I’ve talked before about how AHA saved my skin from a year-long bout of acne. I’m not the type who repurchases items very much— in fact there are very few items that I’ve ever bought more than twice— but from the second I found it, I was loyal to Mizon Peeling Serum. Was it available locally? No. Did I have to wait weeks upon ordering to get mine? Yes. But I persevered. Because it was my shit, man! It saved my life! What would I ever do without it?
That is until I actually stopped using it.
Yeah, at some point within the last few months Mizon 8% AHA Peeling Serum became very, very difficult to obtain. I then heard conspiracy theories that it had— gasp!— been discontinued!!!??
Well, apparently it hasn’t it just went low on stock for a while… Anyway, for the past two or three bottles I’d actually been using it just for the security. I don’t have any problems with neither acne nor acne scars anymore and my skin has actually been looking smoother and glowier than ever. At the risk of sounding really, really conceited— I might actually have the best skin of my life. So I thought, hey, maybe I don’t need AHA anymore. I took the unavailability of my beloved Mizon serum as being a sign that it was time to move on. So I did.
AND THEN MY ACNE CAME BACK.
No! Touch wood. It didn’t. However, after a while I began to notice that my face was looking duller and more… generally unhealthy (?) than usual. I ignored it for a while, assuming that it was just a phase but alas. I was once again reminded of the fact that for some people— and that includes me— great skin just does not come naturally! Smooth skin doesn’t always mean GREAT skin, you know? You need that natural highlight going on. And if I want that, I needed an AHA.
After trying and failing with some other loser AHAs, I ended up with this: the COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid. Now if you’re the type who’s interested in Asianbeauty-ish things then you’ve definitely heard of Cosrx. It’s one of those brands which kind of latch on to an internet beauty trend thing and make massive bank from it— you know, like many other internet-famous beauty brands such as… say, Morphe. Neither Cosrx and Morphe are actually available at any stores in real life, yet for some reason everyone’s talking about it on the internet.
And you know the trouble with stuff that’s only famous on the internet? You never know who to trust! Used to be that you’d look online to see what the reviews are about a certain product before you buy it, but then what happens when out of nowhere everyone is reviewing it and EVERYONE claims that it’s great? Mmhmm. Suspicions abound. My bottle of Cosrx wasn’t expensive, yet it took me some time before I took the plunge because, in the sea of gushing reviews, I came across one or two from some smaller bloggers who claimed that it did nothing for them, and they couldn’t see what the hype was about.
Luckily, that wasn’t how it turned out for me at all!
The Cosrx AHA is a lot milder than the Mizon one, just to start of. Now I know that harsh skincare is usually not seen as a positive thing but when it comes to peels it might be different. Personally, I think it’s the hardcore purging that the Mizon serum did to my skin which ultimately saved it from acne. For Cosrx, I didn’t experience any purging at all. I guess I could put it down to me not really having anything left to purge, but it still makes me wary about recommending it to someone who has severe acne. It might not be strong enough to do anything.
But if all you’re looking for is to even out, smoothen and brighten your skin? Then Cosrx is your girl. This stuff is super liquidy— it’s only the slightest bit thicker than water— so I usually do about two and a half pumps to cover up my whole face. I can’t find anything online which specifically lays down how many pumps you need so I just went with the amount which was enough to get my face wet. So far I haven’t had any negative results— no stinging, no overexfoliation— so I’d wager that this amount is right for me.
One pro that Cosrx has over Mizon is that it’s unscented. That, however, does not mean that it doesn’t smell like anything! I’ve found that using this product sometimes leaves my hands smelling kind of… metallic? It’s not super strong, but is enough to be noticeable. Besides being unpleasant to your olfactory senses, it isn’t a bad thing. That’s just the natural smell of the ingredients and it’s what you when companies don’t add in any additional fragrance. So to counter this I always make sure to wash my hands after applying this.
A shot of how liquidy this stuff is.
I’ve actually read some reviews where people complain about this product smelling absolutely rancid. Someone even compared it to urine (!!!). I don’t know if Cosrx took note of these complaints and made changes or if it varies according to which batch you get. Hopefully, it’s the former!
Just like with any AHA, I apply it on a dry, clean face only once at night and leave it for thirty minutes before proceeding with the rest of my skincare routine. I recall the Mizon used to leave my skin feeling kind of parched and dehydrated and I couldn’t wait to get my serums and moisturisers on— this one doesn’t. It isn’t hydrating in any way, but probably due to how mild it is your skin will feel a lot more comfortable while you wait for the stuff to work.
I knew that I loved this stuff the morning after I first used it, when I woke up to find my face looking great. I am not a deep sleeper whatsoever and rarely have a ‘great’ sleep, but using this will absolutely make you look like you’ve had the longest, most uninterrupted slumber. What else is there for me to say about it? I love it! It makes my cheekbones gleam like freaking plastic. And, while I did say that I’m not sure if it would be strong enough to eliminate acne, I do think that this has managed to prevent my usual, monthly period-induced breakouts from taking place.
So not all internet-famous brands are private labelled trash! Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid is available at various K-beauty websites, for now the closest you can get one (for Malaysians) is from Cosrx Singapore where it’s $19 (although you should definitely look around for better deals). I actually got mine at Hermo but Cosrx seems to be missing from their website right now, so I’m guessing it’s out of stock at the mo.