Korean water cleanser

The 6 Best Korean Water Cleanser 2023 | Water Based Products For Glowing Skin

A Korean water cleanser is just the thing you need if you want a face wash that can cleanse your skin and control acne, excess oil, and breakouts.

Confused by the fancy names? A water cleanser is nothing but a cleanser with water as it’s first ingredient. It comes in three forms – gel, foam, and cleansing water.

Related: Best Korean Oil Cleanser

Usually these type of cleansers are used to remove water-based impurities like sweat from skin 

They are also preferred by those with oily or acne-prone skin types as they are less rich and moisturizing and more on the clarifying side. 

Korean Water CleansersBest ForChief Ingredients
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel CleanserAcne Prone SkinTea Tree Oil, Evening Primrose, BHA, Allantoin
Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing FoamOily SkinVolcanic Ash Clusters
Dear Klairs Rich Moist Foaming CleanserSensitive SkinPanthenol, Hyaluronic Acid, Green Tea, Lauric Acid
The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Foaming CleanserDull, Tanned SkinRice Water, Rice Bran Extract, Grapefruit Extract, Meadowfoam Seed Oil
Mizon Snail Repairing Foam CleanserMature, Ageing SkinSnail Secretion Filtrate, Papaya Extract, Green Tea, Lauric Acid
Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam CleanserCombination SkinGreen Tea, Glycerin, Sugarcane, Orange Oil

How I tested the best Korean water cleanser?

There are several Korean face wash and cleansers that have a water base. To check which of these is most effective, I tested a few popular products based on the following criteria. After which, I ranked them from 1-5 based on how well they performed.

  • Cleansing power: The topmost mission of a good Korean water cleanser is to remove all traces of dirt, impurities, and grease from skin.
  • Hydrating: Water cleansers are less moisturizing than cream or oil-based ones. But they should still maintain skin’s hydration to a certain extent.
  • Acne control: A lot of people with acne-prone skin use water cleansers are they are more purifying. So the cleanser should be effective on acne as well.
  • Gentleness: The cleanser shouldn’t have an adverse effect on sensitive skin or cause any inflammation.

Top Korean Water Cleanser 2022

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

Best  Korean Water Cleanser For Acne Prone Skin

What I’ve noticed in a Korean water cleanser is that they tend to dry out the skin. But not this face wash from Cosrx.

The cleanser has a gel formula and not a foam-based one, which means it’s more hydrating on your skin.

There are no harsh surfactants like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate here either. 

It does contain exfoliators like BHA (0.5 % Betaine Salicylate), but that is very gentle on your skin and removes impurities without causing any irritation.

korean water cleanser

I think this is a fantastic product to use as a second cleanser after using an oil-based product to remove your makeup.

The Cosrx Good Morning Gel cleanser has a low pH formula that closely mimics the skin’s natural acidic pH. It is also hypoallergenic and free of any added fragrances. 

This means the cleanser is perfect if you have acne prone skin. It will keep your face hydrated and prevent breakouts as well.


It also has tea tree oil in its ingredients list, which is an excellent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. 

As this cleanser helps strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier, it’s a great choice for folks with dry skin. Not something you see quite often with a Korean water cleanser.


  • Good for dry skin as it doesn’t contain any sulfates or artificial fragrances
  • Controls acne breakouts and inflamed skin as it contains tea tree oil
  • Is safe for sensitive and irritated skin as it has a pH balanced formula


  • None that I could see

My Ratings

  • Cleansing Power – 4/5
  • Hydrating – 5/5
  • Acne Control – 4.5/5
  • Gentleness – 4/5

Related: Check out the best Korean face wash for dry skin to keep your skin moisturized

Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam

Best  Korean Water Cleanser For Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, a Korean water cleanser should be your go-to choice. These products are lightweight and contain ingredients that help control oil production.

The Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam is one such product. It comes with volcanic ash clusters from Korea’s Jeju island.

These clusters are quite adept at absorbing excess sebum from not just the outer layer of your skin but also from deep within your pores. 

So if you’re experiencing acne or blackheads due to your excessively oily skin, this cleanser is a good choice. 

My face felt absolutely squeaky clean after use, which is a good thing as I have very oily skin. 

But if yours is more on the dry side, you might want to give this one a miss. 

I wouldn’t recommend this for combination skin types either, unless you’re using it only on your oily, T-zone area.

Other than this, I couldn’t find a single thing to complain about. 

This Innisfree Korean water cleanser is formulated without sulfates, parabens, artificial coloring, and other harsh ingredients.

I also give it bonus points for being vegan. 


