For as much as I’ve tried to be honest about the downsides of blogging, there’s something nice about firing up the computer and ignoring the world for a bit while writing about beauty products in excruciating detail. When I opened the box containing my second tube of Make P:rem Safe Relief Cleansing Foam, I knew that it was time to break my review dry spell (more than 250 days!) and talk about my current favorite kbeauty cleanser.
Make P:rem Safe Me. Relief Moisture Cleansing Foam Review
About the brand: Make P:rem is a South Korean skincare brand founded in 2016. While they launched with a gimicky foil mask (a hot trend at the time), the brand is now best known outside of Korea for their sunscreens, which don’t suck (I don’t think they’re remotely as good as my fav). Interestingly, the sunscreens don’t get top marks from users of the Korean Hwahae ingredient and review app and their masks get absolutely dragged, but users have made this cleanser the number one Make P:rem product based on review stars and the number of reviews. Director Pi on YouTube and Cat at Snow White and the Asian Pear also liked the cleanser. It’s bona fide!
What it is: a second, water-soluble cleanser.
Other second cleansers I’ve reviewed:
- 8 low-pH cleansers that didn’t work for me
- CosRx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
- Makeremake, the kbeauty brand that only sells cleansers
- Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser
- Innisfree Blueberry Rebalancing 5.5 Cleanser
- Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip
- Susanne Kaufmann Cleansing Gel
- Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser
- Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser
- NUDE Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly
Other second cleansers I’ve tested, but haven’t reviewed:
Curology Cleanser (press sample): I was pleasantly surprised by Curology’s new cleanser (in contrast, I think their moisturizer is one of the worst skincare products I’ve tried). It has the ingredients and stats I require (low pH, gentle surfactants) and it rinses clean, but not squeaky. For people who need a fragrance-free product, the Curology Cleanser could work very well. The reason I find Make P:rem superior is because the Curology cleanser bubbles and lathers more reluctantly, meaning I have to work harder to get a nice rich cleanser pillow to smash into my face. I also like fragrance of some sort, I know know bad bad, but it makes the whole thing more enjoyable for me.
Papa Recipe Eggplant Clearing 5.5 Cleansing Foam: the Papa Recipe formula and ingredients seem quite similar to the Make P:rem cleanser, but the PR cleanser is much less pleasant to use because there’s too much slip in the formula, which means that I have to rinse about 100 times to feel clean. If I were new to cleansers or had fewer options, I’d just deal with the slip issue, but Safe Relief Cleansing Foam has the same benefits without requiring me to rinse as much. Jude from Fifty Shades of Snail has the opposite problem, but we live on opposite coasts — water properties change how cleansers feel and work.
COSRX Low pH First Cleansing Milk Gel: urgh the jury is out on this one. It’s a lot like Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, which I like, but it rinses more easily and has a nicer smell. The problem is that the formula confuses me: since it rinses so well, I expect it to foam and then I get upset that there’s no foam to smash on my face. Then there’s the problem that when I want an ultra-gentle cleanser, I don’t know why I need to get so wet when I could use Son & Park’s Beauty Water to accomplish the same goals plus get a smidge of moisture. At the same time, I think it solves a lot of problems with the formulas in that category: it smells better than Cosrx’s Good Morning Gel cleanser, rinses way more easily than Milky Jelly, and costs less than pretty much any other cleansing milk on the market. I need more time to test and think about this one.
Where to put it in your routine: put it in the second, water-soluble cleanser slot. Need a basic outline of when to use your products? Here you go:
Ingredients: Water, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Glycerin, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Coco-Betaine, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate, Potassium Benzoate, Sodium Chloride, Polyquaternium-67, Potassium Cocoate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Sodium Acetate, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin (from Hwahae and box packaging). CosDNA analysis.
Ingredient breakdown: when I look at a water-soluble cleanser ingredient list, I’m hoping to not see SLS, SLES, or things like Stearic or Myristic Acid (which my skin seems to HATE). This formula avoids those more irritating surfactants, and it combines less commonly irritating ingredients together to create a cleanser formula that does the job of removing any stray oil cleanser and last bits of makeup. The unlathered cleanser is pearly, which is usually a big warning sign that my skin is going to get ripped to shit, but I’ve never had an experience where I’ve applied the lather to my skin and recoiled due to an instant sting, as I have with plenty of other cleansers. There are some oils and extracts in here, probably to sex things up and add scent, but I’m just looking for a cleanser to, you know, cleanse and be pleasant to use, so I’m not going to focus much on those. Overall, the ingredient list passes the test for me (but might set off warning signs for people with essential oil allergies or sensitivities to the surfactants).
pH level: right about 5.5, as promised. Why are we talking about pH post-high school science class?? Read this and this.
Cool video about low-pH cleansers: Director Pi on YouTube reviewed 48 low-pH cleansers. I liked hearing about cleansers I’ve never seen reviewed before!
What type of skin might like this: I can see any skin liking it, but very dry, very very sensitive skin may not be down with the bubbles. That said, it felt great on my skin when I had oily skin and it actually makes my drier skin, now on Accutane, feel better due to adding a hint of slip so I’m not as squeaky.
Packaging: the original packaging was a pretty swanky, velvety-feeling plastic box-like tube that has great durability and heft, but also cockblocks the last 1/5 of the formula so you can’t get it out without adding water (yuck). Make P:rem changed the packaging so now it’s a tube, but the user-submitted photos I’ve seen on Hwahae, the Korean ingredient and review app, show that the tube material is thin and it dents or bends excessively. Based on the photos, it looks like the same tube packaging used in the original Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser. I hope Make P:rem makes a third attempt at getting the packaging right because it’s a weak spot. How do you know which packaging you’ll get? At this very moment, it’s a toss-up due to the changeover and sell-off of old stock happening now. If packaging is a sticking point, be sure to contact the seller first.
Smell: it smells like a melange of small amounts of various essential oils (which is…exactly what it is). There’s certainly a scent, not the most exciting, but it goes away quickly. I wouldn’t say it adds anything to the experience, but I didn’t find it disgusting either.
Price: about $20 per tube.
Value: it’s about $20 for 150ml of cleanser, which is a bit tough to swallow (in contrast, Cosrx Good Morning is 150ml for $10 or $11), but the formula is concentrated and a bit goes a long way. That said, the original packaging really made it hard to get every bit out.
What’s good: Make P:rem Safe Relief Cleansing Foam ticks off the low pH and gentle ingredient boxes, then goes beyond that to deliver a nice bit of lather and clean rinse. The smell is fine and not overpowering. It gets off any stray makeup, sunscreen, and oil left over after I oil cleanse. I worked through my first tube quickly because I found it pleasant to use — an uncommon experience for me.
What’s not good: I wish a company would take a great low-pH, foamy formula like this and put a really amazing scent in it. The scent is a bit ho-hum for my taste. Imagine shoving a pile of juicy peach foam in your face each morning. THAT’S the kind of development that would get me excited about cleansing. The packaging, even in its second iteration, seems to need some work. I wish the price were consistently closer to $15 than $20. The product isn’t a wall that can’t be climbed, there are ways something else could come along and beat it, but I think it’s the best I’ve tried up until now with the exception of a feminine cleanser that was more like $30 and has since been discontinued.
Will I repurchase it: yup, I just cracked open my second tube.
Where to buy it: Amazon | eBay | SweetCorea | BeautyBoxKorea | Glow Recipe
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