensitive skin, JJ Young’s Green Cleansing Stick dissolves makeup and removes deep-seated dirt with its gentle foaming formula. Packed full of natural extracts like green tea, oat bran and licorice, the handy stick makes it an ideal cleanser for travel and skincare on-the-go!



Ideal for the lazy girls and time poor, cleansing waters offer an all-in-one cleanse, tone and hydrating boost that removes makeup and leaves skin soft, cutting your skincare routine in half.

While we wouldn’t recommend relying on them every day, when you’re at the gym or on the road, cleansing waters are a great, handy solution. 

Try KLAVUU Pure Pearlsation Marine Collagen Micro Cleansing Water.


Phew! Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be!



The sheer array of Korean face washes, soaps and cleansers can be dizzying, but don’t stress. There are different types of face washes and cleansers that work better for different skin types.

Dry and sensitive skin types work best with cream cleansers, oil cleansers, cleansing milks and lotions.

Normal and combination skin types have the pick of the bunch, as they can usually use almost anything, however they work best with oil cleansers, cleansing foams, sherbet cleansers and cleansing tissues.

Oily skins benefit from soaps, cleansing foams, cleansing oils, cleansing powders and tissues / wipes.


Which types of K-Beauty cleansers are you using in your routine and why? Let us know in the comments below! 



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