I once wrote “Life is too short for Etude House skincare.”
I was partially joking, but I mostly do think you can get better skincare elsewhere.
But sometimes a product comes along that makes even haterz like me go “huh”. This is one of those products: it’s a big, cheap tub of good-smelling, effective cleansing balm.
Etude House O-LE-MONG One Shot Sherbet Cleanser Review
About the brand: Etude House is a makeup and skincare brand owned by Korean conglomerate Amore Pacific that’s marketed to women in their teens and early-20s (although I’m much older and still am interested in their products).
Other Etude House products I’ve reviewed:
- Bubble Tea Sleeping Pack–Black Tea
- Pink Cabinet (Locker)
- So Hot Play vs. So Chic Play Eye Shadow Palettes
What it is: this is a solid-but-soft balm cleanser with the texture of sherbet that melts on contact with your skin to dissolve makeup and sunscreen.
Other first cleansers I’ve reviewed:
(LJH is my favorite)
- Pixi Double Cleanse Review
- Leejiham (LJH) Dr’s Care Cleansing Oil Review
- Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm Review
- A Review of 15 First-Step Korean Oil (and other) Cleansers
How to use it: apply a nut-sized (you pick the nut you like best) amount of the cleansing balm to dry skin, massage it in, rinse well with water.
Where to put it in your routine: in the first (oil-soluble) cleanser slot. Need a basic outline of when to use your products? Here you go:
Ingredients: Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Hydrogenated c6-14 olefin polymers, Peg-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Peg-8 Isostearate, Polyethylene, Silica, Isopropyl Palmitate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract(47.99Ppm), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract(8Ppm), Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract(4.99Ppm), Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Extract, Fragrance (from Etude House’s global site; the ingredient list in the Hwahae app is wrong). CosDNA analysis.
Ingredient breakdown: the only common trigger ingredient here is Isopropyl Palmitate, which rates 4 out of 5 as a potential acne trigger and 1 out of 5 as a possible irritant.
As is the case with every cleansing balm made in Korea that I’ve encountered, this product contains polyethylene, a microplastic resin. Polyethylene is the stuff that’s in plastic microbeads (now banned in many places). I’ve never been able to figure out the precise or relative impact of polyethylene in cleansing balms on the environment, but flushing microplastics down the drain doesn’t seem like the best idea ever tbh. Then again, this also comes in a plastic jar some people might throw out, so a little polyethylene might not be the biggest concern here. At this point, I just don’t know enough to make any firm claims about this ingredient; I’m just letting you know what I know now.
What type of skin might like this: any. For my oily skin, this rinsed cleanly and emulsified well. I don’t find it to leave a coating or film on my skin like some other balms. At the same time, I didn’t find it to be stripping.
Packaging: very basic, solid plastic jar.
Smell: it has a nice, fairly natural citrus scent. If you’ve been lusting after Su:m37’s cleansing balm and don’t want to pay $35 for 100ml, this is like a less shatterable (the Su:m jar is glass), bigger version of that (although the ingredients are fairly different, the texture of the Etude House in the jar is firmer and less likely to melt on you, and the scents are a bit different).
Price: under $13 if you buy it from Korea and ship it the slow way.
Value: the tub is 150ml, which is 50ml bigger than Banila Co’s Clean It Zero and other popular balm cleansers.
Comparison with the Pixi Beauty Double Cleanse balm:
The base balm is fairly similar for both products. The Pixi Double Cleanse (very recently reviewed) features some nice oils, no added fragrance, and costs about $24 for 50ml of balm plus 50ml of cleansing cream. The Etude House O-LE-MONG has a citrus scent and fruit extracts, and costs about $13 for 150ml.
Hydrogenated c6-14 olefin polymers
Peg-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate
Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract (47.99Ppm)
Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract (8Ppm)
Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract (4.99Ppm)
Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract
Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract
Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract
Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract
Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract
Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Extract
PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate
Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil
Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter
Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil
Camellia Japonica Seed Oil
Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil
Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil
Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil
What’s good: low price, big jar, good formula, great scent. In terms of balm formula technicals, the balm formula melts fine, emulsifies well, and rinses very cleanly.
What’s not good: I’m still not convinced that balms are the best we can do. Yes, they’re great for travel, but for my oily skin, there’s nothing quite like a cleansing oil to zap through the filth.
Will I repurchase it: I doubt I’ll ever run out of this because the jar is big, but I’d consider it.
What about the Etude House O-LE-MONG One Shot Morning Gel Cleanser?
Etude House has a low-pH (it’s 5.5, I checked it) non-bubbling, non-foaming O-LE-MONG One Shot Morning Gel Cleanser. It’s cool that it’s low-pH, but I’ve been unable to test this because the alcohol makes it so unpleasant to use; it ruins the citrus scent and even makes my skin feel kind of cold. To be clear: I’m fine with alcohol in skincare as long as it serves a purpose — alcohol in sunscreen helps me get out the door on time with proper sun protection. In this case…I don’t know what the alcohol is doing there for the formula and the scent is yucky enough that I don’t feel joy when using it. I’m not a fan.
Buy the Etude House O-LE-MONG One Shot Sherbet Cleanser
Where to buy samples: eBay
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