Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick Review

Today I'll be reviewing the much-buzzed-about, hard-to-find, ever-elusive Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick.  I just finished off my 2nd tube and I am about to crack into a brand-new pristine one, so I figured now was a good time to review it while the new tube is still untouched and pretty.

Nonetheless, it is what's inside the packaging that counts, right?

Su:m37 has gorgeous packaging of course, but they also make excellent (if expensive) products.
If you are at all interested in Asian cosmetics, you have probably heard of the mythical MRCS; it's rarely stocked, sells out immediately, and is usually offered at exorbitant prices when available.  It causes buying frenzies, backups purchased before the first has arrived, and other questionable shopping practices (not that any of these apply to me.  Heh. Heh. Heh...)  It's almost like a Korean Beauty goal: Achievement Unlocked: Purchase Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick!

So you might be asking, what is the fuss about?  The primary benefits of the MRCS, in my opinion, are as follows:
And that's it.  You might be looking at that list and thinking "this thing is so hyped I was expecting it to pay my mortgage and take me on fabulous vacations to Spain" and I do think that people get a bit too caught up in the buzz, but I have also purchased 4 of them and only have one left.  Clearly it's got something goin' on for it.

In this post:
  • Methods of use and length of use
  • Ingredients Analysis
  • Where to purchase it
  • Alternatives/Dupes
  • Final thoughts

Details:

Full product name: LG Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
Purpose: A foaming cleanser, which is either used as a sole cleanser or as a 2nd cleanser to clean off dirty oil cleanser as part of Double Cleansing, which requires your foaming cleanser to be both effective but ultra, ultra gentle.  To learn more about Double Cleansing, click here.
pH Level:  Consistently 5.5 using multi indicator pH strips, which are more accurate than the solid-colour type.
Scent: One of the main attractions of this product, it has an intense rose scent, due to the infusion of rose oil, rose petals, and fermented rose ingredients.
Quantity: 80g, which is a substantial amount- read on to see how long it lasts with 2x daily use.
Availability: It does tend to go out of stock regularly from all vendors, but I'll list a few places I've purchased/see it regularly available below.
Rating: 4/5.  It's not an HG for me, but it's the best low-pH foaming cleanser from Asia that I have tried so far.
Repurchase:  Already have, repeatedly.  I have purchased 4 in total; I repurchased 2 for myself and one as a Christmas gift for my mother, who has mature, dry skin. (Aka completely opposite of me.)


Methods of use and length of use

As I mentioned, I've gone through two of these, using a variety of application methods so I'm pretty confident about how long it will last you.

Empty tube vs new tube fully extended;  there is a fair bit
of product that can be scraped out of the tube as well
(click image for large size)
A single tube, used twice daily, lasts me about 3-4 months, depending on the cleansing method I use with it.  (To learn more about different Asian cleansing techniques, click here.)

MRCSs can be pretty expensive, but considering that it is a 'luxury' product from a 'prestige' brand, $30-50 is reasonable for a product that is going to last you 400+ uses.

I've tried many methods of cleansing with the MRCS, and it worked fine with all of them although I have found some worked better for my skin than others.

I have used the following methods:
  • Rub the stick directly on your wet face, like a giant chapstick, and then lather it into foam with your hands (this is the method in the directions)
  • Rub the stick directly onto wet hands, and then lather it into foam between your hands 
  • Rub the stick onto a wet foaming net like the one in the picture below 
  • Rub the stick onto a wet facial brush, either a manual one or an electronic one, like the Clarisonic 
  • Rub the stick onto a wet, expanded konjac sponge, squishing the sponge a bit until it works up a lather
Directly applied to wet skin:

This is the 'official' method in the directions, but I find that it uses way more product that I need, and I don't like that it requires me to work the product into a lather using my face as the foaming platform.

I think it agitates the face more than necessary, and it can also be a bit stripping, so if you don't want to get fancy with tools, I recommend that you go with:

Lathered between wet hands:

Wet your hands, rub the stick onto a palm/fingers, and then work the product between your hands until it forms a nice amount of foam, then apply it to your also wet face.

The benefit of doing it this way is that you can put next to no stress on your face, since all the agitation required for foam will be done before it gets near your skin.

