13 Aug 2017

Comparison Review: Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad vs. One Step Moisture Up Pad

Kbeauty industry is really innovative and fast-moving. It seems only like few years ago when Cosrx gained its popularity in the kbeauty community with its AHA and BHA then all out of sudden we have these innovative essence-soaked exfoliating pads. Many brands like Neogen, Wish Formula, and Cosrx have come out with their own exfoliating pads. The Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad even became the brand's top seller in Korea, and even Meejmuse is raving about it! Lets take a look at these one-step pads and see what they can do for our skin!

I have both the Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad and the One Step Moisture Up Pad so I will do a comparison review on both products. I got the Pimple Clear Pad from Koreadepart and the One Step Moisture Up Pad from Hermo Beauty Workshop.

Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad

Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad is a pre-soaked exfoliating pads formulated with 80% willow bark water (natural BHA) and 1% betaine salicylate (you need 4% to function optimally). It claims to penetrate deep into your pores and break down your hidden gunks and prevent breakouts.

This stuff is really popular in Korea. Many Korean women swear by this to even out their complexion and calm their zits. It is especially popular among teenagers who are suffering from acne and blemishes, especially in the forehead and chin areas.

The product comes in a round, big plastic bottle. It has a funny/cute Mr.RX picture printed on the cap. There is about 70 pieces of pre-soaked pads inside. The pads are made of cotton, and comes in an embossed side and a softer side. The product has a strong tea tree scent that I personally don't have an issue with. The pads are still wet 8 months after opening.


Normally, I would use this after cleansing as a toner. Sometimes, I use this before cleansing if I don't wear makeup to wipe away excessive dirt and oil, whenever I want to use a wash-off mask. I don't really use this as a makeup remover, because I don't really think this can effectively remove my makeup.

I basically just take a pad and swipe the quilted side across my face avoiding eyes and lips. Then I use the softer side to pat in the essence. I normally do not rinse it off with water because it doesn't feel sticky on my skin like the Neogen one.


Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water (80%), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Betaine Salicylate (1%), 1,2-Hexanediol, Arginine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Panthenol, Allantoin, Ethyl Hexanediol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hyaluronate


Cosrx normally uses very simple ingredients without frills. 80% of the essence is made of willow bark water, which as we know, is a naturally occurring BHA rich in tannins and saliyclic acid. It is an antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory and can promote cellular turnover (by 24%). It mimics the benefits of BHA and can result in smoother and clearer (clear of acne) skin. It also functions as a natural preservative with its anti-bacterial property.

Betaine salicylate, a milder form of BHA is also present in here at a concentration of 1%. It is derived from sugar beets and are found to be effective at promoting cellular turnover to get rid of dead skin cells. Since it is oil-soluble, this stuff can penetrate deep into your pores to dissolve your trapped sebum and prevent breakouts. However, betaine salicylate has to be present in 4% and at a pH of 3.8-4.2 to get the same results as salicylic acid at 2%, so I am not exactly sure how much can this do to clear off our dead skin cells.

Next we have tea tree oil, a well-known anti-septic and sebum regulator that are mostly used to calm and prevent acne.

In addition to all these anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and exfoliating ingredients we have arginine, panthenol, allantoin, and sodium hyaluronate, all of which are common but effective skin repairing, soothing, and moisturizing agents.


I mentioned earlier that I have been using this for about 8 months, so you can guess that I use this quite sparingly, not because it is not good, but because I rarely need it. I have normal to dry skin, without acne or blemish concern. I sometimes suffer from hormonal breakouts, but only occasionally.

I started using this more frequently recently when I noticed that my body has been showing a lot of signs of inflammation, which is life-style and diet related. That's when I get in more frequent contact with this product. I do find that my skin appears calmer, fresher, and the angry zits are less annoying whenever I am using this. But I don't think it helps out a lot at exfoliating my skin. The bumpy area on my face (with hidden white zits) remains as it is. Acne that has been formed does not become smaller. This works just like a preventive and convenient toner instead of exfoliator or treatment in my opinion. My skin does appear more radiant (due to the use of its quilted side which works like a scrub I guess?) after using, but nothing more impressive.

