In Korea they are called skin refreshers, skin softners or simply “skin“. Sure, you could also use the name they’re known with in the West -“toners”. But korean “skin” has so much more in there…
Get ready for this fresh fourth step in the korean beauty routine!
Korean toners are something that got me hooked since the very beginning, a few years ago, when I was still trying to figure out what the korean beauty routine was all about. Maybe because they were the most recognizable thing (together with moisturizing creams) I could spot in the cosmetics shops in Seoul when I first landed there, I started buying a countless number of them. Using them, however, brought a whole new meaning to the word.
Toners I was used to in Europe were all very astringent and would feel like pouring alcohol on my skin. Afterwards, my face felt a lot drier than it would feel right after the cleansing process, which is actually very weird. In fact, toners are designed to bring back the skin to its optimal pH level, that gets supposedly too high after cleansing.
It’s all a matter of pH
The scientific term “pH” stands for “potential of hydrogen” and it’s used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The pH scale is made up of numbers from 0 to 14: anything lower than 7 is considered acidic; values higher than 7 indicate alkalinity; a solution with a pH of 7 is neutral, a condition that is also known as “pH balanced”. Now: the pH of our skin is slightly on the acidic side, due to a thin, protective layer on its surface, called the acid mantle, that protects it from bacteria and other harmful substances in the enviroment. If the skin optimal pH level (which should be around 5.5) gets too high (it could be because of smoke, pollution, aging…but also of aggressive cleansers that rip off the good sebum), the acid mantle can break down, disrupting the skin’s ability to protect itself.
And here is where toners come in the picture: as previously said, they are made with specific ingredients that will help your skin to regain that ideal 5.5 pH level, which is so beneficial in your daily routine and, generally speaking, for the overall health of your skin.
But great news is, toners are not just pH re-balancers. What they also do -and they do it amazingly- is to add a first layer of hydration to your skin (hydration that got somehow lost during the cleansing process) and they start to provide a first set of good nutrients, preparing the skin for the next big wave of active ingredients coming with essences, serums and ampoules.
And now we start layering…
You see, this is exactly where the so-called “layering” starts: in order from thinner to thicker (referring to their consistency), you layer several products one on top of the other. They all have different compositions, target different issues and penetrate the skin at different cellular levels (due to molecules that can be bigger or smaller), so they perfectly complement each other, aiming at improving your overall texture.
Toners are the most watery in the group. When you apply them (you can use your bare hands to tap the product into your skin or a cotton pad, either way works just fine), it really looks like you’re splashing fresh water on your face -it’s just that the effect lasts much longer than if it really were just water, because there’s so much more in them: some toners are mildly exfoliating, making your skin feel super smooth, and have antioxidants, humectants and botanical extracts for skin brightening effects, pore reduction and so on.
Both the products I’m going to introduce to you have incredible properties. Don’t be fooled by their light texture -light doesn’t mean it can’t be rich too!
Let’s talk about Son & Park’s Beauty Water, for example. A first look at it, at its simple (yet so stylish!) transparent bottle (it’s in plastic, not glass, even if it might look so before you touch it) and at its transparent content, with a nice but very light scent, and you might really think that is not a “beauty water”, but just (classy) bottled water. So wrong!
I knew this product had become a huge hit in Korea before I had the chance to try it and I was really wondering why it was causing such an uproar. Right after the first time I tried the Beauty Water, I knew why. My skin felt immediately hydrated, smooth and brightened up. But how come? It’s all thanks to its mild exfolianting properties (given by willow bark and papaya extract), combined with the hydrating properties of lavender water, rose water and orange fruit extract. This simple product is so effective that Son & Park (the two celebrity make up artists behind the brand) should have called it Miracle Water instead ; )
Nooni is a brand I’ve discovered while browsing in a Memebox shop in the Shinchon neighborhood. Their simple design is very eye catching, so I decided to give a try to their Deep Water Therapy line, purchasing this Deep Sea Water from the East Sea Dual Moisturizing Toner.
What aroused my curiosity, apart from the incredibly long name (!), was the dual consistency of this product, that is composed by a major sea water part (rich in minerals), plus a smaller oily part on top. You need to shake well the bottle in order for the 2 different components to mix, so that you can apply it on your face using a cotton pad (that’s the way they recommend, but if you prefer using your hands, just go ahead).
The skin feels really refreshed and hydrated at the same time after using this toner, so I think I will give it a try and experiment the 7 Skin Method with it. (Wondering what the 7 skin thing is? Stay tuned for my next blog post to find it out!)
Ready, steady…refreshers in action!
The video down here shows a little bit more in detail how the Beauty Water and the Dual Moisturizing Toner reacts in real life. Remember, if I’m showing them it’s not because I get endorsed by any of the two brands (I wish!), but simply because I love both products and I wanted to share the love with you : )
At the same time, I ask you to share your love with me! So if you liked this content, don’t forget to comment (^_^)
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I’ll see you again in my next post! Until then…go with the k-flow!