COSRX Review - The Dermatology Review

COSRX Review

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

12.04.20DISCLAIMER

The Story Behind COSRX

After more than a decade of experience in cosmetics and product development, K-beauty brand COSRX was founded in 2013 by Sanghoon Jeon. The name ‘COSRX’ is a combination of the word “cosmetics” and the symbol “RX” (denoting “prescription”). The brand is known for products with short ingredient lists yet high concentrations of actives. COSRX skincare products are formulated to help a variety of skin concerns, including dry, dehydrated, oily, acne-prone, aging, and sensitive skin. In this review, we’ll discuss the brand’s best selling products, key ingredients, COSRX reviews from real customers, and more. 

What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2021?

The Top 5 COSRX Skincare Products

COSRX offers products for each step of your skincare routine, including cleansers, toners, serums, essences, moisturizers, and more. Below we’ll introduce the top 5 best selling COSRX skincare products. 

Acne Pimple Patch
One of the most popular COSRX skincare products is the Acne Pimple Patch. Designed to cover breakouts while you sleep, the COSRX pimple patches are waterproof spot patches that protect blemishes from bacteria and absorb impurities overnight while encouraging healthy skin hydration. 

Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
The COSRX Snail Essence is said to be “like a multivitamin for your skin”. This lightweight, highly concentrated essence contains 96% snail mucin, providing nutrients that support repair and maintain skin moisture. COSRX Snail Essence is recommended for all skin types, especially dull, dehydrated skin and acne-prone skin.

Oil Free Moisturizing Lotion
COSRX Oil Free Moisturizing Lotion is a lightweight daily moisturizer made with hyaluronic acid and natural botanicals that hydrate, protect, and comfort the skin. It is formulated for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. This COSRX moisturizer absorbs quickly into the skin to provide long-lasting hydration without leaving a greasy residue. 

Centella Blemish Cream
COSRX Centella Blemish Cream is a mild, soothing cream formulated for those with acne-prone and troubled skin. The key ingredients in this facial cream include Centella asiatica leaf water and zinc oxide. Together, these ingredients hydrate skin while reducing inflammation inside the pores. We’ll explain more of the benefits of Centella asiatica in the next section. 

BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is said to help control oil and keep skin clear with white willow bark water and betaine salicylate, a highly effective chemical exfoliator that refines the look of enlarged pores and leaves skin brighter. This exfoliating liquid can benefit all skin types, especially oily and acne-prone skin types.

What Are The Key Ingredients in COSRX Skincare?

We noticed that COSRX doesn’t use just one key ingredient throughout their collection of skincare products. Rather, COSRX skincare products contain a variety of beneficial ingredients. Let’s take a closer look at the key ingredients you’ll find in each of the best selling COSRX skincare products we introduced above. 

The COSRX Pimple Patches are actually hydrocolloid bandages. Hydrocolloid bandages can help speed healing of blemishes by absorbing pus and oil from the inflamed spot while simultaneously maintaining moisture. In addition, the COSRX Pimple Patches help reduce inflammation, protect the area from contamination by microorganisms and minimize scar formation. Not to mention that they prevent you from picking or popping!

The COSRX Snail Essence contains 96% snail mucin as the key ingredient. It has been theorized that applying snail mucin to the skin could provide skin-regenerating benefits. Many of the snail mucin benefits come from three key components: hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and allantoin. According to researchers at the University of Nigeria, snail mucin plays an important role in wound healing as it enhances the skin’s natural regenerative response on the formation of new tissues, probably through immune response. Due to these healing properties, snail mucin has been shown to help with acne, rosacea, scars, razor bumps, and even signs of aging.

The key ingredient in COSRX Oil Free Moisturizing Lotion is birch juice sap (betula platyphylla japonica juice). Birch juice sap contains 11 different amino acids, sugars, and minerals, which enable this ingredient to provide excellent moisturizing effects. In fact, birch juice sap is able to mimic your skin’s natural NMF (natural moisturizing factor). This helps improve moisture retention, as well as maintain a positive oil-moisture balance in the skin.

