Tone It Up: Testing Toner Pads from Three K-Beauty Faves – THE YESSTYLIST – Asian Fashion Blog


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The 10-step Korean skin care routine is a luxurious and relaxing form of self-care. Unfortunately, I usually don’t have the extra minutes for a long multi-step process so I’m more of a skip-care type. Toner pads are among the best and most convenient skip-care products because they cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate skin with just a few swipes. You may also wipe them over the chest and back to prevent breakouts, or leave them on the cheeks, forehead and chin like a sheet mask.

As the temperature rises mercilessly outside, staying constantly in air-conditioned spaces makes my skin more prone to dryness. To save time on maintaining my skin’s moisture level, I decided to ditch my toners and cotton rounds once in a while and turn to pre-soaked toner pads for a more streamlined approach. In the past ten days, I tried moisturizing toner pads from three Korean skin care brands – DERMATORY’s Pro Hyal Shot Moisture Peeling Pad, Anua’s Birch Moisture Boosting Pad and KARADIUM’s Vegan Toner Pad. Scroll on to find out which one is my favorite.

What Does It Do?

These square toner pads are saturated with a potent blend of hyaluronic acid, sodium lactate, panthenol, glycerin and Irish moss extract that plumps skin with moisture to reveal a dewy complexion. The pads also contain gluconolactone, a type of PHA, that gently sloughs away dead skin cells to smooth skin texture.

My Take:

Each pad arrives with an embossed side to exfoliate and a smooth side to moisturize and prep skin. The soft, non-aggravating texture made exfoliation a painless process on my extremely thin skin. The square design allowed me to reach the corners of my face more easily compared to round-shaped pads. However, these pads didn’t serve well as sheet masks due to their thickness and poor adherence to the face. Also, the tangy scent of artificial fragrance was a turn-off for me.

On the hydration front, results were largely positive. The toner pad brought a natural glow and a plumped-up effect to my sensitive dry skin within a few swipes. It left a slightly sticky after-feel that went away minutes later. On the downside, I noticed a slight tightness after the essence was fully absorbed.

What Does It Do?

Anua is celebrated for its use of pure, organic ingredients and that tradition continues with these subacidic moisture pads. Not only are the pads enriched with Japanese white birch water, panthenol and ten types of hyaluronic acids to boost hydration and maintain pH balance, but they also utilize a combination of allantoin, betaine and cucumber extract to soothe skin and retain skin’s oil-moisture balance.

My Take:

As someone who isn’t a huge fan of oily skin care products with strong fragrances, I loved the lightweight texture and soothing sensation this fragrance-free product offered. The pads provided a solid dose of hydration to my skin and locked in moisture with a protective barrier. The pads are chock-full of essence to the point that the liquid started to drip down my elbow after the first few swipes. As much as I adored the product’s hydrating power, the gauze pads felt harsh on my sensitive skin even with the most gentle swabs. I appreciate that the product comes with a tweezer, but it kept falling off when I flipped the lid with a bit too much force.

What Does It Do?

Boasting a formula mixed with 100% pure plant-based ingredients, these vegan toner pads offer a superb dose of glycerin, mugwort extract and cica extract to moisturize and calm sensitive skin. The pads are also infused with allantoin and gluconolactone to provide gentle exfoliation and refine skin texture.

My Take: Thanks to the featherweight, watery formula, these pads left the most refreshing finish, but the moisturizing power was not on par with the other two products. I used the pads before makeup to prep my skin, and my foundation became flaky and cakey halfway through the day. Although the pads are generously soaked with essence, they began to dry out after a few swipes. Every time I used the pads, my cheeks felt itchy after the essence was fully absorbed, so I reckon the formula doesn’t agree with my sensitive skin. Formulated with parfum, the pads also carry a subtle fragrance that I’m not fond of.

Final Verdict

Here’s a summary of my experiences with the toner pads (Rated out of five stars):

Texture of cotton pads ★★★★ ★★ ★★★
Hydrating power ★★★ ★★★★★ ★★
Exfoliating efficacy ★★★ ★★★ ★★
After-feel ★★ ★★★★ ★★

Anua’s Birch Moisture Boosting Pad takes the throne with its ultra-lightweight but moisturizing formula that helps reveal a soft and supple complexion. If there’s one thing to complain about the product, I wish the cotton pads could come in a dual-sided design with a less abrasive surface. If you’re looking for a product to streamline your daily skin care routine, give these toner pads a try!

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