Hada Labo Gokujyun Foaming Cleanser vs Medicean ER Nature Cleanser Review: Low pH & Fun-Free

It's taken me a long time to review the Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Foaming Wash, and not for interesting reasons.  It's hard to write reviews of unremarkable products-- sometimes products are really good or really bad, but most of the time, they're just bland.  Such is the case with the two self-foaming cleansers that I'm reviewing today as my newest "Dirge of Duds" post.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Foaming Wash Review
This outdoor image brought to you by SPF 50+ PA+++ sunscreen.
Ironically, my last Dirge of Duds post (linked above) also featured a Hada Labo product, but unlike the Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion which I actively disliked, I actually emptied the entire bottle of the cleanser, which is a pretty amazing feat considering that I've got a lot of cleansers in my rotation.  Part of it was just determination to empty a cleanser so I could purchase something fun that excited me more, and part of it was that it was an easy sell for my husband's nascent skincare routine, being both utilitarian and unoffensive.

Still, both of these cleansers were so boring that they added to, instead of mitigated, my ennui towards cleansing and that resulted in me skipping my routine more often than I'd like to admit.  I purchased these with the intention to try a very famous cleanser (the Hada Labo is a favourite of adoredee and many others) and to compare it against a similar Korean product (the Medicean) which was a relatively rare animal-- an openly low-pH Korean cleanser.

In this post:

  • Product details
  • Ingredients
  • pH results
  • How they compare
  • Final thoughts

Before we jump in, I'd like to take a moment and remind people that skincare doesn't work the same way for everyone; many people don't care about Skincaretainment and just want their products to do the thing they're supposed to do.  I'm just jaded and can't get it up for bland products these days-- I need my products to motivate me to drag my exhausted backside into the bathroom and start my routine.

Both of the cleansers work just fine, and they're good options for beginner cleansers, which is why the Hada Labo cleanser appeared in my Beginner Friendly: Simple K-Beauty Starter Kits for 4 Skin Types series, which details 4 really simple beginner routines with only 5 products for a variety of skin types.  I just need excitement in my bathroom, and not the kind that evokes dead grandmothers and ignores safewords.

Just as a quick reminder: this blog uses both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and if you choose to click the fomer before you shop, your purchase may contribute a tiny amount to the maintenance of this blog.  See full details at the end of this post! #receipts

Hada Labo Gokujyun Foaming Cleanser Review

Hada Labo Gokujyun Foaming Cleanser Review
My new pH strips have a fancy flip-top opening, I like.
Just as a quick warning, this is the 2015 version, there is a 2016 version which I have not tried.  I am not rushing out to buy it either; I'll likely wait until someone posts a comprehensive comparison of them and then link it here.  It's still low pH, but the ingredients are slightly different.  The 2015 version is still in circulation at the time of this post.

Product details

Full product name: Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Foaming Wash Because Lots Of Names Is Apparently Necessary With Products Especially If A Science-y Word Can Be Shoved In There Too.  Not to be confused with the Hada Labo Rohto Gokujyn Foam Cleanser, which comes in a tube and is high-pH.
Purpose: A"self-foaming" cleanser, which means that its foaming action is through a physical mechanism of the pump to agitate it into bubbles, rather than relying on foaming agents.  More on this later.
Scent: Like chemicals.  It's not a strong scent, but it's definitely unfragranced and smells ... well, like chemicals/plastic.
Texture:  A loose cloud of foam that wimps out almost immeditely on contact with the skin, water, etc.  I would not use this with any sort of cleansing tool, like a facial brush, because it doesn't have any buffering or lasting power at all.
pH result: As promised, between 5.5 and 6, as you can see in the image above.
Quantity: 160ml, and it lasts forever.  Because it's a liquid-to-foam via pump action, it takes only a tiny, tiny amount of the solution to create a pump of foam, so emptying this was a slog.
Rating:  Oh jeez, this is hard.  4/5, because it's low pH, cheap, a huge volume of product, unoffensive, and easily sourced.  Also comes in a refill!
Where to get it: Amazon $10, $12 on Prime | eBay $15 shipped | Sometimes in local brick-and-mortar Asian markets!  I purchased mine on Prime because well, Prime.
Repurchase:  No, but I'd put it in a care package for someone.


According to Hada Labo's US website, the ingredients are:

Water, PEG-8, Butylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, TEA-Cocoyl Alaninate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Methylparaben, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Starch Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Succinic Acid

It's also on Cosdna, and the analysis confirms there are very few skincare triggers in this cleanser.  That's sort of Hada Labo's thing; reliable products without fanfare and without flags.  I respect that approach, it's just not one that sends me running for my bathroom in excitement to put things on my face.