As the name implies, the key ingredient in COSRX Centella Blemish Cream is Centella asiatica leaf water. Centella asiatica, also known as gotu kola and tiger grass, is a perennial plant native to the wetlands in Asia. It is a rich source of natural bioactive substances, including triterpenoid saponins, flavonoids, phenolic acids, amino acids, and sugars. The most important compounds in tiger grass are asiaticoside, madecassoside, asiatic acid, and madecassic acid. The Centella asiatica leaf water in COSRX Centella Blemish Cream should enhance moisturization, calm inflammation, and stimulate collagen synthesis after topical application.

COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid includes salix alba extract as the key ingredient. Salix alba, also known as the white willow, provides medicinal and skin care benefits due to its rich supply of salicin. Salicylic acid, a common beta hydroxy acid (BHA) used in skin care products, is derived from salicin. Salicin provides exceptional anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to reduce the appearance of pores and wrinkles, as well as even out skin tone while increasing skin firmness. In addition to salicin, willow bark extract has a high concentration of tannins, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and various minerals. All of these components work to soothe the skin and aid in cell regeneration, which promotes a more healthy, youthful complexion.

Where are COSRX Skincare Products Sold?

COSRX skincare products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as several third party online retailers, such as Ulta, Walmart, Target, Amazon, and more. 

What is the COSRX return policy?

The COSRX return policy states, “COSRX can only accept returns for items purchased through www.cosrx.com If you purchased our products from a third-party retailer, please contact the retailer or the store directly. If you would like to return the items for any reason, we will gladly accept them. Please return them in their original packaging, unopened and unused, within 30 days of the delivered date.”

Is COSRX Cruelty Free?

COSRX does not test on animals and is 100% cruelty free. COSRX does not have any cruelty free certifications, but that isn’t uncommon for Korean brands.

COSRX Reviews

COSRX reviews are a mix of positive and negative. It seems as though customers either really love COSRX skincare products or they really dislike them. For example, here’s a raving COSRX review for the snail essence, “You want that healthy glow? Glass skin? Give this stuff a try. I mix mine with propolis and have had people ask me what makeup I was wearing on no makeup days! Also very hydrating / plumping, and can help smooth out rough texture. Permanent staple in my routine from here on. For a little extra oomph and soothing, I pair it with their Snail 92 gel overnight on occasion.”

However, when evaluating other COSRX reviews for the snail essence, we came across several reviews from customers who did not experience any results after using this product. For example, one review says, “I am a skin care addict and I have tried many different products and this did nothing for me. It doesn’t provide more hydration than much cheaper products. I also don’t like the texture, while using the product and after. Slimy and sticky! I never would reach for this, but I recently decided to try to use it up and I noticed I started to break out!! That being said I’m not going to use it anymore and I’m super disappointed.”

What Are Some Alternatives to COSRX?

Overall, we think that COSRX skincare products are formulated well. We appreciate that the products are fragrance free and contain high concentrations of active ingredients. We also like that the brand uses mostly naturally derived ingredients in their products, such as snail mucin and birch juice. But we want you to keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with synthetic ingredients in skin care products. Sure, there are certain synthetic ingredients that aren’t good for your skin. But there are plenty of synthetic ingredients that are actually quite beneficial for your skin, such as peptides. Peptides are well known to provide anti-aging benefits, such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles. One of our favorite peptide serums is Formulyst’s Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum.

The Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum is a fragrance-free, anti-aging serum that combines six rejuvenating peptides into one formula. All of these peptides have a unique mechanism of action, and they work together to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The peptides are combined in a base of several potent hydrating ingredients, including glycerin, Chondrus Crispus extract, and sodium hyaluronate. Ultimately, Formulyst Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum can help to promote skin that looks and feels smoother, stronger, and more youthful.

Another unique anti-aging serum by Formulyst is the Ultimate Youth Concentrate. The formula combines plant cells with a concentrated combination of five unique peptides that can stimulate the production of Epidermal Growth Factors (EGF). EGF is a protein naturally found in cells called fibroblasts, which are responsible for producing collagen. It is thought that EGF signals to fibroblasts to produce more collagen, which leads to cell growth, proliferation, and wound healing. As we age, our ability to produce EGF decreases, resulting in the key signs that contribute to aging skin. Applying products that increase EGF production, such as the Formulyst Ultimate Youth Concentrate, may increase skin strength and integrity.

