Review | AQUTOP Perfect Clean Cleansing Foam


Having to be on a journey of discovering Asian Beauty (AB) brands for more than 2 years now, I've tried many kinds of first cleansers for my skincare routine but I just realised that none of the cleansers has made into a review. The last cleanser I talked about was from Simple, before that, was from ST. Ives and throughout these recent years, just to mention a few, I've tried cleansers from Missha, The Saem, Innisfree, The Face Shop, Hada Labo, Shiseido, and Bio-essence. AQUTOP is a brand-new to me. I've never heard the name mentioned before among my skincare buddies, probably because it isn't really a big name in Korean Beauty. 


Now, before I get into the review, here's a little disclaimer: AQUTOP products featured in this post and the following post were provided by Cosmatches (p/s: I'm glad I helped the team to choose its official name! ;P). I was not paid for this, all they asked is for me to provide opinions no matter how bad or good the products are. So upon receiving a parcel from Beaureka (it's actually a shop from Singapore, shipped to Malaysia), I was delighted to see a face cleanser, just in time my Cereal Facial Smoothie Foam from The Saem was reaching to its end.

About AQUTOP (아쿠탑)
AQUTOP is a compound word of Aqua (water, moisture) and Top (best, barrier). This Korean brand is launched in October 2016 and it's a brand specialising in moisturisation. From the brand story, the marketing and focusing consumer is very clear by itself, you will not find anything that is not moisturising from Aqutop. To date, pretty actress Shin Hye Sun is appointed as their brand 'muse' and I remember seeing her in Korean dramas like Oh My Ghostess, She Was Pretty and The Legend of the Blue Sea.


AQUTOP Perfect Clean Cleansing Foam 
(Black Bean)



Official Description
Deep cleansing foam filled with the energy of germinating black beans, which makes the skin smooth with plentiful, elastic bubbles.
1) Instead of purified water, it uses germinating black bean extracts to bring it to life and nutrition. 
2) A firm form produced which forms rich bubbles
3) A deep cleansing form which adds moisture but reduces irritation.
How To Use
Wet face and disperse small amount onto hands. Lather and apply foam to face, gently messaging entire area. Wash and rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Skin Type and Trial Period
As I mentioned in my previous skincare review, I have a combination-dehydrated skin, now leaning towards dry skin as I age. As weird as it may sounds, those part where I usually get oily (forehead and nose) also happen to be the parts where they get flakey the most especially during the 'cold' and 'rainy' season like right now (22C is already cold enough for someone who lived in a tropic sunny country like me, lol). I've been trying all of the AQUTOP products I received for about a month now and for this cleansing foam, I have been using it in my PM routine. My preference in choosing a face cleanser is that the lower the pH value, the better because usually, it would be less drying to use. I also don't mind having the typical alkaline-based face cleanser as long as it isn't drying. Currently, all of the second cleansers I have in my bathroom are quite high in pH (Senka Shiseido, The Saem Cereal Cleanser).

Packaging
AQUTOP Perfect Clean Cleansing Foam comes in a white plastic squeeze tube packaging with flip open cap. The Cap fits tightly, leak-proof and also has a safety seal at first. Design can be really simple but clean. Most descriptions on the tube are written in Hangul but they highlighted some important points in English. Shelf life for this cleanser is 12 months after opening. Contains 150ml of product.



Ingredients
Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract (29%), Stearic Acid, PEG-400, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Lauric Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Polyquaternium-7, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Propanediol, Saponaria Officinalis Leaf Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.



Ingredients Discussions
I actually never really care about ingredients in cleansers because no matter how good the ingredient list is, you wash it off almost immediately, so the good stuff doesn't get to stay on the skin long enough to do good thing. However, I still run through the ingredients list onto CosDNA analysis, so click [here] to see the result. 

According to the chart, only Lauric Acid has the potential of being an acne triggering ingredient although it's generally safe and often be used to formulate water-based cleansers. All of the other stuffs in this product are considered safe and having low hazard, according to CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) and EWG Skin Deep environmental database safety standard. Mostly, they go with the scale of 1 (very good) and only one particular ingredient causing concern to certain people; which is 'fragrance'. Overall, this is pretty short ingredients list for a cleanser and appears to be very well-formulated.



