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Best Korean Face Washes for Acne and Other Skin Types

8 Best Korean Face Wash Products

While we may enjoy the squeaky clean feel of a good antibacterial soap, stripping the face of too much moisture and natural oils does more harm than good

Because the skin on our face is more delicate compared to that of the rest of our body, it’s best to use products that are specially formulated to address our facial problems.

The face wash or foam cleanser completes the Korean double cleansing method and is the final step towards a thoroughly clean, dewy face.

If you still haven’t found your sweet spot in this area yet, here are the best Korean face washes to choose from.

Best for Dry Skin
Dear Klairs Rich Moist Cleanser
Our Pick
COSRX Good Morning Cleanser
Best for Minimizing Pores
Etude House Wonder Pore Cleanser
Table of Contents

8 Best Korean Face Wash Products

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

Our Pick

The main purpose of a foaming cleanser is to get rid of the day’s dirt and gunk from the skin.

The COSRX Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is the best Korean cleanser in this list because of its power to remove makeup and pollutants effectively. It also works for all skin types, so it’s safe to use even for sensitive skin types.

You can’t miss the whiff of tea tree oil, which may be too strong for some people, but it signals the presence of herbal ingredients that benefit the skin. This product will leave you with a thoroughly cleansed skin without over-stripping.


  • Safe and effective for all skin types
  • Maintains a healthy skin pH
  • Exfoliates
  • Cleans pores


  • Contains plant-based ingredients that may be allergic to some
  • The smell can come off quite strong

Dear Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser

Best for Dry Skin

Foaming cleansers are not ideal for dry skin types because they are not as hydrating as normal cleansers, but this Dear Klairs product beats the odds.

We have here a product that is good both in cleansing the skin of dirt and pollutants while keeping it hydrated.

Looking at the ingredients list, you know this is a hydrating product because of its hyaluronic acid, ceramide, and olive oil components.

And because this Korean brand is eco-friendly, it’s also vegan and cruelty-free.



  • Contains hyaluronic acid and ceramide 3
  • Vegan
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Paraben-free
  • Comes with a pump


  • Expensive

Etude House Wonder Pore Deep Foaming Cleanser

Best in Minimizing Pores

If pores are your biggest problem, then this Etude House foaming cleanser may be what you’re looking for. This Korean brand has a whole line of pore-specific products, and their cleanser works like a charm.

Not only does it minimize the appearance of pores, but it also controls excess sebum throughout the day. I love that it comes in a cute tube packaging that is completely sealed as well.

While it carries a strong smell, it works well for sensitive skin. But if you suffer from oversensitivity, try another foaming cleanser because this one also contains beads that exfoliate the skin.


  • Deeply cleanses pores
  • Great for acne-prone skin
  • Has a cooling effect
  • Exfoliates


  • Has strong peppermint smell

Missha Near Skin pH Balancing Cleansing Foam

Missha is one of those Korean brands that deliver high-quality products. When it comes to skincare, Korea is a country to look towards and other brands are taking notes.

This cleansing foam not only provides a deep cleanse, but it also contains mineral water, saponin complex, and glycerin that keeps the skin hydrated and refreshed.

After use, you will notice it does not leave the skin feeling too tight. 


  • Good for dry and sensitive skin
  • Ensures healthy pH levels
  • Moisturizing


  • The product runs out easily

Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash

When it comes to skin care, Korea is not short of weird ingredients and cute packaging.

This Tosowoong product stands as proof of that. Instead of the usual cream or gel formulation, this foaming cleanser comes in powder form.

The bead-like characteristic of the cleanser makes it a good exfoliant. However, because of this property, it is not the best Korean cleanser for those with sensitive skin. It may lead to too much friction that can potentially harm the skin.

It also contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is bad for those with acne-prone skin. So if you have any of these skin types, maybe you should look for another product.


  • Affordable
  • Maintains healthy pH levels
  • Travel-friendly
  • Exfoliating


  • Contains potential irritants
  • The grains may be too exfoliating

PURITO Defence Barrier pH Cleanser

If you’re looking for a brand that uses safe and honest ingredients, Purito is a good place to start.

The company understands that even in the competitive world of skincare, Korean brands should include only the best ingredients and should produce their products cruelty-free.

This foaming cleanser has a gel-like consistency and maintains the ideal 5.5 pH of the skin.

It’s rich in antioxidants and contains hydrolyzed collagen to help with skin elasticity. Because of the antioxidants and citric acid contents, this foaming cleanser has anti-aging benefits as well.


  • Contains Centella asiatica and tea tree oil
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Contains hydrolyzed collagen


  • Has a strong smell
  • Not for sensitive skin

Dr.Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Foam

If you’re the type of person who enjoys a creamy lather, this Dr. Jart+ cleanser is for you. It creates micro foams that clean the skin effectively. Because it immediately gives that satisfying lather, this could last you a long time.

It is recommended for those with oily skin, but I suggest those who suffer from dryness try out other products.

This foam makes the skin feel too tight and could feel like it’s over stripping if you have dry skin.