  • Removes excess oil from face as it contains oil-absorbing clay
  • Cleanses pores as it contains volcanic clusters
  • Controls whiteheads and blackheads as it cleans skin deeply thanks to the exfoliating formula


  • Not for dry or combination skin types as it can dehydrate such skin types

My Ratings

  • Cleansing Power – 5/5
  • Hydrating – 2.5/5
  • Acne Control – 4.5/5
  • Gentleness – 3/5

Related: Try these top Korean face wash for oily skin to remove excess sebum and other impurities

Dear Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser

Best  Korean Water Cleanser For Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin or conditions like eczema, you really should try out this Korean water cleanser.

It does not contain any of the well-known problematic ingredients. So no sulfates, parabens, mineral oils, alcohol, artificial dyes or perfumes!

The formulation is mostly herbal, hypoallergenic,and suits a wide range of skin types.

korean water cleanser

There’s hyaluronic acid, ceramide 3 and olive oil which help moisturize your skin from deep within and give it a smooth, plump texture.

But it’s also got tea tree oil and houttuynia cordata extract that controls excess sebum production and reduces redness, itching and irritation.

Nothing can be perfect however, as I soon discovered with this face wash. 

It’s not a good fit for those with severe acne, especially malassezia or fungal acne.

I found it has a slightly higher pH level and some ingredients like olive oil, lauric acid, etc. (which are great for hydration) are, in fact, comedogenic. 

This means there’s a chance these can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. 


  • Great for sensitive skin as it contains soothing hyaluronic acid
  • No sulfates or artificial ingredients so it’s not harsh on irritated, acne-prone skin


  • Can worsen fungal acne as it contains certain comedogenic ingredients

My Ratings

  • Cleansing Power – 4/5
  • Hydrating – 4/5
  • Acne Control – 3/5
  • Gentleness – 5/5

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Foaming Cleanser

Best  Korean Water Cleanser For Skin Brightening

The one reason why K-beauty is so popular is that it combines modern technology with ancient beauty secrets.

Just like this Face Shop Korean water cleanser!

The chief ingredient is rice water which was used by ancient women in the Joseon dynasty to clean their faces.

korean water cleanser

There’s also rice bran oil, meadowfoam seed oil, and grapefruit extract which helps hydrate and brighten your skin.

I liked how the cleanser does not strip the face of natural oils. You can thank ingredients like moringa oil and glycerin for it. 

There’s also titanium dioxide in this cleanser which is a major component in sunscreens and CC creams. It leaves your skin instantly bright and glowing.

korean water cleanser

This Korean water cleanser is free of coal tar, talc, mineral oil, and other harmful chemicals. 

But it does contain sulfates. So if you have very dry or sensitive skin, I don’t recommend this product.


  • Brightens skin
  • Moisturizing
  • Good for removing makeup


  • Contains sulfate
  • Can cause breakouts

My Ratings

  • Cleansing Power – 4.5/5
  • Hydrating – 4/5
  • Acne Control – 3.5/5
  • Gentleness – 3/5

Mizon Snail Repairing Foam Cleanser

Best  Korean Water Cleanser For Mature Skin

The Mizon Snail Repair Cleanser is for everyone who’s noticed the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles or dullness on their face lately.

This Korean water cleanser contains one of K-beauty’s most prized ingredients – snail mucin filtrate! 

Yes, it sounds weird to think about, but snail mucin is excellent at hydrating and repairing your skin cells.

The cleanser has a bubble formula that delves deep into your pores and provides a very thorough cleansing.

korean water cleanser

But as the surfactants used here are plant-based and not sulfates, you can rest assured that it won’t dry out your skin.

There are other ingredients too like papaya extract and green tea that help boost skin’s elasticity and firmness.

As it combines amazing cleansing powers with moisturizing abilities, this face wash is great for combination skin types.

I did have one issue with this Mizon Foam Cleanser. It contains lauric acid which for regular skin is an excellent emollient, but it’s comedogenic. 

korean water cleanser

This means if you have blackheads or acne-prone skin, it can make things worse.


  • Repairs ageing, dull skin
  • Deep pore cleansing
  • Hydrates dry skin
  • Good for combination skin types


  • Can lead to breakouts in sensitive skin

My Ratings

  • Cleansing Power – 4/5
  • Hydrating – 5/5
  • Acne Control – 2.5/5
  • Gentleness – 4/5

Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser

Best  Korean Water Cleanser For Combination Skin

One of my favorite Korean water cleansers on this list is the Neogen Green Tea Fresh Foam. It’s a real multitasker!

This cleanser hydrates skin, removes impurities, soothes inflammation, and gives a fresh feeling to my face after I use it.  

It’s a great fit for my oily skin but it’s gentleness makes it a good choice for combination skin types as well.

The Neogen Korean water cleanser does not strip your skin of its natural oils. But it can lead to a “tight” feeling if you use it on chronically dry skin.

korean water cleanser

As the name suggests, the top ingredient in this product is green tea.

