Beauty products made in Korea have become all the rage, and your search for the best Korean cleanser ends here. For many, facial cleansers are a crucial part of the skincare routine.
Cleansers are a great way to remove dust, dirt, and grease and keep the skin clean and hydrated. They are also effective at clearing out blocked pores and letting the skin hydrate and rejuvenate.
Read on as we bring you a list of some expert-recommended Korean face washes made of natural ingredients and give you a few tips on choosing the right product.
13 Best Korean Cleansers to Keep Skin Clean and Hydrated In 2024
1. Best Dermatologist-Tested: Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
The primary ingredient in Cosrx’s gel cleanser is tea tree oil, which helps gently cleanse your skin without stripping it of its natural oils. This doctor-recommended Korean beauty product’s lightweight composition is suitable for all skin types, making it ideal for day and night usage. To help maintain the skin’s acidic pH, this gel cleanser delivers a 5.5 pH level. This hypoallergenic cleanser also contains 0.5% of betaine salicylate, which has been tested and proven to smoothen the skin.
Item form: Gel | Scent: Tea tree | Special features: Natural, hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free, free of nasties | Skin type: All , Item dimensions: 1.97 x 2.76 x 6.69oz; 6.35oz | Key ingredients: Tea tree oil, BHA
- Free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates
- Might have a strong fragrance
- May not rinse-off easily
2. Best Non-Drying formula: Dr. Song Glycolic Acid Face Wash
Upgrade your Korean skin care routine with Dr. Song’s exfoliating Korean facial cleanser that helps rejuvenate and clarify healthy skin with its gentle formula. It uses 10% glycolic acid to tighten and tone pores and exfoliate dead skin cells, offering an effective cleansing experience. The formula helps rejuvenate the skin and is compatible with all skin types. By stimulating collagen synthesis, this oil-free cleanser helps reduce acne build-up, whiteheads, and blackheads. Use it daily for visible results.
Item form: Gel | Scent: Light natural scent | Special features: Oil-free, exfoliating, non-drying | Skin type: Acne-prone, Item dimensions: 5.75 x 2.09 x 1.97in; 5.61oz | Key ingredients: Purified water, glycolic acid, carbomer, glycerin, coco betaine, polyglucose, aloe vera, phenoxyethanol, sodium hydroxide
- Non-drying formula
- Helps reduce hyperpigmentation
- Balances the skin’s natural pH
- Paraben- and sulfate-free
- Nozzle may malfunction
- May be greasy
Enjoy clean and fresh skin with the Rice Water Bright cleansing foam by The Face Shop. Its mild foam-based formula offers gentle yet deep cleansing and removes dead skin more effectively. Infused with vitamin- and mineral-rich rice water, soapwort, and other natural ingredients, it removes skin impurities such as sebum, traces of makeup, and SPF residue without stripping away the skin’s natural moisture and helps you achieve a radiant complexion naturally. Moreover, this foam-based cleanser produces a rich lather that makes the skin look supple and bright after every wash.
Item form: Foam | Scent: Rice | Special features: Moisturizing, brightening | Skin type: All, Product dimensions: 2.76 x 1.77 x 6.89in; 5.29oz | Key ingredients: Rice water, rice bran, soapwort
- Provides glass-like skin
- Smooth gliding
- Free of parabens, paraffin, and talc
- Can be used for double cleansing method
- May not be suitable for sensitive skin
- Some may not like the scent
Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Dr. Song Glycolic Acid Face Wash
Best Non-Drying formula
The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Foam
4. Best For All Skin Types: Aesthetic Hydration Cosmetics Aqualuronics Facial Cleanser
Formulated with hyaluronic acid, this facial cleanser helps moisturize your skin while cleansing. It is gentle on the skin and exfoliates dead skin build-up and impurities during each wash. The hydrating cleanser has French seawater and ceramides blend to lock in moisture and provide hydration, making it ideal for dry skin types. You can rinse with lukewarm water for better results.
