• Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Milks to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 1
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Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Milks to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True!

Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) for the best facial cleansing milk. We then chose the 15 most popular products and tested them for the following:

1. Cleansing Power
2. Hydration (that is, how hydrated your skin is after cleansing)
3. Ingredients

We talked to a specialist who used to work in cosmetics R&D about options for sensitive and dry skin. We looked for products that worked on waterproof makeup. What we ended up with was a definitive list of and buying guide about the best Japanese cleansing milks available online and in drugstores.
  • Last updated: 10-25-2019
  • 1,034 views
Table of Contents

Top 15 Best Japanese Cleansing Milks to Buy Online

We tried them out on makeup. We measured moisture levels in our skin to make sure they weren’t drying. We consulted a skincare specialist about fail-proof ingredients. Based on how they performed on these tests, we ranked the top 15 Japanese cleansing milks available online.
※Japanese prices for the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing.
1
Japaneseカウブランド 無添加メイク落としミルク
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetYes
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing3.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients5.0
Overall Score5.0
2
Japaneseアクセーヌ ミルキィクレンズアップ
TypeRinse and Wipe off
Double CleansingNecessary
Can be Applied WetNo
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing4.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients4.0
Overall Score4.0
3
Japaneseカバーマーク トリートメント クレンジングミルク
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingNecessary
Can be Applied WetYes
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing5.0
Hydration5.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score4.0
4

Give & Take Oil-in Milk Cleansing

$6.98

Japaneseギブ&テイク クレンジングオイルミルク
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetYes
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing3.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients5.0
Overall Score4.0
5
Japaneseミノン アミノモイスト モイストミルキィ クレンジング
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingNecessary
Can be Applied WetNo
Eyelash ExtensionsNo
Cleansing4.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score4.0
6
Japanese毛穴撫子 重曹クレンジングミルク
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetYes
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing4.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients4.0
Overall Score4.0
7
Japaneseママバター クレンジングミルク
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetNo
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing4.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients4.0
Overall Score4.0
8
JapaneseHACCI クレンジングミルク
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetNot Listed
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing3.0
Hydration5.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score3.0
9
JapaneseAQ MW クレンジング ミルク
TypeRinse and Wipe off
Double CleansingUnecessary
Can be Applied WetNot Listed
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing4.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score3.0
10
Japaneseパラドゥ スキンケアクレンジング
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetYes
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing4.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score3.0
11
JapaneseN organic モイスチュア&バランシング クレンジングミルク
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetNot Listed
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing5.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score3.0
12

Nameraka Honpo Makeup Remover Milk

$5.68

Japaneseなめらか本舗 メイク落としミルク N
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetYes
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing2.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score2.0
13
Japanese無印良品 マイルドミルククレンジング
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetNot Listed
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing2.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score2.0
14
Japaneseアルジェラン モイスト クレンジングミルク
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetNo
Eyelash ExtensionsNot Listed
Cleansing2.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score2.0
15
Japaneseチャントアチャーム クレンジングミルク
TypeRinse off
Double CleansingUnnecessary
Can be Applied WetNo
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing1.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score1.0

How We Tested Our Products

We determined that the best cleansing milks actually, well, cleansed. But it was just as important that they be hydrating and mild enough for sensitive skin.
This is how we tested for those factors.

Test ①: Cleansing

Test ①: Cleansing
We applied makeup to the backs of our hands. We then massaged in all the samples of cleansing milk for an equal amount of time and rinsed off. We rated each product on cleansing power; a score of five meant the cleanser worked effectively on a great majority of products (including waterproof ones).
We tested on the following cosmetics. To give us a better idea of the maximum efficacy of each cleanser, we purposely chose long-wearing items.

  • Waterproof Mascara

  • Eyeshadow

  • Eyeliner

  • Lip Tint

  • Liquid Foundation

Formulas that featured plant-based oils, such as rice bran oil, were less drying and more mild overall. However, they lacked in cleansing power. If you wear heavy makeup, go for cleansing that feature esters and mineral oils.

