Korean Skincare: Step 2. Water Cleanser

skin quench

Step 2: Water Cleanser

So, you’ve completed your first step, the oil cleanse, but your skin doesn’t feel quite clean. That’s where your water cleanser comes in! The water cleanse is the second part of the double cleanse. While the oil cleanser removes excess oils and makeup, the water cleanser gets rid of any dirt, sweat, or water-based particles still in your pores. This method removes anything and everything that has collected on your skin overnight or throughout the day.

You might be more familiar with a water cleanser because that is what most people use. In my experience, I was very used to the water cleansers that strip you bare and leave you with squeaky clean, tight skin. While it may feel satisfying, it’s actually awful for your skin. These mainstream cleansers typically have a very high pH level.

A quick side note, this is exactly why bar soap or body soap is horrible for your face. Body soap has a pH level around 10. Yikes! This leaves your skin extremely dry and can lead to irritation. That dryness also signals your skin to produce more oils to compensate, which is the opposite of what you wanted in the first place. Many Korean Skincare brands are aware of this issue. They will often indicate the pH level of their cleansers on the product. I usually try to find a cleanser with a neutral pH of about 5.5.

Because the skin on your body is thicker, it can tolerate a higher pH level. That being said, the tight feeling your skin gets afterwards is still not a good thing. Here’s a Skin Quench bonus: always moisturize with lotion or body butter when you get out of the shower! Yes, even white people get ashy. Now back to your regularly scheduled skincare.

A lot of cleansers for acne skin are known to have benzoyl peroxide in them. It’s true that benzoyl peroxide can be beneficial in healing your acne. It’s antibacterial which means it has properties that can help kill any bacteria on your skin. Unfortunately, benzoyl peroxide is also known for stinging and drying out your skin. Again, this can lead to redness, irritation, dryness, and flaking.

There are generally two types of water cleansers out there: gel or foam. One is not any better than the other. It’s comes down to your preference and what works best for your skin. If we’re being honest, foam cleansers tend to be more popular because of the bubbles. I’ll admit, I’m a foam cleanser fan!

Let’s get to the fun part. Here are my ride or die water cleansers:

COSRX, Low-pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

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COSRX has never steered me wrong. They are a brand that is focused on creating products that target your skin concern, in fun and unique packaging. The Low-pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is the first K-Beauty water cleanser I was introduced to, and I still use it. The name alone lets you know that it won’t strip your skin. The pH level is a 5 which is ideal.

This cleanser has a gel consistency that foams up nicely when you add water. It’s great for all skin types, including sensitive and dry skin. I’ve found this cleanser to be very calming, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory for my acne-prone skin. It also has a relaxing botanical scent. Some great ingredients to highlight are saccharomyces ferment, tea tree oil, and evening primrose extract. You might get confused because it’s a “morning” cleanser, but you can use it at night as well. This product can be found on Soko Glam, Amazon, or COSRX’s website. The bottle holds 5.07 fl. oz. which is a steal for the price you’re getting.

Neogen, Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser

 skin quench


Neogen is a well-trusted, innovative brand that uses their research to solve your skin problems. I’m obsessed with their brand and many of their products are holy grails for me. The Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser is scientific, effective, and fun. What I love about this cleanser is the fact that it has real green tea leaves perpetually steeping in the bottom. Green tea is very calming for redness and acne, and I always feel the effect instantly. Not to mention the scent is lovely because you are basically washing your face with tea, mmm!

The pH of this cleanser is an 8 which is slightly high, however a balancing toner can neutralize your skin afterwards. The star ingredients here are green tea leaf extract, moringa seed extract, papaya fruit water, orange fruit extract, and niacinamide. This product is loaded with natural ingredients, so be sure to check out the full ingredient list. You can purchase this product on Soko Glam, Amazon, or Neogen’s website. The bottle is 5.6 fl. oz. which is a decent amount for the price and quality.

Interested in seeing more? Take a look at other water cleansers here.

The double cleanse is just the beginning to your Korean Skincare routine. Check back in on the Korean Skincare series next week to see what follows in step 3. Until then, I hope you’re all having an incredible holiday season. Drink up!

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