There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that is effective and safe. Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the power of plants with cutting edge science. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals as well as the preservatives, emulsifiers and thickeners commonly found in skincare products.

References:
Scientific Research and Essay Vol. 2 (6), pp. 195-198, June 2007

THE BEST SKIN CARE LINES 2021

1

Formulyst

The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.Read More
2

Carrot & Stick

Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare. What does this mean? It perfectly balances the power of plants with innovative science, offering the best of both worlds.Read More
3

Advanced Dermatology

The Advanced Dermatology skin care regimen addresses the most pressing aging concerns.Read More

Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream Review

COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream is a brightening face moisturizer that is said to deliver deep hydration all day long. This cream is formulated with key ingredients like Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn berry) water, panthenol, and sodium hyaluronate. Sea buckthorn berry water is known to improve the skin’s barrier function, as well as provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Panthenol is the alcohol form of pantothenic acid, commonly known as vitamin B5, which functions as an effective humectant moisturizer. A humectant is a hygroscopic substance that has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups. This structure allows panthenol to attract and retain the moisture in the air nearby via absorption, drawing the water vapor into or beneath the surface.

Sodium hyaluronate is the salt form of hyaluronic acid that has been shown to have better skin penetrating capabilities than hyaluronic acid alone. Similar to panthenol, sodium hyaluronate functions as a humectant by drawing moisture into the skin. Lastly, COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream contains emollients like caprylic/capric triglyceride, sunflower seed oil, and macadamia seed oil to help the skin feel soft and smooth.

INGREDIENTS

Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid Review

The Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid was originally created to help specifcally target stubborn whiteheads. If you’ve struggled with these small breakouts before, you know how difficult they can be to treat. While there are dozens of products out there that cater to blackheads, very few options exist for targeting whiteheads specifically. This is exactly why CosRx developed this formula. Like all of the products from CosRx, the formula behind this product is minimal and active-ingredient focused. Instead of adding additional bells and whistles, the formulators have opted for a streamlined product that gets the job done, without overwhelming your skin, over exfoliating, or causing irritation. The core active within this formula is 7% glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a powerful AHA or alpha hydroxy acid which works to exfoliate the surface of the skin, making it uniquely qualified to tackle surface level acne like whiteheads. What makes Glycolic acid unique is its very small molecule size, which allows it to go to work quickly in the skin. Glycolic acid is extremely powerful though, so we do recommend using this product a few times a week to start, so that your skin has a chance to get used to such a potent active.

INGREDIENTS

COSRX Centella Blemish Cream Review

The CosRx Centella Blemish Cream was designed to serve as a hydrating and nourishing product that also served as a spot treatment for stubborn acne or the occasional breakout. Oftentimes, we see spot treatments that focus mainly on harsher ingredients like benzoyl peroxide in order to fight acne. But often, these intense formulations can lead to some discomfort or dryness afterwards, as well as more noticeable dry patches as the breakout begins to heal. This is where the CosRx Centella Blemish Cream differs quite a bit from the norm. Instead of drying out the pimple to speed up the healing process, the Centella Blemish Cream uses centella asiatica as the central active ingredient. Centella asiatica is an incredible skin soother. But how does that apply to acne? Centella asiatica works first and foremost to take down inflammation, which is what makes acne look so apparent, red and angry. From there, centella asiatica helps to rebalance the skin and speed up the healing process without sacrificing the skin’s moisture, which leads to less acne scarring as well as a speedy healing process.