Lathered with a foaming net:
Foaming net  + high pH cleanser

This method works really well for most cleansers, and I've used it with great success on my old high-pH cleansers like the Shiseido Perfect Whip (I still miss you, you glorious skin-barrier-weakening beast; we had a good run) as it lets you take otherwise stubborn cleansers and whip up huge piles of pillowy, dense foam.

But it's terrible in combination with the MRCS, which doesn't produce the same high-volume lather that people expect unless you use large amounts of your precious, expensive cleanser.  You can use a small amount and still get decent lather, but I'd use the hands-only method over this.

Applied to a facial cleansing brush/Clarisonic:

L-R: Moistened Konjac Sponge, 
Clarisonic, dry Konjac, Foaming Net. 
Clarisonics are not for everyone, as they so easily overwork your skin.  I do use mine semi-regularly, such as when I notice that my chemical exfoliants are not taking care of the gunk trying to congeal/oxidize in my pores.

I do so very cautiously, however, because I don't find that the MRCS has a robust enough lather to cushion my face from the bristles (and I have a very light touch when I use this) whereas my old high-PH cleansers formed a dense barrier of foam between skin and brush.

I also find that the bristles tear through the product, thus using more than the other methods, but don't produce a lot of foam for the quantity of product used.

Lathered with a Konjac Sponge:

This is my preferred method, because it uses very little product but still produces a generous enough amount of foam to cleanse my whole face.  I soak the sponge under running water (or a bowl of water) until it's rehydrated, give it a squish to squeeze out some of the water, rub the stick on the surface of the sponge, and then give it a few stressball-style squeezes to work up the lather.  Then I gently rub the soft, foamy sponge over my face in small circles, rinse, and done.  Fast, easy, uses the least product, and Konjacs are less than $3.


Ingredients Analysis

Be warned, the MRCS causes breakouts for many people, so before you rush off with wallet in hand, check to make sure there's nothing in it that you tend to react to:

Per sokoglam.com, the ingredients are:
Glycerol, Water, Orange Peel Oil, Lime Peel Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Green Tea Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Basil Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, Marjoram Oil, Fermented Damask Rose Extract, Apricot Seed Oil, Olive OIl, Sunflower Oil, Betaine, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Camellia Oil, Tocopherol, Rose Flower Water, Potassium Hydroxide, Lauryl Betaine

Yes, I really have purchased this many. Two empty, one full; not pictured: the tube I sent to my mother in Canada
There are actually quite a few potential triggers in this product, per the Cosdna ingredients list:
  • Coconut Oil - Acne trigger: 4/5, Irritant 1/5.  Coconut oil is comedogenic for many people.
  • Olive Oil - Acne trigger: 2/5. Like coconut oil, Olive oil can also be comedogenic.
  • Stearic Acid - Acne trigger: 2/5, and Lauric Acid - Acne trigger: 4/5, Irritant 1/5.   Stearic Acid and Lauric Acid are both fatty acids, specifically surfactants.  This is a cleansing product, after all.  Lauryl Betaine is also a surfactant, but doesn't pull up any flags. **Edit: Cosmetic Chemist Stephen Alain clarified that the fatty acids are more likely working to solidify the product, the actual cleansing mechanism would be provided by the Potassium Hydroxide.  Thanks Stephen!  You can drop by anytime! ;)
  • Tocopherol Acne trigger: 2/5.  Vitamin E!  
The plant oils and extracts include anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, moisturizers, and emollients.  This is a very gentle cleanser, but has some very common acne culprits so it's best to do your research before you plunk down $40 on a cleanser when Olive oil makes your skin break out.


Where to purchase it

I purchased my first MRCS from Avecko (unboxing here), purchased one from eBay (I do not recommend this) and then purchased from a seller who isn't stocking them anymore, but you can find them on Amazon for $20-$25, which is a total steal!

The reason I prefer Amazon Prime over eBay is that Amazon is pretty hardcore about counterfeit goods from its Prime sellers, and well ... Prime.  'Nuff said.  I haul products from Korea directly all the time (you can see my latest Avecko haul here) but if you're feeling intimidated at the prospect of shopping overseas, you can stick to US sellers if you're willing to pay for the buyer protection and fast shipping.

The reason I prefer not to buy from eBay is that there is a high risk of getting 'old stock' (I'll talk more about that later) and this is a natural soap product, which means that it can go bad, change texture, the botanicals can lose potency, etc.  I have heard many sad stories of eBay MRCSs that didn't foam up, barely smelled like roses, or were otherwise different than usual, so freshness does matter!  That being said, if you have an eBay gift card or balance that you are trying to unload, you can get them on eBay for $25.

