So this post is a biggy…the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick has been my number one cleanser for well over a year now, and to challenge that with this comparison felt like I was being disloyal to my rosey pal. However the release of the Belif stick really excited me (because if you’re a skincare obsessive these things get you going), and I have been planning this comparison post since I first saw Belif’s competing cleanser.
Why a cleansing stick?
Very briefly, I have opted for the Su:m37 stick for so long for a number of reasons: it’s luxurious, it’s creamy and non drying, it’s non-irritating (for my skin), it’s low pH, it smells gorgeous, it’s great for travelling and it’s quick and easy to use. In my opinion, the no-fuss method, plus the ease of travelling with it, are why you would opt for a stick over another form of cleanser. I wanted to compare the Belif stick to all of the benefits the Su:m stick provides, and see how it measured up.
Both are 80g tubes, and virtually the same in shape and size. The difference in the colouring and design however, kinda separates them. The Su:m stick is very luxurious (mine is the holiday edition so slightly different). The original is pale pink with beautiful gold lettering. The lid is also embossed with the intricate and pretty Su:m37 logo. The Belif on the other hand is brown and black, with the sciencey label typical of Belif products. It’s clean and simple. For me, the Su:m stick is the winner in this round. It feels so luxurious and looks gorgeous in my bathroom. The Belif is fine, but just not quite as eye catching and aesthetically pleasing. The only downside to the Su:m37 packaging is that the gold tends to rub off after a while (or is that just me not caring properly for my cleanser?!).
This is clearly a personal decision as to which you prefer. I know manyyyy people can’t stand rose. The Su:m stick definitely smells totally and completely of natural rose. I really like it because it’s not fake, headachey floral, but subtle and pleasant due to the natural fermented damask rose extract. The Belif on the other hand is a light citrusy herbal scent. I really like the rose, but I think I actually prefer the True Tincture citrus, it’s so fresh.
Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick, as per Cosdna:
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
Here is the cosdna link.
There are quite a number of potential acne irritants and comedogenics in this stick, none of which have personally irritated my skin, but worth looking at before you purchase. The other ingredients include lots of anti-inflammatories, emollients, moisturisers and anti-oxidants. The stick contains no artificial colours, parabens or synthetic preservatives.
Belif The True Tincture Cleansing Stick Chamomile, as per Sephora website:
Glycerin, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Water, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Lauryl Betaine, Potassium Hydroxide, Betaine, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract+, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract+, Nepeta Cataria Extract+, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract+, Baptisia Tinctoria Root Extract+, Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract+, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower(0.06%), Ocimum Basillicum (Basil) Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Origanum Heracleoticum (Marjoram) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Fragrance*, Citral, Citronellol, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool. +Napiers Original Formula. *Fragrances of Natural Origin.
This is clearly a much longer ingredients list, which in itself might make it more problematic for those with sensitive skin. Here is the cosdna link. Again there are the potential acne and comedogenic triggers- similar to the Su:m stick. There are also an abundance of emollients and moisturisers, plus anti-oxidants. Belif products contain no synthetic preservatives, dyes, fragrance, mineral oils or animal origin ingredients.
Neither of these sticks irritate, trigger outbreaks, or dry my skin, but it’s best to check the lists for your own skin’s needs. Coconut oil in particular I know is a problem for many people, and it’s high in the list of both sticks. Drying is a problem users of the Su:m stick also frequently complain about…I have never experienced dryness or tightness after using, and this wasn’t a problem I’ve had with the Belif stick either. Again, it’s worth trying to figure out what your skin likes and dislikes.
Both cleansing sticks are in the mildly acidic range, which is good for skin. I used the less accurate pH strips unfortunately, but it’s clear that both are between 4 and 6. The Su:m stick is generally considered to be pH 5.5 and the Belif pH strip was ever so slightly different in colour, towards the more acidic end, looking more like a 4.5/5.
Texture and Application
So how do you apply your cleansing stick? Personally, I wet my face and apply the stick directly, massaging my facial skin as I go, and then further massaging and lathering the cleanser with my fingers. I know many people don’t use this method, instead lathering it in their hands first to avoid any kind of abrasion. Because I apply it directly on my face, the initial texture (when the bitty sprinkles are present) might be slightly more relevant for me.
The bits and pieces in the sticks obviously give them different beginning textures. The rose petals are soft when I apply it directly on my face, however, whatever the pieces in the Belif stick are, are ever so slightly irritating. Initially therefore, the Su:m37 stick felt better, and I could use my preferred application method with it without abrasion problems. However after a couple of weeks use, both sticks largely lose those pieces. They are only in the first layers, and disappear quickly. After this I was able to more easily compare the creaminess and feeling of each cleanser.
