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Sure, we’ve probably all heard about “pH 5.5” and maybe even used pH cleansers when we were teenagers, but did you ever question why?


Here’s why the pH of your face wash is so important.




If a face wash is not pH balanced, using it can weaken the structure of your skin’s “acid mantle“. The “acid mantle” refers to the protective barrier on your skin – a slightly acidic film that sits on the skin’s surface. This acts as the interface between your skin and the rest of the world.

Your acid mantle can be weakened by plenty of things in the natural environment – air conditioning, heating, dust, sun and pollution, for starters.

If your acid mantle is knocked out of balance, your skin becomes prone to attack.



Once your acid mantle is weakened, the ceramides, lipids and happy fatty acids in your skin can all be damaged. This is bad news because it allows bacteria, allergens and other foreign materials to find a passage through your skin.

If bacteria breed and other foreign materials make their way into your blood stream, this can wreak havoc on your skin. In fact, these can can all be directly linked to inflammation, allergies and breakouts – all the types of things most of us would rather avoid.


The good news is that this type of skin damage is both preventable and reversible.

This is because you can adjust the pH of your skin by adding a substance to it that is either more acidic or more alkaline (chemistry, urghh…).

Anything you put on your skin that is higher or lower than its natural pH will raise or lower the skin’s pH as well.  This can either be bad (i.e. weakening your acid mantle) or good (i.e. restoring skin to its naturally balanced state).

If you’re suffering from a damaged acid mantle, then swapping over to a pH balanced cleanser may be just the cure you’re looking for.



Now that we’ve explained WHY the pH of your cleanser matters, you’re probably wondering how you find out what the pH of your cleanser actually is. Well, short of testing your cleanser yourself (which is totally possible, by the way!) you could use some of our tried and tested pH balanced cleansers.

There’s four in particular that we’re absolutely loving at STYLE STORY at the moment:

Missha Super Aqua Refreshing Cleansing Foam

This perfectly balanced pH cleanser works beautifully on sensitive, extremely dry and damaged skin. It is gentle when applied and never strips your skin of its natural oils. While it won’t work to take your makeup off, it is great to use in the morning. The milky texture of the formula leaves your face extra soft and smooth after cleansing.


Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash

This face wash has reached cult status and for good reason – with a perfectly balanced pH of 5.5, it works wonders on sensitive, hypo-allergenic and acne-prone skin.

Unlike other cleansers, this face wash comes in dry form, which you add water to in order to make it into a wash. The powder also makes it perfect for travelling, as it won’t squirt everywhere in your bag!

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser 

This gentle face wash is beloved by Asian beauty bloggers all around the world. Not only is it perfectly pH balanced, the 2-in-formula makes it extremely convenient to use, eliminating the need for a second cleanser to properly get rid of dirt and makeup. Amen for good beauty products that don’t take ages to use!

SRB Enzyme Wash

While other powder washes simply use a rice flour based formula, SRB features the rice bran extract, which creates a soothing effect on skin. The cleanser maintains a low pH of 5.5 due thanks to natural amino acid surfactants and the main ingredient, rice bran, is incredibly gentle, providing brightening properties, and softening skin.

Heimish All Clean Green Foam

This mild cleanser is perfect for those with sensitive skin. It contains the minimum necessary compound to balance the skin’s pH levels.

Every ingredient used in this paraben-free cleanser has safe EWG ratings of 1 or 2.


Even if you don’t suffer from blemishes or redness (lucky you!), if you incorporate AHA and BHA products into your beauty routine, you might also want to watch the pH of your face wash.


Because the pH of your face wash will also directly affect how well your AHA and BHA products work. If your cleanser is not correctly pH balanced, your acids will also be thrown out of balance, which can inhibit their effectiveness.



If you’re not already using a pH balanced cleanser and your skin is suffering from sensitivity, redness or blemishes, then you should definitely think about swapping over to one. pH balanced cleansers are better for damaged, blemished and red skin and are no more expensive than other face washes – what’s not to like?!


Did you know why the pH of your face wash is so important? Let us know in the comments. 




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