Sokoglam also regularly stocks the MRCS, although they're sold out right now, and you can also purchase them from Korean resellers like TesterKorea (although they don't stock it normally) and KoreaDepart for about $29+$9 shipping, so $38 in total.

Generally speaking, you'll find that the MRCS will be around $35-$50 including shipping.  Amazon Prime has totally changed this game; like I said you can get them on Amazon for $20-$25.


Alternatives/Dupes

You will sometimes see stick-type cleansers, like the Nature Republic Forest Garden Chamomile Stick Cleanser, and  even ones with rose petals like this one from So'Natural, but don't be fooled.  The former is an Oil cleanser, not a foaming cleanser, and the So'Natural has a whopping pH of 8 according to this brave soul who compared and pH tested the two. (link to imgur album)

So right now, there are no dupes.

That doesn't mean you don't have alternatives!  If you are looking for a low-pH foaming cleanser, there are many Western ones available, and a few Asian ones as well, such as the Missha Super Aqua Oxygen Micro Visible Deep Cleanser and the Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Foaming Wash.    


Final thoughts

Do I like this product?  Yes.  I have 2 empties to prove it.  Do I think that it's an HG (Holy Grail)?  No.  I have tried the Missha Super Long Name Bubble Stuff (seriously Missha, what is it with you and your crazy long names?!) and I found it quite drying/stripping compared to the MRCS.   The MRCS is nice, but it's not mind-blowing for me.

Su:m37 has such stellar packaging; the embossed
floral pattern on the cap is such a nice touch 

(click image for large size)
Also, part of the frenzy around the MRCS is that it is hard to find.  It went out of stock for a very, very long time (supposedly due to limitations of raw materials for the ~fancy rose~ ingredients) and even now that it's back in production, it's still scarce.

Friends in Korea report that it's not even sold openly in the stores; you can get it, but they keep it under the counter and bring it out if you ask.

Yes, it has a low pH (I have tested it myself each tube, and it has been pH 5.5), yes it is gentle, yes it smells like fermented rose gorgeousness.  Yes is very travel friendly, yes it has a cult status, but let's be blunt here- this is soap.  A nice, low-pH, luxurious facial soap.  This isn't going to magically make your skin look 10 years younger and leave your skin hydrated and plumped with health.

Also, the coconut and olive oil is a definite problem for many people, so I am grateful that my skin doesn't react to either.  I plan to continue to test out other, cheaper, low-pH Asian cleansers and if I find one I like better, I'll happily switch- but until then, I'll keep purchasing the MRCS as a faithful standby.  

And it smells pretty. Mmm.  So pretty.
-Cat

**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever.  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.

23 comments

  1. GDI, I love your reviews! I usually end up glancing through other reviewers (which I feel a bit of guilt for doing) but you write things like "this thing is so hyped I was expecting it to pay my mortgage and take me on fabulous vacations to Spain" and I just have to take the time to soak up every letter. Thank you for this very detailed look at the infamous MRCS!

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    1. Haha, thanks! The MRSC is such a cult product that sometimes people can get too caught up in the hype and forget that this is just a cleanser (even if it's a nice cleanser.) So even though this is a well-known product, I wanted to add the pragmatic thoughts of someone who has been using it for a long time and repurchased it, but is over the honeymoon period.

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  2. "Yes, it has a low pH (I have tested it myself each tube, and it has been pH 5.5), yes it is gentle, yes it smells like fermented rose gorgeousness. Yes is very travel friendly, yes it has a cult status, but let's be blunt here- this is soap. A nice, low-pH, luxurious facial soap. This isn't going to magically make your skin look 10 years younger and leave your skin hydrated and plumped with health."

    I love this part. So very much! I know from the ingredients that it isn't going to work for me but I always feel like I'm left out of the party because I can't try it. At the end of the day, it's just a cleanser!

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    1. "I know from the ingredients that it isn't going to work for me but I always feel like I'm left out of the party because I can't try it."

