Review: AC Collection (COSRX)

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

This product was sent to me by StyleKorean for review purposes. I was not paid for this post but please note that affiliate links are used on my blog. These go towards supporting Oh My Stellar and future content.

When it comes to keeping my break outs at bay, there is nothing that I trust more than the COSRX AC Collection! I’ve used quite a few products from their brand before but I have to say that I think this line is their best yet – or at the very least, it’s the one that works the best for my skin. In the past, I have used their Calming Liquid Mild and Blemish Spot Clearing Serum with great results and I was really excited to now have the chance to test out (almost) the entire line!

This was sent to me by StyleKorean as part of their Try Me Review Me series. So far, I have only tested out the products for approximately a week (except the two that I’ve already used) so the below are some initial thoughts on the products. I will update this post more as I start to finish them – from my past experience, the AC Collection formulas generally start to show maximum results after three or so weeks.

So, if you want to pick up anything from COSRX or the AC Collection in general, then definitely jump on over to StyleKorean. Otherwise, let’s get into this review!

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me
COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

In the Try Me Review Me box, I received a total of six products. They’re all from the same line, so have consistent white and red packaging. The aesthetic is almost medical and has a modern, minimalist feel. As usual, I’m happy with COSRX and their packaging decisions – from the design to the quality of the materials, it’s great!

The AC Collection is an acne-care specialty range that (from what I can see) primarily uses CentellAC-RX Complex in their formulation. Centella is very popular for acne care and this patented ingredient actually contains three different components from the plant (Madecassic acid, Asiaticoside and Asiatic acid) to “optimize the efficacy of the natural… ingredient”.

I’ll go in depth with the products down below but here’s the list of what I’m testing out:

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Calming Foam Cleanser | USD$14.30

Cleansing is the first step to any skincare routine. The Calming Foam Cleanser is described as a daily cleanser that “gently removes dirt and excess oil while fighting acne breakouts, leaving the skin soft, smooth, and fresh.” It contains CentellAC-RX Complex and 0.5% Salicylic Acid to help remove dead skin cells and clear clogged pores. This is also considered to be an upgraded formula to the super popular Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser.

The product comes in a soft white bottle with a matte finish, as well as a frosted clear cap. It’s easy to use and good quality too – I usually prefer twit off caps for my skincare, but these ‘clicking’ caps are a lot easier to use in the shower. I also like soft bottles like this as it allows you to use all of the product.

I didn’t take a photo of the texture (as I always use this while I’m in the shower) but it has a fairly typical appearance. The product first dispenses with a creamy, dense white texture, which then foams up as you work it in with water. It has a prominent herbal scent which I find quite calming, but may be too much for some people.

I personally enjoyed using this product because I found it especially effective in removing excess sebum and easy to wash off with no tugging (i.e. doesn’t dry out my skin) or residue.

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me
COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Here’s the verdict!

SO WHAT IS IT?

A foaming cleanser containing CentellAC-RX and 0.5% Salicylic acid

RATINGS

  • PRICE POINT | 4/5
  • PACKAGING | 5/5
  • SCENT | 3/5
  • CLEANSING | 4/5

OVERALL RATING? 8.5/10

THOUGHTS? I’ll definitely continue to use this! This product is doing a great job of cleansing excess sebum, though I wouldn’t use it alone – I generally still prefer to do a two-step cleansing process to get rid of my waterproof make up. I think that this would be great for people with oily or combination skin. I’m looking forward to seeing if it helps with my blackheads too.


COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Calming Liquid Mild | USD$24.20

Next is the Calming Liquid Mild which I have used before (and loved). I’m so excited to be able to incorporate this product into my routine again because it gave me amazing results the first time around and is my go-to for dealing with persistent break outs. This is a soothing toner that contains 85% green tea as well as CentellAC-Rx Complex, BHA and PHA. Through analysis of the ingredients, everything has a safety level of 1~2 too, so I feel that this would be suitable for even more sensitive skin types.

The toner comes in a frosted bottle which is made from a good quality plastic and is relatively lightweight. It has a sleek rounded shape which looks great aesthetically, as well as a twist off cap (which is quite sturdy). I don’t mind this for travel either, even if a full bottle can be a bit heavy, as I haven’t had any issues with leakage or breaking.

