10 Oct 2017

Expecting Tomorrow: 17 Cosrx Products Review

(updated on October 2017; first published on 27 February 2017)

I am a packaging person when it comes to skincare. Often time I buy a product because it looks too cute to be resisted. And this sometimes ends in disappointment. It is not until I met Cosrx that I think skincare products can be non-cute and non-fancy but effective. And that's not a bad thing actually because when a brand spends less on fancy packaging it will eventually reflect back on the price.

Cosrx is a brand that I will recommend others to use when they want something that are working yet non-expensive. They are a lot cheaper than normal Korean brands out there, sometimes as cheap as 1/2 the price you normally pay for normal Korean skincare items. They are cheaper than many Innisfree counterparts, without compromising on the quality.

Just like The Ordinary and Pyunkang Yul, Cosrx is not a brand that is a love at first sight for me. I fancy fancier products like Belif, Innisfree, Laneige and what not so Cosrx seems too ordinary to be noticed. It is not until many of my Instagram friends start sharing it that I finally pay more attention to the brand.

My first Cosrx if I am not mistaken is the BHA and AHA. Then slowly I collect all their collection one-by-one. I got most of my Cosrx products from Sweet Corea and Koreadepart. Hermo hasn't started to carry them when I was really into the brand. But now, a lot of places carry Cosrx, even Watson's and Wako Beauty.

What is Cosrx about?

If you are new to Cosrx, it is a Korean cosmetic brand that focuses on using the minimum amount of quality ingredients to achieve maximum skincare goal. They have many lines for different skin types, but their most popular ones are those for anti-acne, skin repairing, and exfoliating purposes.

Cosrx starts off small so they have friendly customer service team to answer all your questions. All you have to do is to send them email or ask them on their official Instagram page. They will always try their best to give you the best feedback. But even if you don't, you can get most of your answers from the bloggers, youtubers and Instagrammers who share about those products anyway.

That's all for the Cosrx brand overview, lets head right to 17 Cosrx products I have personally tested and loved/loathed:

  • Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
  • Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
  • Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
  • Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid
  • Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol
  • Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence
  • Cosrx Mela14 White Ample
  • Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
  • Cosrx Ultra Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap
  • Cosrx Centella Blemish Cream
  • Cosrx Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream
  • Cosrx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask
  • Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask
  • Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch
  • Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pads
  • Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pad
  • Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++

Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

This is a gentle and low pH gel cleanser designed specifically for individual with troubled and sensitive skin.

My bf has finished using the entire tube (I think the only thing he is committed into using is cleanser and moisturizer). He shares that this cleanser cleanses his skin quite well. However, he still prefers something more hydrating as this cleanser is not hydrating enough for him. As such, he will not repurchase after finishing.

Ideal for all skin type, especially oily, sensitive and acne-prone skin. Check this out for my full review and ingredients analysis.

Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner

This is a toner with hydrating, refreshing, and pH balancing properties. You use this right after cleansing to prep and balance your skin before using any acid treatments like a AHA or BHA essences.

I enjoy using this as a mist toner whenever I want to put on Cosrx BHA and AHA power liquids. Normally I don't pH test all of my toners and treatment essence so this is the safest and most convenient way to use to make sure that the pH of my skin is low enough before I put on the acid treatments.

So far, I don't really observe a lot of difference after adding this product into my skincare routine. It is just a pH adjusting toner that is quite cheap and convenient without giving me any troubles or irritation. Not the most hydrating toner I have tried but it is completely not drying at all compared to other astringent toner. A good mist toner at its price!

Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

Since BHA is oil-soluble, you are advised to use BHA before using AHA treatments. I always use BHA Blackhead Power Liquid before the AHA Whitehead Power Liquid. The Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is basically a chemical exfoliant that goes deep down into the pores to exfoliate and deep cleanse the skin. It works better than clay mask to clear sebum and grime within the pores although the process might be slower than clay mask.

It is slightly thicker in term of consistency if compared to AHA, but sinks in pretty well without leaving any stickiness behind. And it is not as tight or as drying as the AHA Power Liquid, which is weird because AHA is supposed to have moisturizing benefit.

In term of effectiveness, this is the product that can reduce the blackhead on my nose permanently instead of just temporarily. Of course, those black little things will still make its way back if I am having a stressful day or if my environment is polluted but it is less annoying than it was previously. Its ability to reduce acne and blackhead is most obvious on my bf who has really clogged pores and oily skin. It works, but you just gotta be patient.

Ideal for all skin types especially those with clogged pores concern.

Update: I found Dr. Wu Mandelic Acid Serum that works well for my blackhead too so I have stopped using this. I gave this away to a friend of mine with dry skin and she doesn't seem to notice any major difference on her blackhead after adding this into her routine.

Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid

This is a chemical exfoliant or acid treatment just like the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. It is made of 7% glycolic acid, apple fruit juice (a natural BHA) and niacinamide to remove surface unevenness which includes dark spots and acne scarring.

Theoretically, AHA should be more moisturizing than BHA, but for some reason this AHA Power Liquid feels quite tight and drying on my skin, especially during the 15 minutes wait time. If you are curious what wait time is, it is basically the time you need to wait for the power liquid to take effect before putting on any other products with higher pH. You can find out more on the important of pH on acid treatment here.

In term of performance, I have been using this product twice a week for a couple of months. I do notice that it has chunked down a lot of the whiteheads on my nose and faded some of my freckles. However, the effects are not as dramatic as the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. My skin is also drier, duller and my pores appear larger after using this product, which I am not sure why. I think it is quite possible that the product has further dried out my skin making it sensitive and irritable.

Another thing I need to mention is the importance of using a sunscreen when you are using the AHA Whitehead 7 Power Liquid. Your skin will be sensitive and susceptible to sun damage after applying AHA. My bf who accidentally used this on his skin developed red rashes that didn't go away in a few days when he went under the sun the next day. I guess unless if you can avoid the sun in total, use a sunscreen.

Ideal for dull and flaky skin with uneven texture and skin tone. Sensitive skin should patch test before using.

Update: I have talked about various exfoliants and AHA that I used here. My recent favourite AHA is Dr. Wu Mandelic Acid Serum 18%.

Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol

I used to be confused by the name and function of this product. At first I thought it is an essence but later realized that it is actually a spot treatment that can also be used as a toner.

It contains 1% BHA and 60% black bee propolis to clear dead skin cells within the pores. You can also use this only on blemishes or troubled area before any serum or moisturizer. Since it is in the form of watery liquid, you can be quite flexible about how and when you want to use it.

I bought this for my bf. He had been using it everyday for some 2 months. He stopped using it later when his skin became super tight and dehydrated. Well, I am not saying that this product is bad. It is quite good. In fact, it works great to control sebum and acne on his skin. But you also need to use a moisturizer if you are using this, which my bf finds troublesome. I picked up the product when my bf ditched it. I use it as a spot treatment whenever I have hormonal breakout. It will always tame and calm those red dots but the process is painfully slower than I expect.

Ideal for oily, acne-prone and blemished skin. Not recommended for dehydrated and dry skin unless if you only use it as a spot treatment or if you moisturize your skin properly.

Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence

This is a treatment essence made of 95% fermented yeast extract derived from beer to moisturize, brighten and prevent wrinkles on your skin. You can use this before or after a toner but I normally use this as a first essence.

I have not tried the full product so I cannot comment on its anti-wrinkles and brightening claims. But I can dare say that this is not as moisturizing as I expect, if compared to other first essences I have tried that have moisturizing claims. Also, the product leaves a weird slick like how you feel when you touch the surface of a balloon or an over-ripe apple which I don't like. I am not saying that it is heavy though. In fact, it is quite lightweight but something about its consistency kinda turns me off.

I think this will work well for all skin types, but those looking for brightening essence can give this a try as I heard a lot of people comment that this has done a good job at brightening up the skin.

Cosrx Mela14 White Ample

This is a more concentrated form of the AHA Whitehead 7 Power Liquid. It contains apple fruit juice, niacinamide and AHA to brighten up the skin and remove surface unevenness. Since it contains AHA, I would advise that you use a sunscreen after using this.

The product has a serum consistency that feels lightweight and fast-absorbing on the skin. I like how it feels on my skin but definitely not its scent. It smells like some funky tea tree that is really strong and unpleasant.

I have been using this for the past few months and is delighted to find that this helped to fade newer scars and dark spots and improved my overall skin complexion, which you can see in my comparison review of this product and Kiehl's Dark Spot Solution here. I think this will work great for acne scars, sun spots and uneven skin tone but may not be as effective on old scarring and freckles as I expect.

Ideal for all skin types, especially those with dull and uneven skin tone.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

This is a moisturizing essence made of 96% snail mucin extract to repair, moisturize and improve skin elasticity. You use this after a toner and before a moisturizer. If you use any serum, ampoule or essence, use in the order from the lightest to the heaviest in term of the texture.

As you can see, the essence has a slimy and gummy consistency that can pull into string. However, it actually gets absorbed into the skin easily without any stickiness or irritation. There is no scent whatsoever to it.

My bf, my bf's friend and me are using this snail essence. I have normal to dry skin and I often use this after a toner and before a cream. I find that it has done a fairly good job at calming and moisturizing my skin. Other products I put on later become easier to absorb with this as a cushion. I think the texture of this product is really similar to the Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence but is slightly more moisturizing than that. I can even layer up to 7 layers of the snail essence on my skin without feeling any burden to my skin. This is the product that I go to whenever my skin is irritated or dry.

