Glossier’s cult following doesn’t just stem from aesthetic and hype. No, their whole brand works because they consistently release products that are essential in a routine and they do it well. (Masks, serums, moisturizers, you name it!) But the most prime example from Glossier’s assortment? Their multi-award-winning Milky Jelly Cleanser.
From bathroom shelfies to skincare threads on the internet, it’s really no secret—people love it. But it doesn’t take much to see that what it does is pretty standard: it’s gentle, takes care of your skin, and washes away dirt and makeup. Just the bare basics, nothing flashy. What’s important though, is that it works (and with a pretty great ingredient list, at that).
That said, it’s not like we can simply cop ourselves a bottle whenever we fancy. Since Glossier still doesn’t ship to the Philippines (nor do we think they’ll be making their way to local shores soon), how do we get our fair share of the sought-after formula? By finding a dupe within reach, of course. And word on the street? COSRX has a formula that comes close. Cue in: COSRX First Cleansing Milk Gel.
As it turns out, there are quite a number of things the COSRX First Cleansing Milk Gel has in common with its Glossier counterpart that we had to ask: Could it pass as a close alternative? Guess we’ll have to find out. Below, scroll to see a break down of the claims, ease of use, formula, key ingredients, and effectiveness behind each cleanser. Take a peek!
DUPE RATING: 5/5 HEARTS
From the internet down to the packaging, the two cleansers pretty much claim to do the same thing. They both melt away grime and (non-waterproof) makeup without effort, can be used as a first-step cleanse, protect your skin’s moisture barrier, and leave your skin soft and nourished right after you rinse—without the stripping feeling! And if that wasn’t enough, the two really go big on the fact that they’re super gentle for the face. Safe to use on all skin types, both formulas are vegan, cruelty-free, dermatologist-tested, and free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. If we didn’t know anything else, we’d say the sounds of that alone makes the COSRX Cleansing Milk Gel a clear carbon copy of its Glossier counterpart.
2. EASE OF USE
DUPE RATING: 4.5/5 HEARTS
When it comes to cleansers, they’re really straightforward to use. Simply apply a small amount on your hand, gently massage this on a wet or dry face, then rinse! If anything, the only thing that sets them apart is the packaging. Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser comes in a pump bottle while COSRX’s First Cleansing Milk Gel comes in a large rubber tube (similar to their Good Morning Gel Cleanser). And while both dispense product easily and hygienically, we’ll dock off a bit from COSRX because it’s a tad harder to control the amount that comes out.
DUPE RATING: 3/5 HEARTS
For the look, feel, and smell of the two formulas, there are some stark differences. While both share the same creamy gel texture, COSRX’s consistency feels lighter and looks more like a milky lotion compared to Glossier’s thicker, cloudy gel. The scents for both are also worlds apart, with COSRX’s cleanser having a more citrus, lemon aroma compared to Glossier’s faint, clean smell. (Some say that the scent of Glossier’s Milky Jelly has traces of rose thanks to the rose water in its formula, though we think it’s too mild to notice.)
But that’s not to say they don’t have anything in common! For one, both are low pH formulas that are close to the skin’s natural pH level of 5.5 (Glossier’s runs around 4.5-5.0 with COSRX at 5.5). And also, they don’t foam or lather. Instead, the two melt over your skin, first turning milky then clear as you massage them on your face. With all of that said, we’d say it’s safe to rate this one somewhere in the middle.
4. KEY INGREDIENTS
DUPE RATING: 2/5 HEARTS
The claims for both cleansers are nearly identical, but the key ingredients behind them? Not so much. COSRX’s power combo consists of Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Allantoin, and Witch Hazel Extract, a star trio that softens, moisturizes, and calms sensitive, troubled skin. For Glossier’s Milky Jelly, their formula is infused with Polyaxamer, Rose Water, Allantoin, and Aquazyl. It’s a mouthful, but together, it forms a mild yet effective cleanser that soothes, moisturizes, improves your skin’s barrier, and heals dry, stressed skin. So really, apart from the water base and allantoin, the two formulas draw their magic from very different sources.
DUPE RATING: 5/5 HEARTS
Lastly: just how well do these cleansers cleanse? We asked Tati from the BeautyMNL office to test both on a full face of makeup (covering brows, concealer, eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick), and it turns out that the two equally get the job done. With the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser washing half a face of makeup and the COSRX Cleansing Milk Gel taking care of the other half, it was apparent that both were easily able to wash all traces of makeup. And once you rinse, the cleanser does so without lingering on the skin, keeping you from excessively rubbing or tugging at your face.
The only difference? Tati shared that the COSRX formula did seem to leave a more moisturized and firmer feel, giving her skin a supple effect. Otherwise, the two more or less perform the same way—quick, effortless, and without feeling stripped.
With their fair share of similarities and differences, it all comes down to whether you’re particular about certain aspects of the formula and their key ingredients. The color, consistency, and scent stand out the most when you compare the two, but we feel like the key ingredients, though different, are meant to do similar things to fulfill the claims both cleansers promise. Finally, in terms of how easy they are to use and how effective they are, we’d say the COSRX Low pH First Cleansing Milk Gel is a great alternative to the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser.
As for price, the full-size for Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser (177ml) is slightly cheaper at roughly P935 (based on the current exchange rate), while COSRX’s Low pH First Cleansing Milk Gel (150ml) sells for P990, but it’s a pretty small gap. So if Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser isn’t in the stars for you anytime soon, maybe you’ll find yourself falling for a tube of COSRX’s Low pH First Cleansing Milk Gel instead.
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