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23.5°N: My First Dive Into Taiwanese Skincare

6 Natural Skincare Products from Taiwanese Brand 23.5°N Tested!

Anytime I come across a new K-Beauty or Asian Beauty e-retailer, I end up spending too much time pouring over their offerings. Although I was familiar with most everything curated to, the most interesting brands hailed from Taiwan as they were the ones that I was least familiar with. Sure, I knew about sheet masks from Lovemore and My Beauty Diary, but seeing quite a few “regular routine” products like cleansers and toners surprised me. That being said, the brand 23.5°N stood out as something totally unique. 

23.5°N is a brand that really puts their focus on naturally derived formulas utilizing locally sourced ingredients. A majority of the extracts and active ingredients are harvested from farms in Taiwan. I love this local approach to product manufacturing and I think it really helps create that “fresh/natural” aesthetic which is further shown in their packaging. The boxes are simple, clean, and straightforward in design. 

I was so excited to start working some of the 23.5°N products into my routine and of course share my thoughts and results! So, here we go...

23.5°N Rice Soothing Cleansing Foam

23.5°N Rice Soothing Cleansing Foam23.5°N Rice Soothing Cleansing Foam

This water based/pump style foaming cleanser really caught my eye after having some positive experiences with this style of cleanser. Usually, I go for gel cleansers that are in tubes, but for some reason my latest favorites have all been in this foam producing packaging. 

23.5°N sets their offering apart by including super gentle coconut surfactants alongside Rice Extract and Rice Bran Extract. These ingredients claim to offer a soothing benefit alongside gentle cleansing. As for the scent, there is a mild clean and soapy aroma that dissipates quickly. 

Anthony trying the 23.5°N Rice Soothing Cleansing Foam23.5°N Rice Soothing Cleansing Foam

One thing that I love about foam style pumps is the rich/creamy lather they create. No need to vigorously rub my hands or grab a whip maker, this product applied with a luxurious feel right away. I was happy to take my time gently massaging the lather into my skin for a real treat!

The Rice Soothing Cleansing Foam rinsed cleanly and without residue to leave my skin feeling clean, refreshed, and slightly less red/irritated especially around blemishes. This was particularly nice to see after a long day in the sun or when my skin was feeling “congested” or slightly inflamed from frequent sunscreen application. 

Gentle surfactants in a second step cleanser usually means that no stripping will occur...and I totally saw that result here. Even though moisturizing/hydrating are not claims made by 23.5°N here, I was happy to see a dewy-ness or “bounce” to my skin using this product over time. 

Out of all the 23.5°N products I tried, the Rice Soothing Cleansing Foam had the highest bar to meet. There are quite a few cleansers out there with a similar style application and formulation. But, the 23.5°N Rice Soothing Cleansing Foam takes things to the next level with effective soothing and hydrating properties. It’s one that I would totally come back to! 


23.5°N Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Toner

23.5°N Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Toner

Even though the 23.5°N Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Toner was the last product from the line that I incorporated into my routine, it quickly became one of my favorites. I’ve always been a huge fan of watery toners that are easy to layer so this was kind of a win before I even got the product on my face!

This toner is focused on hydration alongside oil production/sebum control. Featured ingredients here include Sodium Hyaluronate, Oriental Beauty Tea Leaf Extract, and Tropical Almond Tree Leaf Extract. Peppermint Leaf Extract also makes an appearance. 

This is super watery and layerable toner. The slightly brown/green tint as well as the absolutely wonderful scent let you know that this is a product really focused on the hydrating/antioxidant power of green tea. The delicious scent of tea is really present here and though the scent is quite strong, I find it to be incredibly refreshing and it does dissipate quickly. 

Just after cleansing and essence, I would typically layer this product on until my skin felt sufficiently hydrated or soaked in the toner. Some days my skin needed three to four layers while others I used only one. I love the versatility of this product as I could see those with a variety of skin types being able to customize the application to their liking. 