The Calming Liquid Mild has a very light, watery texture – similar to most toners, actually. You can apply it with your hands or with a cotton pad, which I personally prefer as I also helps to remove any makeup residue. This toner does contain Tea Tree Leaf Oil which gives it a distinctive scent – I like it and find it refreshing, but this is definitely a personal thing. Either way, it does fade on application so it’s unlikely to bother anyone.

After application, the product is immediately cooling on skin and redness is soothed. With extended use, I felt that break outs were greatly reduced and healing time for any acne shortened too. The results are great, but definitely requires a little bit of patience.

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me
COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Here’s the verdict!

SO WHAT IS IT?

A toner with immediate soothing effects and longterm acne care benefits

RATINGS

  • PACKAGING | 4/5
  • PRICE POINT | 3/5
  • SCENT | 5/5
  • ABSORPTION | 5/5
  • CALMING/SOOTHING | 5/5
  • EXFOLIATION | 4/5
  • OIL CONTROL | 3/5
  • HYDRATION | 4/5
  • ACNE CARE | 4/5

OVERALL RATING? 8.2/10

THOUGHTS? This is my second time using the Calming Liquid Mild and I love it just as much. This is a product that I recommend to people very often and I will continue to do so. It’s definitely worth repurchasing too!

You can also view my extended review here.


COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Blemish Spot Clearing Serum | USD$27.00

Next up is the Blemish Spot Clearing Serum, which is another one that I’ve used and really enjoyed. It is described as a  “total solution serum which clears all traces of acne, including red[ness], dark spots and scars.” It is formulated to help with all stages of acne care (calming, clearing and recover) and contains a number of very popular ingredients:

  • CentellAC-Rx Complex: Contains Madecassic Acid (to protect and calm), Asiaticoside (to help keep skin transparent and clear) and Asiatic Acid (to strengthen skin barrier and help maintain skin balance).
  • Niacinamide: Helps fade dark and red spots
  • EGF: Helps to boost production of collagen and elastin (very important if you have scarring concerns like me), as well as increasing water retention
  • Propolis: Protects skin from external factors (bacteria, free radicals and other pollutants that may trigger acne)
  • Ceramide: To improve the skin barrier

The serum comes in a frosted plastic bottle with a white dropper cap. The design of it is very similar to the toner so I think it looks great. Usability wise, I find the dropper to be really handy because I can apply it directly to my face. It’s suitable for travel, great quality and easy to use.

The texture of the serum is also lightweight and watery – it will drip, so you need to work it in quickly. On the plus side, it absorbs easily into skin with no residue, making it perfect for layering other skincare products on top. It also has a similar tea tree scent to the toner, which is relaxing and doesn’t linger. The effectiveness of this serum is more subtle and gradual – it takes time to see real results with this – but you will definitely notice a reduction in healing time and the number of active break outs.

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me
COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Here’s the verdict!

SO WHAT IS IT?

A multi-function serum that cares for all stages of acne

RATINGS

  • PACKAGING | 5/5
  • PRICE POINT | 4/5
  • ABSORPTION | 5/5
  • CALMING/SOOTHING | 4/5
  • BRIGHTENING | 4/5
  • HEALING | 5/5

OVERALL RATING? 9/10

THOUGHTS? I have been using this for a while and yes, I am definitely enjoying it and have already recommended it to other people. It’s easy to work into your current skincare routine, so is something that you can continue to use even while wanting to experiment with other products.

You can also view my extended review here.


COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer | USD$19.00

After those steps, there is the Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer which an oil free formula that “gives a light and non-sticky moisturizing sensation and it is suitable for acne prone skin.” It is formulated to primarily soothe and calm irritated skin, and so contains a number of popular ingredients with these benefits:

  • CentellAC-Rx Complex: Contains Madecassic Acid (to protect and calm), Asiaticoside (to help keep skin transparent and clear) and Asiatic Acid (to strengthen skin barrier and help maintain skin balance).
  • Aloe Vera, Propolis & Green tea extract: Moisturizes skin and soothes irritated skin 
  • Niacinamide & Zinc PCA: Controls sebum and excessive oil
  • AHA & BHA: Maintains skin through removing dead skin cells

The packaging for this moisturizer is very similar to the cleanser in that it uses a soft white tube. The only real difference (aside from the size) is that this has a twist-off cap, which I always prefer. I like the practicality of this; the product is easy to dispense and none of it will go to waste. The simple design also means that it has minimised weight so that this would also be suitable for travel.

