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.
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 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.