Medicean ER Nature Cleansing Foam Oily Skin Review

Although I prefer to use my own pH strips, this cleanser actually came WITH a pH strip and table right on the box!
This cleanser was purchased from a Korean buying service as part of my ongoing hunt for low-pH cleanser options.  If you aren't familiar with what the deal is with pH, you can read more here: Why the pH of Your Cleanser Matters.  I was pretty tickled when I got this, because although it has a very bland, dermabrand style, it actually had a tiny baggie with a pH strip taped to the box, and the official product page talks about pH directly.

Product details

Full product name: Medicean ER Nature Cleansing Foam Oily Skin version, there is another for dry skin as well.
Purpose: Same as the Hada Labo, it's a self-foaming low pH cleanser which creates foam via the mechanical action of the pump.
Scent: Much like the Hada Labo, it's unfragranced (which is relatively rare for a Korean product, in my experience) and has a faint chemical smell.  It's not as strong as the Hada Labo, but still, don't get it in your mouth.
Texture: Exactly the same type of fragile foam like the Hada Labo, just a bit softer.
pH result: Between 5.5-6, as shown in the image above.
Quantity: 150ml
Rating:  3/5, because it's low pH, works fine, is non-irritating, but it's impossible to source and more expensive.
Where to get it: From a buying service, such as Avecko or Boyah Shop.
Repurchase:  No, as it's difficult to source, fairly expensive at 15,800 KRW ($14 USD) before you add buying service fees and KR shipping costs, which hikes the overall cost.

I have to show the adorableness of getting a pH-strip-with-purchase though, this brand knows it's angle! #WerkThatChemistrySwag

Medicean ER Nature low pH Korean cleanser
So ready for #receipts that they preemptively provide one just in case you forget to ask.
I suppose I could have dug the box out of storage for this review, but it's already miraculous enough that I summoned the motivation to write this review, so here's the image from my original haul post showing the cuteness.


Thankfully, this product is on the Hwahae app, and I've transcribed it below:

Water, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Lauryl Glucoside, Decyl Glucoside, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Yeast protein, Cocamidopropyl Betaine,, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Citric Acid, Isopropyl Alcohol, Hexamidine Diisethionate, Disodium EDTA, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Niacinamide, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Allantoin,  Biotin, Phenoxyethanol

I've also entered it into Cosdna, where the Isopropyl Alcohol was a flag, although it's so far down in the list that I'm not too terribly concerned.

How they compare

These products are very, very similar.  Although the Hada Labo foam is a tiny bit more resilient and the Medicean foam is a tiny bit softer, they're both typical self-foaming cleansers.  They look identical when dispensed, at least they would if the Hada Labo was not empty and sputtering the last drops:

Hada Labo Rohto Gokujyn Cleanser vs Medicean ER Nature Cleanser Review
Medicean at left, Hada Labo at right - as you can see, the Hada Labo is pretty much empty. They used to look the same!
I will give Hada Labo a shout-out for the design of their packaging; their pump is constructed in a way to dispense the product down to the last drops, which resulted in me abruptly running out of this product before I realized that it was too empty for me to get a good shot for review.  Grumble.

The packaging is really the only difference, and the Hada Labo also has the eco factor covered-- it comes in refill packages, so you don't have to worry about throwing out a bulky plastic bottle, you can just refill it!

Hada Labo Gokujyun Foaming Wash Pump Review
The refill process looks like it would be pretty painless too, as the pump/lid just screws off and the bottle has a very wide mouth to prevent awkward fumbling when refilling it.  It's so ... sensible.  So pragmatic.  So reliable.  So no-nonsense.

Final thoughts 

Sensible, pragmatic, reliable, no-nonsense.  These adjectives are precisely why I'm not a fan of self-foaming cleansers; they're so damn boring that I can't motivate myself to clean my face, which defeats the purpose.  I've been good and trudged my way through an entire (!!!!) bottle of the Hada Labo and am halfway through the Medicean, and I doubt I will ever repurchase a self-foaming cleanser unless it has at least two of the following traits in addition to the low-pH baseline I expect from all of my cleansers as a given:

  • Pretty packaging
  • Amazing scent
  • Entertaining gimmick

Call me one of the hoi polloi, but I need to be entertained by my skincare.  There are just too many interesting things out there waiting to be tried for me to waste my days and nights with drudgery.  That being said, I readily give props to these kinds of cleansers for being the kind of low-maintenance, dependable, and serviceable cleansers that work well for beginners and for people who don't do well with chemical foaming agents.  For that reason, I've recommended them for others even if they don't suit me.