Both of the sticks feel very similar IMO. Both are creamy and feel soft and gentle on my skin. If I’m really investigating, I’d say the Belif stick feels the TINIEST bit smoother and softer on application. It glides ever so slightly more easily. But when I say the difference is miniscule, I mean it, I only noticed it when I applied the sticks directly after each other to opposite sides of my face.
I find neither of the sticks drying or stripping, but this is often a complaint reported about the Su:m stick. Because, to me, the Belif stick glides more easily, I would guess that for some users, the Belif stick may be less drying than the Su:m? This is purely a guess based on the ease of application and the initial feel. For me neither feel drying and my skin feels the same after use of both (I tested the sticks separately on each half of my face several times to directly compare the feel).
Both lather in a similar way- not much but enough (common for low pH cleansers), and I couldn’t tell that I had applied different cleansers on the different sides of my face based on appearance of the lather. (See photos below- the lather had slightly settled and was not as bubbly or white by the time I dried my hands and grabbed my phone to photograph).
Again if I’m really disecting and analysing the sticks, I’d say a potential reason the Belif stick glides more easily over skin is the shape of the soap in the stick. The Su:m stick, I find, is ever so slightly concave. The Belif on the other hand is ever so slightly convex. This really is minor detail, and not something I noticed until I was seriously looking for differences. Also, you can clearly alter the shape of the soap depending on how you use the stick, so this isn’t hugely important. The sticks are so similar in texture, application and lathering that it was really difficult to distinguish them.
My own skin, normal/combination, feels COMPLETELY the same after using both sticks. I really couldn’t tell a difference. With both cleansers, my face certainly feels cleansed and ready for my next step of skincare and some moisture, but neither make my face feel tight or dry. I’ve used harsh cleansers before, and I know that ‘stripped’ feeling- definitely not a feeling either of these gave my skin.
Price and Availability
Both are the exact same price in Korea- 28,000 Won. The Su:m37 has lasted me about 4-6 months per stick, which I think is great value for money, particularly for a luxury brand. I assume the Belif stick will last a similar amount of time, being the same size, and thus is also good value. In terms of availability, both are very easy to come by here in Korea. You have to ask at the Su:m37 counters as they don’t display the cleansing sticks, but I’ve never had a problem getting hold of one. The Belif stick is in every store I have entered, and it’s very easy to find Belif stores or counters throughout Seoul. For foreign buyers, I believe the Su:m stick was a little more elusive and often sold out. However a quick search online for purchasing brought up Sokoglam, Memebox, Korea Depart, and W2 Beauty, so maybe these days it’s easier! The Belif, right now, is available at Sephora, and I’m not certain where else- no other selling sites popped up, so maybe, being fairly new, it’s still a little more difficult to find.
The big question- which do I prefer and which will I repurchase?
So as you can see, both of these cleansing sticks are so unbelievably similar in quality and results for my skin. They cleanse efficiently, don’t dry out or strip, lather evenly, have similar pH levels, have the same shape/size/form of packaging, are the same price, and ultimately do the same thing. The ingredients lists differ slightly, but neither feel dramatically different for my skin or irritate/cause problems. For me therefore, it comes down to very minor personal choices.
I love both scents, and whilst I marginally preferred the citrus of the Belif, overall the rose scent together with the soft rose petals (compared to the bits in the Belif stick) are more appealing. In addition to this, the gorgeous pink and gold colouring means I THINK I will repurchase the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick over the Belif The True Tincture Cleansing Stick Chamomile. It’s so close and I can’t even definitely make a decision until I come to that point of needing to repurchase…I just feel that the Su:m37 stick is more luxurious and I get more (shallow) enjoyment using it. Real rose petals clearly do it for me guys.
However if you’re a rose hater, or if you’ve had problems with drying, the Belif True Tincture stick might be for you. I definitely think it will be preferred by many, and I’m not opposed to repurchasing it myself- I’m really enjoying it. It does everything the Su:m stick does for me, and for those who haven’t enjoyed the Su:m37 version for whatever reason, this could be a game changer for you.
I’m a history graduate and I was told not to end essays with wishy-washy, non-definite, undecided conclusions to my argument, so I feel like I’m copping out a little here, but its the truth I tell ya- both are fantastic products, and the minor differences mean your decision over which is best, is totally down to personal choices. There’s no outright, clear winner for me! Have you tried either of these? Which do you prefer?