[ REVIEW ] COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

Hi Sunshines, I’m back to blogging. If you follow me on Instagram you would know that I have managed to spill water on my keyboard, hence it was in repair a few days. Yes my soul was slightly crushed, even more so when I saw the bill (luckily insurance covered it) and especially once the Apple store returned it with a scratch on my screen ( I obviously did complain, they replaced the screen and now it looks like I have a brand new laptop at 0 cost, so I guess it is a somewhat win).


Anyway back to the topic of today’s post, a review on the COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser. I’ve actually never tried any products from COSRX until I went to Korea and bought a few items, not knowing that they do actually have a retailer, Aland, in HK.

I was specifically on the hunt for this cleanser because I have seen many people rave about it, even those with dry skin. So hey why not see what all the fuss is about right?




When researching more about the COSRX company, I’ve found that they have a rich and long history and it isn't clear who exactly founded the company.

Officially the COSRX company was founded in 2014, but the team has been experienced in the skincare and cosmetic industry since 2004 by formulating ingredients and analysing data from other Korean companies like Ciracle, Gatzmen etc. According to COOS – Cosmetics, the company is owned by a man who had suffered from acne and dedicated his life to find a cure to this problems.

The company values and product development process are based on minimum, effective ingredients that are catered to both sensitive and acne prone skin types with their customers being at their core of product development.

COSRX stands for Cosmetics (COS) Prescribed (RX) with their company logo symbolising the extraction of water from natural ingredients, hence the water drop. Lastly, while their products are cruelty – free (not tested on animals), the brand is not vegan – friendly and does use animal derived ingredients.

[ The South Korean Government has passed a bill that animal testing is banned officially since 2018 ]



Size /  Price

150 ml [ 5.07 fl oz ] // US$ 9.99 at Walmart // GB £10.00 Online at Beauty and Seoul // HKD 78 at Aland Stores



"Formulated with botanical ingredients and 0.5% Salicylic Acid, this cleanser gently removes impurities and excess sebum.
Ideal for all skin types, including sensitive, this cleansing foam helps to clear and prevent pimples and blemishes. It gently removed impurities and excess sebum while fighting pumples and blemishes, leaving skin soft and smooth without the stripping feeling."



I was actually pretty impressed at the size of this cleanser in relation to its price. The price is just right at that sweet spot, where you don’t question the ingredients nor pay for the packaging.

I would say with daily use this would last you about 1 to 2 months, but if you use it only a few times a week, it could last you up to 3, because you really don’t need a lot.



Despite COSRX openly stating that they don’t spend money on fancy packaging, so it might not look appealing to most, I actually quite like the simplistic and practical design. There’s no point in fancy packaging if you can’t dispense the product properly, but I do see why the design could be a con in most people’s eyes because everything Korean tends to be cutely packaged.

The tube is made out of a soft plastic material with a plastic cap dispenser, making it easy to squeeze out the product and return back to its original shape. The cap and tube itself are solidly attached, so no leaking whatsoever.





This foam cleanser comes out as a white thicker gel texture that easily breaks down and lathers once you apply some water to it.




Noteworthy Ingredients


-       Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) that is  derived from the willow bark tree and is oil soluble, meaning that it can break down the cell structure of your skin and penetrate into your pores to unclog them. As a powerful exfoliating ingredient, a little amount goes a long way and penetrates deeper into the skin in comparison to AHAs (like lactic and glycolic acid) that need a higher percentage to be as effective. 


-       Tea Tree Oil

An essential oil that is derived from the narrow – leaved paperbark tree, native to Australia. Tea tree oil is a natural antiviral and antibacterial ingredient that helps to fight germs and infections while helping to sooth the skin. 


-       Fragrance

While the product does have a scent to it, it leans more to the natural instead of perfume side of scents. I mentioned previously in an older blog post "Real Talk: The Beauty Industry Breakdown Post" that fragrance is one of those sneaky ingredients that companies can use to hide other ingredients for the sake of keeping the formulation a secret - instead of using this purely to state a perfumed scent to a product.


Ingredient List

Water, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Lauric Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycol Distearate, Polysorbate 80, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Saccharomyces Ferment, Cryptomeria Japonica Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Leaf Extract, Pinus Palustris Leaf Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Salicylic Acid, Citric Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Sodium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance



Over the course of 6 weeks, I’ve been using this cleanser 1 to 3 times a week to see how it would impact my dry skin with the number of times I used it in the week.

With my skin type, I find that using this cleanser only once a week is sufficient (as I also use a physical exfoliator on a different day). The occurrence of both my milia and blemishes were slightly reduced and my skin does feel nicely exfoliated and cleansed.

I start to really notice the stripping feeling and reduced moisture level in my skin if I use it two or more times a week, so I wouldn’t recommend using this cleanser as a “daily” cleanser if you have dry or even normal skin type.

If you’re more acne prone or have an oily skin type, I would definitely recommend this cleanser but to start off slowly and test first how many times you would need it during the week, especially if you’re using other exfoliators.



Regularly for acne prone and oily skin types, as needed for normal and combo skin types, and with caution for sensitive, dry and dehydrated skin types.






-     Use with caution - Drying when overused, start slowly

-     Contains Fragrance

-     Product Availability – mostly available through online stores, especially in Western Countries


-     Does what it claims – cleanses and renews the skin, reduces blemishes 

-     Price / Value – Great value for its price point  

-     Gentle enough for sensitive skin when used occasionally




I am pretty impressed with this cleanser, but it’s more of an add-on cleanser / exfoliator for me rather than a daily cleanser. Even if you do have oily skin, I wouldn’t recommend it as a daily cleanser unless you’re really oily and your skin can tolerate it after trial and error.

Being that this is an add – on cleanser in my skincare routine, the price is right and I can justify spending the cash on a product that would last me a significant amount of time. I have about half of the cleanser left and I’m 6 weeks in.

Overall I am happy that I went on hunt and got this cleanser, because it is a great BHA addition to my weekly skincare routine that keeps my blemishes in check.


Have you guys tried this cleanser or used a similar cleanser like this / tried anything from COSRX?

I know that Paula’s Choice has a similar product and I wonder how that compares, let me know if you’ve tried that one as well!