Toner is a skincare product that is often overlooked for its skincare benefits. Korean toners, in particular, are known for delivering a host of benefits for the skin, as Korean skincare brands formulate toners to be used as a hydrating and replenishing step of your skincare routine and in the multi-step Korean skincare routine.
Pyunkang Yul’s Essence Toner is one of the most popular Korean toners, as it is suitable for a wide range of skin types.
I purchased it to see how well it works on my dehydrated combination skin and will discuss my experience with the toner in this Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner review.
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Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner is a Korean toner that has gained a cult following for its gentle, non-irritating, and hydrating ingredients.
Instead of purified water, the toner contains Astragalus membranaceus root extract to moisturize the skin. The brand describes the toner as “a highly enriched moisturizing essence.” It has a thicker texture than other watery toners.
The hydrating toner is made with natural ingredients and is free from alcohol, artificial fragrance, and other harsh chemicals.
It is certified as zero-irritation by Korea Dermatology Research Institute and has passed stringent skin patch tests.
It comes in a 100ml (3.38 oz) or 200ml (6.76 oz) plastic bottle (shown below) with a flip-top, which makes application quick and easy.
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner Ingredients
Since there are only seven ingredients in the toner, we’ll review each ingredient and discuss its purpose/benefits.
Ingredients are listed in order of concentration, from most concentrated to least concentrated:
Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract: Also known as Huangqi or milk vetch root extract, Astragalus membranaceus root extract is a Chinese medicinal herb that provides many benefits for the skin.
It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, tonic, and antiviral agent that can help to protect the skin from environmental damage.
The herb contains over 100 compounds, including amino acids, polysaccharides, flavonoids. Astragalus membranaceus root extract is often used in skincare products to help improve the appearance of wrinkles, skin elasticity, firmness, and skin tone.
Per the manufacturer, it can improve micro-circulation and is helpful for combination, oily, and acne-prone skin.
1,2-Hexanediol: 1,2-Hexanediol is a clear colorless alcohol that functions as a humectant, emollient, and solvent. As a humectant, 1,2-hexanediol helps attract and retain moisture in the skin. Its emollient properties help to soften and smooth the skin. As a solvent, it helps other ingredients dissolve in water.
Butylene Glycol: Butylene glycol is a colorless and odorless alcohol used as a solvent and humectant in cosmetics. This ingredient helps other ingredients dissolve in water and also helps to attract and retain moisture in the skin.
Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane: Bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane is a silicon-based polymer that functions as a film-forming agent and has slip properties. Film-forming agents help form a protective barrier on the skin that can help reduce moisture loss and prevent the skin from drying out.
Hydroxyethylcellulose: Hydroxyethylcellulose is a water-soluble polymer that functions as a thickener and stabilizer in cosmetics. Thickeners help increase the thickness and viscosity of formulas, while stabilizers help prevent ingredients from separating.
Carbomer: Carbomer functions as a thickener and emulsion stabilizer. As a thickener, carbomer helps to increase the density of the formula. It also helps prevent the formula from separating and keeps emulsions from breaking down.
Arginine: Arginine is an amino acid with many beneficial properties for the skin. It is a natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which helps to keep the skin hydrated.
Arginine also has healing properties that can help to speed up the healing process of wounds and scars. Arginine also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce the appearance of redness and inflammation.
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner Review
I really put Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner to the test as I started using the toner while I was testing a new retinol serum.
My combination skin was flaky and dry and in desperate need of moisture.
While thicker than water, the toner is thin enough to apply multiple layers, and I like to apply 3 or 4 layers when my skin is feeling really dehydrated.
The toner behaves more like an essence or a lightweight serum, as it builds upon the skin, although there is no tackiness or stickiness after 3 or 4 layers.
It works well with the rest of my skincare products and doesn’t pill under makeup and sunscreen.
I have to admit, this toner really is as good as they say it is. I have been applying multiple layers at night, and I wake to smoother skin with reduced flakiness and skin irritation.
I notice that my skin is better able to absorb the rest of my skincare products, including my retinol serum.
If I apply multiple layers, I feel like I can skip my hyaluronic acid serum, as this toner hydrates my skin after 3 or 4 layers.
This short YouTube video will give you an idea of the thickness and viscosity of the toner:
I love that it is fragrance-free, and I’m sure those with sensitive skin will appreciate the minimal seven ingredient formula.
The price of this Pyunkang Yul product is not much higher than drugstore pricing, so I don’t mind using multiple layers of it, as I know I can repurchase without breaking the bank.
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner Drawbacks
If you prefer a more watery toner, then you might want to skip this toner. Otherwise, this is such a great hydrating toner for most skin types.
If you have a dry skin type or are looking for intense hydration, be sure to apply multiple layers of the toner, as one layer may not be enough.
How To Use Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Apply Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner in the AM and PM after cleansing your skin.
While you can apply it with a cotton pad, I use my fingers to gently tap the toner into my skin.
It is thick enough that you can pour the toner drop by drop onto your fingers to apply a small amount onto targeted areas of your skin.
Repeat and layer the product as desired, or follow with skincare treatments/serums, moisturizer, and sunscreen in your morning skincare routine.
You can use this Pyunkang Yul toner in the 7 Skin Method, a popular method in the Korean skincare routine involving using 3 to 7 layers of toner to hydrate and nourish the skin.
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner for Oily Skin and Acne
If you have oily or acne prone skin and are looking for a hydrating toner that won’t irritate your skin or make it more greasy or oily, then Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner could be a great choice.
Astragalus membranaceus root extract is known to offer anti-blemish benefits, and arginine can soothe and help heal acne and breakouts.
Alternative to Pyungkang Yul Essence Toner
As an alternative to Pyungkang Yul Essence Toner, you might consider Klairs Supple Preparation Toner.
It has a rich, creamy texture and contains a mix of skin-benefiting ingredients, such as Centella asiastica extract, beta-glucan, hyaluronic acid, and licorice root to help brighten and soothe the skin.
While the original version contains fragrance, there is also a fragrance-free version.
About Pyunkang Yul
Pyunkang Yul is a Korean skincare brand founded in 2016 by the Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic in South Korea and is currently sold in over 70 countries.
The brand uses 40+ years of the Pyunkang philosophy and focuses on providing gentle and effective products for sensitive skin.
The clinic specializes in treating skin problems with herbal remedies and uses eastern medicine treatment to treat skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.
The brand’s philosophy of “less is more” is demonstrated by using non-irritating and effective ingredients.
Pyunkang Yul is also cruelty-free, as they or their third-party suppliers do not test any of their products on animals, and they do not sell their products in countries like mainland China, where animal testing is required by law.
Final Thoughts on Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Toner is not usually a product that I get very excited about, but I have to say that Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner has the potential to be a game-changer for some, as it is a hydrating and nourishing toner that is light enough to layer and is very gentle on the skin.
It has quickly become one of my favorites to use in conjunction with potent actives like retinol or glycolic acid, as it helps to soothe and hydrate my skin while still allowing the actives to do their job.
Thanks for reading, and until next time, here’s to your good skin health!