      I think openly discussing the ingredients is important for this very reason. And yes, at the end of the day it is just a cleanser. ;)

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  3. I also like it but don't consider it HG. Thanks for going through the different ways to foam it up. I think I'll try it with a konjac sponge. Following the official directions leaves the surface of my MRCS soft and water-logged. I bought mine from Soko Glam last year, but I must have an old one because the scent is definitely not "intense." Doesn't seem to affect its performance though!--Angela

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    1. I hope the konjac method works for you! You're absolutely right about the official directions leaving the product water-logged; I personally don't stress about moisture being left on the stick (not water, but moisture) because I live in such an arid climate + I use it 2x a day, so I'm not worried about mold or spoilage, but if I lived in a humid climate I would definitely leave it uncapped between uses to make sure it dried back out.

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  4. Great review as always! :) I still have this lying in my fridge waiting for me. I have used it for 1-2 weeks and it may have broken me out or not; I had so bad skin in Korea and was breaking out so badly all the time that I could hardly pinpoint anything. I will try this again, I mean, it's almost full and chillin' between my veggies - but I am SO afraid my skin breaks out again now that it's on such a good path atm. Ah, the worries. I really enjoyed reading your review and it definitely IS the most prettiest of all the cleansers in the world :)

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    1. Ah, that's sad to hear! I know from your excellent blogging chronicles of your skin issues that you're in a place where caution is best. Hopefully your skin gets to a good place where you can afford to take some risks without fear that you'll be dropping into a tailspin. Not just for the sake of the MRCS, but in general- everyone deserves happy skin. ;)

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  5. There is that one day; spring and fall where the weather shifts and my cleansing routines shift too. The Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick has been in a safe place, waiting to be brought into service I have used it a few times this past week. It is wonderful. I am predicting that it will be a favourite for this spring, summer and fall...until that fateful day in November.and I my skin cries out for a heavier creamy winter cleanser.

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    1. It's so important to listen to your skin, including how it reacts to weather changes. So many people use the same skincare year-round, not realizing that their skin isn't getting what it needs. Listen to your skin is definitely the mantra to follow.

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  6. I just got one for my self but haven't brave enough to use it. Thank you for complete review!

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    1. I hope it works out well for you! :)

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  7. Have you tried the Korean brand Scinic's Aqua Cleansing Treatment or the Total Cleansing Treatment? I have the latter and I swear by it. It's a spray form that feels like a gel-oil-serum on the face. Smells amazing, has a ph of 5, and turns into a milky consistency upon emulsifying with water. Inexpensive yet has the look and feel of a high-end product. Did I cover everything? :D Oh, and in spite of using it as both first and second cleanser, it can last a long time because you only need little each time.

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    1. Ohuehue, I need to add that to my wishlist! I have heard really good things about Scinic.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this review! Love how you actually inform us which way use least product :) and your last note, about how it is just a soap, make me wake up for a moment there! Again, thank you for this great review

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    1. You're very welcome! :) It's a good product, but people really do get caught up with high expectations and forget that this is, at its core, a very nice cleansing soap that is low pH. :)

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  9. Thanks for your insightful review. I've been debating on getting it because I love korean cosmetics and roses. I like how you give me more realistic expectations for it though. It's cute lucking but I'm starting to doubt it's really a "miracle" cleansing stick. Might still try it one of these days.

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    1. This makes me so happy to hear. Realistic expectations are the best expectations! ;) Now that's it's a little more than $20 and readily available, if you are into Korean skincare and roses, it might be worth a try, but it's always good to have a reasonable outlook on what it's going to do for you so you aren't disappointed. :)

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  10. Memebox sells it for $24 and sometimes have coupons which will make it cheaper

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  11. I really appreciate how thorough and detailed your posts are! I'm pretty new to Asian skincare products and I would love to try this though I'm concerned about the orange, lime, and lemon peel oil ingredients. Is there a concern regarding photo toxicity with this product? Thank you! Your reviews and informational posts have been a huge help to me.

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    1. Hi Anon,

      Apparently, it's possible to have citrus oils with the phototoxic and photosensitizing chemicals filtered out, according to Chel at Holysnails who developed a Hanbang essence that contains lemon peel bioferment. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell strictly from an ingredients list.

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  12. Im going to korea next month is there any recommendationof what to buy?

    Also, how do u know which ingredience irritates u or may trigger acne

    Thx

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    1. I would personally be looking for limited edition items that you can't get outside of Korea. :)

      As for triggers, I introduce new things 2 weeks apart and I analyze things that break me out. Sadly, triggers are one of those things that are tough to pinpoint.
      Take care
      -Cat

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