Item form: Foam | Scent: Fresh sea water | Special features: Antibacterial, moisturizing | Skin type: All, Product dimensions: 6.4 x 5.1 x 7.5in; 6.72oz | Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and French seawater
- Hydrating properties
- Doesn’t strip off moisture
- Korean aesthetic clinic approach
- Suitable for all skin types
- Might feel sticky after application
- May have a strong fragrance
5. Best Fragrance-Free: Etude House Foam Cleanser
Etude House’s Korean foam cleanser is formulated for sensitive skin. It has a low pH of 5.5 that helps regulate the skin’s pH, leaving the face well-nourished and moisturized. The expert-recommended creamy foam spreads well on the skin and gently exfoliates to clear dead skin cells. It doesn’t strip off the natural skin barrier and works well as a hydrating cleanser, thereby rejuvenating the skin. This non-comedogenic product also helps reduce breakouts and protects the skin from any damage by external factors. Check this video to know if the product will suit your skin or not.
Item form: Cream | Scent: Unscented | Special features: pH balanced, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic | Skin type: Sensitive, Product dimensions: 6.75 x 2 x 1.5in; 6.38oz | Key ingredients: Panthenol, madecassoside
- Helps strengthen skin
- Soothes irritated skin
- Works on dry and acne-prone skin
- May not rinse off well
6. Best Anti-Inflammatory: Ma:Nyo Pure Cleansing Oil
This Korean cleansing oil from Ma:Nyo is formulated with non-irritating and clean ingredients to gently remove sebum and dead skin cells and provide visible results. It can also extract dirt, blackheads, and makeup and sunscreen residue without irritating the skin. The refreshing cleansing oil is dermatologist-recommended. It contains anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and soothing ingredients such as argan kernel oil and 14 other plant-derived oils to maintain the skin’s natural pH.
Item form: Oil | Scent: Light natural scent | Special features: Plant-based, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing | Skin type: All, Product dimensions: 1.89 x 1.89 x 7.6in; 8oz | Key ingredients: Argan kernel oil, vitamin E
- Has lipophilic and hydrophilic properties
- Skin vitalizing ingredients
- Rich in antioxidants
- Dermatologically tested
- Some might not like the thick consistency
- Some might find the fragrance unpleasant
7. Best Cruelty-Free: The Creme Shop Facial Cleanser
Providing the benefits of a cleanser and a makeup remover, this facial cleanser by Creme shop is ideal for morning and night usage. Enriched with the goodness of green tea, white lilies, and rice water, it helps nourish and rejuvenate the skin with its antioxidant properties. These natural ingredients, tested and proven to deliver visible results, also help cleanse pores without irritating the skin, remove dead skin cells, and reduce dark spots while nourishing the skin.
Item form: Cream | Scent: Green tea | Special features: Cruelty-free, dermatologist tested, paraben- & sulfate-free | Skin type: Acne-prone, Product dimensions: 2.2 x 1.85 x 7.09 inches; 0.01oz | Key ingredients: Green tea, white lily, and rice water
- Has anti-aging benefits
- Paraben- and cruelty-free
- Helps maintain even skin tone
- Maybe too dense
- Might not wash-off easily
8. Best With Natural Ingredients: Pyunkang Yul Low pH Pore Deep Cleansing Foam
With hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, and other natural ingredients, Pyunkang Yul’s cleanser offers deep cleansing by gently exfoliating the skin. The low pH and vegan formula moisturizes the skin and keeps it well hydrated, and its micro-foam helps trap the dirt on the skin and rinses it off effectively. This face cleanser helps remove any dust residue by deep cleansing pores without irritating the skin, giving you smooth and clear skin.
Item form: Gel | Scent: Tea tree | Special features: Low pH, moisturizing, soothing | Skin type: Dry and sensitive, Product dimensions: 6.6 x 2.1 x 2.1in; 3.53oz | Key ingredients: Fine-grained diatomite, Centella Asiatica, witch hazel, and tea tree leaf extracts, beta glucan
- Helps remove makeup
- Long-lasting hydration
- Helps soothe irritated skin
- Free of fragrance and harmful ingredients
- Might have a runny consistency
9. Best Soothing: Meebak Cica Sensitive Skin Face Wash Cleanser
Meebak’s Cica Korean face cleanser helps soothe irritated skin and strengthens and nourishes the skin barrier. The expert-recommended cleanser is infused with the goodness of soothing ingredients like gluconolactone, white willow, calendula, and circa extracts, which gently exfoliate the skin and help prevent the formation of blackheads, whiteheads, and acne, making it one of the best Korean foam cleansers available. In addition, its gel consistency converts into a rich foam when mixed with water and effectively removes sebum, dirt, and makeup residue.
