If there’s one thing I know about the industry, it’s that it loves cheap Korean skincare - and by “cheap” I only mean affordable, because there’s no skimping on quality here.
The skincare industry has been borrowing tips from Korean beauty for a long time, so I was eager to try out some K-beauty products to see if they live up to the hype.
Lately I’ve had a renewed interest in gentle, supportive skin care, to enhance my skin’s natural defenses. Enter K-beauty cult brand COSRX, which I was delighted to find has several affordable, gentle and vegan-friendly products!
THE "IT" CHEAP KOREAN SKINCARE BRAND
COSRX has been compared to Paula’s Choice for using minimal ingredients with maximum function. Paula’s Choice is a favorite of mine, as they offer high quality, no-nonsense skincare products. This comparison alone told me that this was a product line I had to try out. COSRX being slightly more in-line with how much I want to spend, I was interested to see how the two would compare.
I chose to try out three of their products: their Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, the AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner, and theOne Step Moisture Up Pad.
The first thing I noticed about the products was their simplistic packaging. I’m all about reducing unnecessary and elaborate packaging and focusing on ingredients that count.I also found the packaging on all of the products to be functional for their purposes. There’s nothing worse than a great product in a terrible package.
Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
I’ve always struggled with finding the right cleanser for my skin. My skin is oily, but also sensitive and dehydrated. I also live in Northwestern Ontario, where winter can be especially hard on my skin. I need a cleanser that is gentle enough to use every day, even in cold, dry climates.
As far as cleansers go, we all want a cleanser that will leave our skin clean without drying it out. Enter the Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser.As the name implies, it’s a gel cleanser. However, it does work up into a creamy smooth, light lather that offers that squeaky-clean feeling some of us crave in a cleanser.
Because it is mildly acidic (has a low pH, like our skin), it doesn’t cause damage to our skin’s acid mantle and instead enhances our skin’s natural defenses.
This cleanser was ridiculously gentle on my skin. My skin felt clean and refreshed, and not dry or tight. I have been using it twice a day with absolutely no dryness or irritation – my skin really does love it!
The tea tree oil and natural BHA make this a fantastic cleanser for people with acne-prone skin especially, but I find it gentle enough for any skin type.
Although there is no fragrance added, the product does contain various extracts with naturally-occurring fragrances. The most prominent scent is from the tea tree oil, though I find it to be light and fresh.
I’m ditching my faithful sulfur bar soap for this much more skin-friendly alternative. Even though it’s called a “good morning” cleanser, I’ve been using it morning and night, following an oil cleanser to remove any makeup.
One Step Moisture Up Pad
These One Step Moisture Up pads looked super simple, and I’m a lazy kind of gal.
The product contains round facial pads saturated with a hyaluronic acid (HA) formula that is intended to replenish the skin’s moisture.
I was pleasantly surprised that the pads aren’t as small as I was expecting, although they did feel a bit too saturated with the product to me. This left my skin drenched in the product the first time. It took a long time to dry, and the excess of HA left a bit of a film, which affected my product application afterward. However, I found that if you use a light hand and swipe it super gently along the skin, it transfers less product and doesn’t leave the film at all.
These pads give my skin an instant mega-dose of plumping moisture that I really enjoy. I think it would be especially useful to use right after you use a clay mask or any other drying mask. This would also be a great product for traveling, to keep skin hydrated on long flights, as a part of an emergency SOS skincare routine, or as a regular product for ultra-dehydrated, damaged skin.
Although I’ll be using up the rest of this product, I don’t think I would purchase it again (it feels a tad wasteful to me).
AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
AHA and BHA are both great for acne-prone and problem skin.I have never given either of them a fair trial in my skincare routine, so I was doubly excited to try this on top of all the rave reviews!
It has very few ingredients, and lower concentrations of AHA/BHA, which reduce its risk as an irritant especially for sensitive skin types like mine.
Like the cleanser, I was surprised at how gentle this was on my skin! It doesn’t have the same stripping/drying feeling of most toners and instead leaves my skin feeling completely normal. As I apply it I swear I can feelthe acids gently working on my skin. There’s no burningor pain, and my skin doesn’t feel tightor filmy after using it. It dries quickly, evenly, and doesn’t seem to cause any immediate or delayed reaction or irritation (except some purging of what was already there).
Although my skin responded well to the twice daily use of this, I found that using this in the morning and my benzoyl peroxide at night has been the most beneficial for my skin!
I’ve tried, but I really can’t find much constructive criticism for COSRX. They’ve done a great job formulating these products, each of which I have enjoyed using and look forward to continuing to use. I am eagerly looking forward to trying some of their other products I have my eye on, like the Acne Pimple Master Patches and the Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask!
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