I also loved how it’s free of not only sulfates, talc, paraben, mineral oils and other such harmful ingredients, but it also does not contain any exfoliants like salicylic acid. 

So you can be assured that this product will treat your skin with a lot of care of gentleness. 

I generally use it as a second cleanser after removing my makeup using a cleansing balm.


  • Removes makeup, dirt, and impurities
  • Soothes inflamed skin
  • Cleanses without drying out skin
  • Suitable for combination skin types


  • Not for very dry skin

My Ratings

  • Cleansing Power – 4/5
  • Hydrating – 3.5/5
  • Acne Control – 4/5
  • Gentleness – 4/5

How To Select The Best Korean Water Cleanser – A Buying Guide

A lot of beauty influencers are now pushing Korean water cleansers as the go-to product, but how do you select the best one and make a judgement for yourself? Here’s what you need to consider before buying a Korean water cleanser.

Your Skin Type – Generally, water cleansers are not for dry skin types. They are made for acne prone, irritated or oily skin that gets clogged due to cream-based products and cannot tolerate scrubs. Plus, a water-based cleanser is generally devoid of richer ingredients like butters, oils, etc. that nourish skin. So it won’t hydrate your face. If you have oily to combination skin then only go for a water-based cleanser.

Lack of Surfactants – A good water cleanser must be… well “cleansing” but it should strip skin of it’s natural oils along with excess sebum, dirt and bacteria. So avoid cleansers with harsh surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Coco Glucoside, etc.

PH Level of Cleanser – Any good cleanser (and not just a water-based one!) should have a low pH to resemble the skin’s natural acidic pH levels. Even a neutral pH cleanser with 5-6 pH levels can be good for normal to oily skin types as it’s just the level of acidity as water. But a harsh, alkaline (pH >7 pH) is strict no-no. You can check for pH levels of the cleansers online or use a test strip on samples before buying.

Quick Comparison Between The Top Korean Water Cleansers

Top Korean Water CleansersCOSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel CleanserInnisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing FoamDear Klairs Rich Moist Foaming CleanserThe Face Shop Rice Water Bright Foaming CleanserMizon Snail Repairing Foam CleanserNeogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser
Imagesl u6mYbGE2B s3HcR WrQ9MFX0wSFi6GPE1QxBtLpmYYLlOncubND09Nr59cJoRNj6GRfsMTIMAvbsb8pDvY1ujS noNt8 6OoqcK SNYCOQ0bmg xWrCEfyKq2cIv3Dat91 gYePFHo1UIYKXe0vNsuvNVglYjFGQvJsoyy6asbsLr3 yIrtrkg Kda2Gfl46dakwYL3umPcDjz7qdDoTVAf88L 8Z pnAo6hyG4f7 li RYssqyWednfloa3RKsD9OVCyoQwt6gTXku gV5Jlc rw2rkzZtVUwwnNv0ZgrGxoGD5SmiX63lbnmw3tXUnzgdb IMniqSO Qp2B5Clv8y9V PhsOeGL2 Snq5 IT1FwvgPoq28wQQXTmCLqiqdc5GITYFIwsekEks4z3rkbXc4FGCyViH6baHWgNDHjT9IALWQvHfqwdjLDSRavgHfuADw2WgavZptTxW7Gsb gGYIq4i886AnJK1GuuqdFtSLSYhFxb2lw6qa5a7mnxAh6pV1ytPlnBn9 eqCDcVcdeGWfc2KoOjQdKKxNYM3EqmFXldvouZgK GeTXBqrn8nGwHDCODIN362sXUwW9WL3kATLOT2N4tMD oR1AWRI7XXThl73uA DJxhJgJQ11tYG9uCUTh0o2ohzLJcvwrI0xB8q6ZluBsrmwXmgbLQImEzP
PriceAffordableAffordableSlightly ExpensiveVery AffordableAffordableSlightly Expensive
Cleansing Power4.5/54/54.5/53.5/54.5/53.5/5
Ingredients Quality4.5/54.5/53.5/55/54/54.5/5
pH BalancedYesNoYesNoNoNo

If you lead a very active lifestyle or want something to keep your skin refreshed in the summers, a Korean water cleanser is what you need.

I’ve curated this list and reviewed some of the top K-beauty cleansers in the market today. 

These are suitable for various skin types ranging from oily to combination and dry. You can take your pick according to your skin and needs. 

Also Read:

Best Korean Face Wash For Pores

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Korean Water Based Cleansers

A Korean water cleanser is good for removing sweat and other impurities from face. The COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is suitable for sensitive skin types.

Product SKU: SNLFLO026O2B

Product Brand: Cosrx

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $9.00

Price Valid Until: 2023-01-08

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

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