23.5°N Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Toner
23.5°N Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Toner

Those with particularly oily skin will appreciate that the 23.5°N Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Toner never feels heavy or sticky, it really soaks in like a first treatment essence. But, the hydration provided is quite intense and long lasting (just make sure to layer a proper moisturizer over top). Over time I did see a slight reduction in excess oil production, especially overnight, but it wasn’t too drying or mattifying. 

But as it stands, I am in love with the Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Toner for its layerable hydration, fantastically refreshing scent, and antioxidant boost. This is one I’ll be stocking up on and will absolutely recommend to those looking for a results driven/hydrating toner! 


23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer

23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer

For the majority of the year my skin tends to prefer more lightweight/emulsion style moisturizers. Something that can be layered without ending up greasy or stifling is really a must for those with combination/oily skin. Also, the summers here in Colorado can be incredibly dry and hot one day and then cooler and more humid when the rain comes in.

The 23.5°N Rice Soothing Active + Moisturizer pretty much fit the bill at first glance. With its slightly cloudy/crystal gel texture, this product looked like something that would work for me right out of the package.

Fermented Rice Extract (aka Sake) is the star of the show in this formulation along with Aloe Extract, Oat Kernel Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Wild Yam Extract, and Shea Butter. The scent of the rice ingredients comes through as this lovely medicinal/grainy/oat-like aroma. It honestly reminds me of walking into a local brewery with the warm scent of oats and barley in the air. I absolutely love it! 

Right from my initial application of the Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer, this lightweight moisturizer MELTED into my skin leaving behind a soft/smooth feeling that wasn’t overwhelming or “occlusive” feeling.

23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer

The combination of hydrating ingredients alongside nourishing Shea Butter allowed this product to give my skin a dewy look and feel while also “locking” all of that in throughout the day. On particularly dry mornings, I found myself applying a second layer of this product for an extra boost. The ability to really customize your routine based on weather/climate is a huge bonus for me and something the 23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer plays into.

I decided to remove my night cream from my evening routine just to see how much “power” was behind this moisturizer. And although it didn’t have quite the concentration of emollients like Shea Butter to keep hydration at its peak overnight, I could see those with particularly oily skin or those living in humid areas to be just fine using this in both an AM and PM routine. I found that mixing just a bit of the 23.5°N Bamboo Ulta Hydrating Gel Mask to get the job done.

Overall I was left pretty happy/impressed with this moisturizer! I could see myself keeping this product on hand for most of the year...either as a standalone product or as something to layer with a heavier cream (mostly in the winter). The ability to adjust what you need without feeling weighed down alongside the hydrating and mildly brightening result makes this something that I would recommend to nearly every skin type. 

23.5°N Rice Soothing Active + Ultra-Feather Mask

23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Ultra-Feather Mask23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Ultra-Feather Mask

One product type that I do have some familiarity with when talking about skincare from Taiwan is sheet masks. I’ve fallen for the Lovemore Pearl Barley & Milk Soothing Mask and My Scheming Black Pearl Brightening Mask were total winners for me...and the 23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Ulta Feather Mask is no different.

Featuring Sodium Hyaluronate, Rice Extract, and Sake...this mask essence is lightweight yet super concentrated. Seriously, outside of those ingredients only Water, Glycerin, and some preservatives remain. Just like the Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer, this sheet mask from the same line has a wonderful rice/grain/barley scent that I absolutely love. I need this in a body mist!

As for the mask material, this product is another example of how well Taiwan can do a sheet mask. The ultra-thin mask is encased with backings on either side to make application easier. Once on, the mask “melts” into the skin creating a nearly transparent layer (it would be totally transparent if not for my less than perfect application skills).

23.5°N Rice Soothing Active + Ultra-Feather Mask23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Ultra-Feather Mask

I was able to keep this mask on for 15 minutes and after removal my skin felt significantly more dewy and hydrated. The excess essence patted in easily and left a light serum effect that I appreciated. The claimed calming benefits were apparent as well with a few “angrier” blemishes looking a bit more subdued. As a bonus, there is a brightening effect here as well that I loved and it’s something I noticed with the Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer. 