Have you ever managed to grind your way through an unexciting skincare product for the principle of it?  Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!

Have something you'd like to share with me in general?  Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram at @snowwhiteandtheasianpear because I'd love to see it!

All the best,

**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.


  1. Hi! I discovered your blog, recently and i enjoy reading it. There is a lot of information and i am kinda overwhelmed. I think I am your skin twin and I really need your help. I currently use Paulas Choice products and it worked well for a while but now my skin is horrible that why i need a change, to try korean skincare.
    So... my skin is combination, acne prone, sensitive and on top of that really dehydrated. After i wash my face, my skin is so tight that it hurts, but it gets oily after a while and have peeling skin almost everywhere especially around my nose and mouth( all the time) and foundatioan looks horrible. I cant manage to moisturize and hydrate my skin :(( I moved to Norway so it was really cold in the winter and my skin was at is worst: peeling...red.. acne+ foundation or bb cream + oilyness that equals disaster. I really need your advice. I need products for my skin that are formulated well( my skin is sensitive to alcohol and perfume and I am sure a lot more things, but I dont know which). I dont want to buy something and make my skin worse( i ordered samples of the Skinfood avocado essence but i got a lot more acne and I stopped after 5 days). So please tell me what should i buy that will hydrate and heal my skin and help with the oil during the day?
    What do you think about these products? Do you have any other sugestions?
    Cosrx's BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
    Mizon AHA&BHA Daily Clean Toner
    Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum
    Scinic Aqua All in One Ampoule Serum
    [MIZON] Snail Repair Blemish Balm SPF32/PA++
    [COSRX] Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream
    Missha Super Aqua Ultra Waterfull Clear Cream
    [COSRX] Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

    1. Hi there,

      Unfortunately I cannot make recommendations or personal skincare consultations as I am not a medical professional, for the reasons outlined in this post: http://www.snowwhiteandtheasianpear.com/2015/05/blogger-boundaries-why-i-cant-recommend.html

      General advice to anyone starting out is the same- start slowly, focus on things that your skin needs-- if your moisture barrier is compromised, look for things to repair it, if your pores are easily clogged, research BHAs, if your skin is hyperpigmented, look to sunscreen and AHAs, if you are having issues with skin irritation, research triggers and low pH, but above all else, please seek the opinion of a medical professional.

      If you are having issues hydrating your skin without making it oily, I feel your pain; the focus on the balance of water and oil in Korean skincare has been a godsend. I'm wearing a sheet mask as I drink my morning coffee right now, because my skin needs hydration.

      Good luck!

    2. How should i start? What should I look for if I want to repair the barrier of my skin?

  2. Clinque Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil - so very blah but I refuse to buy a different first cleanser until I finish this bottle (cabinet space does not allow for skincare excess). Given the size of the bottle and the amount you need each time you use it I should be emptying it out in oh about 5 more months - ugh...

    1. I feel this! I've actually just managed to empty the medicean cleanser in this post as well, and I kinda don't know what to do with myself now that I have the opportunity to buy cleansers again. I've always had this mountain of cleansers to work through and I have always gotten new ones before my old ones have run out, so I don't quite know what to do next. LOL!

  3. Oh man, totally. But I try to find other uses for boring products to use them up :) I had another Japanese foaming cleanser that was a little higher in pH I discovered after your post, so I use it for shaving foam now. I have a Yadah toner and lotion that is nice and non irritating, non comedogenic, but also not that exciting that I'm trying to get through (it's part of my backup routine at my boyfriend's place). As a beginner, though, I totally appreciated blade products that work and I could rely on.
    Ooo, maybe that's an idea for a future post...new uses for old products? Or a snailcast episode??

    1. We actually talked about this somewhat recently, I think fanserviced said that she doesn't like to repurpose bad cleansers for her brushes, because her brushes are too nice to treat like that, LOL!

  4. You slay me as per usual. THIS is why I've never tried the Hada Labo even though it's the gold standard, entry level, 2nd step cleanser: seemed too boring. Thank you for confirming my assumptions.

  5. I am about a month into my Hada Labo and I will have to agree with you about the no-nonsense workhorse that it is but...yawnsville! I wouldn't go to "drudgery" but I do want to be excited to wash off my makeup at night even when I'm exhausted. I know you've been excited about the Sulawasoo Snowex something or other, but do you have any low-ph cleansers that are under $15 like the Hada Labo? Thanks for writing this, even if it was boring, it made me excited for the possibilities of what could still be out there!