Test ②: Hydration

Test ②: Hydration
We used a moisture analyzer to measure water levels in our skin before cleansing, right after cleanser, and five minutes after cleansing.
Out of all forms of cleansing, cleansing milk naturally has the most hydrating ingredients–and it turned out that all the products we tested packed a good amount of moisture. The best, however, tended to be thicker in texture; they acted as a cushion, staving off unwanted friction and locking in water.

Test ③: Ingredients

Test ③: Ingredients
We asked a specialist who used to work in cosmetics R&D to help us identify options for sensitive skin. She looked through all the ingredients lists, then graded the products on a five-step scale. The highest scores went to the mildest products.
※Keep in mind that a low score doesn’t equate to a dangerous product. It simply means that it was judged to be possibly irritating for folks with sensitive skin.
We learned that just because a product is organic doesn’t mean it’s more suitable for sensitive skin. Many organic products contain a blend of various botanical extracts and essential oils, and it’s possible that at least one of the ingredients will cause an allergic reaction or irritate sensitive skin.
Furthermore, in Japan, there aren’t any clear regulations governing which products get to label themselves as “organic” and which don’t. If you have allergies, sensitive skin, eczema or any other kind of skin disease, make sure you patch test all products (including organic ones!) before applying to your face.

Tips on How to Choose Japanese Cleansing Milk – Buying Guide

Here are five big things to look out for.

① Cleansing Milks Can be Rinsed or Wiped off

① Cleansing Milks Can be Rinsed or Wiped off
Some cleansing milks are rinsed off with water; others are wiped off with cotton swabs. You can let preference dictate which one you choose, but generally speaking, we recommend milk that you rinse off.
There’s two big reasons for this. The first is it’s faster. You use the cleansing milk to lift makeup off your skin, then immediately splash your whole face with water, giving the grime less time to sink back into your skin. The second, it’s gentler. You never want to rub at your face, whether that be with a cotton pad or otherwise.
Cleansers that you wipe off, however, are more convenient when you’re only trying to remove eye and lip makeup.

② Here are Some Common Ingredients and Their Effects

Different formulations answer to different needs.

For Those in Need of Moisture

For Those in Need of Moisture
The skeptics among you may be thinking that hydrating ingredients in a cleanser have no meaning; after all, you rinse them off soon after application. However, hydrating ingredients also serve to act as a barrier between your skin and all the cleansing agents in the formula; they keep the cleanser from stripping away essential oils and wearing down skin.
The following are moisturizing ingredients commonly found in cleansing milk.
Common Hydrating Ingredients

  • セラミド: Ceramides

  • ヒアルロン酸Na: Sodium Hyaluronate

  • グリセリン: Glycerin

  • コラーゲン: Collagen

  • BG: Butylene Glycol

  • PCA-NA: Sodium PCA

  • 乳酸Na: Sodium Lactate

Not for Those with Sensitive Skin

Not for Those with Sensitive Skin
Take “additive-free※1” labels with a grain of salt. A formula has to avoid just one of several common ingredients (such as fragrances or dyes) to be considered “additive-free.” It’s up to you to ascertain exactly what’s in the cleanser and what isn’t.
Below are some ingredients that those with sensitive skin should be wary of.
Common Sensitivities and Allergies

  • アルコール (エタノール): Alcohol (Ethanol)

  • 着色料: Dyes

  • 香料: Perfumes/Fragrances

  • 抗菌力の高い防腐剤 (安息香酸、パラベン類※2): Preservatives Considered Highly Antibacterial (Benzoic Acid, Parabens)

Common Additives that Can be Drying

  • 鉱物油(ミネラルオイル): Mineral Oil

※1 無添加:additive free
※2 パラベン: parabens (note: not all parabens are irritating. Many brands are dedicated to the safety of their products and conduct vigorous tests to ensure that their formulas are gentle. However, items that contain a large amount of parabens or parabens that are highly antibacterial can sometimes act as triggers when applied to sensitive skin.)