As for my bf and his best friend, they both have oily and troubled skin. My bf who is too lazy to use a toner finds that this takes a while to get absorbed. He even finds that this has made his dehydrated skin even more oilier in the afternoon. As such, he doesn't really like it and gave his own bottle to me. But for his friend, who is much more committed, he feels that this has hydrated and soothed his skin in a nice way. His skin is smoother, acne scars slightly improved and is less oily in the day time when he uses this snail essence. He has noticed a slow, steady and positive improvement in his skin texture and health. He has since repurchased twice.

Ideal for all skin types, especially those with dry and damaged skin.

Cosrx Ultra Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap

This lotion is made of 70% birch sap extract to hydrate, soothe and regulate sebum production on the skin. It works best for individuals with oily, sensitive and troubled skin. It will also serve as a good soothing and cooling lotion for freshly exfoliated skin.

The birch sap lotion is said to be one of the best moisturizers Cosrx research team has ever made. It has a soft, velvety and refreshing consistency with pores blurring effect. It blends out smoothly on the skin leaving a thin layer of soft oil to protect and soothe the skin. So you can guess that this is not as "oil-free" as it claims to be although the oil inside is pretty lightweight and skin benefiting.

This is not one of my favourites because I don't enjoy its texture that much. But my bf's best friend who has oily and rough skin finds this super adorable and hydrating, calling this the best facial products he ever uses.

Update: My bf's friend reported that this felt a bit greasy for his skin after using it for a few months now, which is probably due to the oil content inside. As such, he will not repurchase the product once he has finished it.

I think this will work well for those with oily, troubled and acne-prone skin. Can also be used as a soothing lotion after shaving and for blemish areas and post-exfoliating skin.

Cosrx Centella Blemish Cream

This is a spot treatment made of centella asiatica leaf water and zinc dioxide to reduce blemish and relieve stress on the skin. Contrary to what many believes, this is not a moisturizer although it looks like a cream. I think its texture makes it more practical to sit inside a jar hence giving you guys the wrong impression that this is a cream.

I bought this for my bf with a lot of blemishes on his jawlines due to hormonal factors. We find that this has helped to hydrate and calm hormonal acne on his jaws by forming a waterproof wrap that protects the blemish from the environment. It works like Innisfree Jeju Bija Spot Essence R which I have reviewed previously to dry out and tame acne. However, we still need to use it longer to see if it has scars-reducing benefit.

Update: I have finished using this cream and is ready to share my thought. I think this is a decent spot treatment. Blemishes, acne, and redness seem to be much calmer after applying this onto the affected area, but it doesn't really help to chunk down zits and blemishes. What I mean is this stuff can calm, but not really heal or repair inflamed part of your skin. Pretty disappointing since I expect more from this. Currently I am using Innisfree True Care Cica Balm for the same purpose and that one actually works better for my acne and blemishes.

Ideal for those with blemish and acne scarring.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream

This is a skin repairing and moisturizing cream made of 92% snail mucin extract. It has a bouncy and slimy texture that is not sticky when applied on the skin. The official instruction claims that this product is nutritious enough that you can use it right after cleansing without the need for a toner, emulsion or serum, hence the name “all-in-one cream”.

I did not buy this cream, only tried several samples I got from Cosrx. I would agree that this is indeed a nutritious and rich but non-sticky cream that you can use after cleansing to replace a toner and serum. However, I still think that it is not moisturizing or “nutritious” enough as an all-in-one cream because it only contains snail mucin and nothing much else. Hence, I will still use other products to compliment the brightening, anti-aging and moisturizing effects I need. But this is indeed a super moisturizing cream that is sufficient to keep my skin soft and hydrated all day long without the need for a moisturizing serum.

Ideal for all skin types as a moisturizing and skin repairing treatment-in-cream, especially normal to dry skin or those who want to save some money buying tonnes of skincare products! 

Cosrx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask

This is a 3-in-1 sleeping mask made of 85% propolis extract to calm, hydrate and soothe the skin. It can be used as an overnight mask, wash-off mask or as a gel-type moisturizer.

I did not buy the full size product, only using several samples of it. The mask looks and feels like lightweight honey gel without the strong honey scent. I know a lot of people are fans of honey products and its sweet scent but maybe not me. I just dislike skincare products that smell too sweet for some reason. The mask feels really light and soft when you blend it out. Not as refreshing as most soothing gel I have tried but definitely more delicate and moisturizing than those.

Cosrx claims that you place this in the fridge and use it to calm and depuff the skin when you wake up the next morning. I am not a fan of cooling gel since a cup of coffee is all that I need to wake my body in the morning. However, when I tried this method on my skin, I do notice that it gives a just-right cooling sensation that my skin enjoys. It does calm and refresh my skin but I don’t notice too much of the depuffing effects. I think I still prefer to use apple cider vinegar to get rid of excessive water in my system rather than relying on a skincare product.

