Ever since Korean skincare entered the U.S. market back in the early 2010s, the innovative, highly-effective products have been a staple in skincare routines all over the country. And for good reason! Korean skincare brands are renowned for their ample collections, many of which are designed to be layered into one all-encompassing routine. (13-step skincare routine, anyone?)
While there are tons of different Korean skincare brands on the market, one of the most well-known is COSRX. Sold at Ulta and on the brand’s site, COSRX offers shoppers dozens of different products, all geared toward achieving your best-looking skin. Whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin, COSRX has products for you. With most of their products ringing up under $40, and some of the most beloved under just $7, it’s safe to say the Korean skincare brand is well-worth your attention.
To learn more about why you ought to make room for COSRX in your routine, keep reading.
Founded: Sanghoon Jeon, 2013
Based In: South Korea
Pricing: $$: most products are $16 to $40
Best Known For: Delivering simple, efficacious products to consumers in a way that keeps them coming back for more.
Most Popular Product: Acne Pimple Master Patch, Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Fun Fact: Cosrx has a mascot called Mr.RX. “This is used as an eyecatcher, but s/he does offer more than just a pretty design!” Jeon says.
Other Brands You’ll Love: Peach & Lily, Innisfree, Laneige
Ever since its creation in 2013, COSRX has been a Korean skincare leader, offering shoppers products specifically designed with their feedback in mind. “We develop our products thoroughly based on customers’ feedback,” Jeon says, noting that Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence and Low-pH Good Morning Cleanser are prime examples. “We believe that our relationship with our customers is not just one between clients and a company, but a close friendship. We have been making every effort to stand as an honest, reliable, and friendly brand. We share customers’ feedback, identify their needs, and answer their questions.”
Beyond listening to its customers’ needs, COSRX aims to use its products to grants fans of the brand enduring self-confidence. “We believe that cosmetics should be more than just looking beautiful on the outside,” Jeon says, “We are devoted to enabling individuals with various skin concerns to solve their problems, gain self-confidence, and find their true beauty. Speaking from experience, I have very sensitive skin, so I easily break out when I use new cosmetics that may not match my skin. And the more products one uses to calm down irritated skin, the more sensitive the skin becomes. This led me to pursue a career in the beauty industry. My aim became to restore self-confidence and help myself (and others) find true beauty, which is not just based on cosmetics that [hide] skin problems.”
Further, COSRX is focused on being clean and minimalist. “We eliminate unnecessary ingredients and focus on high concentrations of the ingredients that actually really matter to efficiently take care of our skin in the most effective way at the most reasonable price point,” Jeon says.
Speaking of, COSRX's pricing is a major selling point for the brand. “A big part “of our customer satisfaction comes from our reasonable price-positioning,” Jeon says. It is our goal to continue to provide satisfactory products at an affordable price range.”
With that in mind, it’s clear that COSRX is catering to millennials and Gen Zers, producing products within their budgets. But more than that, it's creating products with the curiosity of all ages. “Our consumers tend to use our products as they are curious about the unique ingredients such as snail mucin and propolis,” Jeon says, “Most of our consumers have purchased COSRX products because of their curiosity, due to numerous positive reviews about efficacy and satisfaction. COSRX may not be a brand that excites customers with its colorful packaging and luxurious visuals. However, COSRX is a brand that excites current and future customers with products that contain true value.”
As alluring as the brand is, one main concern remains: it’s not sold in many brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, online shipping can often take weeks for delivery, which can sometimes be a deterrent for some shoppers. But if you can manage to be patient, we assure you that COSRX won’t disappoint.
To help you discover the brand's very best offerings, we rounded up 10 of our favorite products. Check them out below.
COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch
Whiteheads got you down? Not with these pimple patches, they won't. That's because these hydrocolloid patches are designed to suck all the pus out of whiteheads to effectively reduce inflammation and flatten them in the process. Stick it onto clean skin and let it work its magic.
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Applying snail mucus to your skin may seem like a dare from Fear Factor, but it's actually a method that Korean skincare swears by for achieving dewy, radiant skin. This essence comes in a gel pump and nearly bursts into water as soon as you rub it in. The ultra-hydrating formula takes a little while to sink into the skin, but once it does, you can expect a glowing complexion for the rest of the day.
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Applauded for its gentle, texture-improving formula, this daily cleanser is designed to rid the skin of any makeup, dirt, and bacteria—all without irritating or drying it out in the process. Infused with beta hydroxy acid, it's specifically designed for oily skin types, but anyone can enjoy it due to its mild nature.
COSRX Propolis Light Ampoule
This best-selling ampoule creates insanely hydrated skin. It feels like jelly when you first apply it but give it a few seconds, and it will sink deep into pores to hydrate skin from the inside out without leaving any sticky residue behind. Because it's made with propolis bee extract, you might want to consult a doctor before applying in case you're allergic to bees.
COSRX Pure Fit Cica Toner
If you have sensitive skin like me, you'll soon swear by this ultra-gentle toner. Made with Centella asiatica, this toner is ultra-gentle and designed to soothe even the most inflamed skin—whether from general sensitivity, mask-related irritation, or anything in between. Pat it into your skin after cleansing and before applying moisturizer, and revel in just how wonderful it makes your skin look and feel.
COSRX Green Hero Calming Pad
Here's another COSRX product that's an absolute godsend for sensitive skin. Pre-soaked with green tea water, dandelion leaf extract, witch hazel extract, and tea tree extract, these potent-yet-gentle pads help wipe soothe irritation while wiping away breakout-inducing dirt and bacteria. For best results, swipe a pad across your face after cleansing, pat the extra essence in, and continue with your regular skincare routine.
Witch hazel is harvested from the witch hazel plant in North America. It has many uses, including cleansing oily skin, treating minor wounds, treating acne, and removing makeup.
COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad
Love the idea of a facial pad but wish for something a bit more active? These pre-soaked pads are made with willow bark water, BHAs, and tea tree oil to banish breakouts on the spot. Using them as part of your daily routine can lead to clearer, brighter skin in days.
COSRX Pure Fit Cica Cream
You wouldn't think it is based on the lightweight, watery formula, but this cream works like a charm for deep, soothing hydration. Like the toner, it's made with Centella asiatica, so it's ideal for sensitive skin, but anyone can enjoy its nourishing effect.
COSRX AC Collection Calming Liquid Mild
In case you haven't noticed, COSRX is the be-all, end-all of calming Korean skincare. This daily toner is just another example. It's made with camellia water—a Korean skincare staple—hyaluronic acid and tea tree extract to soothe and hydrate the skin before even applying moisturizer. Better yet, it helps balance sebum production to lead to a less shiny, more naturally dewy visage.
COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask
We love a face mask you can put on and forget about. That's why this nourishing overnight mask is one of our must-haves. Like most of COSRX's products, the initial texture is wet but sinks nicely into the skin after a few seconds. Once it does, the rice extract, glycerin, sunflower seed oil, and niacinamide can get to work to hydrate and plump skin—all while you sleep.