Tuesday, 1 November 2016

COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad

Describe the brand in three words.
Korean. Affordable. Cute.

Who is it for?
Skins prone to breakouts, but everyone else too.

What’s in it?
Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Betaine Salicylate, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Panthenol, Allantoin, Arginine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil , Ethyl Hexanediol, Sodium Hydroxide

What's not in it? 
neat alcohol, witch hazel, vinegars

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
essential oils, salicylic acid

Suitable for pregnancy?

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
Man made

Tested on animals in home country/EU/sold in territories that require testing?
*The brand is from the Far East, I don't know if they retail in China mainland (in bricks and mortar stores) or just if they're cross-border (products shipped into China via mail order are exempt from the animal testing)

How does it smell?
Like alcohol

How do you use it?
Acid toning stage. Post cleanser.

Can it be taken around the eyes?
Orbital bone only, I wouldn't go inside the circle.

Best for winter or summer?

How long did I test it for?
About a month, on and off

How much is it? /Size/Approximate cost per usage?
It varies country to country. It's £14.00 for 70 pads on UK Amazon, but it's supposed to be much cheaper. Amazon are not an official retailer. Neither is eBay (obviously), so tread carefully. I got mine in NY.

Works well with?
All the usual post-acid products like serums/oils.

What’s the website like?
Korean. Basic translation is good though. cosrx.kr

How’s the distribution? Available freely or limited?
They need a UK distributor by the look of it. It all appears to be grey market.

What’s good about them?
Well when they're available, they're affordable, they work well, there are 70 pads per tub, they're extremely cute (not that that should matter at all), they work, they contain amino acids and salicylic acid, meaning they penetrate, help kill off the bacteria and then supply the area with amino acids - which are the building blocks of collagen.

What’s not so good about them?
It's not readily available, that's the only negative to be honest.

Would I purchase/repurchase?

Do you need it?
If it's readily available to you, yes, invest. If not, stick with affordable ones in your country.

Similar products?
More information on COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pads is available here: cosrx.kr
Come on UK people - get on the case!

*This post contains some affiliate links. If you are happy to click on them and support the blog, thank you very much. If you would rather not, just google the product. It's all good.
See my full disclaimer here: http://bit.ly/1rpEmSq
The views expressed on this site are the author's own and are provided for informational purposes only. The author makes no warranties about the suitability of any product or treatment referenced or reviewed here for any person other than herself and any reliance placed on these reviews or references by you is done so solely at your own risk. Nothing on this site shall be construed as providing dermatological, medical or other such advice and you are always advised to seek the advice of a suitable professional should you have any such concerns.


  1. How is Betaine Salicylate different from salicylic acid?

  2. I am sooo happy to finally see a korean product make it to your site :D and also one from a brand that I love so much! For trusted shops you could include jolse.com or roseroseshop.com which are both dearly loved by Asian Beauty addicts. And also if you want to find out what other korean products are beloved by the AB community you might want to check out the reddit forum r/AsianBeauty (in the colum to the right you'll find all necessary info on sellers, bloggers, best practices etc). I would love to read your thoughts on their approach to skincare and also on blogs like fiftyshadesofsnail and skin & tonics :)

  3. Whoa, surprised to see a niche Korean beauty product in your blog.
    As far as I know, they also have AHA and BHA serum and toners in their line up, and also some kind of a Snail cream, so it's not vegan (I guess). But expect it to be a bit milder than your usual acids. And they are not sold in China (yet).

  4. I nearly fainted seeing you write about a Korean brand ;-)

  5. I love seeing you reviewing korean products!
    I wanted to know you're thoughts on the famous Su:m37 Miracle Rose cleansing stick. I'm yet to receive and use it for myself but waiting adamantly for the mail. I think you'll love it from the reviews I've read of it being a gentle, low pH, travel friendly cleanser.
    Also, I just wanted to share one of my other favourite skincare bloggers (other than you ofc) Gothamista on Youtube. I get really similar vibes from you two and your pedagogy on skincare are very similar but she's mostly about korean skincare :)
    Her channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-X4BAoKxwGYIKrKfqk7yug

    1. That's my favorite face wash, I'm on my 3rd stick!!

  6. Would these be usable on dry (maybe even sensitive) skin? I was thinking of getting the Nip+Fab ones but these might be cheaper...

