Cheap + fab for sensitive skin: COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Is there such thing as a "wrong" facial wash? Granted, it's just something that you put on your face for two minutes, but the wrong cleanser can cause drier/oilier skin or worse - breakouts. Your facial wash doesn't need to do much other than wash off the oil and dirt accumulated on your face but it does have to do one thing, without compromises: it has to be non-irritating.
That's where the recent obsession of beauty nerds with pH levels come in. We wrote a pretty detailed article about it already, but to summarize, this is why pH levels in your cleansers matter:
pH which stands for “potential hydrogen” is a measure of how acidic or basic a water-based solution is. The scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 referring to a highly acidic substance, 7 a neutral substance, and 14 a highly basic or alkaline substance.
The acid mantle is our skin’s outermost protective layering. It’s a film of skin oils and acids that serves as a natural barrier between the deeper layers of our skin and the bacteria that we come across in our day to day lives. For the longest time, I used to associate the term acidic with a negative connotation. The truth, I’ve discovered, is that the low pH of the acid mantle creates an environment that is inhospitable to infection-causing pathogens and acne-causing bacteria. In short, pH-balanced skin is clear, clean, healthy skin!
You want your skin to be able to fight off bacteria, maintain its moisture level, and control its natural oil production on its own. This is why it's important to use a cleanser with low pH, ideally in the acidic range (pH 6 or under). I wouldn't call this an absolute rule though. My favorite facial wash of all time is still the Shiseido Ibuki Gentle Cleanser which apparently has a pH of 8 (!!!)* but it works perfectly for me. I have other low pH cleansers but while they're pleasant, they don't work as well as I perceive the Ibuki does.
Anyway, before I get even more sidetracked, I just want to quickly review the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser (P540 at theskincarecurator.com). I love this stuff (well, not as much as the Ibuki but it's pretty up there) because it is SLS-free, has a pH of 3.5, and features a non-drying, gentle formulation that's ideal for sensitive skin. Best thing is that it's less than P600!
Many low pH cleansers have trouble foaming but this one does not. It produces a robust foam and when it's washed off, the skin doesn't feel dry at all. It has a mild tea tree scent which I don't mind personally. I've also observed that this leaves a bit of a minty feel which manifests itself after I've dried my face; it's unexpected but not unpleasant.
This cleanser doesn't remove makeup very well, but it's great as a morning cleanser by itself and as a second cleanser at night after I take off my face. I turn to this when I feel my skin is freaking out or just whenever I feel like rotating my facial washes.
Overall, I highly recommend the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser to anyone who wants to start their new low pH life. It's great for sensitive and troubled skin, plus you get 150ml for P540. This is one of those products where you have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Unless of course you're allergic to some component of it but we can't predict that, of course.
COSRX is making me (and my SO's skin) happy! So glad it's easily available here now. Watsons carries select products (no cleanser yet unfortunately), but you can order online at theskincarecurator.com and beautymnl.com. Let me know what you think, as always! Are you looking to switch cleansers now?
*The Reddit Asian Beauty group has created this crowdsourced document about the different pH levels of popular cleansers. You might want to check yours out there too!