Now, onto the key ingredient; the first thing I see is the 'glycine max' from soybean extract. I also noticed that this cleanser doesn't even have 'aqua' or water inside the formulation which makes it the first cleanser I have in one of its kind. I have found an open access journal whereby it provides a study on glycine max and its safety in cosmetic use. They found out that black bean extracts have a good antioxidant level and exhibit tyrosinase-inhibitor properties, which makes this plant extraction to be a good additive for cosmetic products when it comes to whitening and brightening. Researchers also did the human skin patch test and found that glycine max did not cause allergic reactions at all. 
Further reading:
Lai J., Xin C., Zhao Y., Feng B., He C., Dong Y., Fang Y., Wei S., Study of active ingredients in black soybean sprouts and their safety in cosmetic use. Molecules. 2012 Oct 1; 17(10): 11669-11679.

Verdict
In term of consistency and texture, AQUTOP cleanser is kinda different from what I've tried before, it's thick and has a high viscosity. Imagine eating melted mozzarella where the cheese becomes gooey and very stretchy, that's generally how the cleanser looks like in action. Not only cheese, we are also going to talk about chicken soup because this face cleanser smells like that (literally). I want to say it smells like black soybean but it's a culinary ingredient that I'm not familiar with. Chicken soup? or ginger cookies? yes, because the cleanser gives of some herbally and ginger smells to it and to be honest, that's easily become my favourite part of using this AQUTOP foaming cleanser. I'm going to show you how the product looks like when it is in solid form.



The cleanser foams easily after mixing it with water and it creates soft and dense mousse-type bubbles, kinda reminds me of the Senka face cleanser. 



Ok. Now onto the pH part and I'm going to be honest, it has such a high pH level, clocking between 9 and 10. I test it with my pH universal indicator (which can be slightly inaccurate) in dry and wet condition, both showing the exact same result. Side note, I know people have been testing cleansers in wet condition, means that when the cleanser is mixed with water, but I can't help to think about the relevance of it because pH and water hardness all depend on the sources? like the pH level of tap water in Malaysia probably would not be the same as in South Korea? or America and Australia? it can also be changed if the water source undergoes water filtration process 🤔.



While I know there are many academical studies on how should we incorporate low pH cleanser in our skincare routine, I also came across this study by several German researchers whereby it says here "no conclusions could be made on the effect of cleansing products on the skin surface pH" due to the inconsistent results in those academical studies done before. So, it's really up to you whether if you want to use low pH face cleanser, which often expensive or stick to the alkaline ones because let's be real, they are cheap and dominating the market, especially when it comes to K-Beauty. 

From my previous experiences tho, I prefer the low or pH balance facial cleansers because they are softer to my skin. However, like I said before, I'm okay with high pH as long as I'm keeping it in my night skincare routine. Cleansers that are too soft won't help in removing my makeup, that's pretty much legit because I always use COSRX Acne Pimple Pad on daily basis; usually, deep cleansing cleansers result in clearer pad. 



So, how does this AQUTOP cleanser feel on my face? After I rinse off with water, my face feels entirely clean, mostly not dry. I don't have the digital skin moisture device (I should probably get one now!) but my face does feel moisturise. For these couple of days, however, where it has been cold, I figured that this cleanser is a bit too dry for my skin so I have to rush out from my bathroom to put on hydrating product afterwards. Some people say that we should put acid-dependent toner after we cleanse with a high pH cleanser, but you know, I wish I have the pH meter for the skin to test out this theory so I can confidently agree with the statement. It can be true, idk.

Onto the ability to remove makeup a.k.a deep cleansing;

Pros
-Has a good ingredient list, low hazard and shouldn't be irritating for people with sensitive skin, but keep in mind, different people react to different skin allergens.
-Scent. At least this one does not bother my nose and making me sneeze.
-Moisturised. Leaves skin to feel "chok-chok". It does not leave any oily film afterwards.
-Deep cleansing. I agree on what the cleanser has claimed for, hence, I include this in my PM skincare routine.
-Decent price for a K-Beauty face cleanser. You shouldn't really be spending a lot of money for something that's going to get washed off.

Cons
-I do not agree with the "all skin types" claim. I see this more suited to someone who has oily skin rather than dry skin. Dry skin peeps like me would probably feel a slight tightness after cleansing.
-Has high pH level, more than what has been recommended by the skincare experts. So this is not preferable to someone who prefers using low pH cleanser. 



You can buy Aqutop Perfect Clean Cleansing Foam from Beaureka- an online shop on Qoo10 originating from Singapore. You can still pay for the item using bank transfer like Maybank and CIMB and they will ship your order in a black box and with individual bubble wrapped. Mine are always in good condition, so thank you for that!

Purchase link 
(disclaimer: I do not gain anything from this, it's just a direct purchase link): 
https://goo.gl/tdkjtS

Hopefully, this review would be helpful to some of you. Stay tuned for my next Aqutop reviews that should be up tomorrow!

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