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Despite my best efforts (eating healthy, sleeping early, moisturizing regularly), I deal with an occasional bout of tired and lackluster skin, especially during season transitions. I decided to give COSRX’s Refresh line a try for a vitality boost, because glowing skin never goes out of style.
Korean skin care brand COSRX is well-known for its cult-favorite pimple patches and short ingredient lists featuring only necessary components that offer simple yet effective solutions to different skin types. Over the course of two weeks, I incorporated the brand’s relatively under-the-radar Refresh line into my evening skin care routine, including the Refresh AHA BHA Vitamin C Daily Toner, Refresh AHA BHA Vitamin C Booster Serum and Refresh AHA BHA Vitamin C Daily Cream. Formulated with the ABCs for luminous skin – AHAs, BHAs and Vitamin C – these products claim to brighten dull complexion and improve skin texture for a rejuvenated look. Read on to see whether these powerhouse skin care products help me attain the skin of my dreams.
What are AHAs and BHAs?
AHAs and BHAs are popular in the skin care community, but it’s easy to miss out on the important details of these ingredients. As a first-timer to chemical exfoliation, I want to lay out the basics and understand how the acids work.
COSRX’s Refresh line combines both AHAs and BHAs for a balanced formula, serving as a one-two punch for treating dark spots and fine lines as well as acnes and clogged pores. Since AHAs increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun, I chose to use the skin care products during nighttime for optimal results.
What is it? A mild exfoliating toner that gently removes dead skin cells, smooths skin texture, maintains skin’s oil-and-water balance and brightens dull skin.
Key ingredients: Glycolic acid (AHA), betaine salicylate (BHA), actinidia chinensis (kiwi) fruit extract, hylocereus undatus (dragon fruit) extract, salix alba (willow) bark water, pyrus malus (apple) fruit water, niacinamide, panthenol, ascorbyl glucoside
My take: Seeing many positive comments about the toner, I had high hopes for its ability to reveal a brighter complexion and tame my acne-prone skin. It didn’t disappoint in terms of diminishing pigmentation as my stubborn acne scars visibly started to fade within the first week of trial. I appreciate how the toner quelled redness and calmed inflammation with each swipe of a soaked cotton pad. Its watery texture glided smoothly over my face and left a refreshing, cool finish. At first, the toner gave me a tingling sensation on fragile areas such as the chin and nose wings, but the irritation receded as my skin gradually built tolerance. The formula effectively revitalized my drab-looking skin and made it appear more even-toned.
What is it? A brightening serum powered with 57% Golden-Rx Complex to retexturize skin and boost radiance while reducing the appearance of fine lines.
Key ingredients: Glycolic acid (AHA), betaine salicylate (BHA), actinidia chinensis (kiwi) fruit extract, hylocereus undatus (dragon fruit) extract, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) water, glycerin, adenosine, alpha arbutin, niacinamide, ascorbyl glucoside
My take: I dread oily Vitamin C serums that usually feature a viscous, syrupy formula, so I was skeptical of how my skin would respond to this serum. To my surprise, the serum came in an ultra-lightweight texture that felt almost like a toner, along with a slight citrusy scent. I directly applied the featherweight fluid onto my face from the dropper, and it absorbed promptly into skin without leaving any tackiness. The serum delivered an instant lit-from-within glow and a solid dose of hydration to my skin. To avoid reactions, I alternated between this serum and my staple moisturizing ampoule, and the combo has complemented each other well so far.
What is it? A refreshing cream infused with naturally derived exfoliators to care for dullness and enhance overall skin tone for achieving smooth, luminous skin.
Key ingredients: Glycolic acid (AHA), betaine salicylate (BHA), actinidia chinensis (kiwi) fruit extract, hylocereus undatus (dragon fruit) extract, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) water, macadamia ternifolia seed oil, niacinamide, lactobionic acid, ascorbyl glucoside
My take: Like with the serum, I expected a thick and slightly greasy texture for the cream, but it turned out to be surprisingly light and gel-like, and spread smoothly on my skin. The cream dried down quickly and made my skin look healthier. Initially, I applied the cream by itself but my skin started to purge and parch, with zits popping on my forehead and skin turning flaky around my nose. I realized this product alone wouldn’t be hydrating enough for my dry skin so I applied my go-to moisturizer on top of it for extra skin moisturization. If you have oily skin, this COSRX cream may be your holy grail product as it doesn’t create excess shine.
My evening skin care routine with COSRX’s Refresh line has been a rewarding and pleasant experience, given that it was my first time trying chemical exfoliation. I love this collection’s skin brightening ability which was proven in as little as two weeks. I’ve been struggling with blemish-induced discoloration for as long as I remember, and the three products noticeably faded dark spots on my skin and created a brighter, more radiant look. Although their power to resurface skin texture aren’t game-changing, as there are still bumps here and there on my face, the products are off to a great start. I’m excited to see how my skin does with them over time!
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