COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser Review

COSRX Salicylic Acid Cleanser


Hiya! My name is Shaleen- I am a 22 year old from the bottom of the world with a skincare obsession. 

Todays review is all about the COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser which has fast become one of my favourite cleansers. I actually think it might be a kind of dupe of the Mario Badescu Acne Cleanser (comparison vid coming soon hehe). It has worked wonders for my oily prone skin, but it is quite stripping so if you have dry skin then I would suggest checking out the COSRX Good Morning Gel Cleanser instead!


  • So cheap it is a steal
  • Includes a chemical exfoliant (salicylic acid 0.5%)
  • Helps fight acne
  • Perfect for oily skin and/or acne prone
  • Foaming cleanser but doesn't feel stripping
  • Contains the bomb ingredient tea tree

The product:

The COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser is a gentle foam cleanser that is equipped with an ingredients to help fight acne and keep your skin clear. It is a affordable and super effective cleanser that has crept its way into my favourite cleansers and my heart in recent months. 

COSRX is a cult Korean Beauty brand that has become super famous for its skincare products that don't sacrifice effectiveness for affordability. The brand focuses on minimal ingredients and maximum results- now with a huge product range that has something for every skin type and problem.

The Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser helps to reduce breakouts and promotes clear skin. Ideal for all skin types including sensitive. It gently removes impurities and excess sebum while fighting pimples and blemishes, leaving skin soft and smooth without the stripping feeling. - COSRX website

The cleanser comes in a massive 150ml squeezy bottle. The packaging is white with a matte finish and a red label across the front. The cleanser is white, and a little thick- more like a cream than a gel consistency (similar consistency to the Face Shop Rice Cleanser.) It bubbles up really well with water so a little goes a really long way.

  • I would recommend this product for oily and/or acne prone skin type as it is most effective at cleansing and fighting breakouts.
 COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser



How to use:

  • Dispense a moderate amount into your hand.
  • Add water and lather.
  • Massage onto face and neck, avoiding eye area.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Follow up with toner and continue with the rest of your skincare routine.

The review:

I found the COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser when I had very little money but had just run out of my favourite but expensive cleanser (the SU:M37 Rose Cleansing Stick) and wasn't a very big fan of the only cleanser I had left (the Face Shop Rice Cleanser). So I needed a new one stat without breaking the bank because I still needed to buy coffee everyday. I hit up Hikoco to see what cleansers that had in stock and was delighted to find a massive cleanser that retailed for only 12NZD. I did some research online and concluded that this cleanser looked like the best new thing since sliced bread. And lemme tell you- it is.

This product is designed to be a gentle exfoliating cleanser that helps to keep breakouts at bay while also removing dead skin cells. It is a foaming cleanser but right out of the tube has a creamy and thick appearance. After adding water, it lathers up beautifully and glides on your skin like a dream. It is not stripping which is almost a miracle because foaming cleansers tend to leave your face feeling like the sahara- but this one doesn't. In addition to that, it lathers up so well that you literally only need a pea sized amount to cover your whole face. Woo! 

My favourite thing about the COSRX cleanser is that is contains 0.5% salicylic acid, which is a form of chemical exfoliant. Because it is such a low percentage, you do not have to take precautions and rest times (read more about chemical exfoliating here). Despite the low percentage, it does help to gently cleanse your skin, arguably more effectively than one without it. In combination with tea-tree oil which is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-acne properties, the salicylic acid cleanses your pores deeply and helps to unclog your pores. That is why this product is so good for oily and acne-prone skin. 


Honestly, the best thing about the COSRX Salicylic Acid Cleanser is the price. It retails for 13NZD and 11USD which is crazy considering how long this product will last you and the fact that it works better than 90% of all cleansers I've tried to date. COSRX are once again NAILING it with their pricing and effectiveness- which is exactly why I will continue to use this cleanser over more expensive options.


The key ingredient in this cleanser, and the one it is named after is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a BHA, a form of chemical exfoliant that delves deep into the pores to clear the source of the problem. BHAs are oil-soluble and therefore are able to reach deeper into the skin and pores unlike an AHA which is water-soluble. It is great for acne-prone and oily skin because of its ability to penetrate the pores. BHAs helps to get rid what sits under the skin, such as blackheads and cystic acne. The percentage of salicylic acid in this cleanser is only 0.5% so is not going to have the effectiveness as it would as a standalone product but it an excellent way to get gentle and easy exfoliation into your everyday routine.

Unsurprisingly tea tree is also in the ingredient list, and adds to the acne fighting abilities of the cleanser. Tea tree is well known for its usefulness and effectiveness in fighting acne due to its antis- anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic (the list goes on).

Other important ingredients include willow bark water and saccharomyces ferment which both help to hydrate your skin and keep it feeling nourished opposed to feeling stripped and dry.

  • As always, if you're interested in seeing the breakdown of the ingredients, click here for the COSDNA page.


New Zealand:



Style Korean-




1/5: Negative, nada, no.

2/5: Didn't do anything for me.

3/5: It had its effects but there are many more products out there that do better for my skin type.

4/5: Going great! Going to keep using until I find something more effective. 

5/5: HOLY GRAIL STATUS. I will make sure there is one of these cleansers in my cupboard at all times.

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