Best Korean Water-Based Cleansers
Starting your Korean skincare routine begins with finding the right water-based cleanser, often called the second-step cleanser.
If you have oily, acne-prone skin, it’s important to pick one that won’t make your skin produce more oil or break out.
The market is flooded with numerous Best Korean facial cleansers, making it tricky to decide which one to purchase.
To find the perfect best Korean face wash, consider factors like the ingredients, the product’s pH level, and your budget.
Today In this comprehensive guide, I’ll take a deep dive into Best water-based Korean cleansers, covering everything from what they are, why pH matters, and the role of foaming agents, and also highlighting some of the best Korean water-based cleansers available in the market.
Let’s dive in.
What Is a Water-Based Cleanser?
You might have come across the Korean double-cleansing method, but if you’re not familiar with it, here’s a breakdown.
This two-step skincare routine is all about achieving clean and healthy skin. It typically involves using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser,
Hence the term “double cleansing.” Most people prefer to double cleanse in the evening, reserving the use of a water-based cleanser for their morning routine to maintain the skin’s moisture balance.
The primary distinction between these two types of cleansers lies in their functions. Oil-based cleansers excel at removing makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum from your skin, while water-based cleansers are designed to eliminate substances like bacteria, sweat, and dead skin cells.
When we think of facial cleansers, water-based cleansers, which are used as the second step, usually come to mind. They typically come in a creamy form that lathers into rich bubbles when mixed with water.
The Science Behind pH: Why It’s the Most Important Thing to Consider When Buying a Best Korean Water-Based Cleansers
I want to highlight the importance of using a mild, low-pH cleanser in your skincare routine.
This emphasis comes from my personal experience of making a significant skincare blunder – using a harsh cleanser that not only damaged my skin’s moisture barrier but also stripped away its natural defenses. and made it worse.
The pH of your second cleanser is essential for all skin types, but it’s especially crucial if you have oily or acne-prone skin. So, choose a gentle cleanser to keep your skin healthy.
The pH level of your cleanser is crucial as it can greatly affect the health and balance of your skin.
Ideally, the pH of a water-based cleanser should be slightly acidic, mimicking the skin’s natural pH, which is typically around 5.5.
Research indicates that using a cleanser with a pH higher than 5.5 for just one minute, twice daily, can lead to a long-term increase in your skin’s pH. Interestingly, your skin’s pH only starts to decrease when you switch to a more acidic cleanser.
Hence, it’s crucial to opt for a water-based cleanser with a low pH, ideally 5.5 or lower.
This is even more vital if you’re dealing with acne-prone skin. Using a high-pH cleanser could potentially promote the growth of acne-causing bacteria and strip away your skin’s natural oils.
This, in turn, may trigger increased sebum production, leading to clogged pores filled with sebum and bacteria, ultimately resulting in more acne breakouts!
So, choosing a gentle, low-pH cleanser is your skin’s best friend in this journey.
So, it’s a friendly reminder that choosing the right cleanser can have a lasting impact on your skin’s pH balance!
Are All Cleansers with a Low pH Good?
The simple answer is “No”
While low-pH cleansers are generally recommended, it’s important to understand that not all products are created equal.
Factors like ingredients and formulation play a significant role in determining the overall effectiveness of a cleanser.
It’s wise to look for cleansers with added benefits, such as hydration, soothing properties, and antioxidants.
Research shows that a cleanser’s pH level doesn’t necessarily guarantee its gentleness on the skin.
When selecting a water-based cleanser, consider the specific needs of your skin.
I would suggest, if you have sensitive or dry skin, look for cleansers that not only have a low pH but also include ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, or chamomile to provide extra moisture and soothing effects.
On the other hand, if you have oily or acne-prone skin, you might benefit from a low-pH cleanser that contains salicylic acid or tea tree oil to help with acne control.
Understanding Foaming Agents
You might have noticed that many water-based cleansers produce a luxurious foam when applied.
This foaming action is often a desirable feature for many people, as it can create a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of cleanliness.
This foaming action is attributed to foaming agents, which help to lift away dirt, oil, and impurities from the skin’s surface, making the cleansing process more effective.
Foaming agents in water-based cleansers are surfactants responsible for creating a rich lather when you cleanse your face. They enhance the cleansing process by encapsulating dirt and oils, making them easier to wash away.
Common foaming agents in water-based cleansers include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), and ALS (Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate) are surfactants frequently employed to boost the foaming characteristics of cleansers, shampoos, and body washes.
Although they do create a delightful lather, these components can be highly irritating to the skin, causing dryness by effectively removing natural oils. They are often the main contributors to the shift from well-hydrated skin to a parched desert in many foaming formulations.
For a milder option, look for cleansers that use gentler surfactants like coco-glucoside or sodium cocoyl isethionate.