Ideal for all skin types, especially troubled, oily and sensitive skin. I personally might not purchase the full size product as I don’t really need a propolis soothing gel but I can see why people with blemishes and sensitive skin will call this their holy grails!

Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

This is a sleeping mask made of white rice, sunflower seed oil, niacinamide, palm oil and so on to brighten up and moisturize your skin overnight. Rice is a very popular ingredient in skincare products and has been using to refine and even skin texture and complexion.

I am currently using this but have not used it enough to form an informed opinion on it yet so I will be sharing my two cents on it first. It is really fluffy and creamy that blends out smoothly and softly on the skin. It doesn’t have any scent to it, although I expect something “rice-ish” like Skinfood Sugar Mask. I can feel that it has moisturized and softened my skin pretty well thorough the night and my skin feels plump and bouncy when I woke up the next morning. Since I only use it for several times, I need to use it more to see if there is any brightening effect, but definitely very moisturizing and nourishing on my skin!

Update: I find this greasy after using it for longer period. The quality of the product also deteriorates (the smell turns funkier, the colour changes from pearl white to pale yellow) as it oxidizes. I am a little let down and I prefer using the Sulwhasoo Radiance Sleeping Pack that works better and has lovelier texture. Of course, both products are not comparable since Sulwhasoo one is much pricier but yeah.. you know something you rather spend that extra bucks to get things that are good for you. 

Ideal for normal to dry skin. I am not sure does individuals with oily and acne-prone skin can use this but youtuber Liah Yoo who has troubled skin type adores this so I am guessing that this works just as fine for oilier skin type. 

Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch

This is a spot treatment, or acne patches to be precise. It is made of hydrocolloid to promote faster healing of acnes. It also protects acnes from getting worse and minimizes inflammation.

One thing I like about this patch is that it comes in various sizes. Sometimes, our acne might be big or small, so patches with different sizes are helpful to avoid wastage. You are supposed to cleanse and dry the affected area thoroughly and attach a patch of a bigger size of the acne to the affected area. Remove when the size of the acne reduced or the patch has become white.

This is a convenient product, and it is especially helpful for those with painful, headed acnes or blemishes. However, I do notice that it will not help hormonal acnes or those without "heads". Also, it is not as "waterproof" as it claims to be as it will get off the troubled area after shower. Even if it doesn't, the edges of the patch will turn white as it absorbs water drops around it when I wash my face. I notice that when I am using it, I tend to only using it at night.

Update: This is my favourite out of all Cosrx products I have tried. Except for the non-waterproof part, this stuff really works to calm and reduce the size of my breakouts. It will also reduce acne scars and prevent further contamination. I think it works really well and I have since repurchased a lot.

Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pads

This is a peeling or exfoliating pad soaked in AHA and BHA essences to exfoliate, brighten up and free the skin off troubles. It comes in a peeling pad with two sides: the coarser and smoother sides for exfoliating and smoothing.

This product is very hyped up in Korea, and is much more popular than the AHA and BHA power liquids in Korea compared to other countries. It claims to regulate sebum, reduce acne and make the skin smoother. I think it is the convenience of this product that gives it the popularity it enjoys among the Korean ladies.

For me, this feels like an exfoliating pad with chemical exfoliants inside but nothing substantive. My skin does appear calmer whenever I am using this but this doesn't seem to chunk down existing zits or bumpy texture. This is more like a preventative than a repairing treatment. A little disappointed given the hype and is not ready to commit to another bottle.

Check this out for my full review and how this works compared to the Moisture Up Pimple Pad.

Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++

This is a soft, bouncy and moisturizing sunscreen made of aloe vera extract with a high sun protection factor. Ideal for normal to dry skin. Oilier skin might find it a little bit heavy.

The best part about this sunscreen is how soft and moisturizing it feels on your skin. It also smells awesome. For some reason, aloe vera products tend to have nice smell. I was driven into kbeauty after I tried Nature Republic aloe vera soothing gel and couldn't forget about the smell!

I have done an ingredients analysis on this product, which you can see here so I am not gonna elaborate further on this. Basically, this is a really well-made sunscreen for drier skin and colder season. You will need to apply it in many thin layers if you live in a hotter climate. It is not the most refreshing or lightweight sunscreen I have used but is definitely the most moisturizing and softening one I have tried!


These are the summary of what I thought about the 17 Cosrx products I have tried in the past. They were good, but not great, for me but YMMV so do your own review and plan your purchase wisely if you were to grab some Cosrx goodies before purchasing!

You can get this from: Hermo | Watsons | Wako Beauty | Koreadepart | Jolse etc.
[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.

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