K-Beauty first impressions – cosrx skincare
When I went to Seoul, I excitedly browsed the cosrx section at Aaland (the hip department store that stocks cosrx). I bought quite a bit, and will share with you my impressions and a little cosrx skincare overview. Here’s my review of various items like toners, sheet masks, sleeping pack and the famous pimple patches!
This post also proves that it pays off to use products a few times before you rush to review them. If I had written this three weeks ago, my impressions would have been quite different!
Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner
Based on my experience with Clinique’s even better essence lotion that also includes fermented yeast ingredients, and being too cheap to buy the famous SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, I bought this toner. It has a short ingredient list and is for “tired” skin, supposed to “softening, smoothing and enhancing” it. It should also “helping to calming, exfoliating and nourishing” skin. So basically, this is supposed to be the swiss army knife of toners. I like it for balancing my skin after cleansing, and the fine mist is a nice pick-me-up in the morning. It’s hydrating, yet not sticky.
The essence is supposed to have 90% of Galactomyces (the fermented yeast mentioned above) in it, while the toner has 10%. I’m looking forward to trying the essence (soon!), because 10% is just too low to do anything extraordinary. Nevertheless, I’ve grown fond of it after three weeks of using it. Maybe I’m even going to repurchase it. Adoredee wrote a review that I found very helpful, because it points out that this is actually one of the few toners without Niacinamide in it.
Acne Pimple Master Patch
One of cosrx’ hero products, the pimple patches come in three sizes. You actually stick them on a pimple to both help it heal and to prevent future breakouts, per description. That would be super awesome and I’d buy their whole supply if it was true. But, here’s the catch: it isn’t. What’s totally true are the claims for “skin benefits”, as it states on the packaging: the patches “act as a protective cover”, “absorbs pus and oil”, and are “non-drying”. That are also the benefits of a hydrophilic wound dressing (described on the packaging).
Finally, my training as a medical editor comes into my passion for beauty! Because “hydrophilic wound dressing”?! Easy! Primarily it’s supposed to absorb wound discharge and to protect the wound from outer influences. The Pimple Master Patches do exactly that.
cosrx themselves say that you should stick a patch on a pimple when it’s already has formed its white head of pus, and not before. Makes sense with that background information, right? Sadly, there’s not one thing in the ingredients that might prevent outbreaks. It helps, though, with making a pimple not become any worse. The patch prevents bacteria and other nasties to get on and into it. That’s great, because whatever you do with a pimple – pick it, cover it with makeup, whatever – bacteria will get into them and make it worse. In the end, a pimple is just an inflammation, caused by bacteria. So whatever you can do to prevent further inflammation is great.
I experienced mixed results with the patches. I’m not really sure it works on those deep and painful outbreaks of cystic acne, but on your regular pimple it’s great. It definitely makes healing time a lot shorter, and reduces both the prominence and redness (signs of inflammation) of the pimple.
And now I ever want to write the word pimple again.
Holy Moly Snail Mask
I LOVE sheet masks, and of course I had to pick some up from cosrx. That also meant that I could dip my toe into the seas of snail mucin infused products that are so big in K-Beauty. Snail mucin is generally supposed to moisturise skin, may have wound healing abilities and is rich in antioxidants, collagen, elasticin and antimicrobial properties (more info at Fiftyshadesofsnail, who didn’t pick that name for nothing. ) There’s also ginseng in it (the mask, not in the snail mucin) that’s supposed to be anti-inflammatory (again info from Fiftyshadesofsnail). The blurb on the packaging also stresses that the mask material is rayon. It feels a bit more sturdy than my usual sheet masks, but I couldn’t care less.
The Holy Snail Mask is for people with dry to combo skin, and I wouldn’t use this on oily skin. My skin is some kind of the sensitive combination type, and the mask essence feels as rich as I’m comfortable with. Which brings us to the main point – the essence. I usually use sheet masks for a quick pick-me-up of refreshing hydration, and this is different. Very much so. Because it’s definitely on the nourishing side of moisturizing, and doesn’t just bring a certain level of hydration into the skin game. I didn’t see any benefits of the plumping and firming kind after having this on my skin for about 30mins. (I applied it over a cleansed skin with some added toner and essence.)
But I didn’t feel I needed any additional skincare on top after removing the mask, and it left me with the feeling of extremely nourished and healthy skin. Christina tested the moisture level of her skin before and after, and Oh MY!!!! I’d rather use it in the colder months, though – I can easily imagine that it’s too much in the muggy summer months over here. I’ll hoard my stash until then.
Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask
I LOVE honey maybe even more than sheet masks, and wanted to try skincare including honey in their ingredients for the longest time. Honey its still used in wound care (medical editor peeking through again) and has amazing antibacterial and nourishing properties. As my skin has a tendency to break out, that’s not the worst choice for me.
So, in came the Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask. Funnily, it doesn’t contain any honey but it does contain a whopping 85% of Propolis. Propolis is a wax made by bees and has antibiotic, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Due to the high content of silicones, the mask is occlusive, meaning that this forms a layer over everything you put under it. It’s also highly moisturising.
It has also a funny jelly-like texture that is highly pleasant when you apply it. Cooling, soothing, it leaves a light tacky film on your skin that’s still not uncomfortable. (I guess my pillow might not agree.) It never sinks in completely (it kinda sits on my face), but nevertheless, I still like it. I guess it’ll perform differently when you’ve got dry skin. I can imagine that it performs in a stellar way as a light moisturiser during hot summer nights, and I’m there for it. In the morning, my skin looks rested, hydrated and calm, and generally good. And isn’t that what we want from all our skincare?
Fanserviced recently draw the comparison between cosrx and The Ordinary, and I can see it. Both are ingredient-driven skincare lines, and while everything I tried from TO was deeply meh, I’m happy with all my cosrx products. I’ll browse their line-up again when I’m in Seoul soon!
Availability and prices
cosrx is easily available online via Roseroseshop and Jolse. However, there’re some other online stores both in the US and Europe that carry it, like Sokoglam and Skinid. Prices are midrange/cheap when I bought my items in Seoul, from sheetmasks and patches around 2$ to toner and essence and sleeping pack for 12$ to 17$.