It can be challenging to keep track of all the foaming ingredients to steer clear of, so my top recommendation is to search for products labeled as “sulfate-free.” Another option is to input your preferred product into the SkinCarisma site, which will inform you whether it contains sulfates or not.
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Top 10 Best Korean Water-Based Cleansers
- B_LAB Matcha Hydrating Foam Cleanser
- COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
- Pyunkang Yul Low PH Pore Deep Cleansing Foam
- COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser
- Dear, Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser
- Beauty of Joseon Green Plum Refreshing Cleanser
- Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam
- Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cleanser
- Huxley Cleansing Gel Be Clean Be Moist
- The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Rice Cleansing Water
B_LAB Matcha Hydrating Foam Cleanser
Best Korean cleanser for dry skin. Also suitable for normal skin.
If you’re in a hurry and need a quick water-based cleanser, consider the B.LAB Matcha Hydrating Foam Cleanser. It’s popular online and a best-selling Korean skincare cleanser.
This cleanser has a unique texture, like a soft, bouncy paste with tiny matcha particles. When you add water, it turns into a gentle foam with a pleasant matcha scent with pH 5.5 perfect for all skin types.
It feels light but nourishing. Your skin will be soft, plump, and evenly toned, without feeling dry.
The B.LAB Matcha Hydrating Foam Cleanser contains matcha for antioxidants, which help protect your skin from pollution. It’s also free of harmful SLS.
Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid make it effective yet gentle, and green tea reduces oil without drying.
Allantoin does multiple tasks, like soothing irritation, exfoliating dead skin, and keeping your skin hydrated.
It’s sulfate-free and uses two gentle cleansers Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, and Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate for efficient cleaning. Plus, it’s budget-friendly – a little goes a long way, and one tube lasts a while.
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Best Korean cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin
The COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is a fantastic product. It’s a gentle and effective cleanser that’s perfect for everyday use.
One of its standout features is its low pH, range of 3.5 which makes it great for oily and acne-prone skin.
The COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser has gained popularity as a go-to option for those who prefer non-foaming cleansers.
Staying true to its name, this cleanser is a transparent liquid with gentler ingredients, Staying true to its name, this cleanser is a clear liquid with gentler ingredients, avoiding the SLS found in many foaming cleansers.
Its lightweight formula makes it an excellent choice, especially for individuals with acne-prone or oily skin.
It features two ingredients known for their acne-fighting properties: betaine salicylate and tea tree leaf oil. Additionally, there’s citric acid, which can offer some anti-aging benefits.
Pyunkang Yul Low PH Pore Deep Cleansing Foam
Best suitable for oily acne-prone skin
The Pyunkang Yul Low pH Pore Deep Cleansing Foam is a great product. Its star ingredient is Centella Asiatica Extract, a popular ingredient known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
It also contains Tea Tree Leaf Extract. The tea tree leaf helps maintain the skin’s oil-moisture balance.
Additionally, Citric Acid gently exfoliates the skin, leaving it smoother and softer in texture.
This cleansing foam is gentle on the skin, doesn’t strip away natural oils, and helps to unclog pores effectively. It’s a solid choice for sensitive or acne-prone skin.
COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser
Best suitable for oily acne-prone skin
I absolutely love this product because I’m a big fan of salicylic acid. I’ve actually used up around 5 tubes of it. With its 0.2% salicylic acid content, it’s ideal for daily use to keep acne at bay.
I have a lot to say about this best Korean water-based cleanser. It has significantly improved the clarity of my skin.
I’m generally a big fan of COSRX for their effective solutions for acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. They’re a reliable skincare company, and their products have been a game-changer for me.
Plus, it’s quite affordable, which is a pleasant surprise for an exfoliating foam cleanser.
If you’re on the hunt for an exfoliating cleanser for acne-prone skin, this one is a top-notch choice. It’s become one of my all-time favorites, and I highly recommend giving it a try.
Dear, Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser
Best for sensitive or dry skin
This facial cleanser is excellent for sensitive skin. What I really like about it is how gentle it is, just like the cleansing oil.
Its key components include Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, an antioxidant-rich green tea extract that helps soothe and protect the skin from environmental damage.
Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is the cleansing agent responsible for removing impurities and excess oil, while Butylene Glycol and Glycerin serve as humectants to maintain skin hydration.
The best part is- that it uses an amino acid cleansing formula. Amino acids in cleansing formulas can be effective in removing impurities and makeup while being gentle on the skin.
They can break down dirt, sebum, and makeup without causing irritation or excessive dryness.
Additionally, the cleanser features a range of botanical extracts like Althaea Rosea Root Extract and Centella Asiatica Extract to calm and nourish the skin.
With its low pH and moisturizing properties, it’s suitable for all skin types, especially those with sensitive or dry skin, as it helps to maintain your skin’s moisture barrier while effectively cleansing your pores.
Beauty of Joseon Green Plum Refreshing Cleanser
Best suitable for All skin types
The Beauty of Joseon Green Plum Refreshing Cleanser is another best Korean water-based cleansers.