    1. Have you considered the CosRX low PH good morning cleanser? I haven't tried it, but I have heard good things about it. It's low ph, and affordable.

  6. I'm such a stark minimalist that at time I can really get into these utilitarian products lol

    1. I'm jealous! I just can't get it out for boring products anymore. OTL

  7. Skin: Oily/Dehydrated, Trouble-Prone

    I purchased the Innisfree Bija Trouble Foam Cleanser and I can't even finish the entire tube because, holy mother of effin badness, it broke me out! At first I had to give benefit of the doubt but after a month and still getting a full dose of acne, I finally decided to stop. I dunno why since the product is designed to cater to trouble-prone skin (sooo weird).. Now I'm using the Neogen Green Tea foam cleanser and it works great. So gentle and doesn't dry me out. The Innisfree Bija Trouble Skin is quite the opposite of the cleanser, my skin loves it and I've emptied the entire thing. Now the only product that causes my skin to really break out is when I purge from using the Cosrx BHA BPL (but then, that's the idea..)

    I wanted to try the Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum and the Vital Treatment Essence 9 Essential Seeds (which I would probably purchase through Amy/@boyahshopkr), have you ever tried products from Blithe?

    As always, your reviews and blogs are ever so great. Keep it up. (Oh and I'm looking forward to the next Snailcast ep, you guys are super funny ��)

    1. I haven't tried any products from Blithe, because I tend to shy away from things that seem to be overpriced and overhyped. That being said, trying it out directly from Korea grew up buying service would definitely be the most affordable way to go!

  8. Based on this review I think I will actually get the Hada Labo whatsit-foaming cleanser; boring but effective cleansing is right up my alley. Have been using the same oil cleanser for a good 12 years now (DHC Deep Cleansing Oil) and could use an easily-obtained straightforward second-step cleanser. So, I appreciate the effort you made to finish this review, as it was very helpful for me! \^o^/

    Skincaretainment is great, too, but I mostly get mine out of mists, essences/serums, treatments, and sheet masks. Oooh, and my collection of random samples. So fun to sort through all the little packets. I like a simple baseline of cleanser and moisturizer so that even when I am too tired to think about my skin, like this past week, I know I can at least maintain that part of the routine.

    1. I think it's so interesting how different people are attracted to skincaretainment in different areas of their routine. I suspect that a lot of people feel the same way about cleanser, and I'm just weirdly obsessed with cleansers, LOL!

  9. Oh man, I totally didn't mean to copy your post. I just posted about two low-joy, low-pH cleansers and then caught up on your blog today. I agree with you about cleansers needing to be a little fun--especially now that I realize there are such cleansers out there.

    When I began using Hada Labo, it was the only self-foaming cleanser I knew of and then, once I got into low pH cleansing, it was the only low-pH cleanser that I could easily get my hands on.

    I do like it (I went through 3 or 4 and still have one in my shower right now), but I think I may repurchase my rose self-foaming cleanser by Andalou Naturals barring new discoveries. Hot pink bottle AND rose petal scent = Get on mah face! And counter!


    1. Naw, the topic really just makes itself, doesn't it? I would definitely repurchase it if I found myself in a situation where none of the other cleanser is working out, and I was really desperate, and I couldn't purchase any of my usual standbys. 😂

  10. Hello Cat!
    I have the exact same skin type with you and I live in a place whose summer temperature is about 90 degrees which makes me sweat like crazy. I also wear glasses, which helps the sun heat my face up even more. Sweat and sebum are driving me crazy. Can you do a new update summer routine by any chance please? I would like to see how I should deal with those sweat and sebum when some days I have to work for 12 hours straight which leave me no space to touch up anything on my face.
    By the way, I just figured out that my beloved foaming cleanser has a ph of 6.0. Is it ok for me to keep using it or should I find something else? Thank you very much!

    1. That's a good point, it really is time for summer routine isn't it? I think that pH 6.0 is perfectly fine unless you find that it has a negative impact on your skin. It is a little bit higher than the natural pH of human skin, but that's a generalization. You could always follow it up with a low PH toner, if you were worried about the potential impact on your skin.

  11. hi I just discovered your blog and it is very informative.my skin type is combination with large pores and lots and lots of sebum,blackhead and god knows what else. Currently I am using senka perfect whip cleanser,I'm thinking to change my cleanser coz I recently read about senka being the high ph cleanser and.it is not good. so just a wonder here what cleanser is suitable for my skin and what products that could help reduce my pores. TQ :)

  12. for combination to oily skin type, is this cleanser ok to try out? also I have large ass pores and hell lots of sebum