  7. Like other comments loving seeing a K brand in the blog. Please keep it coming!!

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  9. Dear Caroline,

    I am sorry to bother you but since the beginning of the year I have had increased breakouts on my chin and jawline, especially big 'lumpy' ones and the occasional small pimple. My skin tends to combination although I am not particulary oily but probably dehydrated. I use the Glow Tonic and follow up with The Body Shop's Serum-in-Oil from the Vitamin E range and their moisturizer. They still take a really long time to heal and leave really bad scars, although I only use flannels and always wear SPF. I have started taking fish oil supplements and tried to layer the moisture with sprays but I just don't know what to do anymore. Do you have any advice on what could be changed in my routine or lifestyle? I already cut out most of my dairy and mind my sugar intake.

    Thank you very much for your help!
    Kind regards,

    1. Janika, had the exact same thing happen. For me, it was the Glow tonic. I can't handle the glycolic and my skin was angry with me. (I never broke out in those areas before, or after.)

  10. Hi Caroline, I have been making a note of your NYC purchases. I go in December for a holiday. Where did you buy these from? Any particular shops you would recommend other than Duane reade and target?

  11. Hi Caroline, where did you buy these in NY? I have been making a list of your NY purchases for my trip in December. Which stores would you recommend? I have been before and love a rummage through Target and Duane Reade but just wondered if there are any new places I should try.



  12. Hi Caroline
    They are available on wishtrend.com and can be shipped to UK :)

  13. Have literally bought the entire COSRX line in the last week or so. It has made such a difference so quickly to my congested breaking out skin - I can't praise it enough. The BHA lotion followed by the AHA lotion followed by the AHA/BHA Acne lotion is amazing, and so so gentle. I was thinking just yesterday, I wonder if Caroline has heard of COSRX .....

  14. Just bought the whole COSRX line last week and its made such a difference so quickly to my congested problem skin. So gentle.

  15. Bentaine Salicylate is just SA combined with bentaine. Making it much gentler! If I'm not mistaken, regular salicylic acid is banned in korea, so BS is used instead. These pads are 1% BS so about .5% SA. They also make a BHA power liquid that has 4% BS so around 2% SA. Sorry if that's confusing!

  16. I adore COSRX!! They're low ph cleanser, acid pads, the bha power liquid, the AHA power liquid, the snail essence, the eye cream, the centella blemish cream, and many others are all amazing products!!

  17. You can get this brand on yesstyle.co.uk and they ship to the UK, I'd love to see you review more of this brand, the low pH morning gel cleanser looks interesting!

  18. MEMEBOX carries this amazing brand! They retail for $15 sometimes they go on sale too. On Mondays they usually offer 10-20% off!!!

  19. Oooh, these look interesting! Will have to check-out! X


  20. Thanks for having the 'pregancy suitable' question things my doctor told me about salicylic acid (maybe she meant first trimester only). Do you think these would do beard rash? Husband is terrible at shaving so gets very red and many ingrowns

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  22. I just started adding acids (alpha-h liquid gold, cosrx bha, p50 lotion) into my skincare routine. When I follow up an acid with an oil/serum, should I avoid an oil that also has an acid in it like Sunday Riley's U.F.O? If so, where does something like U.F.O/vitamin c fit into my routine? Thank you!

    1. Vitamin C would come in after acid toning or spritz if you do.
      UFO can be after your serum, under moisturiser. I got this recently and am loving it!
      Hope this helps.

  23. Love this brand! I'd love to see reviews on the rest of the line. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  24. I had a good experience getting cosrx blackhead power liquid from jolse.com, shipping took a few weeks (Canada), but it was free!

  25. I'm wondering what's in it that smells like alcohol if it's alcohol free. Is there an ingredient that mimics alcohol? I'm trying to educate myself on ingredients but some of them are so scientific it's hard to figure out the benefits vs. the risks. Thanks for all you do!