This South Korean skincare brand has formulated a cleanser that showcases the beauty of traditional Korean ingredients with a modern twist aka “Natural Hanbang ingredients”
The star ingredient in this product is green plum extract, comprising about 24% of plum water with a combination of 3% mung bean seed extract formulation. Green plum is known for its antioxidant properties and ability to brighten the skin.
Green plum is also rich in vitamins and nutrients that can promote a healthier complexion.
In ancient times, people used mung beans to make a face cleanser by grinding them with red beans, other beans, and rice bran.
Mung beans contain saponin, which helps keep the skin moist for a long time by promoting moisture production.
I think this product is a good choice if you have dry and sensitive skin, and want a gentle and hydrating cleanser.
Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam
Sulwhasoo is a high-end skincare brand, so the Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam is a bit on the expensive side among the low-pH K-Beauty Cleanser I’m talking about.
This cleansing foam offers a gentle way to get rid of dead skin cells without causing excessive irritation to your skin. It leaves your skin feeling both clean and smooth, with a lasting moisture layer.
Its formula contains natural ingredients like duckweed and extracts from the inner shells of chestnuts, ensuring not only effective cleansing but also a long-lasting, relaxed, and smooth sensation after use.
The Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam comes in a pump bottle, and even though it’s a bit pricier, I personally think it’s a great choice for a water-based cleanser.
However, if you suspect you might have issues with fungal acne, you might want to consider another option since this cleanser is not fungal acne-safe.
Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cleanser
Best for dry or sensitive skin.
The Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cleanser is a popular Korean skincare product with a lot to offer. One of its standout features is the use of birch juice, which is known for its hydrating and soothing properties.
This natural ingredient helps to maintain skin moisture while cleansing, making it suitable for those with dry or sensitive skin.
The cleanser also includes a variety of other beneficial components such as Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate, which are excellent humectants, helping to retain skin moisture.
These ingredients leave the skin feeling refreshed and hydrated after cleansing.
Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cleanser is also gentle, thanks to its low pH, which helps preserve the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Additionally, it’s free from potentially irritating components like artificial fragrances and sulfates, making it a good choice for sensitive skin.
Overall, this cleanser is an excellent option for those looking for a moisturizing and gentle cleansing experience, particularly if you have dry or sensitive skin.
Huxley Cleansing Gel Be Clean Be Moist
Huxley Cleansing Gel Be Clean Be Moist is a great cleanser that I think you’ll love. I’m impressed that they use cactus extract as the main ingredient in this cleansing gel.
Huxley’s focus on Sahara prickly pear seed oil is a key feature, known for its ability to firm, soften, smooth, and moisturize the skin. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, making it great for anti-aging in skincare
This cleanser has a pH level of 5.5, which is close to the skin’s natural pH level, making it suitable for all skin types. It’s also free from parabens, sulfates, and mineral oil, so it’s gentle and safe for sensitive skin.
This is a mild cleansing gel that removes makeup and impurities without drying the skin.
It contains moisturizing prickly pear seed oil, soothing Centella asiatica extract, and brightening citrus fruit extracts. It is pH-balanced, cruelty-free, and SLS-free.
Overall, I think Huxley Cleansing Gel Be Clean Be Moist is a great option for anyone looking for a gentle, hydrating, and refreshing cleanser that’s free from harsh chemicals and suitable for all skin types. Feel free to test it out and share your thoughts with me! 😊
The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Rice Cleansing Water
Many people rave about this Korean skincare product, but it’s not one of my favorites. It didn’t do much for me, but maybe you’ll like it better. You can give it a try if you want to experiment with different products.
The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Rice Cleansing Water is a decent product for daily cleansing and makeup removal. It is gentle, hydrating, and refreshing, but it may not be very effective for heavy makeup or deep cleansing.
It may also not deliver on its brightening promise. I would suggest using this product if you have normal to dry skin,
It’s similar to Bioderma. You just need a cotton pad to apply it on your face. It can remove makeup or oil, and you don’t need to wash it off. It’s a handy product that does everything.
I use it in the morning when I don’t feel like washing my face, to get rid of any oiliness on my skin.
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Final Thoughts Of Best Korean Water-Based Cleansers
No matter what types of your skin type is. These 10 Best Korean Water-Based Cleansers are super gentle and light for your skin.
Many people opt for foaming cleansers that make their skin feel super clean and tight.
However, this can harm your skin’s natural barrier – and cause more oiliness and breakouts.
So, be mindful of how your skin feels. If your skin feels dry and tight after cleansing, you’ve probably gone too far.
Korean water-based cleansers aim to preserve the skin’s natural barrier layer and avoid removing too many natural oils during cleansing.
These cleansers are gentle, effective, and affordable, and they can help you achieve the flawless and glowing skin you desire.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post and found it helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading and happy cleansing! 😊