COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream
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COSRX

Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream

3.38 fl. oz. for $ 21.00
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Brand Overview

COSRX’s Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream feels great, but isn’t nearly as intensive as claimed. That’s not too disappointing, but the plastic jar packaging housing this moisturizer limits the benefits of some of its star ingredients (see More Info below for the full story).

On the upside, this fragrance-free gel-cream feels instantly moisturizing and absorbs quickly. It leaves just the slightest greasy feeling behind (likely from the sunflower seed and macadamia oils in the formula), making this appropriate for those with normal to dry skin (those with oilier skin types will likely not appreciate the finish).

In addition to those two antioxidant-rich, non-fragrant oils, there’s also sea buckthorn water, which also has antioxidant benefit. Curiously, sea buckthorn oil isn’t listed in the ingredients list, either on the package or online, though it is mentioned in this product’s claims. According to research, the oil form of this ingredient is a more potent source of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds than the water form.

As advertised in the product’s name, skin-plumping hyaluronic acid (in its salt form, sodium hyaluronate) is also included, though it’s further down the ingredient list. While all the ingredients in this moisturizer’s formula are good, it ultimately lacks a more robust formula that would make it truly “intensive”.

While there’s a lot to like about this cream, if you’re looking for something that’s truly intensively hydrating, look to our list of best moisturizers instead.

Pros:
  • Gel-cream feels instantly moisturizing.
  • Contains antioxidant ingredients alongside skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate.
  • Fragrance free.
Cons:
  • Formula is not as intensely moisturizing as claimed.
  • Packaged in a jar, meaning some of its beneficial ingredients will lose their effectiveness.

More Info:

Jar Packaging & Beneficial ingredients: Many beneficial ingredients, which include all plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients, are unstable, which means they begin to break down in the presence of air. Once a jar is opened and lets air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective. Routine exposure to daylight also is problematic for these ingredients.

Jar packaging is also unsanitary because you dip your fingers into the jar with each use, contaminating the product. This stresses the preservative system, leading to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.

Remember: The ingredients that provide the most benefit in addressing visible signs of aging must be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging to remain effective throughout usage. Buying products in this type of packaging means that the ingredients have the best chance of remaining effective—to the benefit of your skin!

References for this information:
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, pages 97–106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 252–259
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, pages 640–660
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, pages 4676–4683
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82–88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1–10

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: No

This intensely hydrating cream boosts moisture content in your skin and seals it inside, protecting your skin from further loss of hydration while balancing your skin’s water and oil content. With sea buckthorn oil providing nourishing vitamins and amino acids, it’s an excellent antioxidant to help repair cells and slow signs of aging. Combined with the key hydrator, hyaluronic acid, this moisturizer is able to give you a high dosage of moisture in a cream that absorbs into your skin so you don’t ever feel greased up or heavy. This is perfect to pile on the moisture in your skin care routine without feeling like you’re wearing a heavy cream on your face.

Hippophae Rhamnoides Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Betaine, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arginine, Panthenol, Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Carbomer, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum.

COSRX is one of a growing number of Korean beauty brands – a category known by many simply as K Beauty – that’s gaining a foothold in the Western cosmetics world. COSRX got its start in 2014, though it’s essentially an offspring of older “sister” brands, including C20 and Gatzmen, which have longer-standing histories in the Korean market. As the story goes, COSRX came about after the parent company compiled a decade’s worth of research based on customer data and beauty consumer research.

The brand name, as you might have guessed, is a mash-up of “cosmetics” and “RX” (for prescription), and illustrates COSRX’s overall philosophy. Whereas some other K-beauty brands are known for whimsical packaging and brightly-colored products, CosRX’s focus is minimalistic packaging and products designed to target specific skin care concerns, each highlighted by active ingredients.

To that end, the brand is largely successful. Most of the packaging is designed to protect light- and air-sensitive ingredients, though there are some jars in the mix. The formulas focus on active ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid, and beta hydroxy acid (though it should be noted, COSRX uses BHA derivatives, since salicylic acid’s use is restricted in Korea).

Most of the exfoliants are formulated at the optimal pH for exfoliation, which is between 3 and 4, and are fragrance free. Unfortunately there are some formulas that include natural ingredients that can potentially sensitize skin, including pine and cedar extracts, and anise fruit extract – proof once again that natural isn’t always better! Some products also contain drying alcohol, which is interesting since other products are specifically advertised as being “alcohol-free.”

Overall, this line is worth considering, especially if you prefer a more targeted approach to skin care that focuses on science rather than trends. For more information, visit cosrx.kr, the brand’s official Korean site. COSRX is available for purchase at several U.S. and online retailers, including Ulta, Amazon, and SokoGlam.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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