③ You Can Skip the Double-Cleansing to Save Time

③ You Can Skip the Double-Cleansing to Save Time
Many Japanese cleansers need to be followed by a face wash; that’s the “double-cleansing” that you hear about so often. However, if you just can’t be bothered, then get a product that can be used on its own※3.
Washing your face too much can dehydrate it. Stand-alone cleansers are thus a good choice for folks with dry and sensitive skin. Or you could limit stand-alone cleansers to the winter, when winds strip skin of moisture and you have less sebum to contend with.
However, there’s a chance that longer-wearing makeup will leave behind residue, so we recommend that you double-cleanse if you regularly use waterproof products.
※3 W洗顔不要: can be used on its own (lit. double-cleansing unnecessary)

④ Only Certain Products Can be Used in the Shower

④ Only Certain Products Can be Used in the Shower
Many cleansers don’t work as well when applied with wet hands. If you like to take off your makeup in the bath or shower, then check the packaging※4. It should say whether or not the product’s formulated for bath-time use.
※4 「濡れた手OK!」「濡れたまま使える」: can be used when wet

⑤ And You Need Special Products for Eyelash Extensions Too

⑤ And You Need Special Products for Eyelash Extensions Too
Eyelash extensions are attached with glue. That glue is weak to oil, so cleansing milks that contain things like mineral oils and esters may cause them to fall out. There are, however, mineral-oil formulas that are extension-friendly.
The easiest way to tell is, again, to read the label. If the product says it’s okay for eyelash extensions, then it’s okay for eyelash extensions※5; if it says nothing, then assume it isn’t compatible.
※5「マツエクOK」「マツエク対応」: extension-friendly

What is Cleansing Milk?

What is Cleansing Milk?
Cleansing milk’s similar in texture to a face lotion. It’s milder than other cleansers and less dehydrating. It’s particularly suited to those with dry or sensitive skin.
Formulas differ from brand to brand and line to line, but generally speaking, cleansing milks are high in water content and low in oil. They’re less powerful. They don’t work well on long-wearing products like liquid foundation, cream blushes and eyeshadows, and waterproof mascaras and eyeliners.
If your makeup is as mild as your skincare, then you should have little issue. But if you use waterproof products, you should either pair milk cleansing with dedicated eye makeup remover or consider another type of cleanser.

How to Use Cleansing Milk so That You’re Actually being Cleansed

Just making sure you’re doing it right.

Warm the Cleansing Milk up in Your Hands First

Warm the Cleansing Milk up in Your Hands First
Even if your cleansing milk has got oil in it, when you first dispense product, all that oil’s going to be surrounded by water. By warming it up, you’re allowing the oil to permeate through solution, which makes it easier to remove oil-based cosmetics.
You could allow the solution to warm up on your face, but that would take some time. Instead, cup the cleansing milk in your hands first, then apply to your face. It’ll not only leave you with less makeup residue, but it’ll make your skincare routine a bit faster too.

Let the Solution Emulsify before Rinsing off

Let the Solution Emulsify before Rinsing off
When you bring out the oil-like properties of cleansing milk, you’re making it easier to remove makeup; however, at the same time, the cleanser itself is now harder to rinse off, since oil repels water. That’s where emulsification comes in.
Collect a bit of water in the palm of your hands. Then bring it to your face and slowly massage into your cleanser. You want to work in just a bit of water at a time, until you see the milk emulsify into a whitish mixture. This’ll make it easier to rinse off not only the milk and oil-based products but sebum as well.

Summary

We rounded up members from our editing department, purchased the 15 most popular Japanese cleansing milks, and tested them all.
We found that cleansing milks vary greatly when it comes to ingredients and texture, cleansing power and hydration. That’s why it’s so important to consider your skin type and the products in your makeup arsenal first. Bottom line? Pick the gentlest cleanser you can get away with.
Original by Rio Sasaki; Translation by Jasmine Li

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