Item form: Oil-based gel | Scent: Tea tree | Special features: Cruelty-free, soothing, exfoliating | Skin type: All, Product dimensions: 1.93 x 1.93 x 6.41in; 8.01oz
- Suitable for all skin types
- Fights free radicals
- Boosts collagen production
- Free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates
- Some might find it drying
- Bottle might be smaller than expected
10. Best For Smooth Skin: Carenel Egg White Pore Clinic Cleansing Foam
The Carenel Korean foam cleanser has egg white that helps remove dirt and impurities and cleanse the pores without irritation while tightening the skin and leaving it smooth. Due to its gentle cleansing properties, the egg helps prevent stripping off natural oils, which are beneficial for keeping your skin healthy. With patented BSASM formula including seven botanical extracts, the product helps calm irritated skin and is compatible with all skin types.
Item form: Foam | Scent: Egg | Special features: Natural, tightens pores, moisturizing | Skin type: All, Product dimensions: 2.7 x 2.7 x 6in; 6.3oz | Key ingredients: Egg white extract, seven specialized botanical ingredients
- Provides a lasting freshness
- Provides a firming effect
- Scrubs off dead skin cells smoothly
- Gives a dewy finish
- May have a strong fragrance
11. Best With Shea Butter: Heimish All Clean Balm
Heimish’s clinically proven cleansing balm is formulated with shea butter, coconut oil, and citrus extracts that melt into the pores to remove impurities. It has a smooth, balmy texture that turns into an easy-to-apply milky fluid when mixed with water. Besides, its flip-top jar and a spatula help take out the desired amount of product without contaminating the whole tub.
Item form: Balm | Scent: Nature herb | Special features: Vegan, cruelty-free, free of parabens | Skin type: All, Product dimensions: 2.36 x 3.35 x 3.35in; 4.16oz | Key ingredients: Shea butter, coconut, ten natural vegetable oils
- Suitable for all skin types
- Can remove blackheads and waterproof makeup
- Residue-free formula
- Vegan-friendly and cruelty-free
- Some might find the smell unpleasant
- Might cause a slight burning sensation in some
12. Best For Brightening: The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil
The Face Shop oil-based cleanser serves as the first step in a double cleansing method, to be followed by a foaming face wash. Its key ingredients include rice bran, rice water, and jojoba, which bestow hydration and skin-brightening properties for radiant skin. On the other hand, it helps remove oil-based dirt, impurities, and all traces of makeup for a thorough cleanse. This Korean cleansing oil formula is enriched with vitamins, minerals, and moringa oil that restore the skin’s moisture level and prevent dehydration.
Item form: Oil | Scent: Rice | Special features: Plant-based, refreshing, brightening | Skin type: All, Product dimensions: 1.77 x 1.77 x 6.89in; 5.29oz | Key ingredients: Rice water, rice bran, jojoba,
- Helps attain glass-like skin
- Spreads easily
- Non-sticky consistency
- Cruelty-free and vegan
- Paraben- and mineral oil-free
- Paraffin- and talc-free
- May not be suitable for sensitive skin types
- Some may find the fragrance strong
13. Best Mess-Free: Etude House Baking Powder Crunch Pore Scrub
Easy to apply and mess-free, the expert-recommended Etude Houses’ scrub has sodium bicarbonate to create a rich foaming formula for an effective cleansing experience. It includes several moisturizing ingredients that hydrate your skin, while the baking powder gently exfoliates it. The menthol component helps cool your skin to tighten pores and leaves you with healthier and brighter skin. Use it daily for visible results.