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me
COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

As you can see below, this product has a semi-opaque milky colour, as well as a gel-cream texture. It is cooling on skin and pats in easily too, giving skin a gorgeous glow. I used this both at night and in the morning (underneath make up) and found that this didn’t affect my foundation at all – which is great.

However, while this moisturizer is advertised as being totally non-greasy, I still feel that it’s a bit oily on my skin – which is weird since this doesn’t contain any oils at all. Perhaps this is because of my skin type; I usually use gel formulas instead. It also claimed to help with oil control but, personally, I didn’t see this benefit at all – in fact, it may have made my skin greasier to begin with.

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me
COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Here’s the verdict!

SO WHAT IS IT?

A soothing moisturizer with a gel-cream texture

RATINGS

  • PACKAGING | 5/5
  • PRICE POINT | 4/5
  • ABSORPTION | 4/5
  • SOOTHING | 3/5
  • OIL CONTROL | 1/5
  • MOISTURIZING | 4/5

OVERALL RATING? 7/10

THOUGHTS? I’m not totally disappointed with this, but I don’t think that I would be repurchasing this moisturizer after I’m done – the formula just doesn’t work for my skin type. Instead, I think that this would be better enjoyed by people with normal to dry skin.


COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Ultimate Spot Cream | USD$22.00

For people who have had issues with break outs for a long time, and especially those who did so back in high school, you’d probably be quite familiar with spot creams. Or at least I am, because this was essentially the only skincare products that I used back then (I know – I was terrible). This is described as a “spot treatment which adheres to growing acne to effectively and quickly overcome areas of concern.” Main ingredients include:

  • CentellAC-Rx Complex: Contains Madecassic Acid (to protect and calm), Asiaticoside (to help keep skin transparent and clear) and Asiatic Acid (to strengthen skin barrier and help maintain skin balance).
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water: Protects skin from irritation by external environment.
  • Zinc Oxide: Contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to fight acne triggers, as well as lowering inflammation.
  • Calamine: Contains drying properties to help fight immediate pimples.

The Ultimate Spot Cream comes in a decent sized white and red squeeze tube. Unlike the cleanser and moisturizer though, this tube is made of a more shaped material (maybe aluminium?) so it will retain its ‘squeezed’ form once you start to use it. I actually feel like the regular plastic tube would be better for practical reasons – the tube would be hard to stand once you’ve used it enough. However, I’m not sure if there were other reasons why they chose to use a different material. Either way, it is relatively compact and light enough to carry for overnight trips.

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me
COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

The cream has a very thick, almost clay-like creamy texture. When you dispense the product, you’ll notice that it’s quite slow – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because you really don’t need a lot of this. This product can be used either at the end of your skincare routine (as long as all other products are absorbed) or after your toner. It is a very strong and targeted formula, so you should only apply it to the places needed! Apply enough so that you get a visibly white ‘spot’ but don’t not be overly generous.

I find this product to work similarly to drying lotions where it specifically targets and dry out pimples overnight for fast acting (but somewhat strong) acne care. This isn’t a product that you can continue to use over time as drying out pimples too much can also be damaging for the sensitised skin. You also need to be careful of what type of pimples that you apply this onto – definitely don’t use it on something that is popped or already dried.

I also found that the Ultimate Spot Cream didn’t exactly eliminate pimples overnight. It was better for me to use this for a night or two to reduce what was already there, and then use other acne care products to fully treat the blemish.

In addition, this type of spot treatment product – although it does contain some beneficial ingredients like Centella – doesn’t really treat the cause of pimples or acne. It can only really dry out what is already present and won’t stop it from returning. I would personally treat this more as an emergency product (i.e. if you have a big event very soon) but not as a regular part of my skincare.