  • Contains herb complex that helps soothe skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Paraben-free


  • Can make dry skin feel too tight after use

Innisfree Green Tea Morning Cleanser

The Innisfree Green Tea Morning Cleanser is perfect for those who put on a lot of products during the night.

It is packed with saponin-enriched green tea extract that hydrates the skin after cleansing.

Green tea is well-known for its ability to rejuvenate the skin and fight signs of aging. It’s been used to treat the skin for common problems such as dark spots and acne.

This product is gentle on the skin and even though it lacks a good lathering effect, you can definitely feel it doing its job.


  • Contains green tea
  • The tube is translucent so you can see the amount of product left
  • Washed off easily


  • Does not produce much lather
  • Contains alcohol

What is a Face Wash and Why are Korean Brands the Best Choice?

What and Why

It is a foaming substance that helps remove deep-seated dirt and grime from the face. This is why it’s also called a cleansing foam or a foaming cleanser.

It’s an essential part of any skincare routine because it cleans out the impurities and foreign substances that may cause problems such as acne and dullness.

When you find the best Korean cleansing foam, you’ll notice the foaming action and the gentle formula helps maintain skin hydration.

Korean skin care emphasizes proper hydration, knowing it is one of the key factors in maintaining a healthy complexion.

The best Korean face washes are powerful enough to remove pollutants and dirt that sit on the skin but are gentle enough to not over strip the skin of its natural oils.

Korean beauty standard prizes clear skin, so Korean beauty brands design their products to achieve this.

The Need to Cleanse

Throughout the day, our skin suffers from pollution, sun damage, and other environmental aggressors that cause harm to the skin.

While some skin types fare well compared to others, we all need to rid our face of the day’s damaging effects by cleansing. This helps prevent bacteria and keep skin tone even.

Whether you have a dry or oily skin type, cleansing every night is a must. If you skip this important step, you end up harming your skin by clogging your pores.

Those with acne-prone skin will aggravate their acne problems, while those with dry skin will worsen their dry patches. Finding the right product for cleansing is difficult, but it’s an essential task you must undergo.

Face Wash vs. Cleanser vs. Cleansing Balm

People often confuse these terms because these products help cleanse the skin. And because face washes are also called foam cleansers, the confusion is understandable.

The difference, however, is apparent when you compare the products side-by-side. A foam cleanser is one that (unsurprisingly) creates a foam that needs to be completely washed off.

A cleanser does not need to be washed off. It can be wiped off instead. A cleansing balm is an oil cleanser in solid form.

A cleanser has the consistency of face lotion and is more moisturizing to the skin.

It is admittedly more gentle than a foaming cleanser and helps remove pollutants better. A balm, on the other hand, helps remove oil-based impurities from the skin.

All of these products help clean the skin. So which one do you use?

First, a cleansing balm should be used before a cleanser or a foaming cleanser. It’s the first step to the double cleansing method.

As for the other two, the answer lies in the skin type you have.

For sensitive or dry skin types, a cleanser works better because it is more hydrating. A foam cleanser is better if you belong to either the acne-prone or oily skin types. This is because this product helps provide a matte effect as it removes oil and dirt more effectively.

Why Soap Is Not Enough

Why Soap Is Not Enough

Bath soap is commonly used for cleansing, but experts often recommend to avoid using it on the face. 

This is easily understood when we look at the pH level of the skin and the ordinary bath soap. Soaps are, by nature, alkaline. They have an average pH of 10.5 whereas the skin has a normal pH of 5.5.

When you constantly disrupt the natural pH of the skin, it can cause problems. Most face washes, especially Korean ones, are designed to maintain healthy skin pH.

Korean face washes are gentler than soaps and do not leave the face stretchy and overclean. Soaps are, after all, for cleaning your hands.

If you’re looking for a foaming cleanser, go for a Korean brand because skin care in Korea is on another level.

How to Properly Cleanse Your Face

Different skin types require different product formulations. The first thing to do is to find the best product that suits your skin.

Once you’ve found it, wash your hands first. This ensures removing all the dirt and grime from your hands before working on your face. Pin your hair back to avoid distractions during the process.

Next, you can start with the Korean double cleansing routine. Apply enough amount of the product on your hands. Apply the foaming cleanser in small circles over the face and neck.

After a few minutes, rinse the product off the skin using lukewarm water. Remember not to use hot water or an overly cold one for this process.

Finally, dry the skin using a soft towel. Do not tug on the skin too hard and avoid over-cleansing. Cleanse no more than 3 times per day.



When looking for the best Korean face wash, there are many factors you need to consider such as your skin type and the additional benefits of the product.

That’s why I love the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser because of how effective it is in getting rid of dirt and pollutants while still maintaining the recommended pH level.

The Dear Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser, which is top 2 on this list, is for those who have dry skin. This product does not overdo the cleansing and leaves enough moisture inside to keep the skin supple.

We recommend you use a cleansing oil before applying these to your face. It’ll make sure that all the oil and gunk are removed from your skin before your whole routine.


July 15, 2021 – Updated internal links, updated external links, removed author box

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.