This is now officially my holy grail cleanser. My skin is oily (T-zone) and combination and I’m prone to freckles and blackheads. Those with acne-prone skin know how difficult it can be to find a cleanser that cleans, brightens, and doesn’t overdry. Here are my observations:
(1) Low pH–A low pH cleanser is crucial to keeping bacteria at bay and is especially important for those with acne-prone skin. Many cleansers (especially those for oily skin) have too high of a pH (the feeling of squeaky clean skin may be enticing but you pay for it afterwards because the skin then overproduces oil to compensate for the amount washed away in the cleansing process).
(2) Foam–Foaming cleansers are generally prescribed for oil and combination skin and they’re abundant in the marketplace. The problem with most low pH cleansers on the market is they don’t foam. And the ones that do foam are often high pH formulas. However, a cleanser that has both low pH and foaming action is a rarity and considered a unicorn in the skincare world.
(3) Ginseng–As with most products in Sulwhasoo’s line, this cleanser has a medicinal scent due to its Chinese herb ingredient list with ginseng being the start ingredient. Ginseng can brighten and even out skin tone, among other things.
When I use this in the shower at night, I leave it on my face for at least five minutes before washing it off. Although my freckles remain the same, the rest of my face is visually brighter. The product cleanses thoroughly without drying out my skin and is suitable for most skin types.
The last time I checked (about three months ago), this cleanser was unavailable in the US via department stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman’s, and Saks (even though the stores all carry the Sulwhasoo line). Amazon and eBay sell it but a good rule of thumb is to avoid such sites for skincare due to numerous incidents of counterfeit and expired products. For those in the US who wish to purchase this product, my advise would be to lobby the Sulwhasoo counter at your local department store, make a phone call to a major Korean department store and attempt to order it and have it shipped to you, or stock up (or get a friend to) on your next visit to Asia (as far as I know, this cleanser is widely available at all Sulwhasoo counters in department stores across Asia).