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me
COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Here’s the verdict!

SO WHAT IS IT?

A targeted spot treatment for drying out pimples

RATINGS

  • PACKAGING | 4/5
  • PRICE POINT | 3/5
  • SPOT DRYING | 3/5
  • AFTER SKINCARE | 1/5

OVERALL RATING? 5.5/10

THOUGHTS? This one was probably my least favourite product of this whole collection, which is probably because I’m not a fan of drying products to begin with – they always end up doing more damage to my skin than good. I prefer a longer term skincare product. That being said, you may want to check this out if you like drying lotions in general because this is very similar and is a lot more travel friendly.


COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Acne Patch (26 Patches) | USD$6.00

Of course, no kbeauty acne care routine is complete without Acne Patches! I’ve actually used some from COSRX before (their original Acne Pimple Master Patches) and strongly disliked though, so I’m glad that these new AC Collection Acne Patches are an amazing improvement! These are hydrocolloid patches which adhere over break outs to help absorb all of that ‘gunk’ without any damage to skin and minimising risk of scarring.

They’re actually very popular in Korea and, even years back when I was studying there, I remember that people were always wearing these – it’s only in recent years that they’ve started to become more popular in the Western beauty industry.

The website describes these as “oval shaped, highly adhesive acne patch[es] suitable for covering several adjacent acne spots at once.” Each pack contains 26 different patches in three different sizes, all of which are uniquely oval shaped to cover more surface area. In addition, the patches are designs to be thinner around the edges, allowing for firm adhesion to even more awkward curves on the face (i.e. I even managed to use this on the tip of my nose without it coming off). Keeping in with the rest of the AC Collection this also contains Centella Asiatica extract.

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me
COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

As you can see in the photos above, the patches come in a resealable foil pouch, which allows you to keep of the patches relatively sterile (though any contact with air or the environment would affect that). There are two sheets inside which are also sealed in a paper and plastic sleeve (which is not resealable, but handy for keeping them contained). To remove a patch, all you have to do is tear along one of the perforated lines to remove, and then adhere to clean skin (no residue or skincare underneath).

These acne patches do a fairly decent job of draining the pimple – it’s definitely up in my top two. It also has great adhesion to many areas of the face and body, and are very unlikely to slip off at night.

However, the issue that I have is that – although it sticks well to skin – it doesn’t seem to stick well to the plastic backing! In trying to use these patches, I had somehow gotten the patches caught on the plastic sleeve. Three of these had come off and gotten stuck to the inside of the packet – and were therefore wasted. Once they stuck to the sleeve, I was also unable to remove them again without damaging the patch – why does this stick so hard to the surface I don’t want it to stick to?

COSRX AC Collection Full Review Kbeauty Stylekorean Try Me Review Me

Here’s the verdict!

SO WHAT IS IT?

Oval shaped hydrocolloid patches containing Centella Asiatica Extract

RATINGS

  • PRICE POINT | 4/5
  • PACKAGING | 2/5 (due to the patches coming off the plastic backing)
  • ADHESIVENESS | 5/5
  • ABSORPTION | 4/5

OVERALL RATING? 7.5/10

THOUGHTS? Out of the pimple patches that I’ve tried, I would say that this is in the top two or three – maybe not the very best that I’ve used, but definitely unique and more effective than some others on the market (including their own original patches). If it weren’t for the issue with the plastic backing, the rating would be a lot higher. If you’d like to try it out, I just recommend being careful when returning it to the packet – otherwise, this is definitely a great product!


And those are my thoughts on all of those products from the COSRX AC Collection! Again, I’m so happy to have been able to test out everything and I can confirm that I do love some products more than others in here, but I still believe that this range (along with their CentellAC-RX Complex) is what my skin really loves right now.

Out of everything that I’ve tried, the Calming Liquid Mild and the Blemish Spot Clearing Serum remain at the top of my list, but I also really enjoyed the Calming Foam Cleanser. The Acne Patches were also good (albeit flawed), but the Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer and Ultimate Spot Cream just weren’t suitable for me.

Let me know down below or on Instagram if you’ve tried out any of these products and what you love too!

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