I have just come around to testing this cult classic cleanser. While cleansing is not the most exciting step of a skincare routine, this cleanser always seemed particularly lackluster for me. However, only trial can prove if this bija is bae or bust.
Innisfree is a South Korean company that launched in 2000. Their products are focused on natural ingredients & also one of the only Korean cosmetic companies that is ECOCERT certified, an organic & free trade certification.
The company is also involved in local socially conscious efforts that can be done by anyone, such as promoting recycling cosmetic containers & selling handkerchiefs as an alternative to disposable tissues. I do prefer to see more global efforts & corporate transparency from such a big brand, but Innisfree’s parent company is AmorePacific & I have rambled many times about all their great efforts to make the world a better place.
The is a water-based cleanser that could be used in AM & PM skincare routine. It would be used as the second step of a Double Cleansing Method.
There are some bold claims associated with this cleanser! Despite this being a wash-off step, it is advertised as an acne treatment & skin exfoliant. It will leave skin feeling free & remove make-up, though waterproof makeup is not explicitly mentioned. The products main claim in listed in the namesake, Bija; which Innisfree advertises as a chemical exfoliant & enhances the skin’s natural defense system. Here are the claims from Innisfree’s website:
- A refreshing facial cleansing gel for removing makeup and treating skin problems
- Contains Jeju bija oil for outstanding, enhanced skin
- Contains natural ingredients, such as salicyl acid, to remove dead skin cells and treat skin problems
- The mineral-free ingredients treat your skin without leaving an oily residue.
The clear gel has the slightest green tint, it has the most watery consistency I have ever experienced with a cleanser product. It leaves behind no residue once the product is rinsed off, the product seems to completely dissipate once it comes in contact with any moisture.
It has a moderate citrus herbal scent, the smell definitely has a presence though not overpowering.
The cleanser comes in an opaque plastic bottle with a pump for dispensing the product. The pump is easy to control when dispensing the product so you should not be concerned with excessive product, but the pump is more cheaply manufactured than my recently reviewed Nature Republic packaging so I have experienced minor leakage with the Innisfree pump.
This is just a cleanser, I should not have so many feelings about it. But I do.
When I read reviews online or hear people mention this product, they rave about what a gentle cleanser this. It only feels gentle because it does nothing to the skin, this includes not actually cleaning the face. However, the product contains BHA & citrus extracts so I already doubt the gentle claims. It tastes strongly of chemicals & it burns my admittedly sensitive eyes, which I assume the BHA is the culprit because the first-third of the ingredient list is tame otherwise.
The main issue is the ineffectiveness though.
When this cleanser is applied to wet skin, it just disappears. It is normal for the consistency to thin once water is added, but this is beyond that because it feels non-existent. I have never been one to use foaming cleansers so I typically seek gel or lotion cleansers, this should be a product I like.
No oil cleanser or makeup remover so I did not expect this cleanser to remove everything, but I did expect it to remove something or more than just move around my concealer a bit.
I did not like using this as a second cleanser in the Double Cleansing Method because it felt like there was no difference between using this cleanser or just splashing water on my face. This could still be used as a gentle morning cleanser, probably more suited towards dry skin types or oily skin if they have a minimal nighttime routine. I would be concerned that this cleanser does not wash off overnight products well enough that it might cause issues for anyone with less than normal skin.
Potentially 2 acne triggers & 1 irritant according to CosDNA
|WATER, DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL, PEG-15 GLYCERYL ISOSTEARATE, PEG-20 GLYCERYL TRIISOSTEARATE, BIS-PEG-18 METHYL ETHER DIMETHYL SILANE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, PEG/PPG/POLYBUTYLENE GLYCOL-8/5/3 GLYCERIN, TORREYA NUCIFERA SEED OIL(450mg), SALICYLIC ACID, CITRUS UNSHIU PEEL EXTRACT, ORCHID EXTRACT, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CAMELLIA JAPONICA LEAF EXTRACT, DISODIUM EDTA, OPUNTIA COCCINELLIFERA FRUIT EXTRACT, ROSA CENTIFOLIA FLOWER EXTRACT, TOCOPHEROL, POLYSORBATE 20, PHENOXYETHANOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, FRAGRANCE|
Botanical extract from the pine tree family, it has antioxidant & anti-bacterial benefits though this ingredient is not well researched
Citrus fruit common in Japan, it is an antioxidant though citrus can cause skin sensitivity & irritation
Potent antioxidant with skin soothing benefits & similar fatty acid makeup as olive oil
This antioxidant is a form of Vitamin E that reduces inflammation & smooths skin texture.
Misc. Ingredient Notes
It is important to note that I skipped over the first-third of the ingredient list before discussing individual ingredients. There is a reason for this, the first portion of the ingredient list is entirely unexciting & pertains more to the cleanser consistency than actual skincare benefits. All these ingredients are cosmetic thickeners that are derived from silicone or some other man-made compound.
It does surprise me that this formula is so watery provided the amount of thickening agents contained in the ingredient list, but that does not make this a bad product.
There is nothing wrong with these ingredients, they formulate a perfectly okay cleanser. A cleanser is a wash-off product so it does not need be particularly enticing. There is just nothing inspiring about this ingredient list, particularly the list order.
Price: $13.48 / 150ml, $2.64 per Ounce
This cleanser seemingly has a cult following, this it is widely available online through the Innisfree site & various cosmetic wholesalers. This cleanser is accessible in just about any country you would so desire. I do not like this product, but it is not a harmful cosmetic so I would not recommend against trying it if you’ve always been curious.
Rating: 1.5 / 5
This is an extremely gentle cleanser so it may be ideal for sensitive skin, I am in the minority for disliking this product because Korean cosmetic community constantly raves about this. However, I find it to be an ineffective second cleanser in a Double Cleansing Method & it irritated my eyes. I strongly disliked this cleanser because what is the point of cleansing if my skin is not clean after using? I am partially salty because this cleanser is so hyped on social media & I feel like I have been deceived!