Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil: Japanese Cleanser Guide


Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil (コーセー ソフティモ クレンジングオイル) is one of the most popular Japanese cleansing oils on the market. It is infamous due to its effectiveness, ubiquity and affordability. There are three variations of this product (all explained below) and they are a common beauty purchase for visitors to Japan. It’s not unusual to see Japanese drugstore shelves cleared out of these products!

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What is Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil?

Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil is designed to be used as the first step in a double cleansing skincare routine. This first step removes oil-based impurities such as sebum, makeup and sunscreen. In the second step, another product (usually a foam or cream face wash like this one) is used to remove any water-based impurities such as dirt and sweat.

Do I have to double cleanse with Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil?

As mentioned above, most cleansing oils need to be followed up with a secondary water-based cleanser. However, one product in this range has been developed to be used on its own. The Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil can be used as a standalone cleanser, and does not need to be followed with a second cleanse (hence the ‘speedy’ in the name!)

Does Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil remove makeup?

Yes! This product range is designed specifically for removing makeup. Each of the cleansers is effective at removing all kinds of makeup; from light powder through to heavy and long-wear products such as eyeliner and waterproof mascara. This product is also gentle on eyes and it doesn’t cause stinging or irritation.

Is Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil good for acne?

Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil is non-comedogenic, which means it is formulated to avoid causing clogged pores. Many reviews like this one attribute improvements to problems such as blackheads and cystic acne, while some others do report breakouts (mineral oil can exacerbate acne problems for some).

How do you use Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil?
  1. Ideally start with dry skin! If your hands or face are wet, be sure to dry them before using. These products need to be applied to dry skin with dry hands. That said, the Speedy Cleansing Oil is advertised to work even if you have wet hands.
  2. Place a small amount of oil (the packaging indicates 3-4 pumps, however many people suggest using less than 1 full pump) onto your palm or fingers.
  3. Apply the oil all over your dry face, gently massaging it into your makeup in circular motions. Spend a bit more time on any areas with heavy or waterproof makeup, such as around the eyes and mouth, but you shouldn’t need to rub too hard. After around 30 seconds to a minute, it should feel like your makeup has been dissolved.
  4. Next place a small amount of water in your hand. Mix this water with the traces of oil on your palms to create an emulsion, it should take on a cloudy white tint.
  5. Gently massage this emulsion into your face, this will allow the oil to wash off effectively.
  6. Finally rinse all the product off with lukewarm water. Your skin should be left feeling smooth and refreshed.
  7. If following a double cleansing routine, move onto your second cleansing step with a product such as this one.

Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil Range

There are three products in the Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil range. It can be hard to know which one to choose, so here’s a little comparison chart. The following ratings are based upon the average product ratings across a range of Japanese (and global) beauty and shopping sites.

What is the difference between the Kose Softymo Cleansing Oils?
Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing OilKose Softymo Deep Treatment OilKose Softymo White Cleansing Oil
Speedy Cleansing OilDeep Treatment OilWhite Cleansing Oil
Removes makeup quicklyDeeply cleanses poresHelps brightens skin
Single cleanseDouble cleanseDouble cleanse
Thinnest consistencyThickest consistencyMedium consistency
Fragrance FreeCitrus FragranceFragrance Free
See priceSee priceSee price
Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil
1. Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil

This first option is the most-sold, most-reviewed and highest-rated product from this range! It also has a super affordable price tag, making it a great starting point if you’ve never tried a cleansing oil before. It allows you to dip your toe into the world of cleansing oils, without the need to invest in one of the more luxury cleansers.

Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil removes most makeup effectively but can sometimes leave traces from waterproof products. It leaves skin feeling soft and clean without an oily residue. What makes it unique in this range, is that it can be used as a standalone cleanser, without the need for double cleansing.

It is fragrance free and is often highly rated by people with sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin. It tends to have a thinner consistency (when compared with other brands) which makes it easy to spread across the face. When you’ve run out, it even comes in handy refill packs too.

For some people this product tends to be too strong at cleansing, which can result in drying out the skin and leaving it with a tight feeling. It also has a mineral oil base, so be aware if this is a breakout trigger for you. That said, while every skin type is unique, this number of positive ratings is rather impressive!

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Kose Softymo Deep Treatment Oil
2. Kose Softymo Deep Treatment Oil

This product is the second most-sold and highly-rated in the range. When compared with the Speedy Cleansing Oil it has a slightly thicker consistency, has a light citrus fragrance and more effectively removes waterproof makeup. This means you can use a little less product per cleanse, and a bottle of Deep Treatment Oil might last a little longer.

It is designed to provide a deeper cleanse, and is also highly rated by people with sensitive, oily and acne prone skin. There are some especially glowing reviews for improvements when it comes to clearing blackheads. This variation contains macadamia nut oil and rice bran oil. It has been reformulated a few times to better clear pores and make it better suited to dry skin. It is also mineral oil based and comes in handy refill packs too.

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Kose Softymo White Cleansing Oil
3. Kose Softymo White Cleansing Oil

And finally, this product variation is more focused on removing dead skin cells for a brightening (not whitening) effect. While the product is officially listed as fragrance free, many people still detect a slight citrus fragrance. This variant contains almond oil and rice bran oil. Like the other products, it also comes in handy refill packs.

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