Item form: Lotion | Scent: Light natural scent | Special features: Exfoliating, moisturizing, | Skin type: Combination, Product dimensions: 1.97 x 1.97 x 1.97in; 1.92oz | Key ingredients: Peppermint, baking powder
- Removes excess oil
- Clears impurities
- Acts as a moisturizer and scrub
- Helps refresh the skin
- May not have a pleasant fragrance
How To Choose The Right Korean Cleanser?
Consider the following factors when buying a Korean face wash.
- Functionality: Some products are helpful as a makeup remover, exfoliator, and moisturizer simultaneously. Choose such products that provide added benefits.
- Ingredients: Look for the active ingredients and their cleansing abilities. The best Korean face washes should have more natural ingredients as they tend to be gentle on the skin.
- pH level: A cleanser that balances with your skin pH helps rejuvenate and maintain healthy skin. The pH level of human skin ranges from 4.7 to 5.75,so choose a product with a similar pH level. Cleansers with alkaline pH can dehydrate the skin.
- Skin type: A few products are suitable for all skin types, while others are formulated specifically for a particular skin type. Know your skin type before you choose any skincare product, as it increases the product’s efficacy.
- Cleanser type: Foaming cleansers exfoliate the skin gently, while gel cleansers are more refreshing and hydrating. Oil cleansers are good for removing makeup, whereas light cream cleansers are ideal for dry skin type as they provide hydration.
Dr. Dmitriy Schwarzburg, a dermatologist and owner of Skinly Aesthetics, says, “If you have dry or sensitive skin, try opting for a fragrance-free product. Also, always do a patch test before using a new product to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the ingredients.”
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are Korean skincare products cruelty-free?
Korean beauty products are not necessarily cruelty-free. However, some K skincare brands are cruelty-free.
2. What’s the main difference between American and Korean skincare items?
Korean skincare products involve more natural and skin-friendly ingredients when compared to American skincare products. However, American skincare products are simple to use and involve fewer steps when compared to Korean products. K beauty products are also much more affordable in comparison to American brands.
3. Is Korean skin care safe for people with skin allergies?
Yes, Korean skin care products which are hypoallergenic are safe to use for sensitive skin types. Yet, a patch test is recommended, just like any other skincare product, to ensure it is safe and suitable for your skin type.
4. Which Korean cleanser is best for oily skin?
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser and DR Song Glycolic Acid Face Wash are some of the best available Korean cleansers for oily skin type. These cleansers are non-drying yet leave your skin oil-free by gently cleansing and removing the excess sebum and oil, thereby cleansing pores without irritation.
5. What are the benefits of using Korean cleansers?
Korean cleansers use skin-friendly and natural ingredients which are gentle on the skin. They also provide a deep cleansing effect by removing dirt, excess oil, and dead cells from the skin, making the skin look clean and fresh.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Poulami Nag is experienced in writing about makeup and skin care products. She enlightens buyers through her knowledge and guides them towards choosing the right product. In this article about the best Korean cleansers, she has listed high-quality products known for their gentle ingredients, moisturization, lightweight texture, and good hydrating properties. Poulami has also included the pros and cons of each product along with a buying guide to help you in choosing the best Korean face wash.
Facial cleansers are an integral part of skincare routines as they allow for cleaning all impurities, bringing a natural glow to the skin while offering a refreshing effect. However, they may not have the most pleasant fragrance. So before purchasing, learn about the ingredients of the cleansers and their functionality according to your skin type to prevent environmental changes and acne. Also, decide whether you want a foaming cleanser to exfoliate or a gel to hydrate the skin. We recommend the dermatologist-tested Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, which gently cleanses while maintaining a pH of 5.5, and The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Foam, which helps you achieve a radiant complexion. You may also consider the Heimish All Clean Balm, which removes impurities and waterproof makeup.
Infographic: How To Select The Right Korean Cleansers?
Korean cleansers are popular for promoting healthy and glowing skin and are infused with innovative ingredients supported by a skincare culture that prioritizes thorough cleansing. However, selecting the perfect variant that suits your specific requirements is crucial for optimal results. Refer to the infographic below to learn about the factors to consider when choosing the right Korean cleanser.
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