April 29, 2016

[Review] Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick

I tried the cult-favorite Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick, and all I got was a face full of zits.

Yes, this cleanser made my skin throw a wee bit of a tantrum. However, before we get into the rest of the review, I just wanna remind you that everyone has different sensitivities, and the products that break me out, might not break you out. Obviously loads of people have had great experiences with this product or it wouldn’t be a cult favorite.  This was just my experience. I think it’s important to mention the good and the bad, so that you have all of the information you need to make the decision that’s right for you. Alright, on with the review!

Disclosure: This product was purchased by me with my own money.  All views expressed are my own authentic opinions. This post does not contain any affiliate links.

First, a bit about my skin. I’ve got oily-dehydrated, acne-prone, reactive skin. I do suffer from product-related breakouts, but haven’t been able to pinpoint any of my personal acne triggers yet. 
The Su:m 37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick is a twist-up, soft, creamy solid stick cleanser manufactured by LG and originating from Korea. The Su:m 37 brand is centered around natural and fermented ingredients. This cleanser is unique because of the rose petals in the top layers of the product and the fermented damask rose extract. 

There were a few key factors that drew me to this product beyond the major hype it gets in the AB community. First, convenience. This cleansing stick is super convenient for travel, and completely goof-proof, drunk-proof (verified personally for, uh, science? Yeah, no. We both know I’m not getting away with that one), whatever proof. Whether you choose to apply the stick directly to your face or emulsify it in your hands first, it’s very easy to use, especially since it doesn’t require the use of a spatula or any other special tools. 

The second was the pH. It’s got a pH between 5 and 6 according to Kerry of Skin&Tonics, which is beneficial for preventing damage to the moisture barrier (acid mantle), and can also be helpful for reducing breakouts in acne prone skin, among other things which I won’t get into here. If you want to understand more about why pH is important in skincare, especially in cleansers, I highly recommend you check out Snow’s post on this subject over on Snow White and the Asian Pear.

The third factor was the rose petals. I was going through a bit of an “omg give me all of the rose scented products, I want to rub them all over me and smell like fresh roses forever and ever amen” phase when I purchased this. The Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick has real rose petals embedded into the top layer of the cleanser. They help to gently exfoliate the skin, but since they’re only in the top layer you’ll only see that benefit for the first few washes (the petals lasted about 10-15 washes for me). As you use the cleanser, the pieces of rose petal begin to fall out, which makes a bit of a mess in the sink. However, once you get past the petal pieces, it’s a totally mess-free cleanser. The actual scent of the product turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, however. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely does smell like roses and not in a powdery way which can be quite polarizing. It just doesn’t have that certain something that takes it from “oh yeah, this smells like roses” to “can I implant this scent in my nose???” In terms that might actually be helpful to someone that hasn’t smelled this product in-person, it’s more of a creamy rose scent than a fresh, zingy rose scent. I personally prefer the latter, so I didn’t love the scent as much as I expected to, but personal preferences may cause you to feel differently about it.

It’s a low pH cleanser in a convenient form that offers a bit of lighthearted, indulgent skincaretainment, and does so in an elegant, approachable way. What’s not to love? Well, if you have sensitive or acne prone skin, the ingredient list may pose a bit of a problem.

Ingredients: Glycerol, Water, Orange Peel Oil, Lime Peel Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Green Tea Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Basil Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, Majoram Oil, Fermented Damask Rose Extract, Apricot Seed Oil, Olive OIl, Sunflower Oil, Betaine, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Camellia Oil, Tocopheral, Rose Flower Water, Potassium Hydroxide, Lauryl Betaine

There are a couple of known acne triggers in this product, chiefly coconut oil and lauric acid. Lauric acid is an ingredient which is typically thought to be helpful for acne sufferers because it reduces the amount of P. acnes bacteria on the skin and the inflammation that is causes. Lauric acid is also part of the chemical composition of coconut oil (used here as a cleansing agent), which is why you may have heard that coconut oil is good for acne. However, both coconut oil and the derivative, lauric acid, are potentially comedogenic, meaning that they can clog your pores and cause breakouts. Since there are properties of these ingredients which make them potentially helpful and/or harmful for acne sufferers, unfortunately the only way to test whether you personally have a sensitivity to these ingredients is to use products that contain them and see if you have a reaction. If you’re unsure whether or not you have sensitivities to the these ingredients, I highly encourage you to patch test. I, uh, patch test with my whole face (whut? it’s a patch of skin… kinda.), so if you’re very concerned about breakouts, do as I say and not as I do.

For many people, the Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick will work wonders because of the pH and the gentle cleansing ingredients, but for others like me, you may find yourself with a fresh bouquet of zits decorating your face. Loads of other people I love and trust have had great experiences with this cleanser, so I’m obviously the exception.

I knew almost immediately that this cleanser was breaking me out, but just to be sure, I continued to test it on one side of my face, while using a cleanser by First Aid Beauty that I had used previously and knew wouldn’t cause any breakouts on the other side. The side I used the First Aid Beauty cleanser on began to heal up, while the side I used the Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick on continued to break out until I quit using it completely a week later. In total, my test period was 2-3 weeks and I didn’t introduce any other new products during the test phase.

It was also a bit drying for my skin, but that’s a problem I have with the majority of cleansers. This cleanser is sudsy (think typical hand soap) rather than foamy, so if you like large piles of foam, this probably isn’t for you.

Despite the breakout it caused, I do think this is a nice product. If I hadn’t had a reaction to it, I would still be using it, but unfortunately I seem to have bought myself an expensive shaving soap. For the record, it totally does work well for shaving so if it didn’t work out for you and you were unable to return it, at least there’s an alternative. I bought mine on Amazon Prime (so I’m certain it’s authentic due to Prime’s rigorous verification standards) for $24, but it retails anywhere from $21-37 depending on where you purchase it from.

The breakdown:

You’ll probably like this cleanser if:

  • you like creamy rose scents
  • you’re looking for a travel-friendly cleanser
  • you want a low pH cleanser
  • you don’t have a sensitivity to any of the ingredients
  • you’re especially interested in luxury Korean skincare and don’t mind a bit of a splurge
  • you have normal to oily skin (this would probably be too drying for dry skin)
Approach with caution if:
  • you like some rose scents but not all
  • you have acne prone/sensitive skin
  • you’re riding in on the hype train shouting “Choo, Choo!!” While this is a nice cleanser, you don’t absolutely need it. Weigh your options and consider whether or not you truly think this cleanser will work well for you before shelling out the $21+.
Avoid completely if:
  • you hate rose scents (Duh.)
  • the price tag makes your eyes bulge (also duh. While I do like this cleanser, if it’s not an absolute must-have for you, I’d say don’t spluge on it. There are loads of other low pH cleansers that cost way less.)
  • you only like cleansers that create mountains of foam without a foaming net
  • you’re sensitive to or allergic to any of the ingredients
  • you have dry skin

I hope this review was helpful to you. If you’d like, you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter.

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