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This Soothing Moisturiser is Perfect For Oily and Acne Prone Skin

12 Jan 2022 - By Rachel Lee

We’ve all heard of the importance of moisturising for healthy skin but when you have oily or acne-prone skin, finding the right moisturiser can be difficult. We tried the Rice Soothing Active Moisturiser from 23.5°N and was pleasantly surprised. Read on for the full review.


A common skincare myth that many people believe is that if you have an oily complexion, then you don’t really need to moisturise. This cannot be further from the truth as more often than not, the oily complexions are caused by overactive sebum production caused in response to dehydrated skin. 

Moisturising is a key step in every skincare routine as it helps hydrate and restore the moisture oil balance that can actually help regulate sebum production and lead to less oily skin. Moisturising also helps strengthen the skin barrier that protects your skin from environmental stressors and moisture loss that  also leads to hyperactive sebum production and an oily complexion.

But if you have an oily complexion and/or acne-prone skin, choosing the right moisturiser can be tricky as many of the options on the market tend to be rich and with some weight to it that can feel stifling and leave your skin with greasy bumps. Some can even cause your pores to clog causing acne breakouts which can get even worse in humid climates like Singapore’s.

I recently tried the Rice Soothing Active Moisturiser from Taiwanese brand 23.5°N which was recommended to us for all skin types but we found this moisturiser to be the perfect moisturiser for oily complexions and acne prone skin. Read on for the deets!




 Normal to Oily Skin Type



A light translucent gel-type moisturiser with a minimal scent that’s easily absorbed by the skin. Wears lightly and helps hydrate, soften and smooth uneven skin texture.



Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate



Non-comedogenic, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Fragrance-Free, Paraben-Free



$55 (US$ 42), 50ml/1.69fl oz


ABOUT THE PRICE 23.5°N is an independent Taiwanese brand that sources its ingredients locally along the 23.5°N latitude, whence its name, this brand focuses on simple and natural products that are light yet effective.



About My Skin: Combination To Oily & Sensitive 

I have combination skin that tends towards the oily side and I spend a good portion of my time on sports and outdoor activities under the sun. Moisturising is really important after a long day under the sun but if moisturisers are too rich or thick, it can feel greasy and uncomfortable if your skin is on the oily side. My skin is also a little sensitive especially after hours under the sun so I am careful with what goes on my skin and like products that are soothing and calming.


Scent & Texture

Rice Soothing Active Moisturiser 02

The packaging describes the moisturising cream as having a light souffle-like texture. It wasn’t your typical cream formulation and I think could be best described as a thick gel with a  translucent white appearance that reminded me of nata de coco. It is also cooling to touch, like a cucumber on a hot day, that made me excited to try it as part of my after sun routine.

The scent was very mild and will be difficult to discern unless you make the effort to get a good whiff. The moisturiser had a very faint, sweet aroma from the fermented rice that sake drinkers might find somewhat familiar. It was quite pleasant and refreshing and I liked that the scent is  quite mild as it doesn’t clash with the scents from other products that I use.


Application & Use

The texture is quite viscous and I usually just stick a clean finger into the tub and lift it out to get the perfect amount of moisturiser but you could also use the little plastic scoop that’s provided. I carry this moisturiser around with me to use after my outdoor activities and long lost the scoop but it’s always advisable to use the scoop to prevent contamination of the contents.

Rice Soothing Active Moisturiser

The souffle-like gel was really cooling to touch and I could feel its cooling effect the moment I dabbed it on my skin. It did not feel thick at all but it still needed a fair amount of massaging and coaxing before I felt that it had fully absorbed. What I really liked about it was the slight cooling sensation that it left on my skin which was what I was hoping for.

It took about a ½ a minute to a minute before I felt that the moisturiser had completely settled into my skin and was pleasantly surprised by the cooling sensation that lingered and would recommend this as an excellent after-sun moisturiser. This moisturiser gets fully absorbed and left my skin feeling soft and smooth to touch without any sticky or greasy residue left over.


Formulation: Simple, Potent

One thing I noticed about the products from 23.5°N is that their formulations are relatively simple, ideal for sensitive skin as they have fewer potential allergens. Rather than creating complex formulations that try to achieve too much and results in an overly expensive product, this 23.5°N focuses on the quality of the active ingredients, all sourced locally in Taiwan. 

The Rice Soothing Active Moisturizer’s simple formulation focuses on Rice Ferment Filtrate, a probiotic rich ingredient that is a by-product of sake fermentation. This is similar to SK-II’s famous Pitera. While SK-IIs offerings are much more complex, they are also a lot more expensive (upward of $150 a jar) making the Rice Soothing Active Moisturizer a really affordable alternative.

rice extract

In addition to the sake filtrate, this moisturiser also contains familiar ingredients like Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid but what makes this moisturiser unique is its natural ingredients that are sustainably sourced from Diouliou City, a collective of 38 villages in Yunlin County in Taiwan, where it helps to support the local farming communities.

Among the natural ingredients list are ingredients like Rice Extract that help regulate sebum and collagen production and has soothing effect on sun damaged skin; Job’s Tears, rich in Niacinamide or Vitamin B3 that helps brighten and smoothen your skin preventing signs of ageing; and Oat Kernel External that helps control oily complexions and improve tone and texture. 

Running through the ingredients list, I was struck by how many grain extracts there were reflecting the agrarian culture and diets of Taiwan where 23.5°N comes from. In fact, the name 23.5°N comes from the latitude where the climate is most ideal for cultivating the selected ingredients that go into their formulations.


Verdict: A Definite Must Try

If you have oily or acne prone skin, then I would highly recommend the Rice Soothing Active Moisturizer as a definite “must try”. It left my skin feeling soft and visibly less oily. I was also impressed by how it did not leave an uncomfortable residue on my skin and how it improved the texture of my skin. 

This moisturiser also had a strong soothing effect and I enjoyed using it as part of my after sun routine together with the Lotus and Aloe Calming Serum from The Pure Lotus. This would be a great day moisturiser for Singapore’s humid tropical weather or for those who just prefer lighter formulations.

Because of how light it is, I would not recommend it if you suffer from very dry skin or skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. I would recommend a richer cream that creates a protective layer over the skin. Those with mature skin might also find this moisturiser a little too light to be used as a night cream. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed using the Rice Soothing Active Moisturizer, this was an excellent product.

About the writer
Rachel Lee

Rachel spent five ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whiskey. Rachel writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her Maine Coon.

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