INGREDIENTS

COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream Review

One of the most well known snail based products is without a doubt the CosRx Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream. This product was designed to utilize all of the amazing benefits of snail mucin or snail secretion filtrate, alongside a slightly more occlusive base to form a nourishing, all-year moisturizer. Like most of the products from Cosrx, the emphasis within this formula falls on the active ingredient, while keeping the rest of the formula relatively minimal for ease of use. As the name would suggest, the Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream contains 92% snail mucin, which can help with everything from fading signs of hyperpigmentation to calming redness and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Snail mucin got its claim to fame because of how effectively it produces results without compromising the health and balance of your skin. Because of this, snail mucin and products that contain snail mucin are extremely well suited to almost any skin type. With that said, because this is more of a cream based formula, we’d recommend this product in particular to those with more dry or dehydrated skin types.

INGREDIENTS

COSRX AHA BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner Review

The CosRx AHA BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner was designed to serve as a seamless, gentle chemical exfoliant in a lightweight, spray on formulation. Like all of the products from CosRx, the formula behind this product highlights a few key active ingredients, but overall, keeps the ingredients list fairly minimal. As the name would suggest, the star of the show within this product is the AHAs and BHAs. Both of these are categorized as chemical exfoliants, but depending on which one you’re using, you can expect different results. For example, AHA’s or alpha hydroxy acids exfoliate the top layer of the skin to smooth out the surface and diminish the appearance of texture and hyperpigmentation. BHA’s or beta hydroxy acids are oil-soluble, which make them a great option for those who are struggling with things below the surface like blackheads, whiteheads and cystic acne. Together, this treatment offers the best of both worlds, making this product a great option for all skin types, especially those who are new to chemical exfoliants.

INGREDIENTS

COSRX Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser Review

The Cosrx Low Ph Good Morning Gel Cleanser is easily one of the most iconic products from cult favorite K-beauty brand Cosrx. Cosrx has made a huge global impact and was one of the first brands to use the principles of K-beauty to formulate products for a global market. Because of this, all of their products focus on simplicity, using only what is needed, and catering towards hydration and care rather than stripping the skin with too many actives. The Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is exactly how it sounds: an energizing, purifying cleanser with a gel-like texture that has been formulated at a pH of 5. Although this isn’t mentioned as frequently, the pH of your skincare products is actually crucial in terms of formulation, as well as the amount of benefit it leaves on the skin. For example, a cleanser with a higher pH can often feel more stripping and drying on the skin, which can result in irritation in the long run. With a lower pH however, this product is able to remove dry, grime and oil from your skin without stripping it of its natural moisture.

INGREDIENTS

Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid Review

Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is an anti-acne serum that is said to help reduce blackheads and excess sebum (oil). The beta hydroxy acid (BHA) effects provided by this serum come from Salix Alba (willow) bark water, which contains a compound called salicin. Salicylic acid, a common BHA used in skin care products, is derived from salicin. Salicin provides exceptional anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to reduce the appearance of pores and wrinkles, as well as even out skin tone while increasing skin firmness.

Another key ingredient in the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is betaine salicylate, a combination of the moisturizing ingredient betaine and salicylic acid. Betaine salicylate functions as a mild exfoliant that works by softening and dissolving keratin, a protein found in the skin that acts as a “glue” to keep cells together. It also penetrates deep into pores to loosen clogs and allow oil to flow out more freely. Thus, betaine salicylate helps break down blackheads and whiteheads, while also moisturizing the skin. There are several other beneficial ingredients in the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, such as niacinamide, panthenol, and sodium hyaluronate.

INGREDIENTS

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Review

Have you ever thought about putting snail mucus on your face? While it may sound a little weird, this ingredient can actually be hugely beneficial to the skin. The Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is probably one of the most well known snail secretion products on the market, and for good reason. This product contains a whipping 96% snail secretion filtrate, making this one of the most concentrated formulas available. This heavy dosage of snail mucin helps to repair and hydrate the skin in a very gentle way, which is why it’s become so popular, especially in K-beauty. Snail mucin as an ingredient is most well known for its repairative properties, and because of this, has been used to treat just about any skin condition you can imagine. This includes dryness, skin sensitivity, acne, hyperpigmentation and even signs of aging. While this ingredient isn’t nearly as fast acting as actives like retinol or exfoliating acids, if you’re looking for a reparative, staple product to add to your routine, this is an excellent option.

INGREDIENTS

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