Review: Mizon Snail Repair Foaming Cleanser (and why you need a low-ph cleanser)

I hate to begin my reviews with a negative one, but I think it’s important to talk about cleansers and ph and why those are so important for your skin. So, I’m reviewing a product that (spoiler!) didn’t work. Don’t worry, if you keep reading to the bottom, I’ll give suggested alternatives.

When I was first learning about Korean skincare, the Mizon snail line kept popping up–and I was using several of their products. When I purchased this foaming cleanser (the second step in a double cleanse) a few months ago, I had the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick already, but was looking for a foam cleanser that I could easily add a granular manual exfoliant to (which wouldn’t really work with the MRCS), and one that I could use in the shower more easily. (And, let’s be honest, I just wanted to try another product.)

The dice represent the gamble you take when you buy things without the proper research.

I didn’t know anything about ph levels of water-based cleansers and what those meant for the skin; I just knew it was from Mizon and had snails, so I figured it would be right up my alley.

Well, I wrong.

The Product Claims

“Complete and obtain mochi-like skin through Mizon’s Snail Repairing Foam Cleanser, a multifunction formula that improves skin texture and elasticity through deep pore cleansing. Its powerful cleansing capacity includes exfoliation, blackhead removal and deep pore cleansing that completely and refreshingly removing excess sebum, dead skin cells, and waste. Unlike other cleansers that dry out the skin, this all-in-one formula leaves you with soft, moist, and vibrant skin.” (Amazon)

(This is a very economical cleanser, since you really don’t need much to work up a good lather. Too bad this is its most redeeming quality.)

Cosdna analysis [Cosdna is a website that lists all of a product’s ingredients and notes any risks (comedogenic, irritation and safety) and benefits.] Please read the ingredients carefully. Don’t use this product if you have an allergy or sensitivity to any of these ingredients, even if everyone else in the world LOVES this product.

The (Personal) Evidence:

No to most of those claims.

The first thing that I noticed about this was the scent. Unlike any of the other products in the snail line, this one was quite heavily fragranced. I don’t mind fragrance in skincare products if they’re light or “natural” smelling (like honey or flowers). The Mizon Snail Foaming Cleanser has a heavy, very artificial scent that is a bit overpowering.

I was willing to look (smell?) past the scent if it was a good cleanser. I love my snails. But the first time I used it, my skin felt tight and “squeaky” clean, like it would with Clinique foaming cleanser I’d just ditched a few months prior. Still, I continued using it for several weeks, hoping it was just my imagination. (Ha!)

I think I was trying to talk myself into liking the product in part because it was the first Korean skincare product I had purchased that wasn’t really working for me, and I didn’t want to admit it? (Trust me, I’m over that.)

Finally, after doing some more investigation into skin ph and ph levels of skincare products, I looked up the ph of the Mizon Snail Foaming Cleanser. It’s between a 8-9. Yikes. That’s almost as high as bar soap.

You may not think this is a big deal; I mean, you’re washing the cleanser off your face, right? Here’s the thing: your skin’s natural ph is around a 5.5, with 7 being neutral on the ph scale. This means your skin is slightly acidic. If you use a cleanser with a ph of an 8 or a 9, the cleanser will actually raise your skin’s ph level.

For more detailed scientific information on what this raising of your skin’s ph does to your skin, read Cat’s detailed blog entry on “Skincare Discovery: Why the Ph of your Cleanser Matters” over at Snow White and the Asian Pear. To be extremely reductive (seriously, that post is full of scientific studies on skin ph), using a high ph cleanser, according to the scientific sources Cat cites, made acne worse whereas low ph cleansers made it better. It can also dry out your skin, hence that “tight” feeling you get after using one.

The science behind using a low-ph cleanser–as well as the aforementioned tightness of my skin that continued with using the cleanser–finally pushed me to stop using it. Not to waste, it has been relegated to a body cleanser. But it certainly won’t get near my face again.

So, will I buy this again?

Rating Scale: 

Did you not read the review? Yes, of course. I would spend all of my money on this product!

Yes. I enjoy this product enough to purchase again in the future, especially if it’s on sale.

Meh. Maybe. I mean, I bet there are other, better things out there. I’d use it if someone gave it to me.

No. I won’t use this again and will probably bad-mouth it to others.

Hahahahaha. Nope. Noooooooope. Not even if you paid me to use it.

The Verdict: Hahahahaha. Nope. Noooooooope. Not even if you paid me to use it. 

You can purchase the Mizon Snail Repair Foaming Cleanser on Amazon, but why would you? Friends, save your money and save your ph. Normally, I will only speak for myself in reviews, but given the science of ph and the fact that there are much better, low-ph cleansers out there, I’ll save you the YMMV bit and say there are better cleansers out there for everyone.

In fact, here are some great alternatives:

  1. The Cosrx Low ph Good Morning Cleanser: This great, no frills low-ph cleanser (It’s in the name!) is effective and affordable. You can usually find it between $8-10 on Amazon, Memebox, and Jolse.
  2. The Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick: This solid stick foaming cleanser has pieces of rose petals in it and is great for travel. (I’m always looking for products that won’t count against my liquids limit.) The rose smell is faint, and it’s a good cleanser that lasts a *long* time. It is a bit pricier, but I’ve had mine for about 7 months, using it 1-2x daily, and there’s still a ton left. You can usually find it for around $25 on Amazon, Memebox (currently sold out), Jolse, and SoKo Glam

And if you want more options, here is an amazing list of foaming, gel, and water cleansers (I look for the “foaming” and “gel” cleansers for my second cleansing step) and their ph level that the r/asianbeauty redditors compiled.

What have been some of your skincare products that just didn’t end up working for you?

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