COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad | Review

COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad Review:

Poring through countless pages on chemical exfoliation which ties into my interest in Asian skincare, it was only a matter of time before I came across the ever popular COSRX brand. And while their BHA Blackhead Power Liquid seems more fitting of the chemical exfoliation title, I was wary of the relatively high percentage of BHA (being a beginner and all), so I sought alternatives, and found this instead.


COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad


Cleanse, exfoliate and treat breakouts conveniently with pre-moistened pads. Designed to wipe away excess dirt, oil and purify clogged pores with the daily natural BHA treatment pads. Leaves skin feeling clean and smooth.


Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Betaine Salicylate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Panthenol, Allantoin, Arginine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Ethyl Hexanediol, Sodium Hydroxide.

COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad Review

 Star Ingredients:

  • Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water: An anti-inflammatory astringent
  • Betaine Salicylate: A gentler form of BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) which is lipid-soluble and can penetrate deeper into the skin to clear out clogged pores.
  • Sodium Hyaluronate: A humectant which (ideally) draws H2O from the surroundings into the skin.


As per the product information on COSRX’s official website , the Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad have a pH of 4.0±0.5. Formulated with the percentage of Betaine Salicylate of a mere 1% (based on the packaging), while it is not the ideal percentage (a minimum of 4% is recommended), it may still provide mild exfoliating effects for those with sensitive skin.

Ingredient analysis may also be found on Cosdna. Note that you should avoid this product if any ingredient from the list are a cause for concern for you!

Volume: 70 pads

How to use:

  • After cleansing, swipe the embossing side gently over oily or acne-prone areas to remove excess shine and help fight future breakouts.
  • Reverse to the soft side across your skin to enhance formula absorption.
  • Replace the lid tightly to make sure the pads stay wet and clean.

My Skin Type: Sensitive (prone to redness), Combination, Acne-prone, Dehydrated

COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad Review:

Honestly, the main reason I chose this over COSRX’s equally popular BHA Blackhead Power Liquid was due to the percentage of Betaine Salicylate being lower than the latter. As a chemical exfoliation newbie, I was very wary of over exfoliating due to my sensitive skin. So, how did it fare?

Similar to the rest of the brand’s products, the packaging of the Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad is simple and minimalistic. What sets it apart from their bottle counterparts however is the quirky mascot making an appearance on the tub’s lid cover – say hi to Mr. RX!

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COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad

Twisting open the lid of the product, the familiar scent of tea tree wafts over me in a strong, heady wave. While this may not be surprising due to the inclusion of Orange Peel Oil and Tea Tree Leaf Oil, I noticed that even after using the pre-soaked cotton pads, the scent still somewhat remained. So, if you’re sensitive to fragrance products – particularly those with the citrus/tea tree variety, I would advise you to turn the other away. Otherwise, it is pretty refreshing, in my opinion.

COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad

COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad

The pads themselves are made of good quality cotton with different textures on each side: one side is embossed with circular patterns to provide light physical exfoliation, while the other has a plain and smooth texture to wipe away the remnants from the earlier physical exfoliation. I found that even after I swiped at my skin with the circular pads, they remained in decent condition despite the moisture loss. Please do swipe with caution to avoid over exfoliation, though!

Now, there are a couple of ways this product can be used. The most common method used by K-Beauty bloggers/vloggers and which is recommended by COSRX themselves is, of course, to use the cotton pads as an exfoliating toner after cleansing once or twice daily to remove excess sebum or makeup residue. Some even prefer to use this before wearing makeup to ensure a clean surface, enabling consequent makeup to adhere to the skin better.

However, I mainly use this as an active/acid treatment in place of a BHA. Using this once a week, I usually couple this with a routine consisting of a clay mask, oil cleanse and sheet mask. Now, why would I do this? Well, I find that if I use this without the aforementioned consequent steps, my face would turn exceptionally red if I continued with my usual skincare routine. I’m still not quite sure why this is so, but I suspect that a few of the ingredients might be doing more harm than good for my skin if left on for an extended period of time.


3/5. Overall, I find that the product may actually be too harsh for me. Despite the low percentage of BHA, the combination of physical and chemical exfoliation leaves my skin flushed due to (possible) irritation. Or maybe it’s just user-error and I’m swiping the cotton pads too harshly on my skin. Either way, after finishing this tub of Pimple Pads, I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing.

Where to buy:

Roseroseshop for $12.50 | Koreadepart for $13.40

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Have you tried COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad?

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