The comfortable mask material, simplistic yet effective essence, and really appealing/natural scent make this a mask one that I would absolutely recommend and come back to for a nice hydrating and brightening boost!

23.5°N Mini Mask Sampler Set

23.5°N Mini Mask Sampler Set23.5°N Mini Mask Sampler Set

23.5°N really has a lot to offer when it comes to wash-off masks. This set of four includes all (except one) of  their offerings including the Oriental Tea Balancing, Red Pearl Barley Brightening, Rice Soothing Active+, and Bamboo Ultra Hydrating. 

Each mask plays into its corresponding product soothing, hydration, and so on. Also, these gel masks  double as both a wash-off product and as a night cream/gel. I found this to be a super interesting concept and I couldn’t wait to incorporate each of them into my routine.

While all of the 23.5°N Gel Masks specialized/featured ingredients like Green Tea Leaf Extract, Job’s Tears Extract, Rice Extract, and Bamboo Extract, they all have a gel-like and watery base that includes Sodium Hyaluronate. This lightweight gel texture is super easy to apply and very comfortable on the skin when used as a wash-off mask. I took to tossing each jar in the fridge before use for an extra cooling/calming effect.

23.5°N Mini Mask Sampler Set23.5°N Mini Mask Sampler Set

Once on, all of the masks feel generally the same. Each one starts off damp and then dries down/absorbs after the 20 minute application period, leaving behind a slight residue or “cast” that is easily rinsed off. Compared to something like a clay mask,  I really liked the comfortability of these gel style masks as I was still able to talk and even enjoy a beverage of my choosing while I waited!

Rinsing is a breeze as the remaining mask is very thin. The minimal leftover mask really speaks to just how much of the formula the skin can drink up. Regardless of which one you choose, each mask leaves skin feeling hydrated, plumped, and refreshed. I loved them all after hot days in the sun.

But, if I had to pick just one from the Gel Mask Mini Collection Set, it would have to be the Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Gel Mask. I fell in love with the tea scent as it was just an extra sensory benefit that was so refreshing and grounding all at the same time. In addition to that, the benefit I noticed using this version as an overnight mask was just a bit more impactful to my skin compared with the others.

I took to mixing just a bit of the Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Gel Mask with the 23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer each evening and noticed an overall reduction of excess oil and sebum overnight. My skin was still hydrated and soft, but I didn’t feel the need to do an AM cleanse or reach for micellar water as frequently. I could see this being a total go-to for oily/combination skin types.

No matter which mask you choose, they are great for both wash-off and overnight applications. Go with what your skin type typically needs or what benefit you are trying to achieve. Or, go for this Gel Mask Mini Collection Set to really explore what 23.5°N has to offer!

23.5°N Pineapple Exfoliating Gel Mask

23.5°N Pineapple Exfoliating Gel Mask23.5°N Pineapple Exfoliating Gel Mask

While the other gel masks from 23.5°N are available in a mini collection set...the Pineapple Exfoliating Gel Mask stands on its own. And, for good reason. This lightweight gel mask features Pineapple Fruit Extract which is packed with Vitamin C and mildly resurfacing enzymes. In addition, Snow Fungus Extract is included which helps draw and hold moisture to the skin.

Because of this mask's exfoliating benefit, I decided to use it mainly as a wash-off product rather than leaving it on my skin overnight (although I am sure it is gentle enough to be used in this manner just fine). I loved layering on a heavy amount of this cooling and hydrating gel to kick back and relax for about 20-30 minutes.

After each use my skin was left feeling soft and hydrated. The result wasn’t quite as intense/impactful as something with AHA or BHA in the formulation...but once again the gentleness of the pineapple enzymes makes this something that can be used more frequently without the potential risk of irritation/over-exfoliation.

Those with particularly dry or sensitive skin that cant tolerate stronger acid based masks may really appreciate the 23.5°N Pineapple Exfoliating Mask as an approachable way to get some smoothing and very mild resurfacing benefits (as well as a boost of watery hydration) into their routine.