I guess this product will work better for those with acne-prone and oily skin. Sensitive skin who cannot tolerate salicylic acid can give this a try too. It is also very convenient as a toner or second cleansing step. I can imagine some of my friends who will really like it, but that is unfortunately not me. My skin is quite resilient (rated "R") and this product with its low concentration of betaine salicylate and higher pH (it has a pH of 4.5-5.0) are not strong enough to break down my cells and kick away all the "hidden germs" inside. And that's not its fault, even Cosrx AHA can't do that either, so I am on the look-out for something stronger (or I just change my lifestyle).

Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pad

I received this One Step Moisture Up Pad at Hermo Beauty Workshop. It was their newly launched product, which claims to be a moisturizing pad for daily uses. It contains 70% propolis extract, 0.5% betaine salicylate, and hyaluronic acid to moisturize and even out your complexion.


I normally use this whenever my skin feels greasy or tight. It can refresh, hydrate and cool my skin for some reason. It is not sticky at all, in fact lighter in consistency than the Pimple Clear Pad. You could use it as a toner, or just as a moisturizing pads with some gentle scrubbing properties.


Propolis Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Betaine, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betaine Salicylate, Panthenol, Allantoin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil


This product uses mainly propolis extract (70%), betaine salicylate (0.5%), sodium hyaluronate and panthenol. Propolis is normally added to skincare products to provide antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and calming benefits. Panthenol and sodium hyaluronate are both humectants that can attract water from your surrounding to your skin. Betaine salicylate, as discussed previously, can increase cellular turnover and improve your complexion by regulating sebum and prevent breakouts. This formula can calm your skin, reduce acne-causing bacteria, and from there prevent any future breakouts.


I found myself using this faster than the One Step Pimple Clear Pad. Normally, I use this after the Neogen Bio-Gauze Peel or the One Step Pimple Clear Pad. Alternatively, I also look out for this whenever I am at outside and cannot remove my sunscreen or wash my face. This actually brings away the excessive oil and dirt while supplying my skin with a lot of moisture and calming it down. It is a cool summer skincare hacks, especially if you are outside and cannot retouch your makeup or sunscreen. I don't use it as a makeup remover but I do find that it works quite well on my sunscreen. Of course, using this to replace your cleansing water would be unthinkable (think about the price per usage!), so only use this when you need it most.


Both products are designed for different skin types and needs, although their pricing and quantities are the same.

The One Step Pimple Clear Pad is more suitable for those with acne-prone and oily/combination skin. You use it to clear away excessive sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells inside your pores. It has more betaine salicylate and also willow bark water which make it more effective at cellular turnover, sebum-regulating, and anti-septic. You use this to tone, retexturize, and exfoliate your skin. I wouldn't recommend that you use this to correct your makeup because it still has a higher amount of BHA contents and its pH is lower so it might irritate your eyes area.

The One Step Moisture Up Pad is more suitable for drier season, or those with normal to dry skin. You use it to wipe off dirt, sunscreen and makeup residues on your face. You can also use it to calm your skin after chemical peeling or daily exfoliation. It has a little bit of betaine salicylate so normal skin can use this as a skin maintaining instead of treating step to prevent the build-up of dead skin cells. Its propolis, panthenol and hyaluronic acid contents also work well to pamper and protect your skin from dryness, tightness, and external aggressors. You still need a moisturizer after using this.

The Pimple Clear Pad smells like tea tree oil whereas the Moisture Up Pad has a refreshing lemon scent. The Pimple Clear Pad also has lower pH (4.5-5.0) compared to the Moisture Up Pad (5.5-6.0).


Are they worth trying out? Yes! If it fits your skin types and needs. They are convenient pads that you can bring it around and use it as and when needed. They are also good substitutes for scrub, way better than Neogen in my opinion. But are they necessary? I don't think so. They are not cheap, and you can actually save more money using the Cosrx AHA and BHA Power Liquids which can last you longer. But if you don't like the hassle of  AHA and BHA, or that you have sensitive skin that cannot tolerate a lot of acids, then this would be perfect for you.

I might repurchase both if I need them and cannot find a better substitute.

Overall impression: ★★★☆ (pimple pad); ★★★★ (moisture up pad)
Repurchasing: ★★★ (pimple pad); ★★★ (moisture up pad)
You can get this from: Hermo Malaysia | Wako Beauty | Koreadepart etc.
[Disclaimer] One of these products is a PR sample. The rest is purchased with my own money. All copyright of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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