I have yet to find a second step cleanser that I am absolutely in love with. I don’t expect a cleansing product to perform miracles, but I want them to be interesting and fun to use. I got curious about the powder cleanser format after seeing a few reviews of Tosowoong’s Enzyme Powder Wash. Having a cleanser in a dry form seems extremely handy for travelling, so I picked one up to see if it would suit my needs.
Full Disclosure: This review contains no affiliate links, and the product was purchased by me. All opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal use and testing of the product.
What is it?
The Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash is a second step cleanser in powder form. It claims to lightly exfoliate skin with papaya enzymes while not leaving skin stripped or dry. It must be foamed with water (and a foaming tool, if desired) before applying it to your face. Use it after removing your makeup/sunscreen with a cleansing oil or other first step cleanser.
- Size: 70g
- Price: $8.54 CAD +shipping
- pH: 5.5
- Texture: A white powder with a non-uniform grain, size similar to sand granules
- Scent: A distinct, clean ‘laundry detergent’ smell.
- Packaging: A medium bottle with a powder dispenser cap (pictures below)
- Longevity: At least a year, using 1 dime-to-nickel sized amount per day
Ingredients and pH
Corn Starch, Sodium Lauroyl Aspartate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Palmitate, Badger Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Papain, Maltodextrin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Titanium Dioxide, Alcohol Denat., Phenoxyethanol, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Perfume
CosDNA breakdown. Sodium lauryl sulfate scores a 5 for comedogenicity and a 2 for irritation. Alcohol denat. gets a 5 and papain gets a 0-3 for irritation as well.
Tosowoong claims the corn starch base helps keep skin moisturized, though I haven’t ever heard of corn starch being able to moisturize, nor have I seen any evidence to back that up. The papain, or papaya enzymes, provide a very gentle amount of exfoliation, helping to remove dirt and dead skin cells. This cleanser won’t take the place of a proper exfoliant, but it will have some slight active action, so be mindful if you are sensitive or prone to overexfoliation.
It’s a bit difficult to see, but my pH strips reveal this cleanser to have a pH somewhere between a 4.5 and a 5.5. This is a great pH range for a second step cleanser, and is exactly what I look for in this type of product.
The dispenser on this cleanser is something I haven’t seen before on a product. The powder dispenses through a small hole into a separate well in the cap, which then falls down into a reservoir around the hole when you turn the bottle right side up. What comes out of the bottle is powder from this reservoir. I find this system pretty good to use as it prevents me from dumping out massive amounts of powder, although I still shake out too much product from time to time.
Most often I use this cleansing powder with a foaming net, which works wonderfully. The powder dissolves quickly and produces a very lovely, soft foam. You can use it without a foaming tool as well, as you can dissolve the particles between wet hands. This method does produce some amount of foam (see below), you just won’t get great pillows of it. I don’t like the feeling of scrubbing the powder in my palms, so I prefer the foaming net. You could probably dissolve the powder straight onto your face as well, but I wouldn’t recommend it as I find the particles to be a bit too scrubby and I’d be concerned about the harshness of exfoliating your face that way.
This cleanser most often is described as having a ‘laundry detergent’ scent, which it absolutely does. It screams ‘generic cleaning product’. I don’t mind the scent, but I don’t love it either.
Now, my biggest hang up with using this cleanser is that I use it in the shower. I shower at night, and I do my facial cleansing in the shower for convenience. I have a tub, so I’m able to store the cleanser on the opposite end of the shower head and keep it from directly getting splashed with water. Even so, some condensation does get inside the cap, and while the powder doesn’t clump up at all, I do get particles sticking near the mouth of the dispenser.
When I used this cleanser for the first time, it turned my entire face quite red. I took a break from it for a while to finish up an older cleanser, and the same thing happened the first time I reintroduced it. After a few uses, however, my skin seems to adapt and I no longer experience the brief flush. I’m not at all sure what could have caused that kind of reaction, though my theory is that my skin was adjusting to the papaya enzyme action.
Aside from that, I don’t have any complaints about the performance of this cleanser. I haven’t experienced any skin-softening or clarifying effects, but I don’t really expect that out of my second step cleansers. It cleans my skin well, and doesn’t leave me overly dry or stripped.
Would I Repurchase?
Despite this cleanser being a solid product, I won’t be repurchasing. My biggest issue is that I didn’t fall in love with the powder format. It is difficult to dispense consistent amounts of product, and it almost requires a foaming tool to be used. Since I shower at night, I’m always doing my second cleanser while I’m in the shower, and the powder mechanism doesn’t lend itself very well to in-shower use. I get by just fine, it’s just that using this cleanser isn’t as fun or convenient as I’d like it to be.