Gentle and Effective K-Beauty Cleansers

Gentle and Effective K-Beauty Cleansers

By Kate Limond
13/09/2023 | Read time: 5m

Smooth and soft skin with Beauty of Joseon and Mary & May

I’m a bit ashamed to admit it but this is two firsts for me: my first ever proper cleansing oil and first real clay mask.

I find cleansing a bit boring, to be honest with you: I tend to rush through it. And I don’t tend to try new cleansers often because I find it boring…

My current cleanser, the Axis-Y Quinoa One-Step Balanced gel cleanser, which I reviewed here, is a two in one oil and gel cleanser. I have no complaints with it’s efficacy but I’ve been wondering if it be better to use something that doesn’t tempt me to rush!

I know I should find something to enjoy about it because having a good deep cleanse has so many benefits.

Firstly, a proper cleanse is so necessary when you use sunscreen and if you wear make-up. That’s where k-beauty cleansers some into play.

A deep cleanse will set your skin up to absorb your products, which is why double cleansing is so important!

Second, it’s that spa thing: massaging an oil or balm cleanser into your skin is so relaxing. Smoothing it across dry skin makes me feel like I’m really taking care of my skin and giving it the love it deserves.

I’ve used a cleansing oil that wasn’t K-Beauty, which was so-so in the world of cleansers. The Beauty of Joseon Radiance Cleansing balm was a totally different experience but I just hadn’t got round to trying a K-Beauty cleansing oil yet.

Moving to the Mary & May, I assumed clay masks were for oily skin, whilst my skin was combination before it turned to dry skin, I didn’t want to risk it.

As usual, and I feel like I say this a lot, Mary & May comes through with a winning mask range that that I think anyone could use.

Beauty of Joseon Ginseng cleansing oil

This has a nicely balanced texture – thick enough to easily massage without it running off but not so thick that it just sticks to the surface of your skin and tugs as you try to apply it.

I love the way it feels dry and not oily once I’ve spread it across my face and neck.

The other oil cleanser I used was thinner and tended to run all over my hands as I applied it so this is a big upgrade!

It emulsifies to a rich velvety liquid that cleans nicely and doesn’t leave a film on my skin whilst still leaving it soft – not dried out.

Not to knock the Axis-Y cleanser I mentioned above but another reason I wanted a proper oil cleanser was that I find the Axis-Y slightly drying with my local hard water.

The ingredients in this cleanser make it soothing, such as the ginseng and turmeric, along with the moisturising effects of the soybean oil.

The good news for oily skin is that although it’s moisturising, if you follow it up with a foaming cleanser as usual you’ll remove any residue. Whilst I find it doesn’t form a film, it may be different for oily skin.

Lastly, I know this is super decadent but it works amazingly as a first cleanse for my body too.

I’ve written about my body care routine and adding this oil cleanser helps give my arms a thorough but gentle clean.

The fact that this oil cleanser isn’t drying is useful for my body care routine as it offsets some of the drying effects of the hard water.

An all round winner and I’m glad I’ve got an effective oil cleanser back in my routine!

Mary & May Lemon and Niacinamide Glow Wash Off Pack

Mary & May have a whole range of beautiful clay masks and I’ll review others in the future but I’ll focus on the Lemon one here.

The purpose of a clay mask is to clear out your skin: soaking up excess oil, getting rid of dead cells and renewing it.

This is why they’re especially good for oily skin and why I’ve avoided them. I was skeptical that a clay mask would work for me, especially with my dry skin. But I’m always after a recommendation and if Bianca says it’s good, I have to try it!

Smooth the clay mask across dry skin and be aware clay masks dry faster than you might expect so you’ll want to make sure you’re applying it with a bit of speed.

However, this mask has a creamy texture so you can easily add more to any sections that you feel needs a bit more.

As you spread it, you’ll notice that the Lemon mask has an innovative texture so not only do you get the oil-absorbing clay, you also get some very gentle physical exfoliation.

The Lemon mask is a bit special because of the extra ingredients: vitamin c and niacinamide for brightening.

Emulsifying it is so fun as it is velvety like the Beauty of Joseon but with those very gentle scrubby bits for extra skin smoothing benefits.

Those scrubby bits dissolve so you won’t clog up your plumbing and if you want less physical exfoliation, just add more water. You may or may not want to follow up with a foaming cleanser, I have tried both with no issues with either, although using a little Axis-Y after meant I felt confident that I hadn’t missed washing off any remainder of the clay.

My skin is glowing and super soft after using, not at all dried out. I’m very impressed with the glowy results as sometimes my skin can look a little dull after cleansing. I assume the dullness comes down to my skin being a bit dry so this tells me that the mask is effective at giving my skin a really good cleanse without adversely affecting it.

I did my usual k-beauty cleansers’ test which is to air dry my skin and avoid any products for 10-15 minutes – my skin still felt really soft and not dried out.

I did think it might be a bit much for my neck, which is even drier than my face, so I used a much thinner layer and emulsified it more so the scrubby bits melted. As a result, I didn’t have any issues, even with the 10-15 minute wait – I’m very impressed with this result!

Final Word

Like everything K-Beauty, you’re going to find that the cleansers are cosmetically elegant and highly effective. I wish I’d got both types of cleansers much sooner!