If you’re someone who likes to keep up with skincare news (particularly, Korean skincare) like me, then you may have heard the buzz on low pH cleanser already. But what exactly is a low pH cleanser, and what does it offer that other cleansers don’t have?
Today, we’re taking a trip back to science class as I break down what a pH cleaner is for, why skin pH is so important, and some of my favorite affordable low pH cleansers!
Disclosure: Please keep in mind that any of the links provided below are affiliate links which means that I am compensated if you do decide to make a purchase. Whether or not you do so is completely up to you!
What is pH?
We’re going to reach all the way back to high school chemistry class with this one! pH is a scale that ranges from 0 – 14 (with 0 being considered an “acid”, 14 being considered a “base” and 7 being “neutral) that measures the acidity of a liquid solution. For example, water in its purest form is neutral (7 on the scale) while something like battery acid is a 0. So yeah, let’s not put any of that on our faces, okay?
What does pH have to do with skincare?
The optimal pH level for the skin on your face is between 4-6, so just below neutral and leaning towards being considered acidic. However, pH is a constant balancing game when it comes to your skin–too acidic, and your skin will be prone to clogged pores and acne; too basic and your skin will look more dull and dry. Because of this, our skin is at its best when it is at pH level of about 5 (again, not battery acid levels of low. Just low-ish), so it is up to us to provide products to keep those pH levels balanced and happy!
What does high pH mean for my skin?
There are several side-effects to having higher than optimal pH levels in your skin, namely clogged pores, dry patches, and breakouts. Basically, all of the things that we try our best to avoid!
And there are so many things that we encounter in our daily lives that influence the pH levels of our skin–the biggest one being pollution in the air. High pollution levels in the air can cause redness and irritation in your skin; and since all of us go outside eventually, that means that we should be trying to combat anything that could cause an imbalance in our skin with a low pH cleanser!
But never fear! I’m here today to introduce you to a few of my favorite low pH skincare products to really elevate your skincare (and science) game!
Just to add some more context, I have dry, acne-prone skin, and I find that a low pH cleanser is great for acne-prone skin! Plus, it’s gentle enough that it works well with my dry skin. I try not to use cleansers in the morning because I find that they can dry out my skin too much in the morning, but pH cleansers are gentle and easy on the skin which I love!
Why make the switch?
My entire twenties have been all about combating adult acne. I never had many breakouts as a teenager, so I was completely at a loss as to why I Was suddenly having so many skin issues!
It never occurred to me until very recently to even consider the possibility of my skin pH being completely out of what, but I am so glad that I started to research skin pH! Now, I am reaping the benefits of my research and enjoying so many great skin days–even with wearing a mask every day! I have definitely experienced a noticeable difference in my skin texture and the amount of breakouts I’ve been having!
Honestly, discovering low pH cleansers in 2020 just makes me regret how much time I wasted suffering through adult acne until now! I’ve experienced a breakthrough in my skincare game and wanted to share everything I’ve learned!
The best low pH cleansers
So you may be asking, “Which is the best low pH cleanser out there?” Well, lucky for you, I have a good little list of my favorites!
- CosRx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
- Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
I have mentioned my love for CosRx when I discussed my k-beauty morning skincare routine a few months ago. And while I still love the cleanser that I used back then, this CosRx low pH cleanser is a new favorite of mine. It actually was the inspiration for writing this blog post because I love it so much!
If you are looking for a solid low pH cleanser for dry skin then look no further! Plus, this is a budget-friendly low pH cleanser, coming in under ten dollars. A total steal for the amount of product you get if you ask me! The efficacy of this product, combined with how gentle it is on the skin and how affordable it is, really makes it one of the best low pH cleansers on the market!
Here’s another k-beauty pick! This is one that I have only tried recently, so I don’t have a full review’s worth of thioughts about it. However, I have heard a lot about this brand am am thoroughly excited to test out more of their products!
This is a k-skincare line developed by the founder of Sokoglam (which is a great website for purchasing k-beauty products), and the entire line actually focuses on skin pH levels!
One of the primary ingredients in this cleanser is mugwort which is an ingredient that is all the rage in Korean skincare (as well as Korean medicine practice). Mugwort targets redness, sensitivities, acne….you name it! It works as an anti-bacterial when used in medicine, so it is applying all of those bacteria-fighting abilities to your skin in the form of this cleanser!
I will say that even though the tube is on the small side (and believe me, I was kind of disappointed by that), you only need a small amount to get a great cleanse. A little really does go a long way with this product! And just like the brand’s name, yes–I am having some good skin days lately!
If you love skin care, then you’ve probably heard of Drunk Elephant. This cleanser has a pH of 6.1, and though Drunk Elephant products can be pretty pricey, I ave found that they are well-worth the money.
This is a gentle cleanser that doesn’t irritate my dry skin. I find that jelly cleansers are really the best if you are looking for a calming cleanser that won’t irritate your skin while still leaving you feeling cleansed!
This cleanser is the most expensive on the list, but if you are already a fan of Drunk Elephant, you should definitely check this one out!
And that’s it for my current favorite low pH cleansers. These are just the ones that I have personally tried and enjoyed; I am sure there are so many others out there that are amazing too! If you have a personal favorite low pH cleanser that I need to try, let me know!