May Island Bubble Bean Cleanser Review

May Island Bubble Bean Cleanser Review

The rise in "capsulated beauty" has intrigued me. The idea that a skincare product is pre-portioned into the ideal portion size sounds ridiculous in theory but in practice, there are a couple Korean brands that have mastered it. May Island is a perfect example. This adorable sweet shop styled jar comes with approximately 60 marble sized "beans" that transform into a cleanser with the help of a little water.

Another creation of skincare magic hailing from Jeju Island, May Island's Bubble Bean Cleanser is more than just novelty innovation. It is effective skincare. Jeju Island is the largest island just off of South Korea and is known for being the home to a plethora of amazing ingredients that make for great skincare.


A jar of bubble beans contains a selection of different colours. Each colour denotes a bean that transforms into a cleanser to target a different skin concern and thus each colour group is made up of different ingredients such as:

Volcanic Ash  (great for acne prone skin as it's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory)
Rubus Flower (helps fight free radicals so great for UV protection)
Nutmeg Tree Extract (helps to fade acne scars and promotes glowing skin)

And the colours target as follows:

Yellow beans (dry skin)
Green beans (sensitive skin)
White beans (deep pore cleansing)
Pink beans (brightening)
May Island Bubble Bean Cleanser Review jeju island


Take one bean in the palm of your hand, add a splash of water to it and crush the bean into a powder. Then add another splash of water and mix to form a paste and creamy lather that you can then apply to the skin.

This video by Glow Recipe demonstrates.


These beans crumble easily so it was no hassle at all to use. I did wonder at first if this would end up being faffy or messy but that wasn't the case. In a matter of seconds, it's all ready to apply onto the skin. It doesn't foam, it lathers into this creamy but light consistency that feels silky smooth to apply to the skin. I actually really liked how they felt on my skin. Usually, I use this as a morning cleanse or on evenings where I've been makeup free all day.

There is no distinct smell or difference in reaction with water for any of the beans. I found that they all lathered up and applied the same way. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced that the different colours had different effects on my skin. That being said, I still love the general effect of this cleanser. It cleanses well, removing excess oils and impurities whilst not drying out my skin or leaving it feeling tight or squeaky clean. Instead, it leaves behind a healthy nourished and refreshed skin feeling.

Despite my initial thoughts on a powder to paste formulation, there is nothing gritty about the texture of this cleanser. It applies so smoothly. It doesn't lather any further or foam up once applied to the face so you needn't worry about its formulation being drying.

May Island Bubble Bean Cleanser Review korean skincare jeju island

I don't find my skin looks particularly brighter when using the pink ones and none of them feel harsh on the skin (even the supposed deep cleaning one). They're all gentle and were my go-to cleanser when acne got bad and painful. This has been the most gentle cleanser I've used in years. I love it.

If you're a seasoned traveller, then this is worth shifting your gaze to. These little beans can be put into a tin and taken away without the worry of mess and leakage. And because they're individually portioned, you know how many you'll need to take. The two downsides of the May Island Cleanser are to no fault of the product itself. Firstly, it's not the easiest to get hold of. It's available on Glow Recipe but I purchased it from this eBay seller (free shipping and arrived in a week). It's also about £18 and if I use it daily that's only lasting two months. Despite this, I will probably purchase it again because it's a gentle, light and effective cleanser I could always do with having on my skincare shelf.

What are your thoughts on capsule/pre-portioned beauty?

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