Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
COSRX’s Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is an OK face wash that would be far better without a few problematic ingredients.
This cleanser comes in a squeeze tube and is easy to smooth across skin. Its gel texture lightly lathers once it mixes with water and we found it did a good job removing dirt, oil, and makeup, and rinsed cleanly. Its texture works well for those with normal, combination, or oily skin, though those with skin on the dry to very dry skin will likely want a creamier formula.
True to COSRX’s claims, this has a pH of 5, though most modern skin care products are in the acidic pH range (which is good for skin, since skin’s pH is naturally acidic, typically falling between pH 4 and 6). Most products with a high pH are bar soaps, so this cleanser isn’t unique in that regard.
There are various antioxidant plant extracts in the mix, and while they’re rinsed off skin and won’t have much effect, they’re still in the “nice to have” category.
What isn’t nice are the cedar and pine extracts and tea tree oil that are also in this cleanser. These put skin at risk for irritation, and are particularly a concern since in a cleanser, they can get into eyes, causing irritation there. Again, even though this is rinsed off, it’s still potentially problematic, especially for those with sensitive skin.
While this cleanser is good, there are far gentler options on our list of best cleansers.
- Does a good job removing dirt, oil, and makeup.
- Rinses cleanly.
- Contains some good antioxidant ingredients.
- Contains fragrant cedar and pine extracts that can irritate skin.
- The pH claims are far from unique to this cleanser.
A super gentle cleanser that’s great for your morning wash, this low pH formula gel cleanser doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils and contains purifying botanical ingredients and mild acids to gently cleanse your skin to its most supple and clear texture. It's also formulated to remove makeup and other oil-based residue with a skin-happy pH of 5!
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.