Review: Roundlab – 1025 Dokdo Cleanser | Should Skincare Brands promote Nationalist Politics?

There was a time when I was quite an avid user of Roundlab’s hydrating toner, which I even restocked once or twice (you can find my brief review in this cluster post here). The toner was a great product and I very much enjoyed using it while I had it.

I got a small tube of the Dokdo cleanser as a gift with purchase when I restocked the toner, and today, I will be reviewing the cleanser a little more in depth.

Sidenote: Apparently, the 25th of October refers to Dokdo Day in Korea, hence the name, as I found out thanks to this super informative and well written blog post about that Dokdo toner by Bty Aly.

I did eventually fall out of love with the politics of the brand, though. I am happy to debate and listen to people’s differing opinions all day long, and I love discussions about politics, but I cannot get behind marketers pushing politics in skincare and beauty products, especially when they are employed to promote nationalism and to exploit anti Japanese sentiment.

It just does not sit well with me and feels more like a cheap shot at desperately trying to be different in an already oversaturated and highly competitive market. By the way, that is regardless of what country may be promoting nationalism. If it were Japan trying to pull a Takeshima (name for Dokdo islands in Japanese) product, I’d be just as annoyed.

Look, on a certain level, I get it.

Brands are looking for ways to be different, to differentiate themselves in the consumer’s mind.


Do you really have to bring politics into convincing me to buy your product? Can you not rely on the merits of your product alone? I would appreciate your honest thoughts. But before I lose track completely, let’s get back into the review.

・What it is: ・

This is a foam cleanser for your face.


Works ok but cosmetically not elegant.

・Price, Quantity & Availability: ・

This review is only about the 40 ml sample size that I got as a gift with purchase. You can get the full size containing 150 ml of product for ₩13,000 at Lalavla Korea or online shops.


I checked both Skincarisma and cosDNA as usual (click through to see my sources, respectively). The ingredients seem ok – no sulfates, no alcohol – but just because a product doesn’t have any red flags doesn’t mean it is well formulated or even beneficial for skin by any stretch of the imagination.

This is the full ingredients list according to Incidecoder, a website I recommend if you like to analyse what goes into your products. And you know what, the ingredients get a good rap. Very mild cleansing agents and hydrators all the way, no baddies whatsoever.

WaterSodium Cocoyl IsethionateGlycerinSodium Methyl Cocoyl TaurateCoco-BetainePotassium Cocoyl GlycinatePotassium BenzoateSodium ChloridePolyquaternium-67Potassium CocoateCitric AcidFructooligosaccharidesSaccharide HydrolysateDisodium EDTAPullulan1,2-HexanediolAllantoinPanthenolSea WaterSodium AcetateButylene GlycolAnthemis Nobilis Flower OilCaprylic/​Capric TriglyceridesBeta-GlucanPhosphatidylcholineHyaluronic AcidEthylhexylglycerinCeramide NPGlycineHydrolyzed Hyaluronic AcidGlutamic AcidSerineSodium HyaluronateLysineAlanineArginineThreonineProline


The packaging is a bit basic but I’m not even mad. It’s an opaque plastic squeezy tube that dispenses product effectively and is good for travelling, as it is light and sturdy. Of course it had to have that little Korean flag up on a rock so that you really know that we’re talking about Dokdo here (as if you couldn’t tell from the name of the product alone).

・What the company says:・ 

I cannot find an English version of their website which you can check out over here, but here’s what the website says in Korean. I cannot copy the ad copy as it is embedded in their graphics but this is what it says, in a nutshell:

  • pH neutral – 5.0-6.0
  • cleanses thoroughly and hydrates skin
  • thick bubbles that stick to your face and spread easily
  • removes impurities that you cannot see, such as fine dust, traces of makeup, pollutants
  • contains sea water off the coast of Dokdo


The texture is super rich and foamy but for some reason, it did not speak to me. It felt as though it was meant to be enjoyed by peeps with drier skin types, and having dry, acne prone skin myself, I really wanted to like the texture. But, I didn’t.

It was too creamy and for me, reminiscent of sulfate based cleansers. It foamed up like mad and the lather was absolutely mental. If you like thick (thicc?), stiff, frothy bubbles, this is the cleansing foam for you.


This product is not fragranced and I could not detect much of a scent either. Yay!


I would recommend that you use this as a second step or morning cleanser, so either after removing makeup and/or sunscreen, or in the morning when you are just trying to get pillow cover floofies and whatever else may be floating in the air off your face.


This was ok and yet I did not find myself reaching for it nor missing it when I was done. Skin never felt quite clean, which I attribute to all the humectants. I have used quite a few pH balanced cleansers and in comparison, this cleanser did not stand out. I much prefer the luxurious texture of Dr Jart’s Micro Foam for when I want a more luxurious experience, or perhaps cosRX’s Good Morning pH balanced cleanser for a more basic but still very mild and effective cleanse, or even Uriage’s syndet for going down the hypoallergenic route.

I will say that it probably removed all the stuff that the site says it does, but I always felt the absolute need to go in afterwards with a few toner steps just to get that weirdly saponin-e feeling off my face.

・Final Thoughts:・  

Personally, I think this would be an absolute gem of a product if you wanted to indulge in a skin diet, ie stripping your skincare down to the bare basics. I can absolutely see how you could just chuck this one on in the shower, lather up, rinse, then simply lock in the moisture on your face with some basic moisturiser or a face oil and call it a day.

I for one however – even though I have been trying to simplify my routine – just cannot get behind a bare bones routine and I do not find myself missing this cleanser. I will not be looking into purchasing this for the foreseeable future as I have several cleansers to use up first.

© 2020 The Empties Diaries All Rights Reserved

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